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Published: September 2nd 2018
Having navigated the winding, hilly, coastal road to Playas del Coco at night we decided to explore this funky little beach town by day. We started with breakfast at the tiny Java 654 Coffee Shop
on the road into town. It was highly rated on Trip Advisor so we felt safe in trying it and were glad we did. They served fabulous pastries and excellent coffee, but not at Tica prices. This is not fast food, this is good food! And the service is done with a smile. If you go, be sure to ask for the Crocantes de Nuez
, they are worth every 1500 colones! We indulged in this lovely macaroon pastry and also had fruit and an egg sandwich and a banana chocolate smoothie. Yes, I really did that. There is a cozy little area inside for dining but who would want to when the weather is so beautiful. Eat outside on the patio!
Compared to quiet Playa Hermosa where there was no defined “town” Playas del Coco
was very busy with many restaurant offerings and loads of touristy shops. We parked our car and spent the morning in the many shops looking for Costa Rican souvenirs. We
found some unique gifts to bring home at very reasonable prices.
We took a break from shopping to walk the promenade along the beach. Although much smaller, the sunny boardwalk had a very European feel, with tall palms and views of the boats out in the harbor, reminding me of the promenade in Solerno in Italy. Dusting the sand from our toes, we returned to the shops looking for something to eat.
A young man caught our attention right away. At the opening of Johann’s Bistro
a young man, head bent down, was pouring cream on a large frozen disc. We had never seen an ice roll
before and the preparation of this "ice cream" was fascinating. Intrigued, we decided to order one for ourselves. There are many fresh combinations to choose from and we chose the coconut and mango combo. I took a video that I wish I could post. This creation took four minutes to complete from chopping the fresh mango and coconut on a frozen platter to the addition of cream and the chopping, mashing, spreading, repeat, repeat, repeat until at last this divine frozen creation was assembled in rolls for us to eat. We
dove in with huge smiles! The prices are 2500 colones to 3000 colones depending on your ingredients. It think ours ended up around $4 US for four large rolls in a big cup. We ate dessert first.
After that unique and delicious experience we decided more shopping was in order. There were chocolate shops, beach shops, art galleries and general tourist traps to consider before returning to Johann’s for lunch. The dessert was so good, lunch had to be good too! We shared a thin Margherita pizza. To cool us off we had a delicious fresh minted lemonade. There were sandwich offerings, beer, salads, sushi etc. Everything we had was delicious!
After we ate everything we could (including street food chicken on a stick) and shopped in every store in Playas del Coco, we bought gas and returned to Playa Hermosa and the beach at Bosque Del Mar to soak up the last of the day’s sun on the beach before my big birthday celebration dinner.
We relaxed under the tall palms looking out at the ocean and the occasional curious lizard (the black spiny-tailed ctenosaur and ctenosaur similis) scurrying up trees and down in into sandy
holes. I watched a Black Streaked Oriole as it brightly gleamed like a brilliant flower in the tree. Spotted Sandpipers bobbed their heads and ran with their little feet along the shore while Magnificent Frigate Birds soared above. I can't say enough about how beautiful and laid back this place is, relaxing, yet so full of life. At the end of the day we watched fishermen come in with their catches before deciding to go soak in the hot tub and then going out to dinner.
The girls decided, on our last night in Costa Rica, to take me to dinner at Ginger,
to celebrate my birthday. Ginger has a funky treehouse atmosphere with a tapas style Asian Fusion menu. The upscale restaurant is populated by some tourists but mostly by re-located ex-pats. The restaurant was not within walking distance yet only about a 5 minute drive from our resort.
The open air restaurant is set on stilts like a tree house with a festive, well lit bar surrounded by dining tables. We were told on the phone that they took reservations only and there were no tables left but to drop by anyway which we did. Surprisingly
there were several empty tables and we were given one of them.
We decided to do the sharing tapas and began with 5 nicely seasoned seafood sushi "Ginger Rolls" then we ate off a plate of Asian vegetable stir fry (beef strips and carrots, green beans and cauliflower sautéed in a nice sauce), followed by another spicy peanut dipping item, then some yummy pot stickers (I could have made a meal on these) and finally three beef mini tacos. My daughters surprised me with the presentation of a delicious Pavlova birthday cake, loaded with whipped cream and fruit, one of my favorite desserts! This was such a fun and memorable last night dinner celebration to remind us that Costa Rica has so much to offer!
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