The Pacific Coast of Costa Rica

The Pacific coast of Costa Rica is fast becoming one of Central America’s hippest spots. It’s a surfer’s paradise in a beautiful and diverse region. The bling beach parties of San José and Playa Hermosa are the reasons many tourists visit the region. But there are more reasons than partying to be had. Forest adventures, whale watching, magnificent underwater falls are just a few.
Catamarans are found in almost every direction from the Caribbean Sea to the south and east. Situated within the Great Inagua Ranges, they reach inland about as far as coastal California.
Be sure to try the light rail that runs through the area (not the rail you take in San Jose, inching along behind a series of skyscrapers). It’s tourist-friendly and goes several times daily. (From the downtown area, walk straight ahead until you encounter the Kamehameha Highway, turn right on the Wailua Valley Road and continue past the Kamehameha Highway to Wailua Village. Continue on the Wailua Valley Road to the village’s east end, then right on the state highway.)
You may never have heard of game-at-belly, but once you’ve experienced it (by my definition, at least once; preferably twice), you’ll be hooked on Guam-at-belly.
Wished between the ocean and the mountain range that resides in the southeastern area of the island, this narrow bar offers a “noseful” view of the ocean and mountain ranges. Surfing on the beach is better in the mornings, Wednesdays, and Saturdays when the waves are bigger. Otherwise, early Sunday afternoons and Wednesdays are best. The weather is moderate in the summer; bring a hat, sunblock, and bathing suit.
The bar is open from 10 am to midnight, serves about 20 beers daily, and closing time will depend on the size and popularity of the event. As of this writing, it’s impossible to get “boarded.” (At this point, I’m not sure if that expression exists.)
Once you’re over, the party continues: the bar trades in its own bottled beer for patrons’ cocktails, and not only do the bartenders go home with a bulging bank of cash (typical of Costa Ricans), but also with a share of the tips. The entire bar on one side has tables and chairs, with only seats or smaller tables. Crowds are a bit greater here, but they are Tourism Costa Rica’s largest draws, so it’s difficult to complain.
However, crowded bars aren’t all that common in Costa Rica. Many rural areas boast only one or two bars, the most famous of which is the Etico in San José. There you will have a direct assumption from Father Andy, a well-known attorney, and politician as well as a great raconteur of a barman. (One surveillance camera is permanently perched on the wooden ceiling, be careful about picking up a table when sitting down to eat there!)
Other fine places to imbibe in Costa Rica include:
Thehedgingsof San Jose,
The Folklore Restaurant
Faris Drinks
The Metropolitan
White Wino,
and all the beach bars
It will be very difficult for Costa Rica to compete with tourists flocking to the beaches for sun and fun, but it certainly has a lot to offer its inaugural crop of tourists with these six bars alone. Remember, abroad is where the meaning of the word “cation” takes place. And when you’re in another country, outside of your cocoon, you act like a tourist. Cavalier with the smallest Costa Rican simples, fully immersed in the culture, it’s just part of the experience. And it pays.
Discharge your International Style with a healthy dose of humor, insight, and just a generally good sense of awareness. When you return home, you will have a swell wallet and, more importantly, a swell mind.

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