Playas del Coco is a great spot to stay in Guanacaste! There are tons of beautiful beaches nearby as well as some amazing day trip options. We love this area for sea kayaking, diving, enjoying hidden beaches, and the amazing sunset views.
Plus if you’d like to head up to Nicaragua this is great spot to easily get to the border.
Now on to the rest of the Playas del Coco budget travel guide!
PLAYAS DEL COCO GUIDE: TRANSPORTATION INFO
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 are starting service to Liberia so check out the rates. It may be worth it for you.
The best option to get to Playas del Coco 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. You will not need a 4×4 to get to Playas del Coco, but if you plan on exploring a lot of the little beaches and areas around Playas del Coco a 4×4 will be helpful. There are a lot of steep hilly roads and some are unpaved.
If coming from Liberia the drive is less than an hour.
If you don’t feel comfortable driving that 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). Definitely get there early before the departure time because once all the seats are taken you may be left standing for a five-hour ride.
Pro tip: Download the free app Off the Grid Traveler to see bus connections and schedules to and from everywhere in Costa Rica. It’s seriously a lifesaver.
GETTING AROUND IN PLAYAS 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.
PLAYAS DEL COCO GUIDE: THINGS TO DO
Visit Playa Penca: Playa Penca is a seriously 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.
Check out Playa Hermosa: Close to Coco is a nice expansive beach called Playa Hermosa. We like this beach because t is much cleaner than Coco. It is also nice and long, which makes it a great place to walk.
Enjoy the nightlife: Playas de Coco may seem calm enough during the day, but at night you can walk the main strip and enjoy lots of bars and clubs.
Visit an amazing waterfall: About 45 minutes from Playas del Coco is a waterfall called Catarata Llanos del Cortez. Last time we were there we only paid about $2 for parking. The waterfall is seriously amazing and definitely 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.
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 GUIDE: FIND ACCOMMODATIONS
Villa del Sueno: Super great hotel on Playa Hermosa (amazing beach near Coco). This is a bit more pricey than the other options (approximately $60 a night) but it is really nice. Breakfast is included and there is a pool on site.
Aparthotel Toro Blanco: Apartment hotel with a pool. This place is pretty basic, but it is close to the beach and every apartment has a kitchen.
Hotel M&M Beach Hotel: Basic 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 which you can point at your bed while sleeping.
PLAYAS DEL COCO GUIDE: PLACES TO EAT
Soda La Teresita: Super good typical Costa Rican food at a great price.
Ticoffia: The best coffee shop in Coco. This place is super cute and a great breakfast spot for when you need a break from Costa Rican food.
Soda Oasis: Doesn’t look like much from the outside, but the food is great! They make a seriously good burger.
Le COQ Lebanese: Awesome Lebanese food at a great price.
Chorotacos: Doesn’t look like much but the tacos are amazing (and cheap).
PLAYAS DEL COCO GUIDE: GEAR SUGGESTIONS