Costa Rica | Playa Junquillal


playa junquillal, costa rica, hotel iguanazul, sunsetWhile we spent part one of our Costa Rican adventure in the mountains of Monteverde, we spent part two on the beaches of Playa Junquillal. I found a random little hotel, Hotel Iguanazul, which was about four hours from the San Jose airport, three hours from Monteverde and an hour from Playas del Cocoplaya junquillal, costa rica, hotel iguanazul, sunsetI didn’t really know anything about Costa Rica before we left for our trip (and arguably, still left woefully underprepared given our two-hour detour on the way to Monteverde). I did a little Trip Advisor-ing, a little Google Mapping, a little emailing back and forth with various hotels and dive shops before finalizing our itinerary.playa junquillal, costa rica, hotel iguanazul, sunsetI had some trouble finding a place to stay on the beach. I had heard of Playa Tamarindo, but I thought it was a bit too far of a drive from Monteverde/to the airport to book a place there (this was before I ended up changing our trip itinerary to fit in some buceo). I looked at some resorts, hotels and apartment/condo rentals on Airbnb and VRBO near Playa Tamarindo and they were either a) too expensive or b) had minimum-stay requirements that exceeded the time we had available.playa junquillal, costa rica, hotel iguanazul, sunsetI stumbled upon Hotel Iguanazul somewhat accidentally but I was really happy with our choice. It is a quiet little beach — there is really nothing around except a shopping center with a restaurant that got mixed reviews on Trip Advisor — but for what we needed and wanted, it was perfect.playa junquillal, costa rica, hotel iguanazul, sunsetThe hotel has a bar (aptly named the “Sunset Bar”), restaurant and pool overlooking the sea — perfect for watching beautiful sunsets. There were few other clients — mostly locals from San Jose spending the day or long weekend at the beach. And it was close enough to other beaches in Guanacaste with a little more happening (restaurants, buceo, etc.) that we weren’t totally isolated.playa junquillal, costa rica, hotel iguanazul, sunsetI also had the opportunity to try típico Costa Rican food. It wasn’t much different from típico Salvadoran food (protein, beans, rice) except they use black beans versus red beans (I prefer black beans — the gallo pinto, Costa Rica’s casamiento, at El Establo was So. Good.). And I don’t know whether Costa Rica has a pupusa equivalent. What is the pupusa of Costa Rica?I thought the food at Hotel Iguanazul’s restaurant was excellent. Fresh seafood, good desserts, not astronomically ridiculous prices. Probably my favorite meal I had of the whole trip were the shrimp quesadillas a Hotel Iguanazul. (A close second/third would be a seafood lunch, post-buceo in at Papgayo Seafood in Playas del Coco and breakfast on our way back to San Jose our last day in Costa Rica, at Monteverde Cafe along the Panamerican Highway. Unfortunately I was so focused on eating I did not take any photos.)I really enjoyed our trip to Costa Rica — pura vida indeed! — and am glad we got to visit one new country before our imminent departure.Do you prefer red beans or black beans?

Published by La Vie Overseas

I'm Natasha -- writer, runner and wife to a Foreign Service Officer with USAID. Current location: Frankfurt, Germany.

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