Playas del Coco, Costa Rica
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.
We find the downtown area to be a bit hectic and not really our vibe for a long period of time. But, there are some great restaurants and bars.
But, just outside of the downtown area you can enjoy beautiful beaches and amazing Pacific coast views.
Now on to the rest of the Playas del Coco Costa Rica guide!
Map Of Playas del Coco
Playas del Coco is conveniently located less than an hour away from the Liberia International Airport in the Guanacaste Region of the country.
Playas del Coco at a Glance
Nearest International Airport
Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport in Liberia
Popular Things to Do
snorkel or diving tours, fishing, day trips to surrounding areas
Best Way to Get Around
Rental car, walking in the downtown area
Best Time of Year to Visit
Dry season is from late December until mid-April
Book Your Trip
Getting to Playas del Coco
Flights to Costa Rica
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.
Transportation From Liberia International Airport
We suggest Adobe Transfers for private shuttles. They can easily and comfortably get you from either the Liberia International Airport to your destination in a well maintained, air conditioned van with an experienced driver. You can find out more and get a quote here.
We suggest our favorite Liberia taxi driver family for all your taxi needs. They are a family of registered taxi drivers and I can assure you that they will take great care of you.
You can find out more, book your taxi, and get a discount from them here.
Another option is to rent a car. If you would like a car for the extent of your trip, check out our absolute favorite rental car company in Costa Rica, Adobe.
Adobe has an office located about a two minute drive from the Liberia International Airport.
An Adobe representative will be waiting at the airport to take you on their free private shuttle to their office.
Once you pick up your car it will take you less than 30 minutes to drive to Coco.
These roads are well maintained roads which you should have no trouble on.
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.
We suggest renting a car and picking it up from the airport if you plan to do a lot of exploring. If you are staying at a resort, contacting our favorite taxi drivers is our go-to for getting to your destination.
Transportation From the San Jose International Airport
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.
So, let me explain the drive to you a bit. From the airport you will follow route 27 out towards the Pacific Coast.
Keep in mind that this is a toll road. The tolls are very randomly positioned and sometimes seem to come out of nowhere.
You can pay with US dollars or Costa Rican colones. If you only have dollars I suggest paying with a $10 bill. They will give you change in colones. The change will be enough to pay for the rest of the tolls.
Eventually you will turn on to Route 1. Things can get slow here because it is one lane in each direction and there are sometimes a lot of trucks. People do pass, but just be careful.
There aren’t a whole lot of places to stop for a quick meal along this route. So, we always stop at a plaza called Plaza Limonal.
You can add it as a stop on your GPS. At this plaza there is a gas station, Taco Bell, Subway, and an ATM. I know, you didn’t come to Costa Rica to eat Subway and Taco Bell, but hey, they are fast!
There is also a gas station across the street if you need. And the bathrooms at the gas station are located outside and are always unlocked.
From there, you will continue on Route 1 to Liberia. This highway has been under construction as they widen the road for several years. So you might have to slow down a bit where the construction is, but once you pass the construction you will be rewarded with the best highway in the country.
Once you get to Liberia you will take a left on Route 21 past the Liberia Airport.
You will then turn on Route 151 in to Coco.
Google Maps says this drive will take about four hours, but I would estimate more like five hours.
Because I like you all, I created this Google Map with the route and Plaza Limonal marked.
If this drive sounds like too much for you, we suggest Adobe Transfers.
You can expect your private driver to pick you up at the San Jose Airport and take you in a comfortable private bus to Coco.
Your driver will be happy to stop for any bathroom/ food breaks that you need along the route.
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.
If you opt to take a bus, taxi, or shuttle to Coco, 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.
Coco is a bit more than 12 miles from their Liberia office, so they may charge you a small delivery fee.
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.
Book Your Transportation
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.
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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.
Coco Homes & Villa Rentals
We always love renting a home or villa for our vacation. This gives you more privacy and allows you the flexibility to cook your own meals.
Note: We try to only ever suggest places with good cancellation policies, but always double check before booking.
Ocean View House – A two-bedroom house that can sleep five guests. this place has an infinity pool with Pacific coast views and an outdoor BBQ. This would be a great place for a family or two couples.
Villa Tatiana – One of the most modern and large villas in the area. This house can sleep 14 guests in five bedrooms. This would be a great place for several friends or an extended family.
Al Garete – This is a beachfront house with a private pool that can sleep up to 13 guests in five bedrooms.
Gear Rentals for Playas del Coco
Are you traveling with young kids and need a stroller, crib, car seat, high chair, etc.?
Are you planning to spend a lot of time relaxing on one of the many Coco area beaches and would like a cooler, beach chairs, sun umbrella, etc.?
Rent all your necessary gear and have it delivered directly to your hotel or vacation rental courtesy of our friends at Mango Baby Beach Rentals!
Mango Baby Beach Rentals is a family-run company that we think super highly of. We know they will take great care of you!
Use the coupon code: CRVIBES5 at checkout to save 5% off your order!
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.
Visit Diamonte Adventure Park
This adventure park is located close to Playas del Coco and has some really fun activities such as zip lining, hanging bridges, paddle boarding, animal sanctuary, and more!
We suggest booking the all-access day pass to really enjoy all that they have to offer.
Just note that this activity does not include transportation from your hotel.
Go Scuba Diving
The area around Coco is a prime scuba diving area. We suggest the tour we linked below which includes transportation from the Coco area.
Take a Sailing Trip
One of our favorite things to do in Coco is to take a catamaran or sailing trip.
Our favorite company for this is Kuna Vela. They operate the sailboat, Kuna, for day and sunset tours. And, I can guarantee you’ll have an amazing time with them. Seriously, they are the best!
The Coco area is a prime fishing spot. Thomas is a bit of a fishing addict and this is one of his favorite places in the country to go out.
We suggest a half or full day trip with Captain Roberto on his Boston Whaler. While out you might catch mahi mahi, tuna, grouper, and snapper.
Plus you can keep what you catch and they are happy to arrange for a nearby restaurant to prepare everything for you.
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.
Go Fly Fishing
We highly recommend this fun day trip with Captain Estaban on his 14’ NRS inflatable outboard rafts along the Tempisque and Corobici rivers.
During the trip you will target Rainbow and Striped Bass, Machaca (Mini Tarpon), and Snook.
It’s so fun!
Just note that you will need a rental car or taxi to get here. The trip does not include transportation from Coco.
Check out Playa Hermosa
Close to Coco beach is a nice expansive beach called Playa Hermosa.
This is a nice beach for swimming. There is even a roped off swimming area. We like to make a day of visiting here and enjoy lunch or dinner at one of the beach side restaurants.
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 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.
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.
If you don’t have a rental car you can also book a tour with transportation. ↓
Visit Rincon de la Vieja
Rincon de la Vieja national park is located north 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.
Rincon de la Vieja is also a great place to enjoy a combo tour with tons of fun adventure activities such as zip lining and rafting.
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.
Le COQ Lebanese: Awesome Lebanese food at a great price.
Chorotacos: Doesn’t look like much but the tacos are amazing (and cheap).
Packing for Coco
It can be really really hot in Coco, especially during the peak of dry season. It is so easy to get a bad sunburn here so don’t forget UV protecting shirts, SPF50, and sunblocking hats.
In general this is a very relaxed town. However, there are tons of restaurants and a decent nightlife scene so we like to pack a few things like sundresses for ladies and nice shorts with a button up for men.
Check out our Coco Packing List on Amazon for all the essentials.
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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Playas del Coco Articles
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