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Costa Rica: Beaches and Boats

Updated: May 5, 2023

Day 3 : Beaches and Boats

We enjoyed breakfast in Coco at a cute coffee shop and café. Guayoyo Coffee House was easy to find, had loads of parking, and both the food and coffee were excellent.

We had planned to spend our morning on Conchal Beach. However, the 9-mile drive was going to take us more than an hour according to our Waze app. We had afternoon reservations for a catamaran snorkeling trip so a quick google search led us to Secrets Papagayo Resort. We used the beach as “walk-in” guests.

As walk-in guests, we did not have access to the amenities or pool. We also had to park our vehicle along the entry road to the resort and literally walk into the resort through the gates. Once inside, the resort was beautifully landscaped. We enjoyed walking a short distance to the black sand beach. The beach was mostly empty so we picked a spot, spread out our gear, and read with our feet in the sand. If planning to spend the whole day at the resort, it is an option to purchase a one-day pass which I believe includes the access to the amenities.

We have no relationship with the resort or the World of Hyatt. These are just my opinions based on our experience. More information can be found here.

Secrets® Papagayo Costa Rica all-inclusive resort offers 202 rooms and suites with stunning views of lush gardens or the Gulf of Papagayo. These feature a private furnished terrace or balcony, a king-size bed or two double beds and a spacious bathroom with shower. Indulge in an array of international cuisine at seven of the best restaurants in Papagayo, including four serving a la carte, a buffet venue, a poolside grill, and a café - reservations are never required. Or sneak away for a romantic meal in your suite or on the beach. 24-hour dining options allow guests to enjoy late night bites at the Coco Café. Or stay in and order room service directly to your luxury suite.

After our relaxing morning on the beach, we headed to Playa del Coco for our Catamaran cruise. Our experience Marlin del Ray Catamaran Snorkel Sunset Cruise included lunch, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, snorkeling, and a 4-hour cruise. The crew was great! The catamaran was licensed for 70 people and it was filled! We were lucky to be on the second group ferried to the boat so we had a prime spot. We recommend arriving early to ensure you are on the first or second boat leaving the shore for the catamaran.

The snorkeling wasn’t the best we have experienced but the water was refreshing and we did see a puffer fish! Everything needed to snorkel was provided (and sanitized). However, my husband does require prescription goggles. We ordered them here. With an uploaded copy of his prescription, it was easy to order. The goggles shipped the same day and were delivered at our home within just a few days of placing the order. While we used the snorkeling gear provided, we saw many people using this type of mask/gear. We returned to shore just as the sun was setting and it was spectacular!

A quick shower at the Airbnb then we headed out for dinner at Ginger in Playa Hermosa. It was a lovely outdoor setting with fun cocktails and delicious tapas on the menu.

Know Before You Go:

  • Book your Catamaran Trip online. You can book the cruise we enjoyed here.

  • Be early to the meeting spot so you can be on the first or second ferry to the catamaran. This ensures you will get to choose the best spot for your crew for the adventure.

  • Take full advantage of my love of travel and planning skills, connect with me here to book your travel and/or free quote for my planning services.

What Was in Our Beach Bag:

o Beach Bag

o Flip Flops for her

o Flip Flops for him

o Beach Towel

o Beach Hat

o Sunblock

o Swimsuit for Her

o Cover-up for Her

o Swimsuit for Him

o Swim Shirt for Him

o Water Bottle

o Protective Waterproof Phone Case

o Personal snorkeling gear

o Prescription snorkeling eye gear

o Motion sickness bands

When to Go:

In our opinion, Guanacaste is best visited in the dry season, December through mid-May. Tourists during the rainy season can save dollars with discounted lodging but may loose half of their day to heavy rainfall.

Is Guanacaste Safe?

Yes. Guanacaste is considered safe for tourists.

Getting Around:

We recommend using a rental car or car service. While most tourist destinations do not require 4WD vehicles, some Airbnb and vacation rentals have private roads or driveways that do recommend using 4WD. Be sure to check carefully if this type of vehicle is needed for your rental. We found the Waze app to be consistently easier to use to navigate from one destination to another.

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