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 Post subject: Costa Rica
PostPosted: Sun Dec 01, 2002 4:33 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 26, 2002 10:06 pm
Posts: 5274
Location: Here, Now
Lake Arenal is a large lake (17miles long) about 3 hours from San Jose or 1 hour from Liberia. it is on the continental divide, clouds to the east, sun to the west. It is nestled in a long valley between lush green mountains with a active volcano at one end.

Windy season is January-March
Winds can range from 25-40 mph daily. Many times you'll never use anything bigger than a 4.7m and have many days on 3.5s.

Norms Rock River Lodge. Rustic beautiful cabins, rooms, etc. Wonderful open air Restaurant and bar about 3 miles up the mountain, overlooking the lake and looking to the west south for great sunrises and sunsets. Great food, many other windsurfers. Sailing is a short ride (10min) down the mountain.

Beautiful Hotel on the other side of the valley. Greek design, much more civilized with pool etc. Sailing is a short walk down a path to the water. On northern slope so you are in shade much sooner and don't get the sunsets.

Vilas Alpino
Very rustic, cabinas near Norms. Great for seclusion and privacy. Easy walk to Norms for food or cook your own in the kitchenettes.

There are others though their names escape me. You can also rent rooms in the towns for real cheap if you are looking to stay awhile.

Rental equipment is either from Tico Winds (Norm's side of the lake) or Tilawa. Both offer top notch rental high wind gear. Usually brand new. Tico Winds have the famous Gorge Animals with 5 bonzers for added control in the mega winds.

Excursions Extraordinare can arrange the trip for you or you may do a search for Norm's Rock River Lodge. He may handle it all for you.

If it doesn't blow there are many things to do, explore the rain forests, take river trips, bird watch, soak in hot rivers that pour out of the volcano, etc.

I've never sailed the ocean in Costa Rica. I hear it is pretty good. The resort is in a large bay. Anyone else have more info?

 Post subject: Provided by Steven P.
PostPosted: Thu Dec 05, 2002 12:35 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 26, 2002 10:06 pm
Posts: 5274
Location: Here, Now
Originally posted by Steven P.
I was there for my first time from Nov. 2nd-Nov. 14th (pre-season) and had a blast. Here are my recommendations.

Driving sucks. We rented a Kia Rio (small, cheap sedan) and kind of regretted it. It made it everywhere we wanted to go but it was a bit scary at times. At one time we had the front of the hood underwater as we crossed a stream. But we went to places that they said only to go with a 4-wheel drive. If you are going to get a car, understand in advance that they require (by law they told us) getting mandated insurance (on top of what is provided by gold card). So the rental was a cheap $93/wk but the insurance was about $20 extra a day.

As for windsurfing, we stayed at Tilawa, which was the only rental place open that early in the season. It is a great place. John-Paul the owner was very nice and it has an incredible view.
Their rental equipment are Cascade boards (which looked kinda beat up) and the very beat up (all with their tips broken and repaired) Minstral Flows that we were required to use because the wind wasn't too strong. The biggest sail they had were 5.8m's and often I could have used larger
I was traveling with a non-windsurfer so I only windsurfed three mornings. As for other recommendations, I highly recommend going to the Manuel Antonio National Park. Lots of monkies, snakes, iguana's and some nice beaches too.

If you have more questions, email me.

 Post subject: Lake Arenal Update
PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2004 10:52 am 

Joined: Thu Nov 28, 2002 10:12 pm
Posts: 88
Location: St. Louis Park, MN
I just got back from CR again (early March, 2004). This time we had more wind. The biggest sail was a 5.2m and the smallest was 3.7m. I rented from and stayed at Tilawa again. For rental, it was $30 for a half day (12:30pm-5pm) and $40 for a full day (8-5). They charge $10 more if you are not staying at Tilawa. They had a bunch of RealWind boards GulfTech booms, and Hot sails. There were some older Cascade boards if you wanted a heavier alternative on the big days.
Equipment was in pretty good shape and I really liked the guys that work there (Christian & Henry). It was fun to go out ripping it with them. But speaking Spanish will be an asset.

If you are not an accomplished water starter, then you may wish to reconsider. It isn't an easy place to windsurf because on a windy day, the chop gets pretty brutal. The bigger boards are in lousy condition with so many repairs that they are rather comical. But if you like port side ramps, and sub 100 liter boards, it is a blast. Water is warm so no wet suit but the shoreline is a mud slide.

Tilawa now offers kiting lessons too. They will take you up wind on a jet ski and take good care of you while teaching. An American, Joe from the Gorge, is providing the lessons.

On the walk down through the jungle from the hotel, I often saw howler monkeys.

The hotel Tilawa is in the process of adding a brew pub but it wasn't quite finished yet. They also have a tennis court, skate park, horses and some great food. They have hired some new chefs and the food was great and usually only about $10 for a full dinner. When you stay there, you are out in the middle of nowhere. So unless you have a car, you will eat all your meals there unless you want to take a taxi ($5) into the small town of Tileran.

The other windsurf rental shop on the lake is Tico Winds. They have more equipment, a better, grassier launch, slightly cleaner wind and waves, but I heard are charging about $60 a day for rental.


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