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PLAYAS DEL COCO
Coordinates: 10°33'5.15"N , 85°41'52.96"W
Just 20 minutes from the Liberia airport along paved roads is Playas del Coco, Costa Rica ’s oldest fishing village and the area’s central hub. Here, the old and the new blend with a bit of a honky tonk feel. A growing, international ex-patriot community resides alongside long-established Costa Rican families. Moored to the left of its three-kilometer-long beach are Coco ’s traditional commercial fishing boats; to the right, a fleet of boats geared to the tourism trade. And in town, old-time sodas and pulperias coexist with high-speed Internet cafes.
Tourism is chiefly how Coco survives these days and to that end, it, unlike the other beach communities in the area, is truly a full-service town. There are numerous low and moderately priced hotels that rent rooms to visitors as well as bars and restaurants on and off the beach offering international and local cuisine. There are two dive shops in town that take out divers daily as well as several privately owned sport fishing boats that take out customers in search of tuna, wahoo, rooster fish, marlin or sail fish. Here, also, is where you can book surf trips to Witch’s Rock or Ollie’s Point or rent snorkel gear. Coco beach itself is best for sunbathing, swimming, people watching and a little exploring: at low tide, you can walk over the rocks at the left end of the beach to reach the secluded, white sand beach of Playa Blanca .
At the end of the day, Coco offers more than dining in the way of nightlife. Its bars and restaurants offer opportunities for dancing, pool playing, casino gambling and even karaoke. This beach town is also the service center for the area. The port captain has an office in Coco as does Costa Rican immigration. There’s a bank, supermarket and medical facilities, including a pharmacy. There’s a couple of high-speed Internet cafés, where visitors can check email and make international phone calls. And, of course, there is shopping. Coco ’s main street is lined with open-air and indoor shops offering a broad range of souvenirs for tourists to take home. Any of the hotels in town can help you with tours and water sports bookings, but Coco is also one of the few communities with several independent tour offices that can help you arrange activities during your stay.
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