Guanacaste, Costa Rica / February 2015
I thought I had died and gone to heaven when we arrived in Costa Rica. This is my favorite vacation to date. The dirt is gold, the water can be any shade of blue or green and depending on where you are it feels like the jungle or the desert. It's perfection. Costa Rica is a surfer's paradise because the waves are always firing. We were able to surf a few days between our stay in both Tamarindo and Playa Negra and explore just a small part of this country along the Guanacaste coast. We used our trusty Priceline / Hotwire techniques and landed at the Tamarindo Diria Beach Resort for 3 nights. Tamarindo has an authentic laid back small city vibe with all the amenities you need and a big night life. I'd live there if I could. Next we landed at the most incredible little surf resort for our last 4 nights staying in a beach bungalow at Hotel Playa Negra. I would highly recommend both of these places but make sure to reserve a bungalow with air conditioning in Playa Negra if you go that route - we were lucky to get one. It sits on a famous surf break from Endless summer and legit surfers are always staying here to ride the break. (Not suitable for you....there's a small break to the left on a small sandy beach that you can try.) There's a rental shop on site.
Playa Conchal. On one end of this half moon shaped beach the sand is soft and fine and feels like heaven, on the other end millions of tiny crushed shells crunch under your feet and it has a european feel to it. The euro feel end has some rock formations and is a very fun place to take in the scene. If the water is calm, you can snorkel here.
Playa Samara. Just a short drive south is a vibrant community on the Nicola Peninsula. Fantastic eateries, shops and you can drive on the beach and hike out on the rocks on the south end of the beach to explore. Look for the end with the big island out in the water. If you're staying here, stay a night at the Tree House Inn, on the beach.
Playa Carrillo. After you visit Samara, relax at this more laid back spot just a few miles south. Gorgeous palm trees line the beach. Great for swimming, reading and enjoying a San Pellegrino.
Playa Negra. It's off the beaten path but I've never seen a sunset so gorgeous. In town, which is TINY, you'll see monkeys hanging from the trees. If the waves are big, there will be 40 surfers on the break until dusk, and it's a BIG consistent wave. Grab some pizza dinner at Kon Tiki on your way out or hit Lola's which is not to be missed.
Playa Tamarindo. Loaded with tourists there is no shortage of activities here. This is a good place to surf if you are a beginner, although the line up will be very crowded. Many great places to eat on the beach, we loved the food at Eat at Joe's by Witch's Rock surf camp. Rent a board from Kelly's if you're going to surf and walk it right to the beach.
DON'T MISS Lola's on Playa Avellenas. Potentially the greatest beachside eatery I've been to on the planet thus far. The food is good, the vibe unmatched and the surf break provides free entertainment. You feel like a celebrity here.
Kon Tiki. (Playa Negra) If you're in Playa Negra, hit this place for wood fired pizza at night. The owner has MN roots and this pizzeria / hostel is a very friendly dive.
Patagonia. (Tamarindo) Tasty dinner on the nicer side. Open air, I had a steak and Kendall had the sea bass. Both delicious. *You need a reservation.