Things to do in Guanacaste: Playa Grande


Things to do in Guanacaste: Playa Grande

Welcome to our campus in Playa Grande! Our campus, a secluded sweet spot, is a short drive away from the beach of Playa Grande, the second largest leatherback turtle nesting site in the world!  The school is located in a rustic, rural, and relaxing environment with different hang-out areas to learn, work and socialise, but we also want you to enjoy Playa Grande while you are here for the 4-week TEFL training.

Walking, Running and Biking

No more than a 10-minute walk from campus there’s a lovely little hill walk. This is a perfect, short endorphin release to take a break from studying, overlook the surrounding forest and watch the sunset drop into the ocean.  For the runners, there are a couple loops near campus to sweat it out on the dirt roads. Just remember to pack good shoes and a head torch for night running.  We also have bikes on campus that you can use to get out and explore the area.  Again, if biking at night- remember your head torch!

A quick walk around the corner is Bohemia Camping Grounds. Here you can get your fill of pool, on the table or in the water. Lots of Costa Ricans vacation on the campsite, so it can even be a great way to practice your Spanish.

Along the road to Playa Grande, there’s a Gym and Yoga studio called Flex and Flow, with two branches; one just after Cafe del Pueblo and one nearer the beach. The gym is open from 6am-6pm, and there are Strength & Conditioning classes at 8:30am or 9:30am on Monday, Wednesday or Friday. Another great way to start your morning is with a little Vinyassa at 8:30am with Stacey Tuesday through Saturday. Drop-in classes are $15, or $125 for a 10-class pass. 

Or if you want to exercise on a budget, we also have some yoga mats on campus to use at your own leisure.  There are also horses on campus that you can schedule to ride!  

Eating & Entertainment

A 15-minute walk from campus is Wilmart, the local convenience store run by a Costa Rican man named Wil. This place has it all with groceries, a restaurant and live music and barbecue every Friday night. If you don’t want to travel for a boogie, Wilmart is the locals’ top choice, especially for Latin music nights, where everybody is up and dancing the night away!  Across the road from Wilmart is Oasis, a cozy garden hang-out with a pool and Thai restaurant.

Along the road to Playa Grande are several food, drink and exercise places to check out, all within biking distance. Here’ are some of our top picks:

Cafe del Pueblo is half-way between Rancho Guanabana and Playa Grande on the right-hand side. A cozy, tasty Italian restaurant with home-made dishes, fresh fish and cocktails.

El Huerto is a little bit more up-market, but it has a fantastic menu from steak to massive stone-baked Italian pizza. It’s a real contender with the pizza oven on campus! 

Pots & Bowls is a cute and unique cafe with delicious breakfasts and great vegan/vegetarian and gluten-free options. There’s also an artisanal arts & crafts section for you to peruse while you eat.

Sugar’s Monkey is a hotel with a bar and restaurant, off of a road to the left, just before you get to the beach. They have live music on Sundays at 7:30pm to end the weekend with some smooth tunes.

As you enter Playa Grande beach, Taco Star, run by expat Britney, sells fresh, quality tacos for $3 each. They have a great range of refreshments to keep you hydrated for a day on the beach. Here you can also rent a surfboard, $7 for an hour or $10 for an hour and a half, or sign up for a surf lesson.

Playa Grande is one of the most visited beaches in Guanacaste for it’s gorgeous surf, sand and sunsets. If you take a right at Taco Star, there’s some shady spots and a bay further down to stroll to. If you take a left, you can walk 45 minutes all the way to Tamarindo, the main tourist town in Guanacaste. There sure are worse ways to get around than a walk on the beach! You will need to take a short boat ride across a river for $1 to cross into Tamarindo. The last boat is around 5pm. Although the river looks swimmable, please beware of the crocodiles! 

Getting Around Guanacaste

The best way to travel around Guanacaste is by vehicle, as it’s not the most connected area for public transportation. Car rentals are a possibility, however, they can cost a pretty penny including compulsory insurance. They would be great for weekend excursions!

Colectivos make up the informal taxi system, where people in ordinary cars can take you to where you need to go. They are easy to get and wait for in nearby traffic hubs such as Huacas or Villa Real. Colectivos are harder to get in Playa Grande, but they can be pre-booked with a local colectivo driver. Make sure you settle on the price before your journey. Costs can vary between $3-10, depending on the time of day, destination and how many people are travelling. 

The town of Huacas is a central hub and is the best place to get colectivos or public buses to San Jose or Liberia. There are lots of shops including a bakery, gelato place, pizza, chicken and grocery stores to fill you up while you are there also!

Or a shuttle can be pre-booked for larger groups of people. It’s usually $35-40 for a 7-person shuttle from our campus in Playa Grande to Tamarindo. Colectivos back from Tamarindo are frequent and 24-hour. 

Tamarindo, the largest tourist town in Guanacaste, is only a 20-minute drive from Playa Grande, with a plethora of things to do, including water activities like diving, sailing, snorkelling, jet ski, kayaking and nature-spotting boat tours along the Tamarindo estuary into the heart of Marino Las Baulas National Park.It also boasts a great range of boutique shopping and restaurant options to satiate all cravings from over-sized burgers to freshly-made falafels. There is also an array of nightlife for party-goers, from electronic music at Rumours to club music at Pacifico, and dancing reggaeton on the bar at Sharky’s!  It's a perfect town to bar hop with everything in walking distance.

Brasilito and Playa Conchal, two beaches that you can't miss, are just north of Playa Grande.  Playa Conchal, a beach made entirely of seashells, offers kayaking, snorkeling, and a $20 hour-long massages right on the beach!

Ready to join us at our beach campus for our 4-week TEFL course?  Contact us today!  

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