While it’s no secret that Costa Rica is home to some of the best beaches in Central America, where to find them can often be a challenge. Living in Costa Rica has afforded me the time and relationships with locals that privy me to this sacred information that I will now share with you.
Playa Bejuco (pronounced bay-who-ko)
A 35 minute drive south of Jaco will lend you to an expansive coconut-palmed oasis. It’s easy to miss, however, so keep a watchful eye out for the single-access dirt road marked Playa Bejuco. There is one small grocery, or pulpería, where you can buy a snack along the dirt road. After about a half-mile you will reach the café colored beach where you can park, hang a hammock in the ample coconut trees, or venture south another half-mile to the Delfin, a small hotel and bar and enjoy a cold beverage.What makes this beach special is it’s vastness both in girth and length, and it’s lack of popularity. You can walk in either direction for miles without running out of beach. Most days the only other people you run into are local fisherman trying their luck with a net or fishing line thrown by hand with a lasso maneuver. Sundays and holidays are the exception to this rule, since the locals tend to honor the Sabbath at the beach.
La Sirena (translates to mermaid)
This beach is special from the second you arrive. It’s located in Esterillos Oeste. Take the north road (there are two roads marked Esterillos Oeste) until the last right turn prior to the beach. After you take the right turn the road becomes riddled with pot holes, drive slowly. Approximately 1 kilometer later you will see the beach and a parking lot on the left. At low tide the shore is dotted with volcanic tide pools that are home to starfish, crabs, fish, and other creepy crawlies. It’s named Mermaid beach due to the enormous mermaid statue that proudly sits at the deep-end of the tide pools. At high tide it appears as if she is sitting on-top of the water. La Sirena is a must see if you have kids!
This idyllic beach is located 20 minutes south of Puerto Viejo. Its crystal clear water, emptiness, and calm conditions lend it to be excellent for kayaking, snorkeling, swimming or “chilling out.” This is my favorite place to kayak and swim. The beach receives waves a few times a year, so the feel does change depending on when you arrive.
There are a variety of beaches in and near Manuel Antonio. My favorite beach is inside the National Park. The sand is light beige and the water is a gorgeous blue. The beach is protected from waves making it an excellent destination for casual swimming. If surfing is what you are looking for there is a decent break just outside of the park where you can rent surfboards, jet skis, horseback ride, or even parasail behind a boat.
Picture a conch shell, now shrink it to a millimeter in diameter. Cute, right? Now imagine a beach filled with them, the conch shells replacing the small granules of sand. This does two things: creates a luxurious white “sand” beach, and improves the clarity of the water due to the decrease in sediment. There is amazing snorkeling right from shore. You can hear the tiny shells underwater move with each ebb and flow. The beach is located about 35 minutes south of resort beach, Playa Flamingo, and just south of the tico town, Brasilito.
[imgr]http://www.expatfocus.com/images/other/columnists/becoming-an-expat-costa-rica-100×125.jpg[/imgr]Shannon is an international resident from San Diego, currently residing in Costa Rica. Her first career of 10 years was spent serving San Diego & Kansas City as a paramedic. After a back injury her life drastically changed, and an international door was opened. As an avid traveler, Shannon had visited over 27 countries by the age of 30. She quickly chose Costa Rica as her first destination proclaiming, "My whole body comes alive when I am there." In addition to writing, Shannon owns Enete Enterprises, LLC a video and print publication company that specializes in travel guidebooks and the creation of marketing videos for the tourism, hospitality, and real estate sectors. To learn more about Costa Rica, and how to become an expat see www.BecominganExpat.com.