North Pacific Coast: Places to Explore

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Playas del Coco

Messy, noisy, colorful, and interesting, Playas del Coco has the best shopping, most dive shops, and liveliest nightlife and barhopping on this part of the coast. It's still a working fishing port, with a port captain's office, a fish market, and an ice factory for keeping the catch of the day fresh—not for cooling margaritas, although many are enjoyed here. The dark-sand beach is still a workplace, and it hasn't yet met the Blue Flag standards of cleanliness, but a beautiful new boardwalk has made the beach much more attractive. An explosion of condominium and villa projects has brought new money to the community, along with new commercial development, including an upscale shopping center at the entrance to town with a flagship AutoMercado, the country's top grocery chain. Although fresh seafood, myriad souvenir shops, and plenty of bars have always drawn tourists here, Playas del Coco also has a high concentration of tour operators, including diving, fishing, and surfing at remote breaks such as Ollie's Point and Witch's Rock. Because Coco is mere minutes from Playa Hermosa, however, you can just as easily enjoy those sports while staying at that more pleasant beach. If you like to shop and party, and want some local color, Coco's slightly down-at-the-heels ambience can be appealing.

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