Costa Rica’s pacific coast is the place to go if you are a lover of beaches. They have the white said turquoise water with waves for surfing. They also have the volcanic black sand beaches with smaller beach breaks which is are perfect for families to spend the day. Most beaches have trees for natural shade and almost all have local tico vendors selling pipa fria or cold coconuts, empanadas and other homemade snacks that have amazing flavor! One of our favorite places here is a medium sized tiki hut restaurant called Lola’s. It is right on the beach and has the best food I have tasted in not only in Costa Rica but probably anywhere AND they have a pig that wades in water and surfs the waves.
One of the beaches that feels like home is Playa Ocotal, a very small sheltered beach with black sand and very cool rays that swim in the beach break. This is where we spend most of our time while in Costa Rica, it is close, not overly crowded and relatively safe for currants and rip tides. Like any Canadian who comes south, we crave the white sand and clear waters that are usually found a bit south of Ocotal and Hermosa. Most weeks we try to take a day and find a new place to bring the kids for a day and get out beach fill. (For the record, my beach tank is never on full! I always am willing for more beach). A day a couple of weeks ago we headed north instead of south in search of a new beach to discover. We found an amazing one called Playa Cabuyal.
Playa Cabuyal is a little tricky to get to but no worse than most of the beaches around here. Usually a little hike or a bumpy drive mean you are heading the right direction and about to discover a gem. Cabuyal was no exception. It had plam trees lining the beach so there was plenty of shade on the mile long white sand. It had small waves close to shore that the kids were entertained by all afternoon. There were some rocks on the edge down by the end of the beach that are great for exploring for creatures and also make great snorkeling! As an added bonus there was a play ground and trash cans! It is close to the national park making it likely that you will see some wildlife and there is a great view of local surfing spot, Witch’s Rock.
Beware that almost all beaches in Costa Rica are public and there will be a Tico in the parking lot waiting to be paid 1000 – 2000 colones to “guard” your car. Not too steep for a day at the beach but can be a bummer if you forget cash and have to worry about the repercussions of stiffing the guy. Make sure you have a bit of cash on you to pay the persons and you don’t have to worry about vandals or petty thefts while you enjoy your day. Honestly, I am not sure how they decide who guards the cars, I am actually pretty sure that just random locals show up in the morning and try to make some cash. We have become great friends with the guy at Playa Ocotal, Jakeem. It might be Hakeem, I am not 100%.
Getting to Playa Cabuyal isn’t too tricky but you do have to drive on a neglected dirt road for 15 minutes. If you hit a random paved strip that seems out of place when it turns back into dust and rocky roads you are going in the right direction! The views are part of the reason we explore to find to new beaches! It is breathtaking.
Taking pictures at Playa Cabuyal seems so easy to get beautiful shots.