Northwestern beaches

Back on Highway 21 the road continues its journey to the heart of the peninsula, passing roadside stalls selling distinctive Chorotega ceramics and modern interpretations of the simple, attractive designs. About 38 km south of Liberia a fork heads west, splitting again after 24 km at a junction village called Huacas to several popular beaches, heading north, west and south. To the north, the road fringes the coastline passing the beaches of Playa Conchal, Playa Brasilito, Playa Flamingo, Playa Potrero and the distant Playa Pan de AzĂșcar. Apart from Brasilito and a couple elsewhere, these beaches mainly target self-catering travellers and public transport is limited.

Heading directly west - straight ahead at Huacas - the road leads to Playa Grande and Parque Nacional Marino las Baulas de Guanacaste. It's a quiet spread-out beach area, popular with surfers, and also the main nesting site for the leatherback (baula) turtle in Costa Rica. Again, once in the area, public transport is limited so you'll either be happy to stay put in the area, or will have your own transport. There is daily boat transport from Tamarindo which is useful if you're planning a short visit to Playa Grande for a short visit.

Back at Huacas, most people head south, where the road leads to Playa Tamarindo, a one-time sleepy beach town that is now bursting at the seams. While surfing still attracts many, the place is
moving away from such bohemian ideals and a number of mid-range hotel and restaurants, appealing to a wide range of budgets, have sprung up along the strip.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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