Small beach towns are becoming one of the most popular destinations in Costa Rica and Playas del Coco fits that description perfectly. With sunny weather all year round and excellent proximity to the airport and other attractions, Coco is the best town to visit in the Guanacaste province to enjoy everything Costa Rica has to offer.
If you only have three days in Playas del Coco, don’t worry! 72 hours is plenty of time to experience the beauty of Costa Rica. If you’re traveling to Coco for a beach vacation, you’ve chosen one of the best places in the country to enjoy la playa. Here’s how to have fun in Three Days in Playas del Coco, Costa Rica.
The closest airport is Liberia International Airport, a convenient 20 minute drive from Playas del Coco. There are direct flights from several cities in the United States such as Houston and Atlanta, direct flights from Canada and they are working on establishing ones from Europe.
This scenic drive following Route 151 and Route 21 to Coco will let you soak in the beautiful Costa Rican countryside.
The sun rises and sets early in Costa Rica so you want to make as much of your day as possible. For the first day, visitors should take a stroll along Coco’s 3 kilometer beach in the morning. The waves aren’t very strong and are perfect for those who want to take a dip. At the northern end of the beach is a nice spot to look for howler monkeys, watch the locals fish and to get a full view of Coco beach. Bring your cameras as there are many photo opportunities for the outdoor and wildlife lover.
After enjoying the morning at the beach, walk back into town to enjoy a traditional Costa Rican lunch at one of the sodas (mini restaurant) near the park. To get a taste of other local bites, try some of the snacks from the food carts such as pipas (coconut water), ceviche and copos (shaved ice).
Now would be a good time to walk around to know the town. In downtown Coco there are many souvenir stores, bars, restaurants, and clothing stores. If you feel like having an afternoon cocktail, a couple bars such as Zi Lounge have happy hour from 11 AM to 7 PM.
Sunsets on the beach are always spectacular and it sets at 6 PM every day. To get a full view of the sun, the best spot to go is halfway down the beach towards the north end but you can see an amazing sky no matter where you are on the beach.
For the rest of the night, enjoy dinner at one of the several restaurants downtown such as Papagayo Seafood. Many of the bars have special events such as karaoke, movie night or live music. For a drink on the beach, La Vida Loca is a good option to mingle with locals or other foreigners.
What’s a beach vacation without going in the water? In the morning, grab a taxi to Playa Ocotal, another beach 3 kilometers from Coco. This beach is more suitable for snorkeling (you can rent snorkel gear there). Near the north end of the beach there are many rocks where you can swim with tropical fish, sea stars, puffer fish and more. You can even see pelicans diving for their breakfast!
If swimming with fish doesn’t tickle your fancy, you can rent kayaks or canoes for a couple hours to enjoy the ocean. Afterwards, relax on the beach and if you feel like walking around, the tide pools at Ocotal are always filled with interesting creatures to look at. Make sure you bring lots of sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat as the weather during dry season is very hot and sunny. Costa Rica is just above the equator so it’s easy to get burned here. During rainy season, make sure to bring a waterproof backpack to protect your belongings since it can go from clear sunny skies to a huge downpour in a matter of seconds!
When you’re hungry, there is one beach front restaurant called Father Rooster where you can enjoy great portions of local and American cuisine and it is a lovely spot to watch the sun go down for the day. Playa Ocotal is an ideal beach to visit if you’re interested in meeting some locals or seeing Costa Ricans enjoying their day.
Now that you’ve enjoyed the two main beaches in Coco, it’s time to discover some hidden ones. There are many boats for hire in Coco run by locals that will take you around the Gulf of Papagayo so you can visit some of the lesser known beaches unreachable by car or foot.
Depending on how long you want to be out for, boat tours run for either half a day or the full day. Either way you will be sure to see some fabulous beaches. One of these tours is called Arroyo Adventures which will take you to a secret beach and let you kayak or snorkel there. If you’re lucky, you might even spot some wildlife! It’s common to see turtles, whales, dolphins and manta rays in the Gulf so bring your waterproof camera if you have one.
Some of the best beaches to go to are Playa Penca and Playa Huevo where you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see a white sand beach with clear blue water as opposed to the dark sands, dark water of Coco. There are also great lookout spots, a cave to explore and fabulous snorkeling. Since these are beaches you can only get to by boat, you will most likely have it all to yourself. If your captain lets you, you can go fishing and try your hand at catching the yellow jacks, snappers and wahoo roaming the waters.
When you go back to Coco, shower and get ready for your last night in Costa Rica. Café la Playa is a great option to enjoy high quality international cuisine with a beautiful view of the sunset right on the beach.
Do you recommend anything to add to the to do list for Three Days in Playas del Coco, Costa Rica?