2016 – Costa Rica to Ecuador

—->  Maybe you’re looking for Season 1 (California to Costa Rica), Season 3 (South Pacific), or the general Route gameplan?

MAP Season 2 itinerary for Mailing2 no text

check out the Interactive Satellite sailing map:

Season 2 satellite image.png


Season 2, 2016

–>  Want to see specific dates, who’s coming aboard, whether there is space?  Go to our Co-op page (password needed) and click on Crew List


  • January-February – Aldebaran moored in Nicaragua
  • late March – Nicaragua
  • April – Costa Rica
  • May/June – Panama & Isla Cocos
  • July – Galapagos Islands
  • August – Galapagos to Mainland Ecuador
  • September to November – Aldebaran moored in Ecuador mainland
  • late December – Galapagos Islands (TBD)



Costa Rica

The tropical jungles and amazing beaches of Costa Rica have been phenomenal. Next January we will cruise through some of our favorite spots in the Santa Rosa National Park (map), then south through Nicoya’s islands (map) and down around the boat-access only rainforest of the Osa Peninsula (map). Great diving in Isla Caño and other spots. Small wave surfing with west swells and good conditions.  Access: Liberia Int’l airport or San Jose Int’l airport.

Panama Islands

These are the famed islands in the remote western section of Panama – one of the best places in the Americas to explore by boat.  Gorgeous beaches, secluded coves for SUPs, picturesque fishing villages. Excellent snorkeling and SCUBA diving, best before April, but can be good till July.  World famous fishing grounds. Wilderness surfing: the area gets small west swell waves before April and solid south swells after April. Islands include Coiba National Park, Cebaco, Islas Secas, Jicarito, ad infinitum.  Flexible trip length from 5 days to 2 weeks. Access: Panama City Int’l, then regional flight $150 or 5-7hr bus. Map link.


NOTE: We’ll probably only go to either Isla de Coco or Malpelo Island, not both, unless there’s lots of interest. 

Isla de Coco

Isla de Coco has excellent snorkeling, world-class SCUBA diving with pelagics, Costa Rican National Park with Jurassic-like feel, hiking and beaches. Requires a 3-4 day passage from Ecuador, Panama, or Costa Rica; AND a 3-4 day passage to Galapagos, crossing the Equator.  Minimum 14 days on Aldebaran.  Expensive Cocos Island and Galapagos National Park fees. Read the Galapagos section for more details. Access: flying into San Jose Int’l Airport (Costa Rica) and out of Galapagos via Quito (Ecuador). Map link.


The Enchanted Islands of Darwin are a must for everyone who can go there. Incredible scenery ranging from volcanos to beaches to wetlands, rich wildlife viewing including iguanas, massive Galapagos tortoises, sea turtles, and even penguins. World class snorkeling and SCUBA diving, excellent surfing. November-May: typically sunnier, warmer water 77 deg, better visibility, north swells. June-October: more overcast, colder water 70 deg, visibility decent but down to 30-50ft, south swells. Expensive National Park fees to enter and boating costs (see below).

Important Galapagos permit consideration: sailboats need special permits to cruise the archipelago, which has nearly 20 islands. The options are these, costs approx: 1) on-the-spot permit, allows 3-6 weeks, 2 islands, ~$450 boat fee, plus per day charges. 2)  autografo permit is the most common, a one-time fee ~$900 and allows sailboats to anchor at 3-5 islands, no repeat visits, plus per day charges. Typically crew will visit the more remote islands on overnight tour boats, from $150+/day with food included. 3) The cruising permit is much less common because in years past it cost $200+/person/day  with nothing included except a naturalist guide onboard. We are monitoring if there are updates in this policy, and are exploring 2-3 different connections to see if we could secure the special cruising permit without it being so cost-prohibitive.  If Aldebaran needs to stay anchored while we visit other islands, that doesn’t come out of boat time. Map link.