August 26, 2010 - A work in progress...
I'm writing this idiosyncratic guide for friends who are planning to visit the Guanacaste area of Costa Rica near Las Catalinas. Once we have the first buildings finished at Las Catalinas and we are up and running my recommendations will be greatly simplified! But in the meantime here is some guidance. This is meant to be just a starting point for this document, we will continue to develop it and would love to have your suggestions! And you really should be in touch with us as you plan your trip so we can help!
Here is a simplified map of the coastal area, showing some of the places I will mention below.
I think of the beach areas of Guanacaste as having a Northern Orbit - Coco, Hermosa, Papagayo, Liberia; and a Southern Orbit - Las Catalinas, Potrero, Flamingo, Tamarindo, etc. In general I find the Southern Orbit much more appealing and interesting. It has Las Catalinas; the nice town of Flamingo; and the fun surfer town of Tamarindo; lots of great beaches; it has the surfing; and lots of beautiful natural areas to explore. The Northern Orbit has the Four Seasons at Papagayo - something that can't yet be equaled for a luxury experience (just wait...). And of course it has the airport in Liberia, and the commercial establishments and shopping of Liberia. But the beach towns and areas there such as Playa del Coco and Playa Hermosa I don't find as appealing as those in the Southern Orbit. By the way, this Northern Orbit/Southern Orbit thing is my own lingo - no one else will have any idea what you are talking about!
The road that connects the Northern and Southern is the Monkey Trail , which shows in green on the map above. This is a dirt road, sometimes requiring four-wheel-drive, and not passable after a heavy rain because of a stream crossing. It greatly shortens the trip between north and south. It isn't well marked, and if it is your first time, or it has been raining, or you don't have a tough enough vehicle, you probably should avoid it and take the good paved road which shows in red on the map. But it comes in handy for some of us! Someday, hopefully soon, this route will be improved and paved.
There are plenty of good restaurants in the area at all price points. All the hotels I mentioned have three good meals a day. In addition I'll mention just a few of my favorites here. But there are many in Potrero, Flamingo, Brasalito, and Tamarindo.
There are many! Most are lacking in services, so if you want to go exploring be prepared to bring along what you might want (towels, drinks, snorkles, boogie boards, umbrellas, etc.)
You simply *must* spend a good bit of time out on the water while you are here. This is surely one of the most beautiful, dramatic coastlines in the world, and the experience of being out on the water is always fantastic.
The surging is fantastic and a major draw for visitors to Guanacaste. I'm not a surfer, and if you are you probably know what you need to know already! But here are some basics.
Equestrian activities are very popular and traditional Guanacaste. Horses and rides are widely available. Most local horses are small, and tough! If you go on a trail ride you are likely to find that the guides are much more permissive than what you might experience in the USA. Galloping on the beach and so forth! It can be really fun, but I do advise using your good judgment and not taking on more than you are ready for. Most any hotel in Guanacaste will be able to help you line up some horseback riding.
I am very excited about cycling possibilities around the area. It offers a tremendous amount of what has become my favorite kind of riding - exploring unpaved, lightly travelled back roads. Soon we will have bikes and tours out of Las Catalinas. In the meantime, Blue Trailz offers bikes to rent and tours out of Tamarindo. I will surely have much more to say about cycling in the area soon!
many of you may want to travel around to other attractions in Costa Rica while you are there. The country really does have a lot to offer! Here are some quick suggestions:
Las Catalinas presents three-fold options for travelers as a destination: the cultural and ecological tourism the country’s tourist industry was founded on, a perspective on the New Luxury of pampering through connection, and as a growing trend of sabbatical-style stays. Within this walkable beach ...
Costa Rica is one of the hubs for sustainable travel in the world, the birthplace of ecotourism and of some of the first ecolodges in Tropical America, a world leader in conservation, and a country on the leading edge of sustainable energy, decarbonization, and combating climate change.
Desayuno Típico is the typical Costa Rican breakfast, a simple, healthy meal that can be found in sodas and homes around the country. Much like the casado, there are regional variations, but the staples of the meal are gallo pinto, fruit, fried plantains, eggs any style, and usually a grain like ...
Additionally you will receive our occasional newsletter. Absolute confidentiality. Never SPAM. You can unsubscribe at any time.