Costa Rica

Beaches and beach places

  • Puntarenas: A pretty sad end of the road on a land strip with water on both sides.
  • Samara: A really small place at a nice beach. The selection of hotels is rather limited and pricey (hard to get anything decent below $60). But the people are friendly.
  • Jaco: The beach is a bit messy but the water is warm and the waves are great to do (body) surfing. There are quite a few nice restaurants. I tried the Taco Bar just off the main strip, very good ! Also, the Angus Argentinian Grill is very good as well. And they even have real gelato at El Barco. The drive to Jaco is quite nice with stunning views. Manuel Antonio (about an hour further south) is supposedly a better beach. Forget about Quepos by the way.
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  • Tortuguero: Wonderful place in the middle of nowhere. While I was at Laguna Lodge (a great all-inclusive hotel with designs inspired by Gaudi), we walked over the beach to the village (a half an hour walk in complete darkness) to catch a drink at the local bar. I haven’t seen such a dump (should I say “antro de perdicion” ?) in a long time - before long I suspect it will collapse into the water.
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  • Limon: supposedly dangerous ! I spent a quick afternoon there before continuing to Puerto Viejo but didn’t notice anything alarming. Just a big fat cruiser (un)loading its big fat tourists. I guess it may attract some petty crime. Sure as hell, the nearest bar from the dock was seedy and loaded with cheap chicks with cheezy tricks. Hey, it might turn you on ..
  • Cahuito: not sure what you’re supposed to do there - seems like some sort of lazy hangout.
  • Puerto Viejo: a collection of hotels, bars, bed & breakfasts, inns and the like. After checking a whole bunch of them, the Villas del Caribe hotel looks like one of the better ones (I didn’t actually stay there because it doesn’t have a swimming pool - maybe next year). Las Palmas has it all (beach, swimming pool, tennis courts, bar/restaurant, and really good, hot showers) except the decor. Shawanda was recommended to me but I couldn’t stay there since it was full (no swimming pool). Asania has great decor and swimming pool but I’m not so sure about the quality of the rooms - it was full anyways. Both Asania and Shawanda have those showers that use an electric heater to warm the water - usually that slows down the water flow to a trickle if you like it hot. And a trickle is not enough if you want a real pickle (just exercising my rhyme, don’t read too much into it). About the beaches, they are beautiful, yes. With great waves, I mean huge waves. Oh yes. You must stop by for dinner at the Pecora Negra, an Italian restaurant with great attitude and excellent food. Only thing I didn’t understand is that the chef was pushing his ravioli, which is in Italy not a main dish, over and above his main dishes.
  • Conchado: didn’t make it there but was recommended by someone.

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