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beach town for family in Northern Nicoya

Massachusetts
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beach town for family in Northern Nicoya

I'll be spending a week with my family of 5 (including 3 teenagers) in northern Costa Rica. We're using the Liberia airport and spending 5 days in Arenal and Monteverde followed by 2 beach days.

My plan is to rent a small condo.

My question is where to stay.

We are mostly interested in resting; beach and pool - perhaps snorkeling. We are not big surfers. I'm planning zip-lines, hiking, and white water during the first 5 days. So, big touring from the beach is not important. Maybe we'll have the energy to go see turtles. Pleasant restaurants would be nice but late night party scenes are irrelevant. Safety is important. We also want to be close enough to the airport. Our flight out is at 2 pm which will allow an extra morning at the beach if we're not too far down the peninsula.

I was looking at Playa Hermosa but have been told it's too boring and I should look at Playa Tamarindo. Any opinions?

Costa Rica
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1. Re: beach town for family in Northern Nicoya

Playa Tamarindo and Playas del Coco are both rather developed with a good assortment of lodging options and restaurants as well as things to do. Either would probably work well for your family. Tamarindo is more upscale.

Near Tamarindo and a bit quieter is Playa Grande but with good access to Tamarindo.

Another option is the Conchal/Brasilito area - Conchal, Brasilito, Flamingo and Potrero - all located on the same beach road. This would give you a good variety of options - they are less than 10 km apart. About 45 minutes from the airport. Take a look here footprintscostarica.com/footprints_hotels.php

Also in this area are a couple of upscale lodging options both at Conchal (Reserva Conchal and Westin Playa Conchal) and in Playa Flamingo.

Massachusetts
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2. Re: beach town for family in Northern Nicoya

Thank you for the swift reply. Should I let the distance from the Liberia airport influence me or are the differences too small?

Also, I've seen reviews worrying about the beach water quality in Tamarindo. Is that really an issue and is there really a difference (versus Coco, Hermosa area)?

San Jose, Costa Rica
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3. Re: beach town for family in Northern Nicoya

Tamarindo is a nice beach nothing to worry about, great for surfing. You might want to consider the Flamingo Beach area as well, the hotel Flamingo Marina has a 2 bedroom condo that might work for you, beach front and not too expensive

Costa Rica
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4. Re: beach town for family in Northern Nicoya

I don't think the distance from the airport is a big issue. The places I mentioned are all less than an hour from the airport.

Tamarindo has had problems with the water quality at the beach but they are working on it and things have improved. The beach does not have the Blue Flag designation but this doesn't mean it is horrible.

Anywhere you have a town next to a beach, you will have problems with water quality due to the rainwater runoff.

Not sure what you mean by "is there a difference" between Tamarindo, Playas del Coco and Hermosa. Do you mean water quality? Playa Hermosa is definitely smaller and quieter which might work for you but maybe not for your teens. Of course, there are lots of activities from Playas del Coco, including a boat trip to Witch's Rock in Santa Rosa National Park for surfing. And Hermosa is only 10-15 minutes away from Playas del Coco.

San Jose, Costa Rica
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5. Re: beach town for family in Northern Nicoya

For a nice family that enjoy the day at the beach...Playa Hermosa...that will be my choice...boring? depends on the person...but my kids love the beach...and places to eat around not many ...but enough!

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Berkeley, CA
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6. Re: beach town for family in Northern Nicoya

Playa Hermosa would be a good choice, I think. The beach is beautiful, and there are additional beaches within a few minutes. There was certainly enough to do for my family. including snorkeling at Playa Ochatel. Plus, its easily the closest beach to the airport-maybe 20 to 25 minutes. We rented a condo at the Villa de Suena and it was very nice-2 pools, beautifully landscaped, nice staff and good breakfast.

Massachusetts
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7. Re: beach town for family in Northern Nicoya

Thank you for the very helpful comments. Yes, all my statements about differences related to drive time from the Liberia airport; I realize that the towns are quite different.

Based on the comments I received, I found an option at Playa Flamingo near the Flamingo Marina Resort. It looks safe and quiet but pretty extreme in that there is no real town there.

On the complete opposite side of things, I found a place in Tamarindo that is part of the Tamarindo Diria Resort. Would that be a safe area to park a car and to wander around freely? If so, I could offer it as an alternative to Playa Flamingo or Playa Hermosa. Also, is the Tamarindo beach decent for swimming the way Flamingo beach might be? We don't surf but we do swim if it's safe.

Costa Rica
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8. Re: beach town for family in Northern Nicoya

It depends on what you are looking for.

The Flamingo area will give you a choice of nearby beaches including Playa Conchal which is one of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica. Among all the towns along the beach road, there is a good choice of restaurants and things to do. But yes, Flamingo really has no "town center." Less developed and less busy than Tamarindo.

Tamarindo is more developed and is definitely a town where you can walk around and visit various shops and restaurants, etc. Pretty much the same amount of things are available as far as what to do.

As for the beach, the beach in Tamarindo is nice but I like the variety of beaches in the Conchal/Flamingo area.

It really depends on what you are looking for.

Costa Rica
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9. Re: beach town for family in Northern Nicoya

I would say Playas Del Coco or 3 kilometers south Playa Ocotal. Both beaches are beautiful, and both beaches have places to rent with pools, places to relax, and walking distance to beach and restaurants.

Coco has plenty of restaurants, a few bars, souvenir shops, and a longer beach for walking/kayaking/finding a boat tour, etc. And Coco is nice because it is easy for the same family to be doing what ever they want to do cause it's all so close together. You can rent bicycles or even a golf cart and cruise around the whole town in a half hour.

Ocotal is a beautiful little beach that you can snorkel from.

Both beaches have apartment/condo rentals to hotels/resorts to all inclusive villas.

10. Re: beach town for family in Northern Nicoya

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