Plenty of boats are anchored at Playa del Coco, and that means plenty of opportunities to go fishing, diving, or sailing. Still, the most popular activities, especially among the hordes of Ticos who come here, are lounging on the beach, walking along the malecón, hanging out in the sodas, and cruising the bars and discos at night. If you’re interested, you might be able to join a soccer match. (The soccer field is in the middle of town.) You can also arrange horseback rides; ask at your hotel.
Canopy Tour: The Congo Trail Canopy Tour ★ (tel. 2666-4422 or 2697-1801) is set in a stand of thick, tropical dry forest on the outskirts of Playa del Coco, along a dirt road that leads to Playa Pan de Azúcar. In addition to a zipline, there’s a small butterfly farm and a few zoo enclosures, with monkeys and reptiles. The tour runs every day from 8am to 5pm, and costs $35 for the canopy tour, plus $10 to see the animals.
Golf: Located about 10km (6 1/4 miles) outside Playa del Coco, the Vista Ridge Golf & Country Club ★ (www.vistaridgecr.com; tel. 2697-0169) is an 18-hole course with a pro shop, driving range, and rental equipment. The $100 greens fees include a cart and access to the pool area. Reservations are necessary on weekends. It’s closed on Mondays.
Horseback Riding: You can’t ride on the beaches here, but the folks at Haras del Mar (tel. 8816-2970; email@example.com) offer great trail and country riding on well-tended and perfectly trained horses about 20 minutes outside of Playas del Coco.
Sailing: Several cruising sailboats and longtime local salts offer daily sailing excursions. The 47-foot ketch-rigged "Kuna Vela" (www.kunavela.com; tel. 8301-3030) and the 45-foot ketch "Seabird" (www.seabirdsailingexcursions.com; tel. 8880-6393) both ply the waters off Playa del Coco. They also offer half-, full-day, and sunset sailing options, with snorkel stops and an open bar.
Scuba Diving: Scuba diving is the most popular watersport in the area, and dive shops abound. Sirenas Diving Costa Rica ★★ (www.sirenasdivingcostarica.com; tel. 8721-8055), Summer Salt ★ (www.summer-salt.com; tel. 2670-0308), and Rich Coast Diving ★★ (www.richcoastdiving.com; tel. 2670-0176) are the most established and offer equipment rentals and dive trips. A two-tank dive, with equipment, should cost between $85 and $150 per person, depending on the distance to the dive site. The more distant dive sites visited include the Catalina Islands and Bat Island. All of these operators also offer PADI certification courses.
Sportfishing: Full- and half-day sportfishing excursions can be arranged through any of the hotel tour desks, or with Dream On Sportfishing ★★ (www.dreamonsportfishing.com; tel. 8735-3121) or North Pacific Tours ★ (www.northpacifictours.com; tel 8398-8129). A half-day of fishing, including the boat, captain, food, and tackle, should cost $400 to $1,150 for two to four passengers; a full day $600 to $1,200.
Surfing: Playa del Coco has no surfing to speak of, but is a popular jumping-off point for daily boat trips to Witch’s Rock and Ollie’s Point up in Santa Rosa National Park. Most of the above-mentioned sportfishing and dive operations also ferry surfers up to these isolated surf breaks. A boat that carries five surfers for a full day, including lunch and beer, should run around $350 to $600. Note: Both Witch’s Rock and Ollie’s Point are technically within Santa Rosa National Park. Permits are required, and boats without permits are sometimes turned away. If you decide to go, be sure your boat captain is licensed and has cleared access to the park. You will also have to pay the park’s $15 per person fee. Single Fin Surf Charters (www.singlefinsurfcharters.com; tel. 8935-2519) offers a plush trip out to these surf spots at $1,330 for up to 10 passengers for a full-day trip. But if you ask around town, you should be able to find one of the local skippers, who tend to offer trips for up to six surfers for much less. Alternatively, check the website www.getmyboat.com. Pacific Coast Stand Up Paddle & Surf Trips (www.pacificcoastsuptours.com; tel. 8359-8115) offers lessons and guided outings for both traditional surfing, and for those looking to try out stand-up paddling, (which can be done without traveling to another beach).
Ollie’s Point is named after Oliver North, the former lieutenant colonel at the center of the Iran-Contra scandal. A secret airstrip near the point was used covertly by the CIA to fly in supplies for the Nicaraguan Contra rebels during the guerrilla war in the 1980s. One of the biggest surf breaks in Costa Rica, Ollie’s Point can be reached by boat from Playa del Coco or Tamarindo.
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.