Guacalillo beach feels like Ireland got transported to Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast. Rather than a sandy paradise like the rest of the shores, Guacalillo has gorgeous, rocky cliffs decorating its shore. Most travelers go to Guacalillo in order to further develop their surfing skills since the waves there are not too big and perfect to practice. That being said, outstanding rocks and strong current on the coast might be a dangerous issue if the weather is a bit rough. Be sure to take a travel buddy if you plan on surfing. The remote location of this beach will make it more difficult for you to get help if you need it. From the other hand Guacalillo beach is a perfect spot to have a walk, take some pictures, and discover nearby Puntarenas, the Gulf of Nicoya, and Carara National Park. Close to this park you can make a stop at the famous Crocodile Bridge and spot hundreds of crocodiles in the Tarcoles river below.
The Gulf of Nicoya
The Gulf of Nicoya is what separates the Nicoya Peninsula from he mainland of Costa Rica where Guacalillo is located. It offers an interesting variation of ecosystems with muddy wetlands of the Tempisque conservation area defining the northern half and the rocky formations, cliffs and bays shaping the southern parts. Places like Playa Bajamar will feel like another world with its dark sands, mangroves and lagoons.
Explore the Central Pacific
When in Guacalillo, you can’t miss the chance to discover other great beaches such as Jaco, Playa Hermosa and Dominical – beaches that are known to be a haven for the avid surfer. Other than these iconic beaches, you will also find the famous Manuel Antonio National park in this area. Here you can engage in various activities such as horseback riding, white water rafting, canopy and zip line tours, hiking, … Manuel Antonio is a great place to spot some of Costa Rica’s most well-known wildlife.
Visit between December and March: This is the Costa Rica dry season and not only your best shot for long and sunny days, it is also the time of the year when the waves are less rough if you would like to surf.
Explore the Central Pacific Area: Travel north to the town of Puntarenas or south to the iconic beaches of Jaco, Hermosa, and Dominical. Don’t forget to pay a visit to one of the most well-known National Parks in Costa Rica – Manuel Antonio.
Get a 4×4 or a mountain-bike: The final part of your trip to Guacalillo will require a 4×4 wheel drive or a mountain bike for those who are up for some adventure.
You can drive to Playa Guacalillo from San Jose and reach the beach in just under 2 hours. Although most of the roads will be paved, be prepared for those last 10 kilometers that requires a 4×4 drive. You can also arrange for a shuttle to take you there, either shared or private.
Since Guacalillo is a rocky coast, it won’t surprise you that there are no restaurants in the immediate area. There is on restaurant not too far from the cliff viewpoint called Restaurante Shannel in Bajamar where you can enjoy some quality local dishes as well as a casual family atmosphere. If you go a bit further south, you can visit one of the several restaurants close to Carara National Park like Restaurante Los Crocodrilos and a bit north of Bajamar, you have Nemaclys – a restaurant with great food and a great view.
Where to stay
If you want to visit the beach of Guacalillo, it would be good to stay in either the town of Puntarenas or close to Carara National Park. For a stay in Puntarenas, book a room at Fiesta Resort. This 3-star all-inclusive resort is set along volcanic sand beaches and features a big pool. If you opt for Carara, you could stay at the Crocs Casino. They have great amenities as well as a Casino. At Club Del Mar, you can choose between 9 luxury rooms, 22 condos, and a penthouse!