There are so many places and things to see and do when on vacation in our area. Here we made a list of 10 of our favourite things to see and do for both adults and children, while enjoying your vacation.
The list is in no particular order.
Our particular area of Costa Rica is known as The Gold Coast. There are countless beaches, each with their own unique features and vibe. Some are renowned for surfing, others are more secluded and calm, some are ideal for boogie boarding and body surfing and others are lined with palms and banyan trees to escape the sun and read a good book or take a nap. Many are are covered with shells of every description, some have almost none. There are white sand beaches and black sand beaches. Whatever your mood, there is a perfect beach for you to discover and enjoy. I may be partial, but…Flamingo embodies so many of the great things I look for in a beach; 1 mile of pristine, white sand, lava outcroppings on each end, gentle surf allows for paddle boarding, kayaking and body surfing, ideal for early morning walks before coffee, tree lined so I can set up my beach chairs and cooler, and very few other people to intrude on my serenity. It has been ranked as the #2 beach in all of Costa Rica, with #1 Playa Conchal directly across the bay.
2. Go Scuba and Snorkeling
The Catalina Islands are right off the coast of Flamingo and have some of the best scuba diving in Costa Rica. They are the home of the Pacific Giant Manta Rays and you also frequently see sharks, turtles, eels, devil rays, eagle rays and huge schools of tropical fish. Seasonally you can see humpback whales.
3. Try Volcanic Mud Baths and Thermal Pools
One of the more unique adventure trips is to either Rincon de la Viejo or Arenal volcano for saunas, mud baths and bathing in the thermal pools. The saunas are built directly above bubbling waters heated by the volcanos. Once your pores are opened up and you are relaxed, you venture out to the warm volcanic mud they have for you to slather all over your body. The high concentration of nutrients and minerals in the mud detoxify and tone your skin, not to mention that it’s great fun to see everyone covered in grey mud! When it has dried you shower off and then head to the thermal pools to soak up more nutrients and minerals. Nature’s original hot tub.
4. Take a River Trip in Palo Verde National Park
Over 27% of Costa Rica’s land is protected as National Parks, wildlife refuges, forest preserves and more. An hour’s drive from Flamingo is Palo Verde National Park and the Tempisque River. This area is home to 200 species of mammals, 845 species of birds and 218 species of reptiles. We came here on a guided river trip on our very first visit to Costa Rica, and seeing all of the birds, monkeys, iguanas and crocodiles up close was an unforgettable experience and we recommend this adventure trip to all of our guests. The guides grew up on this river and know every inch, and every creature that lives in or around it. They will stop the boat to point out some exotic bird, which you absolutely cannot see until they get you right in front of it because it is so well camouflaged. White faced capuchin monkeys will climb on board to gently take bananas right out of your hand, and giant crocs will swim up next to your boat to check things out.
5. Play Golf
This is a golfer’s paradise, with a Robert Trent Jones, Jr. designed course just 10 minutes away in Reserva Conchal, a great public course at Hacienda Pinilla just 35 minutes south, and an Arnold Palmer designed course up at Peninsula Papagayo. There is nothing like teeing off on the 15th hole at Pinilla with one very large water hazard just behind the green. Club selection is key on this hole. You also have Howler monkeys offering their advice as you play, and watch out for giant iguanas walking up to your ball thinking it’s one of their eggs.
6. Take Surfing Lessons
The surf film “The Endless Summer” filmed in 1966 put The Gold Coast of Costa Rica on the map as a world class surfers destination. Most every local grows up learning to surf, and even if you have never tried it before, this is a terrific place to learn. Flamingo isn’t a surf beach, but some of the very finest are located just 15 – 40 minutes away. Playa Grande, Tamarindo and Playa Avellanas are great spots and there are boards for rent and lessons available.
7. Eat at Lola’s on Playa Avellanas
After playing a round of golf at Pinilla or surfing at Playa Avellanas, you deserve to have lunch and drinks at Lola’s. This place deserves it’s own special mention for several reasons. First of all is Lola, the pig. She lives right on the property in very nice digs, and absolutely loves to walk down to the beach and take a swim several times each day. She can be very social, and she has been known to walk up to tables and root around in beach totes looking for snacks. The original Lola is no longer with us, but her successor, Lolita, is every bit as large and charming. She has been well trained by the owners. Second of all is the beautiful setting of the beach front restaurant under Royal palms and banyan trees. The tables and chairs are hand crafted out of native woods. The menu is filled with delicious entrees and fruit smoothies which can have shots of local rum or guaro added, but don’t expect to find any pork on the menu.
8. Go Sport Fishing
Costa Rica is recognized as one of the top sport fishing destinations worldwide. It is best known for Blue Marlin. that average 11 feet long and between 200-400 pounds. Other popular sport fishing targets are the Sailfish, Dorado, Yellowfin Tuna and Wahoo. Costa Rica believes in the preservation of its fishing resources and encourages all bill fish and non-edible fish to be released.
9. Enjoy Beach Front Dining at Coco Loco
Located right on the sand on Flamingo Beach is Coco Loco. Open for lunch and dinner 7 days a week, it is the perfect spot for an ice cold Imperial, a refreshing tropical drink, and the freshest, best food with an amazing view. The owner is a 7th generation French trained chef so the food is inventive and excellent. They use the freshest ingredients and the staff is very friendly and attentive. It is a popular sunset spot so plan on getting there early to get a prime table. They also offer catering service or a private chef if you would prefer to have a meal prepared for you at Casa Las Brisas!
10. Go on a Sunset Sailing Cruise
What a perfect way to spend the afternoon and evening…charter a sailboat for up to 10 people, or take a group Catamaran cruise. They all depart from the marina in Flamingo. You spend the afternoon sailing the coast. The captain will point out islands and points of interest along the shore. One time we saw hundreds of rays in mating season launching themselves 10 feet out of the water and their silver bodies sparkled in the sunshine; really magnificent. Frequently porpoise will swim along side the boat, and leatherback turtles will surface right in front of you. They will pull into a sheltered cove so you can snorkel and swim. There is a wonderful lunch prepared right on board and whatever drinks you want. You finish up the day sailing into the sunset before heading back.