We stayed here twice on our trip. Two days in the middle and back again for four days at the end. It was the place we wanted to return to, even after all the other great places we'd been (Tamarindo, Santa Teresa/Mal Pais, Manuel Antonio, La Fortuna) Our first impression was one of the staff, Johnny greeting us with nice big glasses of cold water...perfect after a hot dusty ride/walk. He was very helpful and kind. Justin was really great. Laid back and very helpful, he was able to take care of getting us larger room and getting travel arrangements taken care off. There's a good surf shop in the back that he runs too. We really liked the warm, old wood and funky tropical surfer/beach vibe this place had. Rooms, as have been described before are very basic and clean (no TV, radio, clock) with beautifully worn and patinaed old wood walls and floor. Bathrooms are nicely tiled and the AC and ceiling fans work just fine. Hot water was a bit elusive, but not really necessary when it's 80+F. True, that the walls are a bit thin, but most everyone goes to sleep early, to get up early and get out on the beach to run, surf, chill. The pool is small but clean and a good place to relax in/around and the WiFi signal is good and reaches throughout. (All in all, one of the best "deals" that we ran across in Costa Rica, a more expensive country than say Honduras, Nicaragua or Guatemala.)
Lynne, who runs the RAW juice bar is great and makes terrific smoothies and nut/seed/fruit bars. The Chamba Chai Latte with banana and a chocolate peanut bar were my favorites. I can't vouch for the restaurant as it was just starting a new chef when we were there, but I've heard that they make some great brick oven pizzas.
There are only about 4 other places along the dusty gravel road that the PGI is on. The MarBar (at the funky tropical Marejada Inn next door, has some great drinks (dark and stormy - home made ginger beer and For de Cana, Nicaraguan rum!) tasty food and very nice people running it. The tuna tacos are awesome. The RipJack Inn, a few doors down, has some great food as well.
Playa Grande itself (the beach) is just a hundred yards down a small sandy path through the woods. A long beautiful strip with practically nothing built on or near it. Miles of wide soft sandy beach, with few people, great waves to surf (careful of the riptides if you're swimming), lots of great seashells and terrific sunsets. Nice and clean. There are Howler monkeys in the trees, lots of local birds and one of the best things of all is that it is all with the boundaries of Las Baulas National Marine Park...where protected Leatherback and Ridley turtles come onshore to lay their eggs at certain times of the year.
Easy to get to (Liberia airport is an hour away and about US $25 o/w per person by van/shuttle) If you're really up for a hike, take the shuttle to the top of Tamarindo, near the estuary, hire a boat to take you across (US $3) and then walk the mile and half north to the PGI)
Definitely a place we will come back to whenever we are in CR.
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