The Perfect Place For an Afternoon of Food, Drink, and Sunshine on the Beach

I’m looking over the deep blue Pacific. Fisherman with nets wade out into the shallows, flinging them periodically to catch bait fish. There’s not a cloud in the sky, and the water, with the sun high in the sky around lunchtime, glitters with light. Here on the northern Pacific coast, it’s the sunniest part of the country.

The place is Brasilito, a tiny village by the sea. It’s low-key and untouched by large-scale tourism. There is a luxury all-inclusive resort just outside of town. But the guests rarely leave the grounds. What’s left are a few small hotels and open-air restaurants catering to the few foreign visitors. There’s also a healthy expat population in the surrounding area. Most expats here, including a large number of Canadian retirees, live in the enclave of Playa Flamingo and the residential community of Playa Potrero. Many have homes in the hills with panoramic ocean views. A three-bedroom home in Potrero, a short walk to the beach, is listed now at $99,500. For a luxury two- or three-bedroom condo with an ocean view in Flamingo, prices start around $200,000.

Only a 30-minute drive on good roads from my home in Tamarindo to the south, Brasilito is one of my favorite places to grab a seafood lunch. It’s very tranquil and there’s never a crowd. When the weekend comes and Tamarindo fills with visitors, it’s an escape.

There are several restaurants, especially popular with Tico tourists and locals, right on the water in Brasilito. From the soccer field (every Costa Rican town has one), you head north along the beach to find them. Just be careful you don’t go too far and get stuck in the soft sand off the main route.

I like to stop at the Indira Bar and Restaurant. It’s in a rustic building that could use a paint job. But they have the coldest beer in town…$2 for a frosty bottle of Pilsen. And the owner is super-friendly. He joins me briefly when I sit down by the open window, watching the waves. He points to a small boat just offshore tied up and bobbing in the swell. “That’s my boat. I went fishing this morning…there’s grouper and snapper on the menu today.” It’s $10 for a nice fish filet, salad, rice, and beans. I recommend the ceviche too—$3 for a heaping bowl.

The restaurant next door is also worth a visit. The tables are set right on the sand and a wind-whipped canopy provides shade. The tide seems like it’s going to sweep through but always stop just short. Here you have an even better view of the beach, which is virtually empty. A few people ride by on horseback. A couple walks hand-in-hand. A family lounges in the shade of a tree, kids playing in the shallows.

The stereo alternates between reggae and Latin styles like cumbia, salsa, and bachata. The tropical heat is tempered by the sea breeze and the cold beers. It’s not a bad way to spend an afternoon.

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