The Gulf of Papagayo area is located in the dry Guanacaste province of Costa Rica, conveniently close to Liberia International Airport. This area was one of the first developed for tourism in Costa Rica and is home to some of the largest and most luxurious resorts but there are also a good selection of more intimate hotels where you can have a more intimate experience. The area includes the beach communities of Playa del Coco, Playa Hermosa, Playa Panama and Playa Ocotal.
Playa del Coco is the largest town in the area and so is perfect for those who want a variety of nightlife and dining options. Its name is derived from the cocoa-colored sand that lies between its two rocky headlands. Playa del Coco can be a party destination for young Ticos on weekends, when the town has a beach-party atmosphere, though it’s fairly quiet during the week. The town is a growing scuba-diving center, and it’s a convenient jumping off point for surfers heading to the celebrated Witch’s Rock and Ollie’s Point.
Playa Hermosa is a gently curving and tranquil gray-sand beach that stretches for about 2km. Although it’s only 7km (by road) north of Playa del Coco, and development is springing up rapidly along this entire coastline, Hermosa feels more dignified than Coco. The hillsides may be up for sale, but they’re still pretty green and the locals not so jaded.
Activities in the area include The Witch’s Rock canopy tour (one of the country’s first and longest), surfing, horseback riding and sport fishing.