After a week inland it was time to head to the Pacific coast of Costa Rica in our rental car. The drive from La Fortuna to Tamarindo took just over 3 hours and it was all quick and well made roads. Certainly made a change from what we had experienced up until now. The closer we got to the coast the more the weather was improving as well. By the time we arrived at 3pm it was sunny and very hot. We checked into our hostel called Blue Surf Trails and headed out to get a late pizza lunch on the beach. With it being low season currently in Costa Rica, this was very apparent in Tamarindo. Not a single bar or restaurant would be considered to be having a busy night, the hotels seemed half empty at best and even the hostels were quieter than we expected. You would think that low season prices mean hostels would stay busy but alas this was not the case. That evening we cooked up a cheap dinner of spaghetti with veg and tomato sauce and had an early night reading in bed or watching tv series.
The next day we decided to drive to one of the beaches just north of Tamarindo. It was called Playa Conchal. It was a beautiful spot, the beach was one big cove and the sand was in fact millions of tiny sea shellls. We spent out time snorkeling, swimming and chilling on the beach. We stayed here for a few hours then needed to get some lunch.
For lunch we headed to a local soda restaurant which serves up typical costa rican food at affordable prices. Niamh had the typical fish fillet dish and stu had a seafood rice dish. Both plates were so full of food even Stu struggled to finish his! Now that’s something! After lunch we went back to the same spot with the tide rising quickly the swimming wasn’t quite as good as in the morning but it was still a really nice afternoon. The hostel was a bit busier that night so we spent some time talking with people there before retiring to read and watch tv.
The next morning we set off on the road again towards the next beach town a few hours drive south on the guanacaste pacific coast to Playa Samara. Having set off early morning we arrived before midday. The drive down was very nice even though there were a few dirt tracks to handle. In Playa Samara we decided to stay in a private room in an AirBnB. This only cost 15 pounds total. The room was basic but had a nice shower and there was also a decent communal kitchen with free coffee 24 hours. Once unpacked we headed out for some lunch, we stumbled upon a nice cheap sandwich place around the corner. Lunch came to 4 quid which was our cheapest one in all of Costa Rica. After lunch we went to a bar to watch Spain vs Portugal in the World Cup. Great game and some nice beers to go with it. After the game we went to the beach for the rest of the afternoon. It was a decent enough beach for swimming in the waves, it was just a bit cloudy all afternoon but still about 28 degrees. Niamh fell asleep on the beach only to be woken up by the rising tide… That evening we just cooked food and chilled as there was nothing going on in the town.
The next day we decided to head to a small beach 10 minutes drive away, despite the cloud and rain (ever the optimists!). The beach was called XXX and when we arrived there must have been 10 people on the entire beach which was pretty big! Our optimism repaid us kindly as well, within 15 minutes the clouds were clearing and the sun was coming out. There wasn’t much snorkelling to be done here, however the waves were perfect for swimming, diving and riding them. We spent a lot of time in the water that morning before getting hungry. This beach was so remote there wasn’t a single bar or restaurant on it. We had to drive to the nearest town (about 2km away) and find the soda restaurant. Here we were given so much food, it was amazing. Niamh chose the best dish out of the 2 in the fish. Perfectly cooked big filet. Stu went for beef fillets which were also excellent, just the fish was another level. After lunch we went back to the same beach with the waves getting bigger. Niamh sensibly stayed on the beach whilst Stu tried his best to not do a washing machine cycle in the sea!
,p>That evening we went for a cocktail on the beach for happy hour. These were pretty nice and definitely very strong! We stayed there for an hour listening to music, watching people on the beach and just generally have a nice relaxing time. The trees were lit up by fairy lights wrapped around them and there were mood lights on the tables. It looked great! Following our cocktails we headed back to cook again and just chill out in front of Netflix for the rest of the night.
We woke up early the next day to get ready to leave for our final stop on the Costa Rican Pacific coast, Santa Theresa. This was a much harder drive. The roads are the worst in the country (which is saying something after Monteverde!) and it was a good 3h30 to get there. After navigating some really tough dirt roads for over an hour and a half we finally made it to Santa Theresa where blue skies, sunshine and beach life awaited us.
We checked into our hostel for the next 2 nights and headed straight to get some food as we were starrrrrrving! We found the nearest Soda (again!) and had the usual meal of fish/meat, beans, rice and salad. Only this time it did come with chips as well! Winning! After this we walked down to the beach to check it out. Another stunning beach with palm trees, white sand and cliffs to one side. By the time we chilled there for a while and headed back it was already 6pm, so we got some beers in, planned our next moves and left cooking rather late. Serious misjudgement on how long it would take to cook a veggie ragu with one very small gas hob. We ate at a very Spanish time of 10:30pm.
The next morning we drove a few clicks out to a beach called playa hermosa (one of the many in Costa Rica). This is a beginners surfers dream beach with shallow water yet powerful enough waves to learn on without them being too big. Unfortunately for us we did not know this so looked rather silly with our snorkels! Nevertheless we spent the morning there watching surfers, swimming and relaxing on the beach (with a photoshoot session for Stu).
By the end of this it was time for the big event. England vs Tunisia at the Fifa World Cup. We drove back into town and went straight to the sports bar to watch it with a few well deserved chilled beers. After England smashed Tunisia (joking, almost drew) we went for a swim in the ocean for a while then a storm was starting to brew so we went back to the hostel. In between showers we headed back down to the beach to capture this sensational skyline (#NoFilter).
After another chilled evening it was time the next morning to leave the Pacific coast to head to our final main destination in Costa Rica, Manuel Antonio National Park.