Playas del Coco, Costa Rica

Playas del Coco, Costa Rica has been my home for over 3 months now. While it was convenience that brought me here, I have truly come to love the town. Since Playas del Coco is becoming more of a destination for travelers to Costa Rica, I wanted to make a guide on how to get here and what to do once you’re here.

How To Get Here
The easiest way to get to Playas del Coco is by flying into the Liberia (LIR) airport – most major airlines fly there from the United States. This includes budget airlines Southwest and Jetblue who compete for the lowest price and I’ve purchased roundtrip tickets from the East Coast for around $350.

To get from Coco to the airport, you can take a taxi. It will cost around $30. Or, you can walk to the bus stop – just know that’s a bit of a walk (around 1 kilometer) and can be uncomfortable with lots of luggage. You can also take a taxi to the bus stop for around $2.

Getting to Playas del Coco from San Jose is also easy – buses run from the Pulmitan station several times per day. Tickets cost around $9. Playas del Coco is the final stop.

Where to Stay

I personally have not stayed in any hotels in Coco – I stayed with friends while visiting and now have my own apartment. However, there are many options, ranging from budget hostels to luxury hotels, so I’m going to list a few that have been personally recommended by friends.

Hotel M&M. Hotel M&M is the most affordable beach-front hotel you will find in Coco. Private rooms start at $27 per night and breakfast is included. If I were going to stay somewhere in Coco, this would be my first choice.

Hotel Colono Beach. Hotel Colono Beach is located a few blocks from Coco center so it provides easy access to all of Coco while still offering a peaceful atmosphere. The rooms come A/C and hot water and there is a restaurant as well. Rooms start at $80.

Pacifico. If you’re looking for complete luxury, Pacifico is the place to be with access to their exclusive beach club and amenities. The condos are privately owned but many are available for short-term rental, especially during high season.

What to Do

Playas del Coco is a relatively small beach town but there’s still plenty to do.

Rojas Bros Borucan Art Gallery

Mask painting workshop at the Rojas Bros Borucan Art Gallery (Photo Credit – Rojas Bros)

Visit Rojas Bros Borucan Art Gallery. The Rojas Bros Borucan Art gallery is located in the Provecho restaurant directly across from the Hard Rock Cafe. The gallery features indigenous art from Boruca, a reserve in the south of Costa Rica, including masks and woven products. The owner of the gallery is from Boruca and many of the pieces are carved and painted by his family. Even if you’re not interested in taking a mask home, it’s worth stopping by just to learn about the culture and history of Boruca. They often have exhibitions with their artists so check their Facebook before your visit!

Spend an afternoon at Playa Ocatal. The beach in Coco is nice but Playa Ocatal is much better. It’s quiet and beautiful and the water is perfect for swimming. It’s about a 10 minute drive outside of Coco. A taxi costs 3,000 colones ($6) each way and you can arrange for your taxi driver to pick you up at the end of the afternoon. Father Rooster is the only restaurant in Ocatal and while the food and drinks are delicious (especially the Mai Tai), I prefer packing a picnic lunch.

Drink for free at Ladies’ Night. A benefit of having two clubs directly across from each other? They’re always trying to give visitors the better deal with an extended happy hour and drink specials. Right now this also means Ladies’ Night on two different nights of the week – Wednesday at Lizard and Thursday at Zi Lounge. (This can change so be sure to ask around!) Unlike “Ladies’ Night” in many places, the ladies usually get cocktails and/or shots for free.

Karaoke and/or live music at Coconutz. Coconutz is Coco’s main sports bar (you’ll find all major sporting events on TV here) and they frequently have live music – just check the schedule online. Wednesday night is karaoke night which can be fun even if you’re not ready to get up and sing. ‘

Catch the sunset on the beach. Watching the sunset over Coco beach is not always the easiest thing to do, thanks to the fact that Coco is in a cove and more often than not the sun ends up setting behind the mountains. Even then it’s still worth being on the beach because the sky is always beautiful but if you’re lucky enough to be there when it sets directly behind the ocean, it is absolutely spectacular.

Beach hop with Marea Alta. Marea Alta offers private boat tours to the many bays and beaches around Coco. This is the perfect opportunity to spot marine life and visit beaches you wouldn’t otherwise be easily accessible. For the more adventurous, wakeboarding and water skiing are also options and there are, of course, snacks onboard!

Where to Eat

Chorotacos. Chorotacos, located right in front of the Luperon supermarket, is my absolute FAVORITE place to eat in Coco. I’m there for lunch at least 3x per week. It’s a fast-food style restaurant with fresh, flavorful tacos and other food. The menu is limited to 4 types of tacos, taco salads, burritos, and burrito bowls and everything is delicious. I’m partial to the chicken taco salad and when I’m super hungry I get a chicken burrito bowl (which I usually end up turning into 2 meals). The Tamarindo drink is also delicious.

Provecho. Provecho, located across from the Hard Rock Cafe, is another of my favorites and if you visit the Rojas Bros Borucan Art Gallery, you should definitely eat here. The breakfast portions are huge – I usually customize an omelet or get the breakfast tacos – and while the sign says “breakfast and tapas”, most of the items on the lunch and dinner menu are full-sized meals. My favorites are the tuna tartar, chifrojs (traditional Costa Rican food!), chicken fingers and fries and the chicken cesaer salad.

Jimmy Burger. If you’re craving fast food, head to Jimmy Burger. They have a full menu of burgers, hot dogs, nachos and other comfort foods. I’ve personally only had the chicken nachos which are loaded with chicken and easily the best nachos in Coco but I’ve heard good things about the rest of the menu.

Le Coq. Le Coq is located right now to Ticoffia so grab your coffee there and then jump over to La Coq for a Mediterrean lunch. I personally love the mushroom and spinach falafel wrap.

Coconutz. For bar food, head to Coconutz. They have all of the traditional bar foods – burgers, wings, and any other fried bar food – and it’s reasonably priced. The best part of Coconutz are the swings on the main level or upstairs looking over the street. (Note – they claim to have the best pizza in Coco…they do NOT. Skip the pizza and order something else!)

La Caveja. If you want real Italian pizza and food, go to La Caveja. It’s a bit outside of Coco center but absolutely delicious. They have a full pizza menu as well as pasta and more. Their dessert menu is amazing – try the chocolate mousse for sure!

Wingas. Located next to La Caveja is the only place in Coco that you should order wings – Wingas. The wings are HUGE – 6 is more than enough for a meal. Or you can be like my friends and I and grab beer from the store across the street and eat chicken wings in the parking lot while waiting for a table at La Caveja.

For being a small town, Playas del Coco offers many options for travelers of all styles and I’m pretty happy to call it home.

Looking for more things to do in Costa Rica? Check out this 10 day itinerary!

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Guide to Playas del Coco, Costa Rica