Where To Go

Costa Rica is a small country, but it has many little secrets waiting for you…

There are 5 main areas everybody loves to visit, but besides those popular spots, the country offers many more locations, nature parks, hiking places, isolated beaches, colorful towns and rivers for swimming.

North pacific.

I was born in San Jose, my father’s job required him to move to Liberia when I was 5 years old.

The “white city” welcomed us with a big colonial house covered with white dust and a big courtyard in the middle, we lived there for 7 years and my whole childhood was filled with adventures.

One of my happiest memories was waiting at the intersection for the traffic light to change from red to green, it was a free pass to total bliss, the road to the beaches…

Guanacaste is in the north, the hottest place I know, almost like a desert during the dry season, but the location of the most beautiful beaches I have seen, and it is not an exaggeration, I have tried to find better beach spots, only Vieques Island at Puerto Rico and Zanzibar, Tanzania get close.

We are so lucky when we were kids, every weekend, we would head to a new unspoiled spot, all those long white sand beaches and warm waves to play in were our playgrounds, and we would sit under tall palm trees to eat the yummy picnic mom had prepared for lunch.

The north coast comprises about 25 well identified beaches from the border with Nicaragua south to where the province of

La Cruz

Right at the border with Nicaragua, this area is still isolated and there is not much development, except for the gorgeous 4-star all-inclusive resort Dream Mareas, they were brave enough to build a luxury complex in a far, far away breathtaking Peninsula in the Golf of Santa Elena…

If you survive the road, you will be rewarded with a beautiful long beach and one of the best all-inclusive resorts in the country, great service, and fancy facilities.

Close to this complex, you can also find other beaches with privacy and crystal-clear waters.

Playa Naranjo

This beach is where dry forest, mangrove and the sea meet and create magnificent scenery.

Located in the same gulf, at the entrance to the historic Santa Rosa National Park, where Costa Ricans fought William Walker’s army and managed to beat him with rocks and sticks. You can learn more about this chapter of our history here (Juan Santamaria National Hero).

 

Favorite spot for surfers and campers, Roca Bruja waits for you with not many facilities, but natural beauties, if you are an adventure seeker, surfer, love camping, mosquitoes and fighting for your dinner with racoons, please visit this spot.

Following the coastline south, we will find the Golf of Papagayo, very famous for its blue relaxing waters and easy access from Liberia, these beaches are the most popular among the locals because you can find different ranges of accommodation and lots of options for eating.

Playa Panama

Only a few kilometers long, but with 2 great places to stay; Casa Conde Del Mar, an all-inclusive resort that I particularly like because it is not so big and not so crowded, with very reasonable prices and good food and service.

Next door is The Mangroove, an exclusive 4 start resort, with gorgeous gardens and very popular for weddings.

Luxury at the Peninsula of Papagayo

The amazing views and calm waters have convinced some of the most trendy resorts to make this coast their home. The exclusive Four Seasons Resort, popular among movie stars, features awesome white sand beaches, a spectacular 18-hole Arnold Palmer golf course and the only grass tennis courts in Costa Rica. Other all-inclusive resorts like Planet Hollywood, Secrets Papagayo, Riu Costa Rica and Andaz Peninsula Papagayo is all located along this peninsula.

These resorts offer first class services, beachfront facilities, fun, games, water sports, delicious food, juices, cocktails and desserts, all day and the most comfortable and elegant rooms waiting for you after a beautiful, fun-filled day.

We know many of our customers just want to unwind and be pampered, for those sun and relaxation seekers we have special discounts and offers, please click here if you want to know more.

Playas del coco

This is one of the favorite spots for locals, Ticos like Playas del Coco because there are many bars and discos and young people come here to party.

The beach is nothing special, but the town has little souvenirs shops, restaurants and there is a great aquatic taxi service which can take you on tours of surrounding beaches.

Playa Hermosa

A lovely beach with many little hotels, my choice is always Bosque del Mar, a classic boutique hotel with a romantic beachfront setting where the trees invite you to dream. Fun fact; there is another Hermosa beach in the central Pacific, so don’t get mix up!

Playa Hermosa is less touristy than Playas Del Coco and has a nicer beach with more vegetation, including plenty of Almendros and Palms trees, which provide shade to visitors.

Ocotal

This beach is very small and well known for scuba diving and snorkeling. It has crystal clear waters and is very safe for swimming. There is plenty of marine life to discover even in shallow depths.

Ocotal is surrounded by hillsides and bluffs which offer breathtaking views of the beach and ocean below. One beach north is the small but spectacular Playa Gringo, with access not for the faint-hearted due to the narrow and steep hillsides surrounding it. There are restaurants and bars with easy access to the beach, which makes it a nice place to hang out at during the day, if you want to have facilities close at hand.

Danta y Dantita, home of Las Catalinas beach town

The name of this beach is Tapir, may be because a long time ago you could spot those animals wandering around here. The two beaches are next to each other with a walking trail connecting them which is long, but worth doing.

Las Catalinas is a very upscale Mediterranean style beach town with interesting architectural features, cobbled streets, plazas, and water fountains. One unique feature being that it is totally open to the public. It is a large complex with hotels, homes, condominiums, shops, restaurants, and anything you need for a comfortable beach life. The concept is also very eco-friendly, because there are no cars allowed in the village and the idea is to live in a beach community with all the facilities, but with nature being the protagonist. There are some interesting and challenging mountain bike trails and water sports rental facility where you can rent mountain bikes, paddle boards, sea kayaks etc.

The beach is very safe for swimming and just offshore there are buoys marking a one-kilometer swim. There is a beach club featuring an exercise room and lap pool and great food is available including the “Limonada” beachfront restaurant and the Sentido Norte restaurant located on a bluff with outrageous views of the ocean.

Pan de Azucar or Sugar Beach

Continuing south down the coast, I would like to mention this gorgeous place, where the sand is light colored. The only building on the beach is the iconic Sugar Beach Hotel, which is surrounded by dry Tropical forest and where you should get to see and hear Howler Monkeys as well as other wildlife. This is a secluded romantic spot with rocks, trees, and waves and is picture-perfect.

La Penca

La Penca is a gorgeous white sand beach with calm waters. It backs on to a mangrove and as such has remained pristine with only a handful of homes in the vicinity. Next to it is La Prieta which is also relatively undeveloped and offers very safe swimming and lots of shade trees. Access to La Prieta is via a small unmarked dirt road and so not many tourists visit it. These cozy little corners are perfect to do the Tico thing, get your cooler and your picnic basket and spend the day with your family or friends without a care in the world.

Playa Potrero/Surfside

A very popular town, with many hotels, bars and restaurants to choose from including La Forketta which offers authentic and delicious Italian food as well as El Castillo. Another great place to mingle with locals and enjoy a beer while watching the sunset over the Pacific is the Sailing Center. If you want a no frills, but great breakfast popular with the locals, try The Shack.

Dark-colored sand and a very long beach. Very calm and safe for swimming, sea kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding, great for walking and fat biking.

This is the location of one of the pretty and popular hotels Bahia de Sol, One of my favorite beach hotels for many reasons…

Not too big, gorgeous green gardens in front of the beach, perfect location for sunset and margaritas, awesome restaurant, super friendly staff and gorgeous comfy rooms.

This location is very popular among couples for weddings.

Playa Flamingo

This is one of the most gorgeous white sand beaches in Costa Rica, flanked by two rocky ridges. At the end of the northern ridge there is a beautiful small island called Isla Plata (Silver Island). The central beach area backs on to a mangrove, which is a protected area. The beach is safe for swimming, albeit on occasions the wave action can pick up, and it is a great spot to boogie board or body surf. In between Flamingo and Potrero is the new Flamingo Marina, which is being built right now. Both Flamingo and Potrero are famous for sports fishing. There are several hotels and condominiums for accommodation, and it is also a very popular location for weddings.

Not a very big town, but it has good restaurants such as the beachfront Coco Loco, run by Jean Luc, one of the best chefs in town, he also opened a new venture called Terrazas which is opposite the new Flamingo Marina. Nico’s restaurant serves delicious breakfasts and lunches, they are located on the main road coming into Flamingo from Brasilito and aside from the great food, both Nico and Andrea will make your visit a true pleasure.

Playa Conchal

This gorgeous white sand and shell beach is almost private, and it has 2 of the best resorts, W Reserva Conchal and Westin. With 2,300 acres of dry tropical forest incorporating an 18-hole Robert Trent Jones Junior golf course, a 60,000 ft2 beach club with spa, and several restaurants, Reserva Conchal is one of the most sought-after beach resort locations in Costa Rica.

Both chains have first class service and luxury accommodation including several condominium complexes, they cater for weddings, honeymooners, and families.

The beach is not easy to access unless you are staying in the resort, but the clear, blue waters are perfect for snorkeling.

If you spot a local guy selling lobster, go ahead and try it, he carries his own BBQ and may cook it there in front of you, and for a couple of extra dollars, he will add really strong piña coladas o mojitos to go with it!

Playa Grande

As its name says this long beach white sand goes on for miles, chosen by surfer’s Playa Grande is also part of Las Baulas Marine National Park which is a protected area due to its importance as a nesting ground for the endangered Leatherback turtle.

There are many hotels and beachfront homes for rent but because it is a protected area, there are also many rules to follow during turtle season.

This laid back surf town is very nice and offers you a variety of accommodation and local food. One beach north is another beautiful white sand crescent shaped beach called Playa Ventanas.

Tamarindo and Langosta

This is one of the most famous beaches, with the biggest development in the area, next to each other, both spots complete a very beautiful and touristic site.

Langosta may be a bit less crowd, with more condos and hotels. Tamarindo is famous for surfing, party, weddings, sunset happy hours, great restaurants and much more…

This is the place to be if you want to meet young people and be in a place with a lot of things happening, easy to walk around to browse the many cozy shops, try pizza, sushi, a hamburger, or Italian food, or simple a cocktail at sunset or many more if you take advantage of 2×1 happy hour!!

Despite it always being busy, this location does not always get overwhelming, there is enough greenery, sand, and beach for you to have your space.

Peak season may be a bit too much, but many people love to spend New Year’s, spring break and other fun dates here because there is always something to do…

There is also a large range of accommodation available from hostels, bungalows, boutique hotels, resorts and fancy condos.

Enjoy the many cosmopolitan beachfront restaurants and bars including the long-established Noguis, great pizzas at La Baula pizzeria, superb steaks at the Patagonian Argentinian grill, the Green Papaya taco bar or just have some great coffee and Italian hospitality at Buon Apetito.

Playa Avellanas

Another surfing spot and home of the famous beachfront restaurant called Lolas which I have to mention because they not only have the most beautiful and laid-back setting at the beach and yummy food and drinks, but they donated lots of food to the local people in need during the Coronavirus emergency.

This long and often semi deserted beach is perfect for the people who want to spend time away from the crowds, there are only a few hotels and villas (including the JW Marriott and La Posada) scattered along the beach. The northern section of the beach borders the 4,500-acre Hacienda Pinilla complex which features a golf course, five miles of beach and beach club, surfing, tennis, horseback riding and the two hotels previously mentioned.

One of the most gorgeous properties here is www.driftawayecolodge.com a perfect place for weddings, relaxation and pampering.

Playa Negra

Located next to Avellanas this long beach with dark sand, and it is well known for its many rock formations and a great surf point. Because it is off the beaten track, nature is wild and beautiful here, and you can put up your tent and camp or stay at one of the beautiful beachfront houses (at Rancho Playa Negra for example) or small hotels which are available.

Junquillal

This hidden gem is only 30 minutes away from Tamarindo and the closest town is called Paraiso, perfect right? Not a very long beach, but the perfect spot for romance, photo shooting or just sun bathing. One of the things I like the most are the many properties available overlooking the ocean, with numerous houses and villas dotted along the top of the hill all around Junquillal Beach. There is also a very popular spot for taking in the sunset, where tourists park their cars and enjoy the view until dark.

Playa Azul

Only accessible by 4×4 this little breathtaking paradise is worth the trip, there are not many facilities, but there are two gorgeous luxury resorts, The Azul Ocean Club and Sanctuary Resort and spa, both properties are surrounded by nature and guests can enjoy being pampered, watching wildlife, birdwatching, swimming, and fishing. This is a great option for ornithologists looking for privacy or people wanting to detox from civilization.

San Juanillo

Named the most beautiful beach in Costa Rica, and they are not wrong! Reaching this pretty spot is challenging, it is about a 6-hour drive from San Jose on gravel roads, 4×4, lots of dust and there it is Paradise! White sand, turquoise blue waters, jungle behind and a corner tail of sand which you can access during low tide is the most beautiful feature. This point gets the ocean from both sides and makes a wonderful picture.

There are no facilities here, for this reason visitors carry chairs, tents, towels, food, coolers, balloons, drinks, inflatables, plates, sun cream, hats, shoes, clothing, glasses, plates… yes, we get a little carried away when it comes to a family day at the beach.

There is a little town with the same name a few kilometers away, and you can buy snacks and drinks there too.

Playa Ostional

It is the most important nesting site for the Olive Ridley sea turtle, or Tortuga Lora in Spanish, the wildlife refuge was created in 1984 and since then, more and more turtles can be seen during the months of September to December, usually before the full moon.

This spectacle is absolutely amazing, and I am not kidding, there is no room even to walk with the number of turtles on the beach, thousands of females arrive at the beach and lay their eggs, after that they go back into the water and the nature does the rest.

Witness this miracle, as it is an unforgettable experience.

Getting to Ostional is difficult, but worth it, the town itself is a good example of a sustainable community and the area is natural, overwhelming with flora and fauna.

Playa Pelada

The right name for it, because literally there is nothing there. For miles, you can only see a beautiful blue line of waves and sand, however this is what makes this spot very popular for weddings, the restaurant la Luna, a little secret piece of Greece in Costa Rica is the perfect place to enjoy a meal or to celebrate!

Guiones, Nosara

This is one of the longest and hottest beaches that I can remember, a surfers favorite Guiones is also home of the famous town of Nosara. To get here you have to drive about 30 kilometers on a very bad road, after bouncing around in your 4×4 for around 1 hour you reach this surf and yoga paradise.

This is where you will find the famous Nosara Yoga institute, and healthy, vegetarian food, Holistic hotels, and a lot of bare-footed, cool people.

Nosara is also home of Satori bubbles, a very popular resort with 4 private glamping style bubbles, one of the most incredible experiences!

Playa Barrigona

Right next to Samara Beach, but very hard to get to, you will be challenged by rivers, mud and very difficult roads during 9 kilometers before you can access it. This beautiful white sand beach is very secluded and has become the refuge of the rich and famous, like Mel Gibson, who owns a luxury villa here. It is a gorgeous spot and one of the things that makes it unique is the very fine sand, perfect to lay in it for hours…

There are no facilities here, so, make sure you take at least some water if you are exploring the area and if you happen to see Mel, say hello.

Samara

With easy access, this lively town is a perfect vacation spot because it is more developed, but it retains the nice “tico” flavor. The drive from Nicoya to Samara is very scenic, and you will pass through numerous small villages.

One of the things I like the most about Samara is that most of the bars and restaurants are on the beach, and they all offer happy hour at sunset, then, walking up and down the beach trying piña coladas, mojitos, Bellini’s, and a wide variety of liquors or beers is a very good sport, may not get you fit or skinny at all, but makes you happy!

There are many options in the way of hotels, hostels, houses, with different ranges of prices and facilities, from laid back tropical settings to beautiful condominiums with all the facilities you need.

Carrillo

The next beach south of Samara, a wonderful palm tree lined light sand coloured beach, with less people, but a great place to set your hammock. The beach has picnic tables and BBQ facilities, and local families come on weekends to enjoy the Almendros shade. It is also a great spot to do some nice and easy body surfing or boogie boarding.

Punta Islita

It is the name of the small town founded and sponsored by the Punta Islita Resort, a gorgeous luxury hotel.

This local village is very artsy, and the people there have created a perfect symbiosis with the resort, they work together on recycling, planting and research, the resort provides jobs, brings visitors and generates business, because they support all the initiatives the local people may have, like small restaurants, souvenirs, or anything that they can turn into a sustainable business.

I would really like to see this kind of alliance grow more and happen in other communities.

Peninsula de Nicoya, Puntarenas

Santa Teresa

Take a left at the Cobano intersection, and you will find this buzzing little town, a favorite place for the rich and famous, Santa Teresa has beautiful villas and mansions, and you can always find actors, singers, and famous people hanging around the town, enjoying a coffee or a beer.

 

The beach is long and beautiful and there are always a lot of dogs hanging around, they are free souls, but the local people take care of them, so they are well, fit, and healthy. Some of the most beautiful beachfront hotels can be found here. Hanging lights, music, and lounging at the beach are the perfect place for sunsets.

The boutique hotels have done a great job putting together first-class properties with a relaxed and natural flare.

Mal País

It literally translates to “bad country” (don’t ask me why, such a terrible name for this beautiful place!). This rocky beach is the home of a small fishing port and a little bit quieter than its neighbor Santa Teresa. The town spreads out along 5 kilometers of road where you can find accommodation, restaurants, bars and other shops. This town caters to both surfers and nature lovers.

Cabo Blanco

Right at the bottom corner of the Nicoya Peninsula is the Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve, the first area protected by law in Costa Rica and one of the most wild and beautiful ones too. A hike in this park is an adventure, take a guided tour, and you will be able to learn about the many ancient species of trees, thousands of birds and the sea life in the ocean.
Because it is all protected, a large population of lobsters inhabit these waters.

There is a very romantic story about the founders of this park, Karen and Olaf, a Swedish couple, got married in 1952 and came to Costa Rica in 1954. Karen had a dream about themselves living in paradise, swimming in blue waters and having a farm in the jungle, when they came to Costa Rica, they found their paradise in Montezuma and bought the land and lived wild and free for many years, Olaf always had a passion for nature and the idea of protecting the primary forest of Costa Rica came to them when they realized more and more people were coming to take trees and cutting the forest down to cattle ranch and farm.

You can read the full story here : https://nicoyapeninsula.com/montezuma/wessberg-story.pdf

Montezuma

Now we are coming to the other side of the Nicoya Peninsula, where many of my favorite beach spots are.

To get there you have to take the Ferry from Puntarenas, and drive for around 1 hour more on something you can’t quite call a road… but anyway, as usual here, once you get there and wipe the layers of dust from your face and your eyes, you can honestly say it was all worth it!

The emerald blue calm waters and the Bohemian laid-back feeling gets you in the mood quickly, you will find lots of new friends, great food, ice creams, sunset, music, party and more party.

There are a lot of tours that you can from this area, boat trips, horseback, and a hike to the not to be missed waterfalls of Montezuma.

Central & South Pacific

One of the most popular areas of the country, the central pacific coast of Costa Rica is easy to reach from San Jose taking advantage of the Route #27 toll road and there are well-developed towns with the right amount of facilities, nice weather, and abundant experiences. Some of the main areas to visit, are as follows;

Jacó

Only 1 hour from San Jose. Jaco is the biggest beach town on the Pacific. With 4 kilometers of beach, you can find everything here, and I mean everything… This town is well known for sports fishing and surfing, therefore, most of the visitors are interested in partying, girls, music, liquor, more partying and everything related to it. You can find many bars and discos in Jaco as well as a great range of cosmopolitan restaurants offering sushi, Peruvian, Italian, Middle Eastern cuisine and more.

There is no downtime when you come to this town, and many people come to celebrate their bachelor parties.

 

But not everything is crazy here, you can stay in one of the many comfortable condos available where you have all the facilities you may need for a comfortable stay (Crocs Casino and Resort being one of the ocean front condo complexes and resorts) and during the day browse around the shops, the beach and the many options for delicious food!

 

Not far from the town, you can find other activities like canopy, ATV and of course, Jaco is well known for surfing, in fact only a couple of kilometers away there is Playa Hermosa, a famous surf point where lots of International Surf Contests have been held.

 

Recently Jaco has undergone a very much needed cleaning, and it feels safe and relaxed to walk on the streets, there is a nice shopping and restaurant complex called Jaco Walk. Ticos like to come to Jaco because it is close by, and there are many apartments with good rates.

 

Gary’s first impression of Costa Rica was Jaco

 

We lived here when Gary and I came to Costa Rica together for the first time, about a thousand years ago, we moved there, and we opened a bar called Jaco Rock Cafe, a business that we had for 1 year.

 

Gary did not speak any Spanish, and he was in charge of the bar, and I was in charge of the kitchen, but cooking is not one of my main qualities.

 

However, we managed to have a very successful year and made lots of friends, along with a few stressful moments, like collecting rain water to wash the dishes at the restaurant, or having a storm flooding the bar and our clients helped with the cleaning, crocodiles inhabited in the river next to our house, and we had to walk in the dark every night.

Anyway, I will tell you more about our adventures later, I hope you get the idea of what Jaco is like!!

 

This all happened 25 years ago, to be fair Jaco is now a very clean and nice place for families to have holiday, we gave it a second opportunity last year and moved there for 3 months, it was a pleasant experience, walks at the beach, sunset swimming, bike rides to the nearby mountains, hikes to the waterfalls, beach hop, and delicious meals at the many great local restaurants, I guess the experience at our 50´s has to be different from the one at our 20s.

Manuel Antonio

One of the most visited locations in Costa Rica and the place where you can see many animals. The national park of Manuel Antonio is home to 3 different species of monkeys; the spider monkey, the white-faced monkey and the howler monkey. Besides all those jumping monkeys you can also admire sloths, coatis, raccoons, anteaters and if you are lucky an ocelot too.

But the list does not end here, you will have the chance to see many birds, parrots, and macaws… Nothing compares to the feeling of seeing a couple of macaws flying together in the sky (sometimes referred to as the Costa Rican Airforce!).

Besides the wildlife, this town is well known for its beautiful long beach where tourists spend most of the day, sun-bathing, swimming in the warm waters and chatting with the many locals passing by selling ceviche, beer, water, cocktails, handmade jewelry, granizados (snow cones), and anything else you can imagine!

You can also find here a big range of great restaurants, bars and good hotels.

The town of Quepos is located 7 kilometers down the road and is the place to shop like the locals, if you are here during the weekends, you can visit the market that takes place every weekend from Friday night until lunchtime on Saturday.

When we lived here, we used to go Fridays at nighttime, it was the perfect excuse to go to the Marina Pez Vela, after the shopping and have a cocktail or two!

Dominical

Only 30 minutes away from Manuel Antonio, now with perfect roads.

There was a time when driving to Dominical involved getting across a wooden and metal bridge in bad shape! And more every 5 kilometers or so!

It took more than an hour to get there…

The small town is well known because of the envisionfestival.com, a full week of art, music, dance, yoga, surf, and anything about love, peace, and humankind being free! It is one of the most popular activities in the area, and every year it attracts thousands of people.

The natural beauty of the area, unspoiled beaches and a very Zen community is the perfect location to find yourself and immerse yourself in health and eco activities.

There are many beaches to walk, waterfalls to discover, jungles to hike and sunsets to enjoy, wildlife is also abundant, and you don’t need to go far to spot monkeys, toucans, and many more creatures.

If you are looking for a relaxing time with good food and great cocktails, we strongly recommend you to visit http://www.laparcelacr.com/en/, a good place to see the sunset and have some fun with the daily visits from the local monkeys, passing by to say hello and drink some water every afternoon. Depending on the time of year, you may also be able to do some whale watching.

Corcovado

In the southwest of the country, La Peninsula de Osa is well known for its incredible biodiversity, in fact The National Geographic described it as one of the most intensely biodiverse areas in the world.

Visitors will have a marvelous opportunity to be in touch with nature, experience animal encounters, hikes in the primary forest, learn about sustainable communities, but the best experience will be going back in time for a few days witnessing the old Costa Rica, bare foot, sometimes with no electricity, simple accommodation built with wood and palms, catching your food, or digging it up from the soil if fresh veggies are your favorite.

The most visited towns in the area are Drake Bay, Puerto Jiménez, Rancho Quemado, La Palma, Carate, Los Planes and El Tigre, some of those are inside the national park and would involve long hikes in difficult conditions.

To really make your time worth here, it is best to have a local guide, this way, you will be able to spot many animals, dantas, tapirs, ocelotes and many birds and monkeys.

Marine wildlife is also very abundant here, and you could get your PADI certification and have fun diving in the ocean.

Snorkeling is available too!

The Northern area, La Fortuna

The northern mountains, where the now dormant Arenal Volcano and lake, are the attractions which allowed a full town to evolve around the visiting tourists. Hotels, restaurants, and adventure tours are all available. Admiring this colossal mountain on a clear day is impressive and the options for activities are endless.

You have sky trek, skywalk, hikes, waterfalls, lake, bikes rental, ATV tours, and the best and most enjoyable of the area are the hot springs to make a perfect end to an adventurous day.

Monteverde cloud forest, Puntarenas

The cloud forest of Monteverde is always green, this town seems to be sleepy among the mist and the slow pace, however, if you look carefully, you will find a town of farmers and Quakers who have preserved this natural paradise and turned it into their homes. Cows, quetzals, cheese and rain, Monteverde is a sustainable reality.

Caribbean

Tortuguero

Exuberant nature located on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, this is a very special area to enjoy and perhaps Costa Rica’s version of the Brazilian Amazon rainforest!

Tortuguero is made up of an extensive network of natural canals, where flora and fauna grow wild.

Most people visit it as part of a group tour of usually 1 to 2 nights.

The packages usually include everything, from transportation, food, lodging and tours, it is very convenient, because you don’t have to worry about booking a boat, a guide and finding food.

The area is very untouched and pristine, and the town is very small with only a few hotels, therefore there are only a few options for meals and activities if you land in the town on your own.

Most of the lodges are located within the forest, along the mysterious canals.

The area is bursting with wildlife and the main reason why people come is to see the leatherback and green sea turtles, nesting from April to September, and you have a chance to see baby turtles hatching at the beginning of December.

Puerto Viejo, Cahuita and Manzanillo

The Caribbean side of Costa Rica is wild and beautiful, with emerald green ocean and dense jungles all over. The area’s Jamaican cultural roots are present everywhere, the colorful buildings, the reggae music, the laid-back attitude of the local people, smiling from their houses at the tourists and their food, which is one of my favorite things, a blast of tropical flavors, spices and coconut, rice and beans, rondon, and the number one delight PATI a yummy empanada filled with spicy meat and vegetables originally from Jamaica’s street food scene.

To find it you have to follow the guys on bicycles, because they make them and go out to sell them, but because the pati are so popular they don’t last long on the streets, and you need to be fast and clever to get yours.

I had Gary running around after a local once, because I saw him carrying a bag, and I was sure it was full of PATI, but it turned out it was only his supermarket shopping, the poor guy almost had a heart attack trying to figure out why the crazy Englishman was chasing him around and screaming paty, paty, paty, his name wasn’t even Paty in first place!

They also produce the best chocolate with creative fresh flavors and no artificial ingredients, and we recommend you try the actual cocoa beans which are sold as delicious snacks.
The main town to visit is Puerto Viejo, a very chilled out spot with cute hotels and restaurants and from here you can visit the beautiful beaches of Playa Chiquita, Playa Bonita, Cocles and Manzanillo, where the famous restaurant Maxine is located and which specializes in Caribbean food.

The Caribbean coast is not fancy, and the communities are very ecologically conscious and proud of the fact that the development there is very low-key with lots of bungalows, bamboo huts, and the use of wood in local buildings.

The kind of tourists that like to come here are the independent explorers that don’t need air conditioning, big swimming pools or hamburgers and can appreciate ecologically friendly and sustainable tourist development.

Everything here is simple, local, and merges with the jungle.

Visiting the Caribbean is an opportunity to enjoy a simple life, as we do!

Joy Costa Rica

Costa Rica:
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+31 6 2919 5699

Email: findingjoycostarica@gmail.com