Playa Chiquita, Limón

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All the romance of a tropical beach vacation awaits in stunning Playa Chiquita, a small village along the Costa Rica Caribbean coast. White-sand beaches and clear blue waters beckon visitors to bask in the balmy air of this region, which also offers plenty of adventure close at hand. A somewhat isolated area, Playa Chiquita make an excellent base for launching hiking trips to nearby towns and nature areas, providing you a calming place to return to after a day of exertion. Not that you’ll mind—this wild and wonderful country is a hiker’s paradise.

Snorkel Off-Shore

When you want to stick close to the village and keep things nice and easy, you can explore the jungle spaces around area beaches or delve into the treasures of the coral reef. Snorkelers will delight in the color and variety of sea life here, which can include urchins, blue parrotfish, anemones and more. Afterward, the beach welcomes you back. For those who enjoy a casual atmosphere, this is the right place to be.

Hike to Nearby Wildlife Refuge

For a day of fun and adventure, get your hiking boots on and set off from Playa Chiquita to the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge. This unique habitat houses a variety of flora and fauna, including endangered classes of each. A forest measuring 740 acres makes up much of the refuge, which also encompasses beach areas, swamps and a coral reef. Explore the forest on foot or by ATV, or thrill to a canopy tour and a birds-eye view of this singular region. Costa Rica’s government recognizes the ecological importance of safeguarding this area, which boasts the Atlantic area’s sole intact mangrove swamp, as well as a unique-to-the-region primary lowland rainforest. The enclosed orey and jolillo palm swamps are the only ones of their kind in the country.

All of these habitats in such a concentrated area means visitors can experience a singular cross-section of this country’s rugged beauty, as well as the many creatures that live here. Area wildlife includes crocodiles, tapirs and nocturnal pacas. Wetlands, swamps and land combine to house an abundance of birds such as colorful toucans, eagles, pelicans and more. The refuge is also the nesting site of several turtle species, including the leatherback sea turtle and green sea turtle. If you want to catch the wonderful turtle nesting ritual, plan to visit between March and May.

Enjoy Land and Sea Adventures

The town of Punta Uva is also part of the refuge and the starting point of forest, beach and ocean explorations. Here is where you can arrange to ride horses along the beach or ride ATVs in the forest. Water activities include surfing, dolphin tours and snorkeling, where you can find colorful angelfish, Venus sea fans, sponges and more among the coral reef. When you’re ready for refreshment, head to the nearby village of Manzanillo for several options in restaurants and bars. You’ll know you’re getting close when you find towering coconut trees—look up and you may spot some of the howler monkeys for which Manzanillo is known.

Area Accommodations

Made up mainly of natural land, Playa Chiquita offers a few options in accommodations at hotels and small area resorts. Puerto Viejo Costa Rica is also close; visitors staying there can easily make a day trip to Playa Chiquita, which is more than worth the effort for its unspoiled beaches and magnificent ocean views.

Traveling to Playa Chiquita

Playa Chiquita is east of the capital city of San José, in Limón Costa Rica. From the Juan Santamaría Internacional Airport, where many visitors land, you will have to drive or take a bus to get here. The trip should not be uncomfortable, however, as it takes just half a day and follows highway routes.