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Best area to stay on Pacific Coast

Cleveland
Level Contributor
38 posts
Best area to stay on Pacific Coast

I would like advice on which area on the Pacific coast is best for a family with two teenagers? Should we choose Manuel Antonio, the Nicoya Peninsula, the Osa Peninsula, or somewhere else? We want a beautiful and swimmable beach (water not too rough), not touristy, a "local" experience, and a hotel that is a bit more upscale than average. Not an all-inclusive, but good food accessible. Can you also recommend hotels?

Thank you.

Chicago, Illinois
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
Level Contributor
11,027 posts
23 reviews
1. Re: Best area to stay on Pacific Coast

The Osa peninsula is best for wildlife not beaches. There are some beach inns outside Puerto Jimenez but they face the Golfo Dulce not the Pacific and I don't think that's what you're looking for in any case.

Manuel Antonio is a beautiful area. The beach inside the national park is very scenic and swimmable. The beach outside the park entrance is fun to hang out on but can be dangerous to swim at times (riptides). Nearly all the hotels in this area are on a ridge road overlooking the ocean, not within walking distance of the public beach. Several of the pricier properties have small beaches but they're a very steep hike down the hill from the rooms. In any case you asked for "not touristy" and Manuel Antonio is probably the most frequently visited beach in the country. Development is low-rise but the area is also full of tourists.

If you look at the Nicoya peninsula your best bet might be Samara, which has a good beach for swimming, limited development and a few good places to stay. Check out reviews for Punta Islita, the luxury property in the area which meets most of your criteria but I don't know if the teenagers would enjoy it. Also check reviews for the Hotel Esperanza which is not a luxury property but is a great spot for families in the same general area.

Good luck planning!

St. albert,Alberta
Level Contributor
921 posts
63 reviews
2. Re: Best area to stay on Pacific Coast

I agree with Samara.....beautiful and safe swimming beach, beginner to intermediate surfing if your teens are into it (also 2 surf schools right on the beach)

The town is small and not too touristy but does have some nice restaurants. We loved Villas Kalimba. Its across the street from the beach, has a nice pool and the staff and owner are fabulous. They make you feel like family. Don't miss it if Roberto (the owner) is cooking!!

Cleveland
Level Contributor
38 posts
3. Re: Best area to stay on Pacific Coast

Samara sounds great. How does it compare with Nosara? Friends who just got back recommended The Harmony Hotel there.

Cleveland
Level Contributor
38 posts
4. Re: Best area to stay on Pacific Coast

I would lke to thank crfan and trippeck for responding to my post.

California
Level Contributor
508 posts
1 review
5. Re: Best area to stay on Pacific Coast

I like Nosara much better than Samara and the Harmony Hotel is nice. I've rented houses from Harbor Reef that were nice also. Hotel Punta Islita is great. Expensive but great. They have their own zip lines and many activities that teens would enjoy.

Cleveland
Level Contributor
38 posts
6. Re: Best area to stay on Pacific Coast

Thank you. Harmony is now booked, so I have contacted Harbor Reef.

7. Re: Best area to stay on Pacific Coast

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