This place hides all kinds of adventures but let´s start from the top…
How to get there?
If you drive from San José it will take about 5 hrs minding a couple of stops for stretching, getting some fruits or snacks on the way. We wanted to be there for lunch so we hit the road around 4:30 am to make sure we will be on the first ferry which is at 7 am from Puntarenas to Paquera. We took route 27th which is the fastest road to get there.
Keep in mind there are some tolls on the way and if you plan to use the same route, here are some tips: a 4x4 is highly recommended since the road is not in perfect condition to get to Cóbano. Exchange some dollars or euros to colones if you are driving, it will help you to reduce the stress of thinking about the exchange rate at the tolls or if you stop on the way to get fruits or snacks. It took less than two hours to get to the ferry pier but it was way too early and since it was my idea to get up that early, my friends were a little mad at me, but nothing that a good breakfast couldn’t fix.
Once we finally got on the ferry it took about an hour and a half to arrive at Paquera, from there we set up Waze straight to our destination, on the way there are some good places to visit like Montezuma Waterfall and Montezuma beach but we will talk about that one in another time, we arrived just before noon to our final destination.
The Beaches and activities
The first beach to visit is Playa Carmen it is facing the main road that’s why it will be always the first beach, its white sand, and the fresh breeze is perfect to tan and relax while reading a book or having a snack after the long drive, this beach is the closest to restaurants and souvenir shops, even tho it is in the middle of town it is really quiet and clean, from here you can go to;
Playa Malpais this is a must if you are looking for a specialized surfing beach its huge waves and strong currents makes it a perfect place to practice this sport, to get here you just have to follow the only road and keep an eye on the sings because they are really small and hard to read once you see the Playa Malpaís sign turn left to park the car between the trees and take a small walk to the beach it will take about 5 minutes to get to the beach;
If you keep driving through that road south you will get to Playa Cuevas to get here it is a little tricky because you cannot drive to the beach itself, there are two options the first one is to drive until you get to Reserva Natural Cabo Blanco leave the car there and walk but there will be nobody watching the car that’s why we recommend to park the car at Pescaderia Mal Pais this is the safest way if you are driving a car they will keep an eye on your car and they will receive any tip you give them to watch the car for you which is around $2 to $5 and from there walk around 300 mts until you get to ‘’Reserva Natural Cabo Blanco’’ fence and follow the path that says Playa Cuevas walk though the jungle path for another 200 mts and suddenly you will be at this beautiful beach surrounded by rocks and jungle in the back it feels like you are in the movie Cast Away no civilization around it and a huge rock dividing it from Playa Malpaís this beach is different than the others because it does not have waves since the rocks blocks them when the tide is low it forms natural pools between the rock and clear waters fills them this is the right place to get away from all the noise pollution of the city or if you want to surprise your special one with a beach date at sunset.
All the way back to the main road passing by Playa Carmen there is the most popular beach on that side, Playa Santa Tere the complete name is Santa Teresa but since Ticos tend to shorten names we call it ‘’Santa Tere’’, it is located between Playa Carmen and Playa Hermosa, this is the longest beach on the stripe, its perfect waves and white soft sand makes it a perfect combination of a surfing spot and a beach to relax there are many paths to get to different parts of this beach and a few meters from the main road, where you can look for a parking place to leave the car close and watch it from where you are chilling with your friends or surfing, Santa Tere is also known as one of the beaches visited by many music stars and actors since the locals are really friendly and Pura Vida so they don´t have to worry about paparazzi.
The next beach is Playa Hermosa, this is the widest beach on the stripe its white sand is more compressed than the rest which makes it a great option for long walks or a horseback tour which will cost you about $30 to $50 for one hour or so, this is the only one with howler monkeys right next to the beach, highly recommended if nature photography is your thing.
The last one is ‘’Playa Manzanillo’’, this is farthest one from Santa Tere Downtown which makes it the least visited, the road to get here is really damaged so this is where a 4x4 becomes handy so you do not have to worry about damaging the car, the rocky surface covered by a thin layer of sand makes it risky to walk on, a pair of water shoes will be great to avoid getting hurt with the sharp rocks because it really hurts, each one of them is worth to visit and they are really close one to the other so you can do a one-day beach tour by renting an ATV which is around $70 to $120 depending on the time and the tour agency, you will be asked for your passport, driving license and c.c for voucher, or if you are driving a 4x4 it will get the job done too, the beaches are divided to each other mostly by mountains and rocks.
There are many options to eat from sushi and pizza to "casados" and "bigoron", most of the restaurants are own by locals, we chose a ‘’Soda’’ (small place where you will find only local food) called Soda Santa Tere great food super fresh fish caught the same day and the prices are between $8 to $10 drinks included, most of culinarian variety is between Playa Carmen and Playa Santa Tere
In our case, we opted for a Hostel since we knew we were not spending too much time there but there are plenty of options from private villas to a bed on a shared room and the prices go from $15 to $1200 a night it all depends on what are you looking for.
If you have more questions please don`t doubt sending us an email or contact us through our social media and we will be pleased to assist you.
Until the next one...
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