Ojochal, Costa Rica
The Ojochal Vibe
I feel like Ojochal is one of those places that needs to grow on you. It is an absolutely beautiful area, but it doesn’t have the unique vibe that some Costa Rican towns have.
I think a big part of this is the fact that there is no distinct downtown area.
That being said, it is the perfect place to stay if you want to relax and soak up the pura vida vibe without tons of other tourists. Plus, still enjoy nice accommodations and food.
There is a large expat community in this area that run some absolutely amazing businesses including some of the nicest restaurants you will find in the country.
Map Of Ojochal
Tamarindo is located on Northern Pacific coast of Costa Rica in the Guanacaste Province.
The nearest big city is Liberia, which is about one and a half hours away.
Ojochal at a Glance
Nearest International Airport
san Jose International Airport in San Jose
Popular Things to Do
whale watching tours, relaxing on the beach, day trips, hiking in the mountains
Best Way to Get Around
Best Time of Year to Visit
Dry season is from late December until mid-April
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Getting to Ojochal
Your best option for getting to Ojochal, Costa Rica is to fly into San Jose International Airport. The full name is Juan Sanatamaria International Airport. And the airport code is SJO.
If you haven’t booked your flight yet, we suggest using Skyscanner. We consistently find the best rates through their website.
From the airport, you have a few options:
Your best option for getting to Ojochal, Costa Rica is to fly into San Jose airport and drive down. The drive will take about five hours depending on traffic.
You have two options for driving, you can either drive down the coastal road or through the mountains past San Gerardo de Dota and San Isidro de El General.
The coastal road involves well-maintained highways the whole way down. You will pass by the beach towns of Jaco, Manuel Antonio, Dominical, and Uvita on your drive down.
On a sunny day, this drive is absolutely beautiful. There are several places along the way where you can pull off to get a nice ocean view.
We do not suggest taking the mountain road. It is very curvy and can be scary, especially if it is raining.
We suggest using Adobe for car rentals because they are the most trustworthy rental car company in this country (in our opinion) and we have a 10% discount for you. You can read more about renting a car here.
You will not need a 4×4 to get to Ojochal if you are taking the coastal road, but you might want one once you are in Ojochal because most hotels are up steap side roads and some are unpaved.
Tip: If you don’t feel comfortable driving, a private shuttle is always a great option. Find out more here.
Getting Around in Ojochal
We suggest depending on a rental car while in Ojochal. Most of the activities you will want to do in Ojochal are located in the surrounding towns.
If you are staying at a resort, a car is probably not necessary. You will likely be eating all of your meals at the restaurants on-site and can book day tours with transportation
If you opt to take a private shuttle to Ojochal, you can rent a car from Adobe and input Uvita as your pick-up location. They have an office directly in the downtown area of Uvita.
In the comments section of the rental car reservation, you can also specify that you need the car delivered to you at your hotel in Ojochal. Adobe will deliver it to you free of charge if you are within 12 miles of their location.
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
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From mid-December until April there is almost no rain in Ojochal Costa Rica. This is the dry season and you can expect sunny days.
In late April the rainy season begins. Expect afternoon rainstorms that start around 2pm and last for about two hours. Sometimes it can get very cloudy here as the fog rolls in off the mountains above.
From August until mid-December the rainy season really gets going. The weather is hard to predict at this time of year. Some days might be nice and other days you may experience non-stop rain.
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El Castillo Adults Only – El Castillo has a level of luxury that is hard to find in Costa Rica. We love this place because it only has eight rooms. There is this nice intimate feeling here with a nice pool and amazing views.
Three Sixty Boutique Hotel – The nicest hotel in the area, with 12 guest rooms, an infinity pool, and amazing Pacific Coast views.
Yaba Chigui Lodge – On the more affordable side of high end, but we included it in this section because the service here is beyond impressive. The rooms are nice, the buildings are unique, the pool is perfect, the views are stunning.
Boutique Hotel Tangara Azul – On the upper end of the mid-range price bracket, this boutique hotel has an outdoor pool, restaurant, and spa services.
Vista Villas – A small hotel with a pool, breakfast included, and nice sea views. All rooms are simple but nice.
El Pulpo Safari – This place consists of tent cabins built on platforms. It is definitely rustic, but very charming.
Ojochal 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.
Villa Cascadas – A modern 3 bedroom home that sleeps 6 guests. There is a really nice pool, several balcony areas, and amazing views of the Pacific.
Breathtaking OceanView – A secluded home surrounded by 10 acres of nature. There is a pool and the home sleeps 7 guests in 3 bedrooms.
Villa Vista Milagrosa – A three bedroom home that can sleep up to 8 guests. There are two pools, a modern interior, and a large balcony running the length of the property.
Casa de las Mariposas – A three bedroom villa with two pools and an overall really amazing outside area.
Casa Everlong – If you would like a very modern villa, this would be our choice. There is an indoor fitness area, a large infinity pool that is perfect for laps, and a nice outdoor fire place.
Things to Do in Ojochal
Go Beach Hopping
Spend a day hopping around the nearby beaches including; Playa Uvita, Arco Beach, Playa Piñuelas, Playa Ventanas, and Playa Tortuga.
Check out the Many Nearby Waterfalls
There are several nice waterfalls located near Ojochal.
Cascada El Pavon is located on the property of the Tilapias El Pavon restaurant. You can park here and visit the waterfall for free if you enjoy a meal in their restaurant after. We get more into this in the restaurant section of this guide.
Nauyaca Waterfall is located in Dominical and consists of an intense hike with some impressive falls which you can swim under as your reward. We have a complete guide to Nauyaca waterfalls.
The Uvita waterfall is located near the center of town in Uvita. Here you can slide down the waterfall if there is enough water. It is really fun!
Take a Whale Watching Tour
In the autumn, the Pacific waters off of Ojochal become a great spot for humpback whale sightings. Find out more with our whale watching guide.
Take a Day Trip to Manuel Antonio National Park
It will take you about 1.5 hours to drive to Manuel Antonio National Park. This is a great place to see a ton of wildlife in a condensed area with beautiful jungle and beach backdrops.
We have a complete Manuel Antonio guide for more info.
Visit Uvita’s Whale Tail
Marino Ballena National Park is located just north of Ojochal in Uvita.
Here you can experience a jutted-out piece of land that resembles a whale’s tail during low tide.
Find out more with our Marino Ballena guide.
Citrus – A delicious (and beautiful) French restaurant. Everything here is extremely fresh. If you like seafood, this is a great place to have some excellently prepared treats like shrimp and octopus.
Kua Kua – Located at Hotel Three Sixty, this is our number one date night restaurant choice in the area. Plan an early dinner around 5:15 so you can enjoy the amazing sunset views of the Pacific coast. Everything is excellent here, but I highly suggest an appetizer of the fresh raw tuna.
Heliconia – A delicious little gem of a restaurant. The food they serve is standard fare and some Costa Rican specialties. However, every time we have visited, all the food has been cooked perfectly.
The Bamboo Room – A great place to go if you are up for a bit of a relaxed party. There is often amazing live musicians, the food is excellent, the crowd is fun, the staff is dedicated. What more could you want? We suggest making a reservation though, it gets crowded fast.
Tilapias El Pavon – This is a nice place to spend half of a day. From the parking lot, you can walk to the El Pavon waterfall for a little swim. After that, you can head to the restaurant to enjoy a fresh fried or baked tilapia.
If you have kids, there is a small pond that they can try to catch their own fish in. It’s the perfect family-friendly spot.
Ceviche Pinuelas – This may look like a small unassuming shack from the outside, but they serve excellent ceviche and whole fried red snapper. That is basically all that is on the menu, and it works!
Packing for Ojochal
Ojochal is an interesting mix for packing. It is a chilled out beach village but there are also some really nice restaurants.
In general, you mostly just need lightweight breathable clothes such as shorts, tshirts, and bathing suits. However, we also like to pack a few nicer things for restaurants.
Two things to keep in mind here when packing; the humidity can be bad and nothing ever seems to dry, and the mosquitos are nasty once the sun goes down.
Check out our Ojochal Packing List on Amazon for all the essentials.
Ojochal Travel Tips
– We suggest spending at least three nights in this area. Take advantage of the fact that you are in between a lot of amazing places and try to squeeze in multiple activities.
– We always feel extremely safe in Ojochal. However, we still tend to always be a bit cautious with keeping our belongings close to us and not carrying things that are worth a lot.
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Costa Rica Villas – Booking the Perfect Place
Sometimes renting a villa in Costa Rica can be the absolute best accommodation option for your vacation. Costa Rica is home to tons of stunning