The waves here can occasionally get big, with strong rip currents. But most of the time, the waves are small enough for beginning surfers or those who just want to go for a swim. Santiago's beaches, unlike others on this coast, are wide, sandy, and uncrowded -- you won't have to worry about tangling your lines with anyone else when you're fishing, or bumping into anyone else while surfing. Both hotels listed below can arrange surf lessons and board rental.

You can arrange guided tours of the nearby estuary and mangrove forest with local Spanish-speaking guide Julio Caesar Aviles (tel. 503/7783-4765). A 2-hour tour, including a small hike on the protected Isla de Cahete, where small, covered mounds mark the site of protected indigenous artifacts, is $45 per person. The tour takes you deep into the mangrove channels, where many bird species can be easily spotted. Santiago is also a prime sea turtle-nesting area and has been the subject of numerous turtle conservation projects. Each August through November, giant sea turtles lay their eggs on the beach and the tiny hatchlings stumble their way to the water. Both hotels listed below can arrange turtle-spotting trips.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.