Why You Should Vacation in Costa Rica
Did you know that Costa Rica has no army, a 98% literacy rate, and married women keep their last name? They also have great coffee and live the Pura Vida life. These are just some of the reasons to put Costa Rica on your vacation short list.
Costa Rica is roughly the size of West Virginia. It is easy to get around and public transportation is relatively inexpensive. Despite being small in size, there are endless things to see and do making it an ideal place to vacation. There are waterfalls, volcanos, national parks, and miles of pristine coastline.
You can stay in luxury resorts or rent a beachfront villa. The Pacific Coast near Guanacaste is hot and dry, with world-class beaches. It is why we choose to rent a home there and make it our base for exploring the northwest side of Costa Rica.
Where to Stay
We chose to share Coco Flotante, a private oceanfront villa, with another family for a week’s vacation. It is just about an hour from the airport in Liberia and 45-minutes from Tamarindo or Santa Cruz.
The layout of the home was ideal for our group of four adults and three teens. Downstairs there are two master suites on opposite ends of the house giving each offering plenty of privacy. Both have their own bathrooms, closets, and access to the outdoor space.
The second floor is accessed by an outdoor stairwell, which might not be ideal if you plan to put younger children in either of the upstairs bedrooms. This level also has its own living space with floor to ceiling windows that have the most spectacular views of the Pacific ocean. It is a great spot to play games and relax in the evenings as it is has a full bar, card table, couches, and chairs.
Just off the kitchen, there is a small living room with a television. We never even turned it on. Our time was spent enjoying the ample outdoor living space of the home. There is lots of seating under the shaded palapa and around the pool. Several hammocks can be found around the property. There is not a bad seat in the house. Everywhere you look there are spectacular ocean views and perfect places to watch the magnificent sunsets.
Gamma and Irene, Coco Flotante’s Spanish speaking caretakers, live on the premises. They have two small dogs and are always accessible. We felt very safe having them living on the property and appreciated having daily housekeeping.
The house sits on a bluff between two beaches. A steep set of stairs descend from the home and put you right onto Playa Blanca. The stairs could be difficult for elderly or young children to navigate. Although this is the closest beach, it is a bit rocky at low tide when the rocks and coral are exposed. I’d advise bringing water shoes.
Playa Junquillal is around the corner to the left. It is just a short walk from the house and is very flat. The winds on this beach are consistent which is good because there is not very much shade to keep you cool. This beach is great for swimming, body and boogie boarding.
It can be hard to feel like you are on a vacation when you rent a house. Afterall someone still needs to cook and clean up. One way to combat that is to make sure your house comes with daily housekeeping and consider hiring a private chef.
We enlisted Chef Garret Hurley of Pura Vida Catering to prepare dinner on our first night at the house. He and his wife work as a team. They do all the shopping, cooking and cleaning. We thoroughly enjoyed having them prepare a fantastic three-course meal for us to enjoy at our outdoor dining table. After a long day of travel, it was the perfect way to start our vacation.
One evening we also used PasCam to deliver chips, dips, and sandwiches for dinner. This service did not include the post-meal clean-up but it still relieved us from cooking duties for the night.
On your way to the house from the airport, stop at one grocery stores in Santa Cruz to pick up enough to get you through your first day. Save your big food shopping trip for the Auto Mercado in Tamarindo. It has an excellent selection of meats, cheese, vegetables, and fruits, plus a bakery and large gluten-free section. Should you forget anything, the Supermercado Janquillal is only five minutes from the house and good for basics.
The German Bakery delivers to the house weekly. They grind and mill their own flour which they use in all of their baked goods. You purchase amazing pastries, cakes, bread, baguettes, and donuts right out of the back of their truck. They also offer gluten-free products as well.
There are several good local restaurants just down the road from the house. I’d suggest Tatanka for great wood-fired pizza and other Italian specialties or try Guacamaya Lodge for lunch or dinner.
Lola’s in Playa Avellana is the perfect spot for a beachfront meal. Vegetarians will be very happy here. Their menu consists of hearty, healthy choices that include salads, sandwiches, pizzas and fresh fruit smoothies.
As if you won’t be relaxed enough just by being in Costa Rica on vacation, you can arrange to have a Masseuse come to the house. Georgina, the property manager, will be able to help you arrange this.
You can also splurge on a spa day at Los Altos de Eros. Located near Tamarindo, this luxury hotel has a very private, small spa. Their open-air treatment rooms overlook Costa Rica’s mountains and the Pacific Ocean. The spa day package includes three treatments and a chef prepared gourmet lunch.
We loved Coco Flotante and would recommend booking it for your next vacation. Should it not be available there are plenty of other homes near Tamarindo that are just as spectacular.