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Trip List by Dina D

3 Places to Visit in Costa Rica - if you have a week to spend in Playas del Coco

Aug 3, 2010  Travel to Costa Rica. A lot.
4.5 of 5 stars based on 1 vote

If you only have about a week to spend in Playas del Coco, these 3 activities should be on the top of your priority list.

  • Explore locations featured in this Trip List: Arenal Volcano National Park, Rincon de La Vieja
  • Category: Other
  • Traveler type: Sightseeing, Active/Outdoors, Beachgoers
  • Appeals to: Couples/romantics, Singles, Families with teenagers, Seniors, Active/adventure, Tourists
  • 1. Arenal Volcano National Park
    Arenal Volcano National Park, Province of Alajuela

    If you can only take one tour during your stay in Playas del Coco, Arenal volcano should be on the top of your priority list. I would suggest to book a hotel for one night, and split the trip in the following manner.

    Start the day early by driving towards Arenal, potentially stopping on the way to go on a hiking tour of the hanging bridges. The tour should not take you longer than an hour and a half, so you will be in Arenal by late afternoon. After checking in to the hotel, enjoy the natural thermal experience of the Tabacon Resort. If you are lucky (like we were), you will be able to witness lava flowing down the slopes of Arenal while having a drink in the pool.

    The morning of the second day you can hike in the hills of Arenal, and then head back to Coco in the afternoon. The drive will take you about 4 hours one way, so plan to be back in Coco by the evening.

  • 2. Rincon de La Vieja National Park
    Rincon de La Vieja, Province of Guanacaste

    Rincon de la Vieja is a beautiful park where you can enjoy a variety of activities depending on your goal for the day. It is located a couple of hours drive from Playas del Coco, so it can be easily done in one day. Once you arrive, there are three main options that will set the course of your day.

    You can take a 2-and-a-half-hour hike during which you will pass by a waterfall, see volcano geysers, and spot many species of Costa Rican birds and howler monkeys in their natural habitat.

    You can also book a horseback riding tour. These range in their length and difficulty, but primarily take you through the park to the three waterfalls or to the thermal waters.

    For those looking for a more relaxing day, there is Borinquen - a magnificent spa and resort complex. You can choose a massage or another one of their pampering treatments, or just get access to the grounds to use their sulfur mud treatment - available directly out of wooden crates for all to use. The main building of the complex houses a restaurant where lunches and suppers are served.

    You can also combine these 3 options, especially if you arrive to the park relatively early; and hike or ride in the morning, while spending the afternoon at the spa. On your way back to Playas del Coco, you will most likely witness the idyllic landscape of the sun setting over the horizon, while you will be following the serpentine mountainous road back home.

  • 3. Beach Hopping (Tamarindo and the coast)

    Although Golfo de Papagayo is a picturesque area in its own right, it is important to try and experience the rich diversity of Costa Rican landscapes.

    The country's beaches are numerous, and what's even more interesting, different: both in terms of the color of their sands and their general atmosphere.

    It would therefore be recommended to rent a car one day, and follow the map along the Pacific coast to witness some of these beaches. You can start your day at Playa La Penca, then have lunch in Brasilito (Trattoria Il Forno serves great pizza), to spend the afternoon in Playa Conchal (where, as the name suggests, the beach is made out of crushed seashells).

    Finally you can watch the sunset while having drinks or supper in Tamarindo, to be back to Coco by late evening. During this day you will not only get a glimpse of the different beaches, but you will also go through many villages and towns on your way.