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About the Parrita Area and the nearest beach: Playa Palo Seco.
Overview: Parrita became the 9th canton (county/municipality) of the province of Puntarenas on July 6th, 1971. Its only district carries the same name. Its three largest communities are La Julieta (commercial center), Parrita Centro and Pueblo Nuevo. La Julieta and Parrita Centro lie on each side of the old converted railroad bridge build in the 40s on the main coastal highway between Jaco and Quepos (a new two-lane concrete bridge which runs pararell to the old bridge, was built in 2009). There are two banks with ATM machines. There are also 3 full-service grocery stores, 3 hardware/building supply stores, 3 major appliance & furniture stores, about a dozen restaurants with great food at prices much below those in Jaco or Quepos. It has less commercial tourism than the nearby towns of Jaco and Quepos. Crime rates are still low compared to other tourist towns. Most people feel very safe in this town. Tourists visiting Parrita often walk with tranquility up and down the streets when shopping, banking and dining at local restaurants. Likewise on the nearby beach Palo Seco it is not unusual to see tourists take 2 to 4 mile walks alone without fear.
Beaches: The closest and longest continuous beach is Playa Palo Seco. Coming from Jaco, go across the old large bridge (or the new bridge) and take the second road to the right. It is a good paved road all the way to the beach. The first part of the road goes through a residential section of Parrita Centro and the adjoining community of Pueblo Nuevo. As you follow the signs to Playa Palo Seco, you pass through some palm plantations along the road which runs parallel to the river until you go across a short one-lane bridge which is the entrance to the island of Playa Palo Seco. At the end of the paved road most of the island is to the left which will be the southeast side of the island. The island is about 6 miles long and the beach road is sand and rock like many rural roads in Costa Rica. There are 3 hotels and 1 B&B on this beach island. They are Hotel La Isla, Timarai, Cabinas La Tranquilidad, and Beso del Viento B&B. Cabinas La Tranquilidad and Timarai are the newest of the 3 hotels, and are located near the Estuary Inlet. This end of the beach also has the widest part of the estuary (or "sound"). Each of these hotels has their own unique character and offers a nice variety of lodging choices. This island beach is only recently being discovered by North American tourists. It is very peaceful and un-crowded. The beach has no rock outcrops only soft gray volcanic sands. There are many sand dollars and naturally polished semi-precious stones on the beach. This is especially true between Cabinas La Tranquilidad and the inlet at the far end of the island. The mangroves estuary is teaming with lots of wildlife including monkeys, iguanas, alligators and many species of birds. There is also great Red Snapper fishing from small boats in the estuary as well as great surf fishing for Snook and Roosterfish.
Other nearby beaches include La Palma (also known as La Bandera), Bejuco, Esterillos (Oeste, Centro and Este) to the North-West, and Isla Damas to the South-East, but by far, Palo Seco is the most convenient to Parrita.
Parrita is still an important center for agriculture. It is emerging as a center for tourism, but still retains its small town "Tico" personality. The principal agricultural crop is now African oil palm with hundreds if not thousands of acres in nearby plantations. Most of these areas were formerly in banana plantations. There is also a substantial acreage in rice and vegetable crops, without mentioning the large extensions of land being cultivated with cantaloupe, honey-dew and water-melon during the summer season. Teak plantations are also quite plentiful and have reached the age for harvest in some areas which is providing a new source of employment for the community.