Playas del Coco
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Playas del Coco, 35 kilometers west of Liberia, is one of the most accessible beach resorts in Guanacaste. The place can be crowded during weekends and holidays, when Josefinos flock. A two-kilometer-wide gray-sand beach (it is referred to in the plural—Playas del Coco) lines the horseshoe-shaped bay. Coco is still an active fishing village; the touristy area is to the east, and the laid-back fishing village is to the west.
Playas del Coco is also a center for sportfishing and scuba diving. Playas del Coco has seen an incredible boom in real estate development. However, since 2008 the local municipality has bulldozed much of the shorefront property, opening the beach to view.
Entertainment and Events
Coco is a lively spot and hosts a five-day fiesta cívica in late January, with bullfights, rodeos, and folkloric dancing.
The most-fun spot is the open-air Coconutz Sports Bar (tel. 506/2670-1981, www.coconutz-costarica.com), which shows alfresco movies on a big screen and has live music on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. It serves pizza and Tex-Mex, including all-you-can-eat on Wednesday night.
The Lizard Lounge (tel. 506/2670-0307) has a pool table plus dancing nightly. Go for its daily happy hour (5–7 P.M.) and theme nights: Wednesday is Italian night; Thursday is Ladies Night; and $2 shots are offered Friday and Saturday.
The tiny Italian-run Zouk Santana (tel. 506/2670-0191, www.zouksantana.com, 7:30 A.M.–2 A.M. Tues.–Sun.) is a sophisticated spot for supping and enjoying a cigar, sold on-site. It also has theme nights (Thurs.–Sun.). The same owners run the hip Café de Playa (tel. 506/2670-1621, www.cafedeplaya.com, 7 A.M.–midnight daily), a beach club where DJs spin tunes and special theme parties are hosted.
The Coco Palms Beach Bar (2–9 P.M. daily), on the west side of the soccer field, is a nice spot for a quiet drink. The budget crowd gravitates to the simple beachfront Beach Bum’s Bar and Grill (tel. 506/2670-0110), done up in rasta colors and with a rough-hewn wooden deck. It serves Caribbean fare, such as jerk pork and chicken.
Gamblers can try their hand with Lady Luck at the small casinos in Hotel Flor de Itabo (tel. 506/2670-0290, 8 P.M.–2 A.M. daily).
Tours and Recreation
Rich Coast Diving (tel./fax 506/2670-0176, www.richcoastdiving.com) has a full-service dive center, plus a 35-foot trimaran for charter. Summer Salt Dive Center (tel. 506/2670-0308, www.summer-salt.com) also has snorkel rental plus dive trips.
Coco Sea Sport (tel. 506/2670-0276, www.cocoseasport.com) has personal-watercraft rental, yacht charter, and snorkeling.
A fun day trip is to cruise the local beaches with Arroyo Adventures (tel. 506/2670-2153, www.grupomapache.com), which also offers sportfishing and boat trips.
Hacienda Chapernal (tel. 506/2273-4545, www.elchapernal.com), four kilometers southeast of Sardinal, is a working cattle ranch offering horseback riding, plus folkloric music and dance.
Nearby, Papagayo Golf and Country Club (tel. 506/2697-0169, www.playgolfincostarica.com, 6:30 A.M.–5 P.M.daily) has a par-72 18-hole course.
Getting to Playas del Coco
Pulmitan buses (tel. 506/2222-1650) depart San José for Playas del Coco from Avenida 5, Calles 24, daily at 8 A.M., 2 P.M., and 4 P.M. ($5.50, five hours), returning at 4 A.M., 8 A.M., and 2 P.M. Pulmitan buses (tel. 506/2666-0458) depart Liberia for Coco eight times daily, 5 A.M.–6:30 P.M.
Taxis (tel. 506/2670-0303) park by the plaza.
There’s a gas station in Sardinal. Adobe Rent-a-Car (tel. 506/8811-4242, www.adobecar.com) has an office in Pacífico Plaza.
© Christopher P. Baker from Moon Costa Rica, 8th Edition