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Earlier this month I finally visited Costa Rica. It was long overdue trip! I was to visit in October but a hurricane got in the way. Boo…I know.
I knew if I were to visit, I would go to Guanacaste and San Jose. Why visit only one when you can visit the both? My thesis is that if you can see more, take the opportunity to do just that. I had a friend living in San Jose who would take us to the waterfalls and rainforest, so it was time to plan my beach getaway first!
My flight in was to Liberia and wow – the Guanacaste region is huge! The beaches spread for about 3-4 hours driving if you were to follow the coastline. There was a lot of Googling involved and a hard time deciding what hotel to book and which beach to stay at.
I finally settled on Playa Carillo, a non-touristy beach down in the south section. It was an enjoyable 2 hour drive from Liberia Airport and zero hotels on the beach! I stayed at the Hotel Guanamar, which is actually a hotel in the cliffs at the south end overlooking the entire beach. All other hotels, which were mostly bed and breakfasts, were on side roads behind my hotel. I got a steal via Booking.com for $120 a night, for an oceanview room! Pick Room 130 if you go, you are on the highest level and have jungle to the left of you.
The beach was said to be “the old Costa Rica” and it definitely was. Families lined the beaches with picnics, hammocks, and games. There are no bars or businesses on the beach. It’s a straight strip of palm trees, sand, and big rocks at both ends. Parking is easy, you just roll onto the grass and then you’re on the sand in seconds.
Bonfires lit up at night. The waves were subtle. Lobsters live in the water. This is a beach for relaxation and no noise. Compared to Samara, which is right next door and a huge expat beach town, Playa Carillo was more my style.
Where have you stayed in Costa Rica?