Costa Rica 2 : Pacific Coast
Here we are, the second post about our road trip from this summer in the amazing country of Costa Rica! This time, I take you for a long post to the pacific coast where you can find animals, sea, palmtrees, surfers and deserted beaches. Let’s go!
The next destination after the central area of the country was Quepos city, where you have the National Park Manuel Antonio. Count around 4 hours drive to get down there with the car. Enjoy this road by the way as it is a new one, kind of motorway, and that is definitely not what you’ll find by the coast! The weather was quite grey when we arrived but it was warm anyway and less humid, good thing! Quepos is a small town where it is easy to walk. to go to the park you will need the car as it is few kilometers away. There are several free beaches around the park where you can rest, surf or drink coconut water.
Hostel : White Mouth Frog
Private bedroom : 30$
Swimming pool, Kitchen, Wifi, breakfast for 3$
Manuel Antonio park is the touristic park in this area. I advise you to go straight at the opening time (10 am) as you will probably have to queue a lot, and as it is closing at 4pm, you need enough time to enjoy the beach and hike. The entry is 10$ per person and you can rent the services of a personnal guide as well. Pack your camera with you as it will be one of the best places to enjoy wild life. We saw spiders, iguanas ( a lot), sloth, monkeys, raccoons and others animals. there are several beaches in the park and some of them are more desertic than others. The sea is quite flat there so you can enjoy a swim without getting afraid of the waves! You can easily spend two days there.
Advice !!! Be careful to your lunch! There is nothing for sell in the park so you will need to pack a lunch if you decide to spent the day. If you do, please don’t do like me : my sweet love told me to be careful to monkeys and to leave the lunch IN the bag. Yes of course I’m not stupid! But as he went for a swim, I decided to put the towels on the beach, so basically I had to take the food of the bag to take the towel. I had my eyes on it no worries, but as soon as I took one of the towel in my hand, an animal very fast arrived and took my plastic bag with the lunch inside!!!!!! Man alive, what was this??!!! It was actually a bloody raccon who was so fast that I didn’t even have time to react quickly enough! So everyone saw me running after the raccon, trying to take it back. On his way, he lost the cheese from the bag (pfiouu) and I found him after, with an other racoon, in a bush. I didn’t really know if it would be mean or not so I just tried a “pchhhhh” sound to them, and obviously they didn’t react that much. All in all, I had the cheese AND the bread was in an other bag, so we kind of had a sanwitch in the end. So anyway, never leave your food for even 1 seconde.
After that, we decided to go up to Puntarenas, where we could take the ferry to Nicoya Peninsula. On the way, we stopped on the famous bridge of Tarcolès, where you can see quite a lot of crocodiles!
It will take you about 1h30 to go from Puntarenas to Nicoya Peninsula with the ferry. If you don’t have a car, it is easier to take the ferry in Jaco apparently.
Then, we went straight to Montezuma, which was about an other hour and half drive. Montezuma is a quiet village along the sea. It is a very nice place to stop by for two days and enjoy your holidays : rest, go play in the waves, practice yoga in front of the sea… After hiking quite a lot in the central area of the country, it is nice to have days like this. You will find quite a lot of nice restaurants with live music in the evening and very nice food (and cocktails!). The only thing I would say is that waves are quite impressive there, so it is not very fun if you just want to go for a swim. We couldn’t really go more than above the knees which was a shame. Go have a look at Montezuma Waterfall too, where you can hike quite high up and have a swim in a fresh water.
After two days there, we took the road again to Santa Teresa, an other village about an hour away from Montezuma. Santa Teresa is supposed to be one of THE village for surfers, and you will be surrounded by them. You could stop to Mal Pais right before as well, which is a similar place I suppose. You will definitely enjoy deserted beaches and small boutiques you’ll find. You can’t have a meal in front of the sea tho as all the restaurant are quite further away from the beach, as well as guesthouses.
After an other two days there … no surprise : we took the car back to an other place! This time, we wanted to go to Samara. Two choices to go there from Santa Teresa, or you take the good and new road which takes you back in the center of the peninsula, or you do like us and you take the old dirty road which drives you along the coast. Be ready to cross rivers with your car! It took us about 3h30 to do the 70 km from Santa Teresa to Samara, but it was fun! (at least at first, then after 2 hours it was starting to be a bit of a pain tbh). Be careful, you cannot take this road during the rain season, and in any season, DON’T do it with a normal car or you will end up with a flat tyre or worse.
Samara is definitely my dream place. On the way you can stop to Playa Carillo (picture with palmtrees) which is again so quiet and nice. But if you want more activites, drive to Samara, 7km more north. You will easily find a guesthouses along the coast. You could spend so many days there just relaxing, hiking, horse riding, surfing …. A lot of restaurants and guesthouses are, compare to the other villages, along the coast so you can have an amazing view in same time. Don’t worry, it doesn’t look like complexes at all, and respect the environnement. We stayed there 4 days instead of initally 2, and slept in a bungalow close to the beach with sea view. It is as well the perfect place if you want to start surfing or if you are middle begginer. Depending on the hours of the day, waves are much stronger wich gives you a lot of fun, but in same time you can still enjoy going for a swim, which wasn’t the case in the other villages. Nothing much to say about Samara, i told you it is my dream place. We actually shot this look on Playa Samara this summer.
Hostel : Casa Valerio
Private bedroom : 40$
Kitchen, Wifi, view on the sea
Almost the end of our trip, and this is our last stop. We decided to go up the Nicoya Peninsula and stopped by Nosara, an other village with 3 very famous beaches : Playa Nosara, Guiones, et Pelada. Playa Giones is the one we stopped to, and is very big for surfers again. You can easily rent some boards around there and enjoy the day. Yes, as I said, thoses beaches are really famous BUT they are still completely desertic! Crazy right!
You should go pay a visit to Mangroves as well (that we have seen dry weirdly) in Nosara Biological Reserve. It is very hot there and stay on the track during the visit as it is full of hidden animals apparently! You’ll see strange red animals that will hide when you’ll walk about 5m from there : it’s crabs! They are really cute but too fast to photograph!
Last but not least, on the way back to Liberia, we stopped by Llanos de Cortes, an impressive waterfall in Bagaces. We actually planned to stop in Playa Grande to see sea turtles but it wasn’t the season (so sad), and it was quite a long way from where we were. This waterfall is very big and it is very funny to climb on the rocks to see the other side of it. You can spend the day there and have a swim! Don’t forget to pack your pique nique!
Anyway guys, I hope you enjoyed this post ! I tried to tell you the best things I have seen in Costa Rica, but obviously there are a lot I didn’t have the chance to see !!! Don’t forget to pack a guide when you leave, we went with the Lonely planet and really enjoyed it, even if I would have liked more comments from the team on the differents villages. One thing for sure, after writing this I really feel like I want to do an other road trip somewhere soon! Have a nice day and see you this week-end for a sewing post!