Unwind in Las Catalinas, Costa Rica
Las Catalinas is a little beautiful coastal town in Costa Rica with gorgeous beaches and incredible views. The people are amazing and super friendly, and are very much focused on preserving the environment. There's a lot going on here to rebuild the reefs, and you can feel the community's commitment to the earth.
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Where to stay
Casa Chameleon Las Catalinas
Contemporary and refined, each of the 21 sunset villas feature their own salt water plunge pool, mesmerizing Pacific ocean views from its location located near Las Catalinas.
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Things to do
Las Catalina has trails and trails of mountain biking – more than a dozen miles of mountain biking! Rent a bike and choose a path. You’ll see a lot of wildlife (keep an eye out for hummingbirds and monkeys) as well as great views of the ocean. If you prefer to hike, you can trek up to several viewpoints like the Mirador Santa Cruz Carrilo.
Get out on the water on a catamaran boat tour; Manta Ray has some of my favorite options. You’ll go snorkeling with a guide who will point out aquatic life such as sea urchins, sea cucumbers, eels, coral and parrotfish. They also put out an amazing feast. It’s worth going twice – once in the morning and again at sunset. Another great opportunity to learn more about the local ocean and conservation efforts firsthand is by going on a tour to the tide pools with a marine expert from the local ecology nonprofit.
Places to eat & drink
Sentido Norte: Start the day right with a decadent breakfast at this luxurious restaurant with sweeping views of the bay.
Pots & Bowls Las Catalinas: A smoothie bowl is always a good idea, and this food truck serves up the best renditions.
La Taqueria: Get your fix of Mexican flavors at this outdoor taco spot.
Limonada Restaurant: Snack on plantain chips and the namesake lemonade white you enjoy the beach swings at this bohemian eatery.
Las Catalinas has fewer dining options (it’s part of the destination’s small town charm), but for some more ideas, here are a few options outside of the main area.
Patagonia del Mar: In Brasilito, head to this spot across from the beach for good poke bowls.
Surf Box: A favorite breakfast and lunch place, as well as a good spot to grab a smoothie on the way to the surfing. Of note, there are only a few tables.
Gracia: Great for dinner, go early for sunset and bring towels and swimsuits – they have a pool with an amazing view and you can swim before you order. It's in the development of Mar Vista.
Carpe Diem: Right in Potrero (the town next to Catalinas), this charming little gem only serves breakfast and lunch (like Surf Box). Go for their amazing smoothies and breakfast sandwiches.
La Forketta: Great pizza, for eat-in or take-out to eat at home in Catalinas.
Coco Loco: Located on the beach in Flamingo, this casual spot is a must-do for early sunset dinner one night.
One of my favorite recommendations is to do a beach BBQ with a chef. A chef can meet you and will create a menu with fresh fish, and you’ll be served on a beautiful table on the beach surrounded by tiki lamps. Reach out to me to learn about how to coordinate with a chef.
Whether you’re a beginner or experienced surfer, don’t miss the chance to catch some waves nearby at Playa Grande. Depending on your experience, your surf instructor from Frijoles Locos (my go-to for surf instructors in the region) will take you to different parts of the beach.
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