Playas del Coco

Guanacaste's Quieter Side

Tropical Feel with Costa Rican Soul

Sun-drenched beaches, a full-service town and a distinctly Costa Rican vibe have attracted hundreds of new international residents to Playas del Coco and the surrounding communities. Spurred by the opening of Liberia’s Daniel Oduber International Airport and the massive investment just up the coast in Papagayo, Coco is less flashy than southern neighbor Tamarindo, which is exactly what many residents like. “I definitely feel like I’m in Costa Rica,” said an Argentine resident who identified himself only as Javier. “Everything I need is right here, and yet I truly feel like I’m in another world. And if I need anything special, I just go to Liberia,” the province’s bustling capital, 35 minutes away.

Local fishermen’s weathered boats bob in the harbor next to shiny new sportfishing yachts, where the beach meets the end of the road leading into town. The main street is lined with hotels, restaurants, shops and real estate offices that have popped up between the banks, pharmacies and grocery stores that service the area. Sportfishing, scuba diving and surfing are the main activities (surfer’s delight in the easy access to Ollie’s Point and Witch’s Rock), although many people have begun using Cocos as a springboard to exploring the rest of Guanacaste because lodging tends to be less expensive here.

Additionally, Coco offers quick, easy access to other beach villages such as Playa Hermosa, Ocotal and Playa Panama. Hermosa (not to be confused with the surfing beach Hermosa near Jacó) has wonderfully clear waters, fantastic tropical scenery and an unspoiled feel – perhaps due to the community’s efforts to win the Blue Flag Award, which is given to beaches and communities with high environmental standards. Playa Ocotal is a clean, clear beach great for swimming and snorkeling. Playa Panama also offers excellent, calm waters great for swimming, as well as stunning views and proximity to several national parks.

This part of Guanacaste is experiencing the building boom just as its neighbors are, but the results have been subtler than in other parts of the coast. Here are three local projects.