Turks & Caicos is still our favorite travel destination but Costa Rica comes in at a close second. We spent 7 days driving and exploring the Pacific Coast and quickly realized more time was needed. There is so much to see and do. Hang at the beach, surf, white water raft, hike through the rainforest to a waterfall. It’s easy to embrace the Pura Vida lifestyle. This story is for those who are interested in traveling to Costa Rica, especially the remoter parts of the country less accessible to the masses. We rented a car after landing in Liberia and drove south to Santa Teresa, Playa Hermosa and the Osa Peninsula. Much of our trip was unplanned and figured out on the fly, which is how we like to travel. Our suitcase was packed with our OKAICOS trunks, tees, and hats which is all you need to get lost in and explore this amazing country.
Santa Teresa: From the Liberia Airport, we drove two hours south to Santa Teresa, the first stop on our trip. Santa Teresa is located on the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula and is famous for surfing and a relaxed, trendy vibe. If traveling here via car, we recommend four wheel drive as many of the roads are gravel and rocky. There are numerous accommodation options for every type of traveler including small hotels, villas and AirBnB's. We stayed at the Fuego Lodge, conveniently located right in town and across the street from the beach. We recommend the Fuego Lodge for your stay as the property was beautiful, modern and facility overall nice. Santa Teresa is known as an up and coming, trendy surf destination. The beach is great, however, there are a number of restaurants, bars and cafes to check out. We recommend Zwart Art Cafe for a smoothie or bowl for breakfast and/or lunch. For dinner, El Falcon was our favorite and not to be missed. Sunsets here are also an event, so head to the beach late in the afternoon and enjoy the show.
Playa Hermosa: Our next stop was Playa Hermosa, 15 minutes south of Jaco along Carretera (Spanish for highway) 34. To cross the Gulf of Nicoya, we loaded our car and took the ferry from Paquera to Punta Arenas (Paquera is an hour and a half drive from Santa Teresa). Once in Punta Arenas, we continued south along Carretera 34 for another hour. You can't miss Playa Hermosa. Like many coastal Costa Rican towns, Playa Hermosa is best known for...you guessed it...surf. Out of all of our stops, we spent the least time exploring Playa Hermosa and more time enjoying our AirBnB with views of the water. However, Playa Hermosa is a great pit stop to take a break from driving and watch the surf.
Osa Peninsula: From Playa Hermosa, we followed Carretera 34 south three hours to this remote jungle escape, the final stop on our trip. Careterra 34 runs right along the Pacific Cost, weaving in and out of small towns, beaches, and mountainous jungle side. There are plenty of opportunities to explore but we drove straight through. The Osa Peninsula is a very remote part of Costa Rica. We arrived in Puerto Jimenez, a sleepy fishing village, around 8:00pm during total darkness. Not much was open and we luckily came across a restaurant called Pizza Mail (surprisingly good pizza for the middle of the jungle). As we conversed with the owner, he recommended Cabinas Jimenez for lodging. A nice place with friendly staff and everything you need for a comfortable one-night stay. In Osa, we were excited to explore. Keep in mind, much of the peninsula is covered in jungle as part of Corcovado National Park. There are countless hikes, beaches and surf to check out. It's not unusual to spot scarlet macaws flying overhead or howler monkeys hanging from trees. We spent most of our time off-roading, watching surf at Matapalo Beach and hiking King Louie. King Louie is a three-tiered waterfall with water ascending +75 feet at its highest tier. This was by far the best part of the entire trip. The hike to the waterfall was a challenge to find with only a creek to follow upstream. However, the locals are friendly and happy to assist should you need direction. We wore our OKAICOS to put the performance, stretch materials to use and enjoyed every second. Travel tip: four wheel drive is needed to explore the Osa Peninsula.
We ended our trip driving north back to Liberia, about a four hour drive. As you can tell from the above, there is almost too much to do and we are excited to go back. Headed to Costa Rica and have questions about your trip that we can help answer? Email email@example.com for assistance.