One of the most popular ex-pat destinations in Costa Rica, Playa del Coco has an upbeat nightlife to go along with its famous sport fishing and diving tours. Empty spots are easy to find on the 4km long beach, while the town itself has some decent shopping several fine restaurants.
Most of the tours in the area are either water or eco-related, while the nearby adventure park is akin to resort tourism found around the world.
When To Visit
The dry season from December through April has a near-perfect weather pattern, where almost every day has the same, sunny, blue sky forecast. While the prices are higher and the crowds thicker, if you come to enjoy the beach or simply to be outdoors, it doesn’t get better than this.
For those looking to sport fishing in Coco, the deep waters of the Papagayo Gulf are teeming with tuna, snapper, jacks, and mackerel from May to September. Offshore fishing can be done at any time in Coco, and you’ll see many locals fishing catch their dinner near sunset.
The green season starts in May, with the floral and fauna scenery becoming lusher with every passing rainfall. The stormy weather, however, really picks up in mid-September and by October, with an average precipitation of 10-20mm per day.
How Many Days
Generally, the tourist crowd in Playas del Coco rent a condo for a week or two and use it as their base while exploring Guanacaste. Others come for the weekend parties or simply use it as a place to sleep while going offer diving or deep-sea fishing during the day.
In general, if you’re passing through, you could just explore the area during the day, and party the night away, but if you want to schedule a tour as well, it’s best to stay at least a couple of days.
In 4-5 days you can easily visit the neighboring beaches in Ocotal, Playa Hermosa, and Playa Panama, while also going canopy ziplining, diving, or deep-sea fishing and doing a little partying on top.
Location plays a key factor as to why many tourists stay in town taking diving tours from Playas del Coco. There are 14 dive sites in a short 10km radius from Playa Ocotal to Playa Hermosa with Coco being smack dab in the middle. Then there are another 8 dive sites just another short jaunt west starting from Matapolo and the Riu Guanacaste.
Day trips can also be made going south to the Catalinas Islands or north to the Bat Islands, with Playas del Coco once again being smack dab in the middle. Some of the best dive centers include Rocket Frog, Rich Coast, Summer-Salt, Sirenas, and Deep Blue.
While diving is year-round in Costa Rica, the best time to go is generally from late November through April when the visibility is roughly 18 m. When the rain comes you can still dive the Bat Islands, but this requires a dive depth of 30 m. Typical marine life sightings include whales, dolphins, sharks, turtles, rays, and seahorses.
While not as crazy as it once was 10 years ago, you can still find a decent amount of nightlife in Playas del Coco. It’s also pretty much the only real place to party when vacationing in any of the 5-start resorts or condo rentals in and around the Papagayo Golf.
Coconutz, Zi Lounge, and Bambu Beach Bar have been around for ages, and make up the suspects when grabbing a drink on the strip. Some newer entries include the delicious cocktail bar named Zarpe, the lovely Garden Bar, and The Lookout which has the best sunset view in all of Coco.
The Cafe de Playa and the Pacifico Beach Club are great places to enjoy drinks on the beach and can offer a more stylish form of nighttime entertainment. The El Coco Casino and La Flor de Itabo Casino also offer some slot games, blackjack as well as local poker tournaments.
Where To Eat
La Dolce Vita, Pacifico Beach Club, and Che Sirloin have top-notch, fine-dining menus, but can be a little pricey. Claudia y Gloria and The Lookout Restaurant as local favorites as well, with different views of the beach from close up and far away.
Toucanoos is a cheap little eatery with great happy hour deals and delicious cocktails, while Kaixo offers up numerous sandwich and small dish options which make for a great lunch.
Where to Stay
Typically, those who come to Playas del Coco for more than a weekend tend to stay in a condo vacation rental, rather than a hotel.
A quick drive through the streets of Playas del Coco, and you’d find yourself immersed in condo heaven. Houses seem to be few and far between since they’re surrounded by one condo complex after another. If you’re wanting to spend any length of time in Coco, there numerous condo rentals for you to choose from.
When renting in Playas del Coco, there are many different complexes and room types to consider. From the luxurious Pacifico and Valle del Sol gated communities to the wonderful vistas at Coco Sunset Hills and The Cove, there’s something for everyone.
Located on the hills that look down upon Playa del Coco, the luxurious Villa Buena Onda has very elegant suites and a breathtaking infinity pool overlooking the ocean.
Hotel La Puerto del Sol is a nice little oasis tucked neatly behind Laura’s B&B, whose rooms can rival the beachfront suites at the Cafe de Playa.
Villa Del Sol is a quiet, eco-sensitive boutique hotel on the outskirts of town with has a massive garden area to walk around. The Hotel M&M Beach House is a casual and affordable option in a traditional lodge-style building by the water.