Departed for a surf/fishing trip to Costa on April 1st. Arrived into San Jose airport. Got the bags and boards fast, hauled over to Avis to pick up the rental. The plan was to spend time in the Guanacaste region.
To be fair ahead of the rest of the report, I went down to Costa the first time in 1988, then 1992, 1996, and 2002. Always surf/exploration trips. I am 37 now.
We got in at 3pm so instead of driving right to Playa Negra we drove to Jaco for the evening, the plan was to leave from there. We took the new toll road (AUTOPISTE) Great road, a bit of a disaster. The road is 1 lane on 1 side for roughly 50km....the other side had 2 lanes, then it reverses. The tolls are 1 or 2 dollars US... 410 colones and 630 I believe it was. Trying to pass a slow bus or truck on the 1 lane side is impossible. The road is viewed as both good and bad by Ticos.
What I missed the most was getting into San Jose and then driving thru the coffee filled hills to get down to the beach..the new toll road, like that of roads in the states offers little in the way of the gorgeous views I was so used to.
Got to Jaco
In two words: HOLY DEVELOPMENT
This place, just completely left me baffled...what was once a great surf town has been transformed into a complete road of nonsense. Empty overbuilt 15 story condos...the Monkey Bar is now across the road...Chuck Herwig's place has been bought it looks like by a hotel. We stayed at Clarita's...she was great..it was Easter weekend so it was busy,
Woke up went to Hermosa...HOLY DEVELOPMENT! I just can't believe what is going on....the place reminds me of a mid atlantic coastal town..The Tree has raised cabinas right behind it....growth all over the beach...it in my eyes is a disaster from what I knew in just 2002 left along 1988. Not my thing.
Left went right to Playa Negra. We stayed at Hotel Playa Negra...right in front of the beach. Had the bottom of the owners place. It was $88 per night. Great place...right on the beach...Negra right in front...short trip to Avellanas.
As far as eats go here: Marie's Sports Bar is hands down the spot! the place is amazing. Freddie is the most kind waiter. This is the best place hands down.
We ate at Jalapeno's one afternoon and had nachos...really really good!
Food at Playa Negra Inn was always great, we just try to get out.
Buena Vista Pizza was decent...nothing to scream about but good all the same.
We chilled in this area for 3 days surfing Negra, Little Hawaii, Avellanas....caught it between 3-6 feet the entire time we were there. Negra gets packed, and it is a hassle to get waves in mass to be honest. I found Avellanas more fun, less size..but fun. Little Hawaii was really good the one day.
During the afternoon's in between surf we headed South down thru Playa Lagarito, Marbella, Ostional, Playa Pelida, and Playa Nosara. We loved Marbella..sleepy not much here...good fun waves...Pelida had a nice left coming off the groin formation. Some cool little places down here, We didn't stay though and headed back up to Negra...finding Monkey's all along the Coastal road. (It was the dry season, we did the entire coastal road from Nosara all the way up to Playa Hermosa (the Northern Hermosa) had not one problem..the river crossing were almost non-existent. During a good rain, you can see how it would become an issue. Loved all of these beaches!!!! Do go...they are still quiet!
Next we ventured up to Tamarindo for 1 night. Stayed at the Hotel Arco Iris....great place. $107 bucks. Richard is the owner from LA. We loved the place. I am not in love with Tamarindo though anymore. It has become the place I try to get away from. Lots of Euros and US people learning to surf and party. Had great food..I can't remember where we ate..I will figure it out and reply to this message.
Next we went to Playa Grande...stayed at Tortugas....right on the beach...insane. Love it! Still not developed for the most part due to restrictions. Must go. Great waves
Then on up to a house we rented in the Papagayo Pennisula for 4 days. Idea being we could get to Witche's and Ollie's. We ate in Playa Coco which reminded me of Jaco in 1992. It is going to get overgrown due to he accessibility of the airport but it is a fun town.
Playa Coconutz has the hands down best food here!
We hooked up with a boat trip each day for 3 days...went with Jorge' and Alan...it was a blast. Fishing and surfing Witches and Ollie's. Boat trips to fish were $280...Fishing and surfing were $450 for the 8 hours.
During the day's we checked out Palos Verde ...too dry, saw a ton of wildlife getting in there...Llanos De Cortez...a great waterfall off the beaten track...and we went to a great zip line at the Wellness Center in Canas Dulces really remote. Checked out Rio Celeste....incredible. Tenorio...loved it.
Checked out Playa Panama, Playa Hermosa...both still nice and sleepy. Roads are all paved up here now due to accessibility to Liberia.
Overall it was a fun trip. We had a great time, don't get me wrong. We are do'ers though...we are adventurous. Roads are paved all over now...the tourists are there in force....the line-ups are a bit crowded....I am happy that I was able to visit this jewel many times before it built up. It is still nothing like any place in the US..it is beautiful. When the 60 year old couple from Ohio can get to Negra though...it is time for me to look for other spots.
We went to Nica this past Summer it was what Costa was 20 years ago......take that for what it's worth. Here are my pictures.
PM me if you have questions: