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sadtaco1 Oct 17th, 2007 01:26 PM

Best beach in Guanacaste?
I'm interested in your thoughts... trying to piece together an itinerary for 5 days. I've already done Playa Carrillo and seen Samara. Loved Carrillo but Samara was below expectations.

shillmac Oct 17th, 2007 05:39 PM

It was for us, too.

We like Playa Flamingo simply because it is long, wide, and has beautiful sunsets! About as white as you'll find, too. . .

Conchal is pretty, also. You can get to it by walking from Playa Brasilito, about 5 minutes. Playa Grande is pretty as well.

Playa Penca near Potrero is a nice beach. Playa Panama is okay, up near Hermosa.

There are several we HAVEN'T been to. I've always intended to spend about 2 weeks up and down the beaches of Guanacaste, but we usually end up for just 3-5 days there and always run out of time to do all the things we'd like to. Playa Negra, Playa Avellenas, Playa Junquiall (sp?), Playa Nosara. . .

Always something else to do! :)

LA_FadeAway Jul 14th, 2008 07:22 PM

We're finally going back to CR later this month for just a week and are flying into Liberia. Looking to chill at the beach for a week. I was highly considering Samare (or Nosara), but now your posts have got me reconsidering. Shillmac, I know you're still around. What exactly didn't you like about Samara? I've heard Playa Flamingo is pretty built up. Is that not the case? We're looking for a swimable beach if that makes a difference.

shillmac Jul 14th, 2008 07:31 PM

Talk about a blast from the past! I've thought about you many times and wondered where and how you were. It has been a very long time, LA!

Not sure I can put my finger on what it was about Samara. We didn't care for our hotel, Villas Playa Samara. It is a time share, but we didn't realize it at the time. And a good distance out of town. It didn't seem like there was much to the town, and I wasn't impressed with the beach. Who knows? It was an odd time for us, as there were some issues with one of our children, and the mood was a little less than joyful, so perhaps that was it! I would like to return again and try it on another time--Nosara as well.

Flamingo is built up, has been for years. But we are quite attached to Flamingo Beach Resort for several reasons: good value, great beach proximity, really nice big pool (not the food--we go elsewhere for that, although the lunch menu at the pool bar doesn't disappoint). Also the general location. . .close to lots of beaches, to the south and to the north. We like Potrero, the Monkey Trail up to Playa Hermosa area, south to Playa Grande, Tamarindo (we usually go there for part of a day and a meal). There are also lots of good restaurants in the area. . .that is something we didn't seem to find at Samara. . .

Hope this helps! Others really like the Samara area. This is probably just a case of "our preferences might not be YOUR preferences"! We are leaving Thursday. It would be fun to meet up, but we'll be down on the Osa for a week, then over to the Turrialba area for 5 days. We are flying into San Jose and out of Liberia. Our Guanacaste time will be the 2nd week of August. Good to hear from you--have a great trip!

LA_FadeAway Jul 14th, 2008 08:19 PM

Hey Shillmac! Great to hear from you! It has been a while since I've been on the Central America branch. After CR in 2004, we went to Belize, Mexico, and Guatemala in 2005, then Asia in 2006 and a couple trips to the Caribbean in 2007. This isn't a "big" trip for us, just a quick get away. I stumbled across a reasonable flight non-stop from LAX, so we couldn't resist. We only have a week this time though, so wel'l likely spend all our time in one or maybe two places at the most. I'm thinking about maybe Samara and then somewhere around Flamingo/Hermosa.

Is it really only 20 mins from Playa Hermosa to the airport? Our flight out is at 7:00 AM, so we were thinkiing we would have to stay by the airport (Liberia). Would it be okay to spend that night in Playa Hermosa instead? I don't even know if the rental agency will be open for us to return a car that early. Guess I need to look into that too.

Too bad we won't be there the same time as you. It sure would be fun to meet up!

LA_FadeAway Jul 14th, 2008 08:36 PM

Oh yeah, one more question. You say you didn't like the beach in Samara. I've heard it's one of the most swimable in CR, which is what attracted me to it. Did you find it to be swimable? Are any of the others you like swimable?

shillmac Jul 15th, 2008 12:08 AM

Sounds like you've been busy--and hanging out with the "other" Fodor folks! :)

I'd give it about 30 min. from Hermosa to Liberia (airport is on the Playa Hermosa side of town, so that helps). And do check about the rentals. Probably they will NOT be open at what, 5:00? You are going to have to leave whatever hotel you stay in very early--don't you hate that? I just detest getting up early in the morning to COME HOME! Don't mind it if I'm going! :)

It wasn't that I didn't LIKE the beach at Samara--I just didn't think it particularly attractive. I wasn't referring to the swimability. In the Tamarindo/Flamingo/Hermosa area (all within 45 of each other by way of the Monkey Road from Playa Potrero to the highway just outside Playa Hermosa), Flamingo is swimmable, as is Conchal, Hermosa, Playa Penca, Playa Panama--to name a few that I know of. Playa Panama has always been popular with the locals. It is near Hermosa. Penca and Conchal are near Flamingo.

LA_FadeAway Jul 15th, 2008 09:46 AM

Thanks again Shillmac. I'm thinking of splitting time between Samara and Play Hermosa (or something in that region). I guess we'll have to find a way to return our car the day before we leave. Ugh!

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