When I wake up in the morning to the sounds of green parrots squawking and howler monkeys growling, I know it’s going to be a hot day. There’s no need to look up the forecast: Living on the North Pacific coast in Costa Rica means a longer dry season with persistent sunny days.
It’s been over six months since it has rained here in our little town of Playas del Coco so everyone is waiting for it to come to get some relief from the heat.
The nice thing about dry season is that we never have to worry about rain spoiling our beach days. Sometimes my boyfriend, Yeison, and I will get in our car and drive around, on the search for the lesser-known beaches. Both tourists and locals flock to Coco, so sometimes it gets a bit crowded, but one of the reasons why we love this area so much is that we’ve stumbled onto some of the most pristine and postcard perfect beaches hidden from tourists’ eyes.
Not to say Coco isn’t pretty—in fact, it’s quite beautiful even in the rainy season with lush forests and green rolling hills enveloping the almost 2-mile-long beach. Along the trail running parallel to the beach, you’ll see a few restaurants and houses and cabinas here and there, all boasting a full view of the water. Locals are commonly seen fishing from shore, having picnics on the grass, or engaging in an exciting game of futbol (soccer).
The most northern end of Coco beach is my favorite spot since there are usually less people and you get a spectacular view of the sunset. When it comes to about 5.30 p.m., you’ll see everyone on the beach stop what they’re doing to pull out their camera. On a good night, the sunset and sky is truly stunning.
For a small town, there’s a lot going on in Coco. Tourists wander lazily around the main street, browsing the souvenir shops during the day and trying to get used to the heat, so when the sun goes down, the town really comes alive. Tourists, expats, and locals fill up the bars and restaurants enjoying the cool, evening breeze and happy-hour prices. Bars blast their music, seemingly trying to out-do one another. On certain nights, visitors can enjoy karaoke, movie night, or live music at the establishments.
Though cost of living is considered higher in this part of the country, you can still find places to rent for decent prices. As many of the foreigners who visit Coco are retired North Americans, or “snowbirds,” you can easily find condos for short- or long-term rent in the most popular complexes. Snowbirds prefer to live as close to the beach as possible; one of the most popular neighborhoods, Las Palmas, is just a two-minute walk away. A loft or a two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo can start at $400 a month not including utilities. Homes on the beach or in the hills with ocean views start at around $1,000.