Beaches, Beaches, Beaches. Since we had a car, we decided to drive along the west coast of Costa Rica up toward the Northern beaches. Matt mapped out our route with the goal to hit 5 beaches along the peninsula. Pretty aggressive journey as the average speed is 60 kmh (40 mph) on a single lane highway. This trip should take us about 11-12 hours not including stops.
Yesterday, we drove from Manuel Antonio Estates to the Southern border and across to Panama. Today, our trip will take us almost to the Northern border of Nicaragua (the gray line in the image below is the border) – a short hour away.
After this trip, we pretty much drove the entire western coast of Costa Rica.
We were back on the single lane highway (one lane each direction), traveling through beautiful scenery, palm tree farms, small villages, lush greenery and cultivated fields. There were periods of heavy down pour and bright sunshine. If you weren’t trying to pass a slow 18-wheeler, you were focusing on the curved roads and bicycles, motor bikes, horses, pedestrians.
On the way to Guanacaste, we traveled through Liberia which is a pretty large town with an international airport, a modern church, an authentic colonial atmosphere, a rich history, and a central park. The other really spectacular thing Liberia had was a Walmart! I know, I know, not a big deal in the states, but in Costa Rica it is a huge score.
We had planned on driving to San Jose the next day (since we still had the car) to hit the Walmart and Mas y Menos stores. That is 1.5-2 hour drive one way. So, by stopping at the Walmart in Liberia it saves us another 3-4 hour drive.
The prices were not discounted, but the variety of products was huge. We were able to stock up on paper goods and various supplies that we have not found locally in Quepos. Win, Win, Win!
It took us quite a while to get to Playa Hermosa. There are several beaches called “Playa Hermosa” in Costa Rica, but the one we visited was the one in Guanacaste. Playa Hermosa has idyllic beauty and lush surroundings. A two-kilometer long grey sand beach, encircled by tropical forests and ridges of volcanic rock. We took a lovely walk along the beach which was not very crowded.
Our lunch stop was at Aqua Sport, where we sat on the beach and enjoyed the cool breeze.
After the last few stressful weeks, it was a joy to just sit and relax at the beach. We decided we needed to get a move on, so we headed to Playa del Coco. It was a very vibrant little town with lots of little shops and eateries. It was raining a lot so we just did a drive by.
A friend told us to stop by Playa Danta while we were in Guanacaste. It is a calm bay good for swimming and stand up paddle boarding. We tried to get there following the local signs, but turned around. Then we tried again using maps.me and got turned around again. We were on a deeply rutted dirt path during a rain storm and decided that we should move on to the next beach.
It was sunset by the time we made it to Playa Potrero. The beach was part of a national park so we did not drive in since it was close to closing.
Our last stop was Playa Grande. Another super cute touristy surfer town. We stopped in for a cold brew, then hopped back in the car to make the long journey home.
- Del Coco
- Danta (missed this one)