An Interview with Alex Whitty, Captain of M/Y NAIA on cruising Costa Rica
Is it your first time in Costa Rica?
I have extensive cruising experience in Costa Rica and the Panamanian waters. I’ve done several seasons there working on cruise ships such as Windstar, a large motor sailing yacht. I have also done charters in Costa Rica on board NAIA so I know exactly where to position the yacht for the guests’ individual needs.
What does Costa Rica have to offer for visitors?
Costa Rica has not been as affected as her neighbours by the COVID-19 pandemic and offers a remote escape for the strange times we are living in. It has always been a raw and unspoilt destination with low tourism. The country has remained close to its roots and is still considered ‘’off the beaten track’’ to this very day. You can spend the morning on a nature walk passing Sloths with their cubs, indigenous spider monkeys, turtles hatching on the beach and wild rain forests. They filmed the original Jurassic Park movie here due to the natural beauty. The waters around the pacific coast of Costa Rica are home to giant jumping rays, spinner dolphins and whales – all common sights in this neck of the woods!
What is the best place for watersports and diving?
In the early morning, you can go for a jet ski tour around mangrove Palmares, the preferred habitat of towering palm trees. When cruising along the coast, you’ll stumble upon plenty of intimate sand beaches, including Papagayo gulf and Nicoya gulf. The water’s deep enough here to scuba dive or enjoy the water toys, from sea kayaks to stand-up paddleboards. Or you can go for a relaxing swim in the pristine waters.
What expedition/activities would you recommend?
There are all sorts of sea- and land-based activities to choose from. You can hike to Curú, a private Natural Reserve, for a spot of birdwatching or the chance to bump heads with monkeys and coatis. You can also join one of the jungle and canopy tours, try your hand at beach horse-riding or hop on a helicopter to observe volcanos from above, such as the Arenal Volcano or Rincon de la Vieja Volcono. I highly recommend going to El Avion for sunset drinks and beautiful panoramic views. If you enjoy golf, The Four Seasons Resort Peninsula Papagayo has one of the most picturesque golf courses in the world.
Which place is a must-see?
It’s hard to say as Costa Rica has so much to offer and is always meeting the various demands of our guests. If I had to choose, I would recommend checking out Manuel Antonio nature park and Drake and Papagayo bays. Tortuga island is a must!
Any memorable experience in Costa Rica you’d like to share?
My most memorable experience is witnessing hundreds of turtles hatching before my eyes on the beach at Manuel Antonio nature reserve. Truly spectacular to see.