Within 10 minutes of these wonderful properties are several local corner groceries/supermarkets, Costa Rican and foreign-owned bars, restaurants, bakeries, pizzerias, B & B’s and an Internet café. Drive a bit further, and enjoy other attractions:
The nearest town is Palmar Norte/Sur, just 25 minutes to the southeast along the paved coastal highway. Because of its airport that provides the air link from San José to the area, Palmar Norte/Sur is a transportation hub for tourists, and home to about 5,000 Costa Ricans. The town is in the center of a major banana-growing region. Though not a haven of biological splendor, Palmar Norte can certainly show you a good time. Music from stores fills the streets and when the air is clear, the views of the surrounding forested mountains provide a hint of the wonderful natural beauty the region has to offer.
In the small shopping center across the Interamerican Highway you can check your e-mail and get money. The Banco Popular has a 24hr ATM and cashes traveler's checks. The largest supermarket in town, Mega store, has most things one might desire. Other services include fast Internet connections in the shopping center and the post office. Bar/Restaurante Las Tinajas serves inexpensive meals and has a large TV. Palmar is home to many Chinese immigrants and offers some fairly decent Chinese food. One local favorite is Restaurante Chan Jeng. Sporting a cheesy tropical decor but offering a good selection of authentic Tico food and drink is the Bar/Restaurante La Puente.
Just down the road along the coastal highway is Playa Ventana, a breathtaking local beach. Palm trees line the edge of the beach with cliffs on each side covered with jungle. You can see Toucans, Monkeys, and all sorts of other local animals, while sunbathing in this incredible secluded beach. Wading out into the water brings views up and down the coast lined with magnificent jungle cliffs. As you look back towards the beach you can't help but be captivated by the massive range of mountains that soar high above the jungle.
Just North along the coastal highway if Playa Uvita, one of the top six most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica (Frommers.) Uvita is famous locally for its pristine beauty and uniqueness on the pacific coast. Mile after mile of abandon beach stretching far down the coast with only an occasional person or two to encounter. It was low tide, and the water was at least 100 yards from the palmy jungle edge. Uvita offers wonderful views from the beach of a rocky, offshore island called "Isla Ballena." The Isla Ballena means, "the island of whales" and is named for the whales that are often spotted off the island edge during their migratory pathway in the winter months.
Away from the shoreline, one can see the true appeal of Uvita. Invisible to anyone on the beach is a massive range of mountains that soar high above the jungle, creating a wonderful backdrop for the tropical beaches below. Great place to swim and to have picnics.
Dominical is a beach-front town with beautiful turquoise green water and fiery red and gold sunsets. The town sits on the Pacific ocean bordered to the north by the Rio Baru, on the east by three thousand foot high mountains and to the south by dark, coffee brown, beaches and coves. One of the most striking features of Dominical can be found while swimming in the water, the town simply disappears. All you see are the tall beach palms and mangroves surrounded by verdant green hills reaching up into the mountains. Dominical has been known for many years to the international surfing community because of its consistently good waves.
Quepos and Manuel Antonio:
Further North, up the coast, is Quepos/Manuel Antonio. One of Costa Rica's most popular tourist destinations, it offers some of the finest hotels, excellent dining, night life, tranquil beaches, superb sportfishing with top-gun captains and boats, exciting adventure tours and, of course, the gorgeous Manuel Antonio National Park. Trails throughout Manuel Antonio provide the best opportunity in Costa Rica to see both white-faced and squirrel monkeys. The trails tend to follow the coastline, supplying beautiful views and easy access to the white sand beaches. Some of Costa Rica's most beautiful white sand beaches, in particular Playa Espadilla Sur and Playa Manuel Antonio are located in Manuel Antonio National Park. One particular trail, the Punta Cathedral, heads up to the tip of the point providing beautiful vistas of the ocean and islands which are situated of the rugged coastline.
In addition, Manuel Antonio includes 12 islands located a short distance from shore. Most of them lack vegetation and serve as excellent seabird sanctuaries; they are an especially important nesting site for the brown booby. The pacific waters contain numerous dolphins and, at times, migrating whales are sighted. There is a wide range of marine flora and fauna. So far, 10 species of sponge, 19 corals, 24 crustaceans, 17 algaes and 78 fish species have been identified.
Golfito and Puerto Jiménez:
To the south there are the towns of Golfito and Puerto Jiménez, on either side of Golfo Dulce. Puerto Jiménez is on the Osa Peninsula, described by National Geographic magazine as one of the most biologically intense locations on Earth. There are hotels, tour operators, sportfishing excursions and small marinas in both towns; Puerto Jiménez is the home of Crocodile Bay Lodge, Central America’s finest fishing lodge.
If you are willing to go a bit further south, you can even drive across the border to Panamá for a couple of days and a change of pace.