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Playa Grande

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Earth : North America : Central America : Costa Rica : Guanacaste : Playa Grande
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Playa Grande is a town in the Guanacaste Province of Costa Rica, just north of Tamarindo.


It comprises most of Parque Nacional Marino Las Baulas, the most important nesting site in Central America for the giant leatherback sea turtle. Here a 5km long stretch of white sand beach backed by a large mangrove estuary that is home to many nesting birds and other wildlife.

Due to laws protecting the nesting site, Playa Grande has remained virtually unchanged by the rapid coastal development that has proliferated along the coast in the area, known as the "Gold Coast" of Costa Rica.

Get in[edit]

By Car[edit]

Playa Grande is a 1-hour drive from Liberia Airport (LIR). When leaving the airport make the first left (if you go right you’ll be in Liberia within 10 minutes at the main intersection for the Pan-American Highway) follow this road past Filidelfia to Belen, make a right before you reach the gas station. This road will take you to 4km to an intersection, make a left.

You will need to follow this road for a while, passing the town of Huacas. Keep going. Until you reach the town of Matapalo. Make a left as you pass the soccer field.

Follow the road until you reach the town of Playa Grande.

By Bus[edit]

You can reach Playa Grande by bus from Huacas, or take the bus to Tamarindo from Liberia (*colectivo* buses take as much as 3 hours) and use a water taxi to reach Playa Grande. Note that water taxis are not very convenient if you're carrying much luggage.

The Gray Line shuttle company also runs to and from Playa Grande hotels, albeit at a much higher cost than the public bus.

By Boat[edit]

You can also get in by taxi boat from Tamarindo - go to the north end of the beach and just out of town, a few hundred metres before the Automercado, you'll see the boats - you can either make a short hop to the opposite sandbank, or a longer crossing up the river which drops off outside Hotel Bula Bula.

Get around[edit]

Bicycles are the best form of transportation to see the area. You can rent a car in Liberia or Tamarindo. Scooter rentals are available in Playa Grande.

Several hotels are located in the neighborhood of Palm Beach Estates, located 3 kilometers south of the town of Playa Grande. Palm Beach Estates offers a small supermarket and a couple of restaurants, but no other services. Be aware that you'll need to call or pre-arrange transport between the two areas if you do not want to walk, as you won't be able to hail a taxi on the street. You can walk between the two neighborhoods by road (unpaved and not recommended at night due to loose dogs) or by beach before 6 pm when it closes.

See[edit][add listing]

  • Giant Leatherback sea turtles laying their eggs. The turtle tour offered by the national park (offices in the town of Playa Grande just off the beach) is $27US per person, but you pay only if the guides locate turtles. Until turtles are spotted, you'll wait at the national park offices and watch a video. Be prepared to wait up to 4 hours, and watch for aggressive unaffiliated touts in the street outside.
  • The black sand beach at Playa Carbon, which is just around the corner.
  • Large lizards wandering around the town, beautiful birds in the treetops

Do[edit][add listing]

Surf the perfect waves that break along the shores of Playa Grande. If you don't know how to surf you can take surfing lessons at Una Ola Surf Resort. [3] Take a jungle boat tour along the estuary to see crocodiles, monkeys and numerous species of birds. Go fishing, using handlines and casting nets like the locals at the northern end of Playa Grande.

Buy[edit][add listing]

There is no shopping in Playa Grande other than a few surf shops and the grocery store Las Malinches in the Palm Beach Estates neighborhood on the southern end of Playa Grande.

Eat[edit][add listing]

There are several restaurants in the area that serve local and international cuisines. There is El Huerto, Rip Jack's, Kike's Place, Marbar, Bula Bula, Catarana, Playa Grande Sushi, Las Tortugas and Malinches, which serve lunch and/or dinner.

Drink[edit][add listing]

Kike's Place is the only hotspot for nightlife in Playa Grande, but there are a few other spots to have a drink.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Playa Grande is a sleepy little community with many expats who have come down to live the "Pura Vida" lifestyle. There are several vacation homes for rent, along with a handful of hotel, B&B's and Cabinas.

  • Hotel RipJack Inn, 75m off the best break in Playa Grande, Costa Rica, +506 2653 0480 (), [1]. The best option for a hotel in Playa Grande. Beach hotel in Playa Grande, Guanacaste. Surrounded by trees this hotel is located in the best area of Playa Grande and it`s perfect if you want to go surfing or see Costa Rica´s many turtle species.  edit
  • El Manglar Hotel, (), [2]. Air conditioned villas ($70), standard rooms ($40) and hostel rooms. Beautiful gardens, friendly owners and amazing pool. Located in Palm Beach Estates to the south end of the town.  edit


Get out[edit]

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