To end our trip in Costa Rica, we booked three nights in Playa del Coco, a coastal beach town on the Pacific side in the Guanacaste Province of Costa Rica. To get there from La Fortuna, we splurged to take the private van service, booked through our hotel. It cost about $50 a person but was so worth it. The bus from San Jose to La Fortuna was much cheaper, but it was super hot and had lots of stops. I felt super car sick the entire time as we whipped around the mountains. This method was much more comfortable and cool, with spacious seats and air conditioning.
Eco-friendly Hotel M&M Beach Club
This hostel/hotel was perfect for just a few nights, but I wouldn’t recommend a full week here. It’s super simple and rustic and literally right on the beach, which was perfect for us. It was just extremely hot, no air conditioning, but I appreciate the “eco-friendly” vibe they are going for. There’s also no temperature control in the shower, so all of them are semi lukewarm or cold, but that was a great relief from the heat and humidity for me. Breakfast is included and you have a choice of different options every morning, and can eat right on the terrace looking out at the ocean.
I’ll start off by saying – Playa del Coco is not the most beautiful beach I’ve ever seen. The sand is volcanic and black, which is cool, but it doesn’t exactly make for stunning photos. The water was nice though and pretty clean from what I could tell. There are small rocks to be aware of, and the waves can be quite strong. The tide also comes in fast! We got wet while laying out sunbathing when a big wave washed up far enough.
For a local experience and cheap fare, don’t neglect to check out a “soda” while in Costa Rica. These are traditional restaurants that serve local food, typically with various plate specials. You can try a “Casado” or a mixed plate, typically consisting of rice and beans, some form of meat or protein, a small salad, and other side dishes if you want a few options. There are also meals like fried fish and chips with salad or other combinations. This one was right next to our hotel by the beach and was perfect to cool off with a beer and enjoy some food.
Nonna Rinna Italian Food
While I forgot to take photos of our pizza, this place was an absolute gem. So much so that we visited twice during our three-night stay in Coco. After a week of rice and beans and other Costa Rican fare, the pizza here was a dream. The staff is also super attentive and nice, with strong English skills in case you don’t speak Spanish.
This is a big, touristy locale, but was also a great stop. It has a massive menu of Americanized dishes as well as some Costa Rican options, pizzas, and basically everything you can imagine. While I like to avoid these kinds of places, there was live music and it provided relief from rice and beans that we needed at this point. Sometimes when you’re traveling for long enough, you crave food from home, and that’s okay!
Sunset Party Cruise
If you’re going to do anything during your stay in Playa del Coco – definitely get out on a cruise boat! This was a highlight of our relaxing beach time in Coco. We got on board in the afternoon on a giant catamaran and enjoyed unlimited drinks and sunshine, as we cruised around the Pacific from Coco. There were lounge chairs and music to dance with.
We also stopped for a snorkel, and while it wasn’t impressive (no coral reef, a bit murky) it was a nice way to cool off before climbing back aboard for a buffet of snacks. We cruised around, enjoyed chicken skewers and a bunch of other food, before making our way back to port during the sunset. One thing the west coast has on the east coast/Caribbean side of these types of destinations is the sunsets – they are absolutely stunning.
If you’re looking for a relaxing beach spot to visit that will be warm any time of year, consider booking a trip to the west coast of Costa Rica. Playa del Coco, Playa Hermosa, and many other little towns line the coast in the Guanacaste province. The airport closest to these destinations, Liberia (not to be confused with the African nation) offers a lot of nonstop flights to destinations in the United States, making it a convenient in-and-out point of the country.
Have you found an awesome beach town in Costa Rica? I wanna hear about it!