The first day of my stay in Playa Brasilito dawned brightly and I couldn’t wait to get out on the white-sand beach. It was quite early and I found no one else strolling the stretch of more than a mile—the beach was often virtually deserted throughout my stay—but in the distance three horses carried riders into a mangrove-lined path. I marveled at the gentle waves lapping in to shore and picked up my favorites from the thousands of perfect spiral shells that are so plentiful in that part of Costa Rica.
Brasilito is one of the smaller beach communities along the Guanacaste Gold coast, on the northern Pacific stretch of the country. It has a funky vibe, brimming with character and sports a brightly painted welcome sign at the crossroads, which lets you know you’ve arrived in a rockin’ little town.
Its nearest neighbor, Playa Conchal, is an easy 10-minute walk down the beach and it houses the very essence of sophistication: The Westin Golf Resort, an all-inclusive, where rooms start at over $400 a person per night. The beach in front of this five-star resort is open to the public and offers snorkeling and some fun activities; like riding an inflated banana boat with other screaming passengers behind a jet-ski around the cove.
While Brasilito is a typical small village, a much larger town—Tamarindo, the hub of local tourism with lots of services and entertainment options—is within easy reach at just 13 miles away. There are small tiendas (mini-markets) available in Brasilito proper, but for the large grocery stores, Tamarindo is the place.
Fresh seafood and local fruits—mangos and mamones (of which there are several varieties)—are available at very reasonable prices. The cost of dining out here is about the same cost as eating in a chain restaurant in the U.S., but the atmosphere and food, in the slightly more fashionable bistros of Brasilito, are definitely a step up. Tiki’s offered terrific ceviche, fish tacos, and a Pina Colada for $12, and the best entree I’ve had in years was a portabella and mozzarella quiche, specially prepared by a French chef for $9 at The Spot.
Healthcare is available at very reasonable prices in Tamarindo, with a typical doctor’s office visit costing around $50. Many expats don’t worry much about health insurance and just pay out of pocket. Medications run well below the cost in the U.S., for instance insulin pens are just 35% of the Walmart price.
There is a local expat community, and affordable housing. If you dream of owning your own bistro, perhaps you’d love the beachside restaurant currently for sale, which comes with a small two-bedroom home for $270,000. Or is purchasing a half-acre lot for $65,000 and building your own home the right choice for you? Perhaps a contemporary style home in a gated community with a lovely pool and extensive covered terraces for $160,000 is more your style.
Rentals? There are at least a dozen realty offices to help you find the right rental—everything from a studio apartment for $200 a month to a fully equipped executive home for $1,000 monthly.
Brasilito is certainly a destination that I would consider coming back to stay in for good. It’s a laidback, affordable beach town to settle in for a supremely relaxed retirement…an unpolished jewel among several sparkling seaside villages.
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