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Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Visit Costa Rica: Playas del Coco Travel Guide with Useful Tips

It was my husband’s birthday, and I wanted to give him a surprise. So, I planned a 3-day/2-night trip to Playas Del Coco!

About Playas del Coco

Playas del Coco lies in the Gulf of Papagayo and spreads across 3 kilometers. It is located in Guanacaste, on the North Pacific side of Costa Rica, 243 kilometers from San Jose and 27 kilometers from Liberia.

Due to its proximity to the city of Liberia and Daniel Oduber International Airport, Playas del Coco is one of the fastest-growing areas for tourism in Costa Rica. It is also quite famous among expatriates and retirees from the United States, Canada, and Europe.

Getting to Playas Del Coco from San Jose

I took a public bus from San Jose. The Pulmitan de Liberia bus runs from San Jose to Playas del Coco every day at 8 am & 4 pm. It takes around 6 hours to reach. The bus drops the passengers off at Panaderia Tico’s Bakery.

Location of the bus station in San Jose – 500 metros al Norte de Torre Mercedes en Paseo Colon, Barrio Mexico.

Activities: What to do

Playas del Coco has something to offer to everyone. Though my husband and I preferred to relax for most of our trip, there are plenty of activities that one can do here!

Scuba Diving

If you are looking to do scuba diving, Playas del Coco is an ideal place for you. It is close to several islands like Bat Islands, Monkey Head, and Catalinas Islands which are known for having rich marine life. There are many tour operators who offer scuba diving tours. Deep Blue Diving, Rich Coast Diving, and Summer Salt to name a few!

Fishing

Coco is a fishing village and is quite popular for fishing among tourists. You can indulge in off-shore or in-shore fishing to catch Mahi Mahi, Red Snapper, Sailfish, and more.

Watching Sunset

Coco is known for its beautiful sunsets. With a winding beachfront promenade, water fountains, a park – Parque Amor de Temporada, a basketball court, a skatepark, and vendors selling snow cones and coconut water, Coco beach offers an action-packed (yet beautiful) space to sit in peace and watch the sun go down.

Sailing

The best way to explore the beaches around Coco is to take a boat tour. There are many tour operators who offer private and open sailing tours. These tours include sailing around the Gulf of Papagayo, snorkeling, and going to incredible white sand beaches which are boat access only.

Jet Skiing & Kayaking

You will see many tourists enjoying Jet Skiing & Kayaking near the shore. You can walk up to the tour operator to book your tour or book it in advance.

Nightlife

Coco has amazing nightlife during weekends (Friday & Saturday nights). Don’t be disappointed by the laid-back and quiet atmosphere of the town during the daytime as it turns into a party place by night (around 10 pm). Some of the popular bars that turn into party places at night are Zi Lounge, Coconutz, El Ancla & Bambu Beach Bar.

Shopping

There are plenty of shops on the main boulevard (Route 151) boasting handmade wood-carved sculptures, magnets, handbags, hammocks, clothes, jewelry, and a plethora of trinkets. You also find a lot of vendors on the beach selling handmade items.

Renting a scooter, ATV, bicycle

Something that you will probably notice upon entering the town of Coco (I certainly did) is tourists riding ATVs, scooters, and bicycles. This is a nice and fun way of exploring the beaches around Playas Del Coco by land. Don’t forget to carry your driving license (Well, I did).

Accommodation: Where to stay

There are many hotels, hostels, all-inclusive resorts, Airbnbs, and beachfront properties in Coco. Though most of them are reasonably priced, prices may vary depending on the amenities you are looking for.

I was invited to stay at Hotel Toro Blanco, which is a 3-minute walk from the beach and a 1-minute walk from the town. The hotel has a swimming pool and a swim-up bar. Each room comes with a private patio and a fully equipped kitchenette. I loved the hotel!

Restaurants: Where to eat

There is a mix of local restaurants (soda) and international restaurants in Coco. Here are a few restaurants under various categories –

  • Asian Cuisine – Hot Wok Coco
  • Mexican Cuisine – El Capricho
  • Indian Cuisine – Masala Indian Restaurant
  • Greek Cuisine – Santorini Greek
  • Italian Cuisine – Villa Italia
  • Bistro – Johann Bistro, Cafe Corazon
  • Beachfront bars – Claudio y Gloria, El Ancla, Bambu Beach Bar
  • Soda – Soda Teresita
  • Sports Bar – Coconutz, Zi Lounge

Getting back to San Jose

We took the same public bus by Pulmitan de Liberia from Panaderia Tico’s Bakery. The bus leaves Playas del Coco for San Jose at 4 am & 2 pm every day.

Summing it up!

We had a memorable time in Playas del Coco, and though the long bus journey was a little tiring, my husband liked the birthday surprise. Relaxing in peace, enjoying beauty and serenity, and spending quality time together are all that we needed!

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