Costa Rica is blessed with an incredible range and diversity of natural settings packed into some 51 thousand square kilometers, lined with beautiful beaches kissed by two oceans, and characterized by a pura vida attitude in what many consider to be one of the world’s greenest countries. First time visitors can be overwhelmed with the choices, should you visit the volcanoes, trek into the forests that disappear into the clouds, seek out the huge waterfalls and wild rivers, bathe in the thermal waters, go rafting, windsurfing, snorkeling, kayaking, mountain biking, fishing, surfing or just chill on the beach? This was our second trip so we knew that after our dental visit we wanted to head straight to the Pacific beaches and then to Manuel Antonio National Park.
The Pacific beaches are just amazing. Many people head to Jaco, a funky little surf town less than two hours from San Jose. We were looking for something a little more sedate and isolated so we passed Jaco and stayed at Playa Bejuco. Our hotel was some 800 meters off the highway down a gravel road. From the hotel to the beach was less than 100 meters. I cannot find adequate words to describe the beach. Amazing, incredible, beautiful, and any number of other adjectives fail to capture the chocolate sand beaches of Playa Bejuco. Look at a few of our photos and perhaps you will have some adjectives that better capture the feeling of being on this beach and literally taking sole possession of this wonderful Pacific beachfront.
For many people, Playa Bejuco would be absolutely boring: nothing to do, no nightlife, no people on the beach, and no vendors. We loved it! I must admit that we did venture into Jaco to see if the town lived up to its hype. Lonely Planet writes that “despite its more off-putting features, it’s impossible to deny Jaco’s good side, which put it on the map in the first place: the sweeping beauty of the beach, the consistently fine surf and the lush tropical backdrop.” We did like the small cafes and restaurants but found the beach to be dirty, crowded, and uninviting. Better surfing can be found in several other locations along the coast. Enjoy a meal here and keep going.
Leaving Jaco we enjoyed enjoy the views along Highway 34 on the way to Playa Bejuco. The view of Playa Hermosa was like a National Geographic photo come to life. Standing on the cliff above the beach we could only see two surfers along the entire strand of beach and no swimmers or sun bathers.
It would have been easy to spend our entire time on the beach but we had heard so much about Manuel Antonio National Park that we also wanted to spend part of our time there as well. Come back tomorrow for a visit with monkeys, parrots, sloths, iguanas and a visit to some white sand beaches.