Playa Chiquita, Limón

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Nestled along the Caribbean coast, the small village of Playa Chiquita sits just southeast of Puerto Viejo and next to Playa Cocles. Although the town itself is quite small, the beaches are pristine. Playa Chiquita is about 4 hours from the capital city of San Jose via car or a bit longer via bus, where most people will be traveling from if they land at the Juan Santamaria International Airport. There are no airports near so driving or a bus are really the only options for getting to Playa Chiquita.

Playa Chiquita is home to a small Tico population, but much of the village is natural land. Since it is very close to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, it can easily be a day trip from Puerto Viejo. However, travelers who want to stay in this laid-back atmosphere can find a few hotels and small resorts in Playa Chiquita or at the nearby Playa Cocles.

This is a quiet region along the coast that is fairly isolated, making it a perfect destination for those who want to get lost in the beauty of Costa Rica. Explore vibrant coral reefs while snorkeling in the crystal clear waters, or relax along the white-sand beaches separated by lush jungles. Make sure to stay within the designated swimming areas, because the waters can get rough.

Hiking is one of the top activities in Playa Chiquita. Whether a hike entails a stroll along the beach or trek to nearby Punta Uva, walking is a great way to explore the region's accessible beauty and culture. This small coastal town is similar to Playa Chiquita, but much more well-known. Most journeyers who trek to Punta Uva from Chiquita enjoy dolphin tours, surfing, horseback riding, canopy tours and ATV jungle tours. If a traveler is just in need of a walk, Punta Uva's beaches are mesmerizing enough to make the hike here.

From Playa Chiquita, visitors can hike to the stunning Gandoca - Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge. Home to one of the nesting sites of the Leatherback turtles, the reserve boasts extraordinary views. At the nearby village of Manzanillo lines of coconut trees welcome hikers to this tiny village, which boasts a variety of small shops, bars and restaurants. The native coconut trees make Manzanillo a particularly ideal stop along a hike, as it offers canopy tours and tree climbing - towering coconut trees make it possible to climb 40 meters into the air and live like a monkey ... at least for a few minutes. Travelers may even see monkeys in this village, as it's known for its high population of howler monkeys.