Playa Espadilla Costa Rica
If you are traveling to Manuel Antonio, the beach option is obvious. There is a large bay with a couple of beaches, or rather, one beach that is divided in two by some forest. This is clear with one look at a map. The public side of the beach is called Playa Espadilla. The other section is in the national forest and called Playa Espadilla Sur.
Today we took a trip to the beach. From our home, we needed to take short walk up a hill to catch a bus. The city (at least where we have been) is built into the side of large hills. So there is nearly no flat ground as you can see from these pictures.
Regular bus service operates through the town of Manuel Antonio. It was less than $1 each for us to ride the mile to the beach. The bus was clean and the drivers were friendly. In local currency, it’s $.60 cents worth, but if you pay in USD, its $1 even. We figured out that there is a laser at the entrance to the bus, if you cross the laser, you have to pay. So now the kids try to sneak under it when they get on. Ten minutes into our ride, we reached the destination. It is easy to rent surf boards, body boards, jet ski’s, tents and chairs. Plus there are guys wandering around selling stuff too. But they are really friendly and won’t try to push you into buying something. One “no” and they say thanks and have a good day.
The beach itself was great. The sand is fine and fairly clear of rocks. We definitely had no problem swimming in the water. The ocean is warm and it is shallow a long ways out making it great for surfing or body boarding. We were warned by the locals to avoid the rocky area because rip tides can form there. So keep that in mind when you visit. Here’s a virtual tour I built:
Just off the beach there is some shopping and restaurants. The shopping was fine but the restaurants were great. We had a very big lunch and all the food was fantastic. If you eat at Alta Mar, get their burger. It’s awesome.
Everybody swam in the ocean, but the highlight for the boys was the body boarding.
Overall, the beach was very family friendly. The kids loved it and we didn’t feel like we were getting lost in the crowd like you can in Mexico sometimes. The crowds are small and there is plenty of room for you to spread out. With the great swimming situation, we would totally recommend this as a family destination. The only down side is that it is super hot and humid and there isn’t a lot right on the beach. Transportation by bus was a must (or taxi). Walking more than just a few hundred yards becomes very limiting because of the hills and traffic. So just get a plan before you go. It may take you a little bit of time to get home if it gets too hot or you need a break.
Make sure to follow us live on our trip at @chrisashbach on Periscope and Twitter and snapchat at chris.ashbach! Or, comment on #dan330 to chat!