If you’re looking for a getaway filled with both adventure and relaxation, the Pacific coast of Costa Rica may be just the place for you! Use this guide on what to do & eat in Costa Rica (Pacific Coast) to plan your itinerary.
Every time I look back at pictures from our trip to Costa Rica, I want to go back. The country is just so incredibly beautiful, peaceful and fun. It’s hands down one of my favorite places in the world. If you’re thinking about going on vacation and aren’t sure where to go, GO TO COSTA RICA!
I’ve been to the Costa Rica twice and spent time in a few different parts of the country. Our most recent trip was spent on the Pacific Coast and in Monteverde. Since the two areas are so different, I’m splitting my vacation recap into two parts. Part one is all about the Pacific Coast!
WHERE TO STAY ON THE PACIFIC COAST
The main reason we went to Costa Rica this time around was for a friend’s wedding. They held it at a boutique hotel on Sugar Beach, on the northern Pacific Coast. The hotel was lovely and had stunning views of the ocean.
We stayed with a bunch of friends in the Sugar Beach House, which had 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, a living area, a kitchen and a large patio.
This hotel is a great option for anyone who wants to stay at a nice beach-front hotel but doesn’t want to spend a ton of money. It’s located about an hour from Liberia airport, and I believe they will arrange transportation for you if you don’t rent a car. The staff was lovely, the beach is private and you’re also a short drive to a bunch of restaurants, bars and shops in Potrero.
If you are planning on renting a car (check out my car renting advice below), an AirBnB might be another great option for you.
WHAT TO DO ON THE PACIFIC COAST
There are so many fun things to do on the Pacific Coast.
First of all, the water is so warm! I highly recommend just spending some time wading in the water, hopping the waves or boogie boarding. We spent a lot of time just standing out in the ocean chatting and catching up with all our friends.
One day, the bride and groom to-be rented a boat for us. The company, Panache Sailing, arranged pick up at our hotel, and we all boarded a large catamaran that took us seven miles out into the ocean. Once we were out and surrounded by water, we had a few hours to snorkel (we saw an octopus and a large sea turtle!), kayak, paddle board, swim and relax. The boat had an open bar, and the crew made us a delicious lunch. It was a blast! We had a large party, but I believe you can book yourselves on a smaller boat or join forces with another party if you’d like.
The last time we were in Costa Rica, we took a surfing lesson (I was terrible at it). We didn’t get to do that this time around, but it would be a fun thing to try while you’re there. Tamarindo, which is further south on the Pacific coast, is supposed to be one of the best places to surf in Costa Rica.
One thing I didn’t get a chance to do but wish I had is walk along the beach to other beaches. I would have enjoyed a nice hike to explore some of the other areas along the coast. We also didn’t get a chance to go on an ATV expedition along the beaches, which looked fun.
We did, however, make time for a riveting hermit crab race.
WHAT TO EAT ON THE PACIFIC COAST
Breakfast was included in our hotel stay, so we took advantage of that each day. I always got the “Tipico,” which consisted of scrambled eggs, rice and beans, and plantains.
We ventured off property for lunch and dinner whenever we didn’t have wedding festivities. I really enjoyed lunch at Limonada, a short drive from our hotel. The food and cocktails were delicious, the beach is pretty and there are monkeys in the trees!
I also really enjoyed Surf Box in Playa Flamingo. They have smoothies, acai bowls, coffee, sandwiches and other meals. I enjoyed a top notch quinoa and shrimp bowl.
While you’re in Costa Rica, there are a few typical dishes that you should try:
- Casado – This is a Costa Rican meal consisting of rice, black beans, plantains, salad, and some sort of protein (chicken, beef, pork, fish, etc). I got this at a few different places. It was always tasty and always incredibly filling.
- Tostones – These are twice fried plantain slices and they are SO GOOD! A few places served them with a black bean puree. YUM YUM!
- Yuca fries – I’m a fry fiend, so I was all about these.
- Local beers – Imperial and Pilsen are a few of the beers that are local to Costa Rica. While they aren’t anything super special, they are light and refreshing – which is just what you need at the beach.
- Tropical cocktails – Margaritas, frozen margaritas, mojitos, anything with coconut. Costa Ricans know how to do cocktails right, so you really can’t go wrong.
BONUS TRAVEL TIPS
- If you rent a car, be sure to get one with four-wheel drive. Most of the roads in Costa Rica aren’t paved and tend to be VERY bumpy.
- Also, watch out for insurance fees when renting! These fees nearly tripled what we thought we’d be paying for a car. I suggest purchasing insurance online ahead of time when you make your reservation so you know what you’re getting into.
- If you purchase anything with a card, have them charge in colones (the Costa Rican currency). Not only will this save you the fee most banks charge to convert the amount to dollars, you’ll also get a better exchange rate.
- Bring bug spray. Lots and lots of bug spray. The mosquitos are no joke by the water.
Do you have any summer trips planned? Share your travel tips, fitness tips or fashion-related things in today’s Fit & Fashionable Friday Link Up (full link up rules here).
Have you ever been to Costa Rica?