Playas del Coco, Costa Rica
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The Playas del Coco Vibe
Playas del Coco Costa Rica is a great spot to stay in the province of Guanacaste because it is centrally located in the North Pacific part of the country and there is so much to do nearby.
There are many beautiful beaches near Coco as well as some amazing day trip options. We like this area for sea kayaking, diving, enjoying hidden beaches, amazing sunset views., and more
Now on to the rest of the Playas del Coco Costa Rica guide!
Playas del Coco Weather
Every time we have visited Playas del Coco Costa Rica it has been hot hot hot!
During the dry season (from end of December until end of April) everything gets completely dried out. We visited once at the beginning of April and we saw several forest fires in the area due to the lack of rain. It almost feels like Arizona with the dry arid climate.
Personally, we like to visit this area between May and end of July. At this time of year everything is green again and the area actually looks really pretty. There is typically a daily afternoon thunderstorm that comes like clockwork every afternoon at about 2pm for about an hour.
Just get up early and enjoy the beautiful morning before the storm rolls in.
Between August and December, the temperatures cool off a bit and there is more rain, as the rainy season is in full swing.
In our opinion, if you are unsure about the weather while you are planning to visit Costa Rica, this is the area to visit. Overall it seems to get far less rain than most of the country.
Playas del Coco Transportation
Getting to Playas del Coco
The easiest way to get to Playas del Coco is to fly into the Liberia airport instead of San Jose. If you have the possibility of flying into Liberia you will save yourself five hours of driving time.
More and more airlines with international visitors are starting service to Liberia. Check out the rates. It may be worth it.
The best option to get to Playas del Coco from the airport is to rent a car. If coming from San Jose or from Liberia you can rent a car from close to the airport (but free transportation to the rental car office is provided from the airport).
We suggest using Adobe for car rentals because they are the most trustworthy company in this country and we have a 10% discount for you! You can read more about renting a car here.
The drive from San Jose is long, but the roads are well maintained throughout. A 4×4 is not needed to get to Playas del Coco.
If coming from Liberia the drive takes less than an hour.
If you don’t feel comfortable driving the long distance on your own, the cheapest option is to take the public bus.
The bus leaves from San Jose every day at 8:00am, 2:00pm, 4:00pm. It will take you about five hours to get to Coco. It’s not the most comfortable ride, but it’s cheap (under $10 per person).
Get there early before the departure time because once all the seats are taken you may be left standing for a five-hour ride.
Tip: If you don’t feel comfortable driving, a private shuttle is always a great option. Find out more here.
Getting Around in Plays del Coco
We suggest renting a car while in Coco. Playas del Coco is nice, but the best part about it is that it is a great jumping-off point for tons of cool day trips. You will want a car so that you are not depending on expensive pre-packaged tours to get around.
If you opt to take the bus up, you can rent a car from Adobe and input Liberia as your pick-up location. In the comments section specify that you need the car delivered to you at your hotel in Playas del Coco. They will deliver it to you free of charge if you are within 12 miles of their location.
Adobe is pretty amazing and will usually be happy to make an exception and deliver it to you for free even if you are a little over 12 miles from their office.
Pro Tip: Rent a car with Adobe through our site and you will get a 10% discount! Score! You can find out more about it here.
Things to Do in Playas del Coco
Visit Playa Penca: Playa Penca is a beautiful “secret” beach. Just look it up on Google maps to see exactly where it’s located.
As you drive there you might think you are in the wrong spot because you’ll drive higher and higher into a residential neighborhood. Just keep going. When the road ends you’ll see other cars parked.
Park your car (make sure you don’t leave anything of value) and walk down the path to the beach. It is a little steep so wear sturdy shoes. You’ll be rewarded by an absolutely amazing beach.
Go Scuba Diving: The area around Coco is a prime scuba diving area. There are plenty of diving companies located in downtown Coco.
Check out Playa Hermosa: Close to Coco beach is a nice expansive beach called Playa Hermosa.
Just above Hermosa is Papagayo Costa Rica. This area is known for its luxurious resorts. The beaches are also very nice here.
Enjoy the nightlife: Playas del Coco may seem calm enough during the day, but at night you can walk the main strip and enjoy lots of bars and clubs.
Take a boat ride: One of our favorite things to do in Coco is to take a boat ride. It is possible to go out on catamaran tours, enjoy a sailboat ride, take a ride on a small local boat and more!
Usually, these trips are combined with snorkeling.
Go fishing: The Coco area is a prime fishing spot. There are plenty of wonderful sport fishing companies in the area. Thomas has also had luck fishing right from the shore.
Take a drive north: If you head up towards Nicaragua there are tons of nice beaches along the way. We recently did this drive and found a lot of nice empty beaches up near the border.
If you get a chance, check out Santa Rosa National Park on your drive.
Take a drive south: If you head south from Coco you will find tons of nice Costa Rica beaches and cute beach towns. Our personal favorite is Playa Flamingo.
It tends to be a bit more crowded than some of the other beaches but it is considered one of the nicest beaches in Costa Rica.
We also love the beach bar Coco Loco which is located on the beach. In fact, we had them cater our wedding!
Visit an amazing waterfall: About 45 minutes from Playas del Coco is a waterfall called Llanos del Cortez. Last time we were there we only paid about $2 for parking. The waterfall is worth a visit.
You can swim under it and if you are feeling really adventurous you can hike up behind the waterfall for an overhead view. We have a full guide to visiting this waterfall here.
Visit Rincon de la Vieja: Rincon de la Vieja national park is located close to Coco and is a great place to spend a day hiking. You can go with a guide, but you are also able to pay to enter the park and hike on your own.
Playas del Coco Hotels
There are not many high-end hotels in Coco, but the nearby area is filled with luxurious resorts.
Occidental Papagayo– All-inclusive adults-only hotel with multiple pools, a private beach, a spa, tennis courts, a gym, and more!
El Mangroove Papagayo– Modern, secluded hotel with pool (some rooms even have their own pool attached).
Andaz Costa Rica Resort– Beautiful resort with pool, three restaurants, an on-site spa, and more!
Planet Hollywood– All-inclusive resort which is perfect for the whole family. the property boasts 7 restaurants, pools, fitness center, and more!
Hotel M&M Beach Hotel-Located across from the beach. Breakfast is included and there is a kitchen that all the guests can use. There isn’t air conditioning, but they have plenty of fans in every room.
Hotel La Puerta del Sol– Located 300 meters from the beach. There is also a pool and bar on-site.
Hotel M&M Garden House– Located in the center of Playas del Coco, this hotel has private rooms as well as shared dorms. There is a pool for guests to use on-site.
Toucan House– Rooms are air-conditioned and there is a shared kitchen for guests to use.
Playas del Coco Restaurants
Villa Italia: A beautiful and delicious Italian restaurant. I suggest trying one of their homemade pasta dishes.
Che Sirloin: Excellent burger spot. Everything always seems super fresh here. Also, the outside area is the perfect place to sit for a relaxed meal.
La Dolce Vita: Amazing Italian food! I personally am a big fan of their pasta dishes.
The Lookout: Excellent seafood restaurant with amazing ocean views.
Citron Restaurante: This restaurant is beautiful! Grab a table outside if you can. They serve excellent seafood but have plenty of other options as well.
Le COQ Lebanese: Awesome Lebanese food at a great price.
Chorotacos: Doesn’t look like much but the tacos are amazing (and cheap).
Toucanoos: A great lunch spot. Everything is super fresh. They make amazing sandwiches, salads, burgers, etc.
Playas del Coco Travel Tips
– Coco is relatively safe, but we have heard of tourists being targeted for petty crimes. Just keep an eye out and don’t carry a lot of cash on you when you go out.
– Don’t forget to check on flying into Liberia instead of San Jose. My family recently did this and said it was such a great decision.
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