Costa Rica's


by Renée, USA (August 04)


Guanacaste, nicoya peninsula

Ratings by criteria : 

Charm Scenery Culture Relax Fiesta 


 4 4 3 5 5 1 14.66

Description: beach town, many surfers, tourists and ex-patriots. one of the more livelier and bigger beach towns in costa rica. friendly, social vibe. good place to come and relax. has all the modern conveniences: banks, range of hotels to choose from, shops, internet, etc. town centers around two roads that form a T.

What to do : surf, sit on beach, go to parque nacional las baulas on playa grande to see turtles laying their eggs, snorkel, kayak, yoga, stroll the town

What you may not like : mainly foreigners, don't really experience costa rican culture

Where to stay : we stayed at hotel pasatiempo which was very nice, but it is a little on the high end (around $40) however there are plenty of low end hotels and hostels because it's a popular destination for surfers.

Where to eat  : fiesta del mar

What to see/visit : the beach, parque nacional las baulas,

Communication : payphones and several internet cafes available, can mail things from iguana surf shop (the second location that is not across from the beach) and they also sell stamps

Transportation information : airstrip 3 km outside of town, SANSA ($71 one way/ 1 hour flight) and Travelair have several flights to and from San Jose, Interbus also provides shuttle service to and from Tamarindo from various cities and towns around costa rica ($25 to and from San Jose, 5 1/2 hours).
public bus also available.

Additional comments on transportation : taxis readily available in town
Itinerary advises : many people also visit arenal during their visit to tamarindo because it's only a couple hours away. suggested itinerary would be to go to arenal first from san jose then work your way west to the nicoya peninsula and hit some of the beaches like tamarindo, nosara, montezuma then catch the ferry to puntarenas and work your way down the western coast and visit manuel antonio, then the beaches of dominical and pavones
then cross over to the caribbean side.

Your trip to the next destination : we caught a SANSA flight to san jose then took another SANSA flight to quepos from san jose, but a better itinerary would be to work your way south on the nicoya peninsula and the central pacific coast then cross over to the caribbean side.

Anything else : bar/restaurant at hotel pasatiempo is where everyone goes to on tuesday nights if you're looking for something to do. they have live music.

Backpacker's Tips : Pathou, France (Sept 04)
« If you like surf, it is the place to go. The beach is very very nice too. I found it very relaxing place during day time.25$ for 2h surf lesson.» 


Guanacaste, nicoya peninsula

Ratings by criteria : 

Charm Scenery Culture Relax Fiesta 


 5 5 1 5 2 2 13.33

Description: beautiful beach, surfing destination, still a sleepy beachtown, but apparent that it's only a matter of time before it becomes more developed like tamarindo. older, more mature crowd visiting here.

What to do : surfing, strolling the beach and working on your suntan

What you may not like : not much to do if you don't like the beach, "locals" are mainly ex-patriots so you don't really experience costa rican culture, a little more expensive than some other places in costa rica, town center where everything is much cheaper is not walking distance from the beaches. also, not a big social scene. people come here to surf and relax not party.

Where to stay : i stayed as casa tucan which was $35/night, but there are some places that are a little cheaper, but not by a lot.

Where to eat : casa tucan has a restaurant with good local food and cafe de paris also has good local food

Communication : internet available at hotel cafe de paris, but very expensive $5/30 minutes. the mini mart near blew dog's surf club also has an internet cafe that charges $5/hour

Transportation : airstrip 3 km from town, SANSA and Nature Air have one flight each to and from San Jose. airfare is around $70 OW. Public bus available. Shuttle service definitely available through Montezuma Expeditions ($160 for minimum of 4 people) and Montezuma Eco-Tours($40/person) to and from Montezuma and probably to other towns on Nicoya peninsula. interbus provides shuttle service to san jose ($38/person) and it's a 6 hour trip.

Additional comments on transportation : few taxis in town so tend to be expensive

Itinerary advises : great place to come for a couple days to relax on beach

Your trip to the next destination : took interbus shuttle to san jose

Anything else : breathtaking beach and beautiful sunset are worth the trip


Central pacific coast (2 hours from quepos)

Ratings by criteria : 

Charm Scenery Culture Relax Fiesta 


 2 3 1 5 4 4 12.66

Description : surf town that has black sand beaches. noticed more of a division between locals and tourists. locals not as friendly compared to other towns. also  noticed that locals were more apt to make catcalls to women. many tourists, mostly a younger crowd, livelier nightlife

What to do : surf, work on your tan, walk around town, go to waterfalls, ride horses

What you may not like : not as welcoming as other towns

Where to stay (guesthouses) : tortilla flats 10,000 colones/15,000 with A/C, also plenty of low end, budget hotels. camping site also available.

Where to eat (local food) : Su Raza, tortilla flats

What to see/visit : beach and nearby waterfalls

Communication : payphones available, 2 internet cafes, can mail things from san clemente car and grill

To San Isidro / Bus / 1h - 1h30 / daily

Your trip to the next destination: san jose via taxi (Alex - phone number 77187207), public bus available and connects through san isidro

Additional information : several places accept credit cards in this town i.e. tortilla flats, argentinian restaurant, etc.


Pacific coast near border of Panama

Ratings by criteria : 

Charm Scenery Culture Relax Fiesta 


 4 3 3 5 2 3 13.33

Description : black sand beach with lots of rocks. surfing destination. really off the beaten path. roads not so good getting to pavones. very small town which centers around 2 sides of soccer field. nice mix between locals, ex-patriots and tourists.

What to do : surf, and stroll the beach

What you may not like : not much to do if you don't like to surf. beach is too rocky to lay out on also.

Where to stay : we stayed at the only cabina attached to cafe la suerte ($40), but there were several low end, budget hotels to choose from.

Where to eat : not many choices because the town is SO small. soda la plaza

Communication : one internet cafe that has 3 computers in the bar of cabinas esquina. connection can be slow. $3/ 15 minutes

To Golfito / 700 colones (less than $2) / public bus and brief "ferry" ride which is actually more of a simplified barge / about 3 hours / 5:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.

Additional information : if you don't surf, it's a town that ends up growing on you. the locals are very friendly and helpful. the town is so small that everyone knows everyone's business. owner of only surf shop in town, turkey town, is pretty helpful if you have any questions. cafe la suerte offers a vegetarian menu and the owners are really nice. la manta restaurant shows a movie each evening. it's a couple minutes away by foot from the rest of the town.



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