One of the most popular beaches and destinations in Costa Rica is undoubtedly Playa del Coco. Costa Rica has many relaxing and tranquil beaches, but this is not one of them.
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Playa del Coco is all about action and fun, be it water sports, diving, fishing, or upbeat nightlife. If you want to experience a beach vacation in one of the most popular expat destinations in Costa Rica, then Playa del Coco is for you.
When to Visit Playa del Coco, Costa Rica
The weather in Costa Rica is generally good all year-round. If you want to enjoy fewer tourists, lower prices, and green, lush scenery, the rainy season from May to November is your best bet. The dry season lasts from December to April, and while the prices will be higher and crowds will be thicker, the weather will be nearly perfect.
Most of the activities on offer at Playa del Coco, Costa Rica are possible all year-round. However, if you plan on going fishing, make sure to visit between the months of May and September for the best chances of catching something good.
Best Things to do at Playa del Coco, Costa Rica
Enjoy Coco Beach, Costa Rica
Playa del Coco (Coco Beach) itself is a great place to sunbathe and swim. Although the waves aren’t quite as impressive as they are on neighbouring beaches, it’s still a nice beach to catch a few hours of sunshine.
Keep in mind that the sand on Coco Beach is slightly darker colour to what you might find elsewhere in Guanacaste. Some will find this less appealing, but the colour of the sand has no impact on the experience.
Dive the Pelonas Islands
Pelonas Islands, located just off the coast of Playa del Coco are a popular spot with local dive shops and offer some good dive sites, like Tortuga, Virador, and the Palmares Wall. If you’re lucky, you’ll see turtles, rays, groupers, and sharks. You can book a scuba diving trip here.
If you’re willing to go a bit farther, you can also dive at the more famous Catalinas Islands and Bat Island, famous for its healthy bull shark population.
Take a Snorkeling Tour
If you don’t know how to dive or would rather stay near the surface, taking a Playa del Coco snorkeling tour is a great idea. You’ll get the experience of sailing in the Bay of Papagayo and seeing the undersea world while close to your boat. You’ll swim around many impressive rock formations and even a few ocean caves. Or, enjoy a sunset cruise on a catamaran where you can jump in and scan the waters for dolphins, sea turtles, and fish.
Try Sport Fishing
Playa del Coco is perhaps best known for its excellent sport fishing opportunities. There have been around 40 world records in fishing set on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast, and at Playa del Coco in particular, the fishing is excellent. The area is best known for dorados, sailfish, and marlins.
Since it’s so popular in the area, it’s very easy to find a sport fishing tour in Playa del Coco. Most of the fishing is catch-and-release, but make sure to ask before you book your tour.
Take a Day Trip to the Diamante Eco Adventure Park
If you’re looking for a great day trip, head to the Diamante Eco Adventure Park about half an hour to the southwest. You’ll have the chance to try a number of different exciting activities all in one day, such as horseback riding, nature walks, ziplining, kayaking, stand up paddleboarding, and visiting an animal sanctuary.
Diamante is considered one of the best adventure parks in Costa Rica, so if you want an exciting day close to Playa del Coco, this is an awesome choice.
Explore the Town of Coco
Due to the popularity of Playa del Coco, the town of Coco, Costa Rica that surrounds it has been built up over time to accommodate more visitors.
There are plenty of great restaurants and bars in the area, as well as some fun nightlife. There are a few churches to visit and a casino in case of a rainy day. Make sure not to miss Sunset Point, a small eco-park with great views.
Where to Eat and Drink
- Toucanoos: Toucanoos is a bright, fun eatery right next to the beach. They have great happy hour deals and some delicious cocktails on offer, and vegetarian options are also available. In addition, they use eco-friendly takeout containers and have a giving back program that benefits the local community.
- Kaixo: This is the perfect place for a light lunch. Kaixo has a number of sandwiches and small dishes to enjoy in-house or take to the beach just a block away.
- The Lookout Restaurant: For some delicious, sustainable seafood, head to The Lookout Restaurant, where you can order things like fresh oysters, fish tacos, locally brewed beers, and ceviches. As the name implies, the restaurant is on a hill, offering amazing views of the beach below.
Where to Stay at Playa del Coco
- Hotel M&M Beach House: For a casual and affordable option, stay at the Hotel M&M Beach House. It’s right on the water and offers clean, comfy rooms in a traditional lodge-like building.
- Villa Del Sol: An eco-sensitive boutique hotel, Villa Del Sol is just on the outskirts of town. It has a massive garden area complete with a patio and swimming pool. It is locally owned and operated.
- Villa Buena Onda: One of the best hotels in all of Playa del Coco, Villa Buena Onda is really something special. With a breathtaking infinity pool overlooking the ocean and elegant suites, Villa Buena Onda is the place to stay if you want a bit of a luxury escape in Playa del Coco.
How Long Do You Need at Playa del Coco, Costa Rica
We recommend at least two days at Playa del Coco: one for simply relaxing on the beach, and another for a more active adventure, such as a fishing or diving trip. However, many visitors spend upwards of 4-5 days in Playa del Coco simply because the town makes for a convenient base to explore the other parts of Guanacaste.