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Playas del Coco not for families

Highlands Ranch...
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Playas del Coco not for families

Just came back from Playas del Coco and I would not recommend this for a family trip. While my favorite people here, Tomato of Tomato Adventures, Heiner at Las Olas de Papagayo restaurant and Omar at Cafe de Playa made our trip very special (2 adult couples), the town is really just bars and restaurants and 1 casino. It also has many souvenir shops that stock the same things.

The beach is okay (it is dark sand and some people find it dirty) of which we did not. Other than Cafe de Playa where you can sit out on their lounge chairs (you need to buy at least one drink and should as the sand is hot and lounge chairs are really a requirement) there are other areas that would have more activities for the kids and better beaches to frolick in. Tamarindo may be better or an All Inclusive somewhere where there are structured activities for the family. With that said, Tomato from Tomato Adventures arranged phenomenal snorkeling and fishing trips where we were picked up right in front of Cafe de Playa, All of our other tours were 1 to 4 hours away so making Coco your base is not necessary.

Adults who want to drink and eat and have a great bar scene, complete with loud music, hookers and pimps soliciting,with occasional trips to the Casino (although I would not trust the payouts of any slots there, the cash poker game for a $20 buyin was fun), than this is a great place to take a vacation.

If you want peace, quiet and more family style activities, I would think of going someplace else.

Just my $.02

Pura Vida

Costa Rica
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11. Re: Playas del Coco not for families

If you click on my name next to one of my posts, you can send me a private message through Trip Advisor. I will help you if I can.

Chantilly, Virginia
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12. Re: Playas del Coco not for families

Thanks to all of you who provided input on the beach areas. After extensive looking at VRBOs in different areas as far south as Tamarindo, I have found a few properties that I really like - one in Playa Ocotal and a couple in Playa Flamingo.

The one in Playa Ocotal is probably my favorite as far as the layout, views, accommodations go (also would be nice to have 3 BR vs. 2 BR) - great reviews and I've spoken to the homeowner by phone and she has been very helpful. My only concern is that the beach area may not be as nice as in Playa Flamingo, however, I also read a lot of reviews from people who were in Flamingo at Christmas time and it was very crowded so it might be nice to check out other beaches during the day and then retreat to a quieter place. We don't really want to be wall-to-wall people/crowds but wondering if there would be more to do and entertain our kids in Flamingo.

Playa Ocotal - 3 BR Villa in located in the Bahia Pez Vela "resort" - 40 3 BR unitss, has a private beach area (small and darker sand) and restaurant onsite

Playa Flamingo - 2 BR condo with hotel amenity privileges at Flamingo Marina Resort (not sure that is a big deal or not - they say they have a basketball court which my boys would enjoy) and another 2 or 3 BR unit at Oceanica condo building - neither is walking distance to the beach

Still researching activities but these sound interesting while we are in N. Guanacaste area

1) Hacienda Guachipelin Adventure Tour

2) Tenario Volcano NP - Rio Celeste - Hanging Bridges - Las Pumas (not sure if this all works together or not!)

3) Sail/Catamaran Trip

4) Check out different beaches - maybe drive down to Tamarindo one day

5) Had thought about day trip to Nicaragua (but now not sure after reading other posts - it doesn't sound like it would be that easy to do an overnight either)

6)Take time to just Relax

Thinking Ocotal might be a better base for and closer to our activities but not really sure how far apart Ocotal & Flamingo are....?

I know this original post was saying Coco was not for families but I think I'm OK with Coco being the closest town if we can easily reach others too and wanted to post my question in this thread since I had gotten so many replies.

The homeowner in Ocotal just contacted me to let me know she had another inquiry for Christmas week so I need to get back to her quickly and would appreciate your thoughts/input on Ocotal vs. Flamingo.

Costa Rica
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13. Re: Playas del Coco not for families

Here's some food for thought:

1. Flamingo is about 1.75 hours from Liberia

Playas del Coco/Ocotal is about 45 minutes from Liberia

So easier to get to some of the things you are interested in, including Rincon de la Vieja, Guachipelin, Tenorio and Las Pumas - you save about two hours each of these trips if you are staying in Ocotal.

2. Flamingo has easy access to some other beach towns and beaches including Potrero, Brasilito and Playa Conchal.

3. Christmas week is going to be busy anywhere.

All in all, I would vote for Ocotal. The beach is beautiful, it's a quiet place but with easy access to Playas del Coco for nightlife or shopping or activities. Plus - closer to your "mountain/volcano" experiences.

Chantilly, Virginia
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14. Re: Playas del Coco not for families

Thanks Hattie - that is kind of what I was thinking that Ocotal would be a more convenient location for exploration and save us some drive time. Just didn't know how much - a couple of hours on a couple of days is enough time to make a difference!

Fonthill, Ontario...
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15. Re: Playas del Coco not for families

We spent last Christmas with a group of 10 (age 17 - 77) at Bahia Pez Vela, just beside Playa Ocotal. We rented two three-bedroom villas, side by side, right on the beach. Great snokeling, beautiful (albeit smaller) beach and great restaurtant on-site (Picante) if you don't want to cook in your villa. Cesar and Allison in the office are amazing - arranged tours, beach bonfire, massage on the beach. On low tide you can walk around the point to Playa Ocotal, Father Rooster's is the best for dinner. Also, had a spectacular day with Alamaco Tours (fishing, snorkeling, tubing, beach BBQ, whale watching). Enjoy Costa Rica we had a blast!

Edited: 10:53 am, March 12, 2013
Chantilly, Virginia
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16. Re: Playas del Coco not for families

Jill B - Thanks for your input. Great to hear that your family enjoyed your stay at Bahia Pez Vela. I put down a deposit on a VRBO villa there just a couple of days ago and it feels to good to be done with my "search" for accommodations in that vicinity! I did a quick search for Alamaco Tours and couldn't find anything. Did you book the tour through Bahia Pez Vela staff? Sounds like a great tour being able to do all that in one day.

Fonthill, Ontario...
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17. Re: Playas del Coco not for families

Sorry that would be Almaco Diving, but they have many other tours besides Scuba. We did the all day Beach BBQ. You can read my review under "Almaco Diving", but our group had the most amazing day. They picked us up right on the Beach at Playa Ocotal. We saw humpback whales, four people in our group caught black fine tuna, we went snorkeling, tubing, had the most delicious lunch on a secluded beach. The boat and crew are yours for the day, you move from activity to activity as you wish.I booked the tour through their website, the other tours we did we booked through Ceasr at Pez Vela.

Donegal;PA
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18. Re: Playas del Coco not for families

A geat tour company in the Coco, Ocotal, Hermosa area is Tico Tours Guanacaste , Bernal Mata. Check it our here on trip advisor. Great recommendations and reviews right here on trip advisor. Professional, knowledgeable, comfortable transporatation, and many tour options!. Will definitely use Bernal again when we come back to this area.

19. Re: Playas del Coco not for families

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