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Old 02-19-2011   #1
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,095
Costa Rica Beach info?

I'm thinking of taking my family on vacation in costa rica. I'm looking for a nice beach that good to take kids out too (3 yr olds), but close proximity to some good easy surfing / waves. Any insights? Carribean vs. pacific?


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Old 02-20-2011   #2
bigwatertoby's Avatar
Winter Park, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 54
I pesonally liked the Pacific much more than the Carribean side. Quepos/Manuel Antonio National Park had great family friendly beachs and lots of things to do. Also close to Dominical for awesome surf....

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Old 02-20-2011   #3
Ft Collins, Colorado
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Join Date: Jul 2007
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Big Ft Collins crew in Nosara over Thanksgiving, including a couple of kids <3 yrs. Beginner-friendly surfing, no development on the beach...easy travel, but definitely NOT a big cultural experience. PM for more details...
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Old 02-20-2011   #4
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Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1984
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,879
With young kiddos, I'd advise against Manuel Antonio and Dominical (although that's my favorite beach by far that I've been to). Both those breaks tend to have nasty rips, especially MA. Dominical tends to be a little more rowdy too. My guess is that there are breaks on the Nosara that are a little more friendly. I never got a chance to surf on the Pacific, but I imagine that there are mellow spots there too.....
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Old 02-21-2011   #5
Join Date: Mar 2006
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Check this place out. Hotel Capitan Suizo - Hotel on the beach

Small surf break with private beach feel, great pool, short walk to town for tacos,
Big Da
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Old 02-21-2011   #6
Evergreen, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 5
When Are you planning on going? What are you looking for? "Jungle" tropical beaches are more on the southern part and the Country is less Americanized, Dominical south to Uvita and Ventanas, the norther Part of the Pacific and the Peninsula are Much drier, but also less crowded. I would avoid Jaco and Tamarindo proper, with kiddos, but there is so much Coastline to explore.
As per the Caribbean, travel out there is long, and that is where all the Port activities are for the Country... Limon is the only place in CR where I felt as if I had to watch my back. Are you looking for a resort, or sleepy little village?
The Dry Season is between December and May, the rainy season begins in June and get Progressively more wet until October. The Farther North you go the more extreme the "seasons" are.
I hope this was helpful, shoot me a response or PM and I can help you out further.
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Old 02-21-2011   #7
Golden, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 831
The Carribean side is inconsistent. Frequently flat. Low pressure systems, tropical depressions, hurricanes are what make surf there. Guys watch the forecast and then motor over to the Carribean side for reef break barrels... Salsa Brava. The Carribean side is something you don't want to miss because it is a completely different culture than the rest of the country but I'd save it for a long trip.

Go to the Pacific for guaranteed surf but, as other posters said, be careful about the location because of powerful surf and dangerous beaches. My taxi driver down there last time had a relative who had just drowned in the rip at Dominical.

I'd stay away from Jaco, but you can figure that one out with a few google searches. I (and every other surfer) used to start all of my CR trips in Jaco back in the late 80s, early 90s and it was a blast but it got over developed. However, I'd be curious to see Esterillos (to the south of Jaco) these days.

I'd say look around on the Nicoya Peninsula (up north). There are areas there that have some mellow surf and mellow surf almost always equals safe beaches for the family. I think you can fly direct into Liberia (up north) these days.

If you end up flying into San Jose then don't spend any days there. It is kind of dangerous and would stress me out with a family to protect. If you do need to spend a day near the airport then realize that the airport is a ways west northwest of the city of SJ (it is in Alejuela) so there is no reason to go to SJ. If you need to stay the night then find a place in the old part of Alejuela (not right by the airport). There are a few cool guest-house type places in Alejuela that are in neighborhoods where you can walk around with the family to find a restaurant.

Basic safety tips apply for CR. Don't drive at night, don't walk around the big cities at night, don't leave a single item of value in your car unattended. Don't stop if someone rear-ends your car... keep driving until you find a cop. A friend of mine and his buddy got rear-ended near sunset and he stopped and thus began a nightmare. I'll tell you about it some day. The bad guys had guns and my friend and his buddy ended up naked in a remote mountain jungle at night. This is the same guy who was in a plane crash with one of those small regional Costa Rican airlines (those small planes in the jungle mountains are scary as shit and dangerous too... I can tell you a few horror stories bout them some day too).
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Old 02-21-2011   #8
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steamboat Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
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I just landed from 2 weeks in Costa, I do not have alot of time to type now but you want to got to sumara on the nicoya penninsula. Check out a place called the tree house inn.
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Old 02-21-2011   #9
Denver, Colorado
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Thanks for the info folks!

Naked in the jungle sounds like a crazy story Ture!
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Old 02-22-2011   #10
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Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 297
I recommend Hotel Mi Tierra in Alajuela just ourside of San Jose if you need a place after you land and before your return flight home. They are awesome folks, 5 min from airport and have a clean, secure, well-run place. They speak english and can help with travel logistics as well. Ask for Roberto Cacho and tell him "Patty from Colorado" sent you. They will even pick you up from the airport, can rent you a car and give tons of suggestions. Click here: Hotel Mi Tierra . They are awesome with email communications as well.

I have done both both sides of the coasts and 100% hands-down prefer the Caribbean side. Only 2 hours from San Jose and gorgeous. I enjoyed Dominical a great deal and also Jaco Beach was a fabulous experience for my husband and myself on our honeymoon (Dec 2010). Lots of fun stuff to do! Surfing, zip lines,, fun, fun!

Feel free to IM me if you would like any more help.


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