March 20, 2001
Quepos, Costa Rica

A Morning in Quepos
By Lois Joy                                   

I awake to the predawn glow, the sky a pale red against the mountain ridge, the lights of Quepos still glimmering against the sandy shore.  The wind had shifted 180 degrees during the night, as it often does here, the afternoon land breeze changing to a sea breeze as the land cools.  The fifty-plus fishing vessels moored here had all changed direction like marching soldiers.  Yesterday afternoon, when we anchored here, they all faced the sea. And Pacific Bliss took up the rear. This morning, they are lined up in formation facing the shore, with Pacific Bliss in the lead.

Quepas at pre-dawn.

The sportsfishing fleet in the early morning.

At 6:30, as the sun breaks bright over the mountains, the action begins.  A steady caravan of sports fishing boats proceeds to the dock, where groups of men in an assortment of white tee shirts wait in anticipation.   Gunter and I sip our coffee in the cockpit of Pacific Bliss, watching the busy scene.  We are relieved that this morning, we will just take it easy and then find out what there is to see in Quepos.

Sportfishing is big in the Quepos area; in fact, the locals claim that it is one of the top ten best areas in the world.  Sailfish are the big prize, but yellowfin tuna, marlin, dorado, wahoo, and amberjack are also caught here.   Depending on the size of the vessel, equipment on board, and the experience of the skipper, a day’s trip can cost from $300 to $1000 U.S.  Offshore fishing is best here from December until April, so we are right in the season. There are only two sailboats in the anchorage.  We met the captain of one of them at the dinghy dock, before we checked in with the Port Captain yesterday.  He charters here.  We observed the second sailboat, a nice ketch, bringing about 20 passengers, all in bright orange preservers back from a three-hour sunset cruise, motoring, of course.  Not a bad business at $55 or so a head for three hours!

The town of Quepos gets its name from the Quepos Indian tribe, who inhabited the area at the time of the conquest.  By the end of the 19th century, that population had disappeared, due to diseases brought by the Europeans, internecine warfare with other Indian tribes, and slavery.  Farmers from the highlands then colonized this area.   As with many ports here, bananas became the primary export.  When the banana production declined because of disease, African palm oil became the next exported product.   Now, sportfishing and tourism provide the bulk of the business for Quepos.






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