When we recently lived in Playa Grande just north of Tamarindo in Costa Rica’s Guanacaste region, we drove down the coast to check out some of the lesser known beaches. One of our favorites was Playa Avellanas. Not only is Playa Avellanas a beautiful beach, but there’s also a great beach bar (with a resident pig) that is the perfect place to relax the day away with a frosty Imperial.
Although Playa Avellanas is close to Tamarindo, it still takes about 20-30 minutes to get there because the road turns to dirt after the town of Villa Real. The drive itself though is all part of the experience. On the way, you pass through small Tico towns and can really get a sense of what life is like outside of the big tourism destinations. Tip: Map out your route in advance. There aren’t too many turns but signage is not the best!
At Playa Avellanas, you’ll enjoy beautiful light sand and rolling turquoise waves. The beach doesn’t see the same crowds as Tamarindo, so there’s always a place to put down a towel. Surfing is one of the most popular activities, and the beach has breaks for both experts and beginners. If you’re looking to take a lesson, there are plenty of schools in the small town to choose from.
The beach itself is spectacular but what makes the trip worth it is Lola’s, the restaurant just steps from the shore. The grounds of Lola’s are stunning, with grand shady palm trees and handcrafted wooden tables and lounge chairs. Lola’s mixes up some delicious cocktails and has excellent, no-nonsense food with an emphasis on natural ingredients. Though not a budget option, Lola’s has an array of choices including some dishes that can be hard to find in Costa Rica like homemade veggie burgers and falafel. But the best part, aside from the ocean view of course, is the giant pig that lives on the property.
So, if you’re visiting Tamarindo and want to do some exploring, grab your beach hat and head down the coast to Playa Avellanas. Chill out on the sand, jump in the warm Pacific, and don’t forget to grab a cerveza and some ceviche with Lola!
Post by: Jennifer Turnbull-Houde & Matthew Houde