The People of Costa Rica

The People of Costa Rica

“The Life” – People of Costa Rica by Sara Kauss

“I fish, play my guitar, laugh at the bar with my friends…do it all over again” – Kenny Chesney.  After reading this People Of Costa Rica, I have a feeling you’ll appreciate this ocean country music melody so much more.  At least I did.

Mariano, greeted us with the hugest smile and happy handshake at 7am when we arrived to the boat, Epic at Los Suenos in Costa Rica captained by Mike Aligood.


Mariano has been deep-sea fishing for over 20 years.  He grew up in Quepos, Costa Rica and would fish off a bridge every day on his long walk to grade school.  When Mariano was held back a grade of school because of his daily fishing routine, he told his mother its “hard to say no to fishing.”


In good English with a heavy Spanish accent Mariano told me the story of the first boat he was paid to fish on when he was 16.  He said laughing “the captain of the 24 foot little fishing boat was a little guy, so the boat fit him perfectly.”  Mariano worked on the fishing boat for three years, traveled and he said “didn’t get paid anything good, but taught him how to fish and was a good experience”


At 38, now Mariano has had a great life as a fishing mate.  He worked on country music legend, ocean-loving, singer George Straits’ boat for many of those years, saying Strait was one of the most genuine guys.  George Strait would never meet a stranger, shaking hands with everyone and treating everyone like a new found friend.  Mariano fished with Alan Jackson, Jimmy Buffett and many other of Straits friends throughout the years. “The money was great, the owner was so nice, but I realized that traveling around the world for months at a time just wasn’t for me.  It means more to me to make enough money to get by, raise my 17 and 7 year old daughters, and just fish.  Money isn’t everything and I learned that.”


After saying a very cordial “adios” to our country music celebrity, Mr. Strait, Mariano settled down back in his home town area of Costa Rica.  You will be fortunate to find Mariano now on Epic and other fishing yatch charters.  If you have the opportunity to fish with Mariano you will learn more than you’d ever want to know about the art of catching fish, laugh a lot and be reminded that life is whatever you want it to be.  It’s such a forgettable lesson in life that success is truly being happy, not in how much money you make or the status of who you are.


“The Life”  pinned by Kenny Chesney is the most apropos song for Mariano’s chosen way of life.  If everyone would just find happiness in living a comfortable, easy life, passing time with the people that mean the most to them this world would be a much more balanced and peaceful place.


Mariano has made a wonderful life for himself and chatting with him throughout the day, left me, Zak and our friends with more than just an amazing day of fishing (we caught and released ten Sailfish and kept five Grouper on board for a wonderful dinner!) but a valuable lesson in life.
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