Playa Grande, Costa Rica
Playa Grande is a beach town on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica just north of Tamarindo. Playa Grande is internationally popular as one of Costa Rica’s best surfing spots as well as being home to Parque Nacional Marino Las Baulas, a nesting ground of the largest marine reptile, the leatherback turtle.
Salinas is actually the name of the little town at Playa Grande, but this name is rarely used anymore. Playa Grande is populated with luxury homes and condos, Matos and Frijoles Loco surf shops, and boutique hotels, most of which have a restaurant on site. The hotels Indra Inn, Rip Jack Inn, La Marejada, Playa Grand Inn, BP Surf Hotel, Las Tortugas, and Park Hotel are all situated on the north end of the beach. The southern area of Playa Grande includes Hotel Bula Bula, Hotel Manglar, Villa Baula, Playa Grande Surf Camp, and La Cantarana. A micro mini-market can be found next to Kike's Place as well.
On the southern end of Playa Grande, Palm Beach Estates is a gated community with its own amenities. Palm Beach has a small supermarket called Wil-Mart, restaurants and a couple hotels. It also has a panga dock that allows quick boat rides up and down the estuary so that one can reach Tamarindo in five minutes for shopping or other necessities. The Great Waltini's at Hotel Bula Bula is a nice restaurant for dinner with boat taxi service to Tamarindo. Cantarana is another good choice in Palm Beach.
Playa Grande's beach boasts a sandy bottom and waves big enough to surf, but not big enough to prevent a comfortable swim. There are multiple surf breaks starting at the river mouth and running towards Hotel Las Tortugas.
Playa Grande is most famous for its leatherback turtles and surfing, but there are a variety of other activities for adventure seekers nearby. The estuary from the Rio Matapalo is a popular place for visitors to see wildlife. Many travelers come for the sportfishing, stand up paddleboarding, hiking, sailing, horseback riding, scuba diving, snorkeling, and canopy tours, all of which are a short drive away.