Costa Rica: Uncovering Playa Caletas
A Peaceful Escape at Playa Caletas
We started our third day in Costa Rica with nothing on the agenda. After a day exploring Manuel Antonio National Park and driving up Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast, our plan on day three was simple: to wake up when we were done sleeping and to enjoy a day at the resort. We began the morning by scooting down to the hotel’s restaurant, El Amphitheatro, which offers gorgeous sea views from the terrace. I rarely splurge on breakfast – I’m more of a coffee and fruit person – but the morning menu was chock-full of menu items that harkened back to my childhood. I couldn’t pass up the plantains with rice and beans, a clear homage to my grandmother – and all Central American grandmothers – who believe that this constitutes a healthy meal. Washed down with hot Costa Rican coffee, she would have been either proud of jealous of my order.
We overheard someone mentioning the beach over breakfast and we reevaluated our no-plan plans for the day. Villa Caletas has a private rocky beach, Playa Caletas, and the resort offers hourly shuttle service for guests to transport them there and back. We had already seen the pool (gorgeous), so a trip to the beach seemed like a good idea. Even if it were rocky, and even if the scene left something to be desired, it would be an adventure.
Like clockwork, the driver pulled up to the reception area with a converted truck and invited us to jump in. It was just the two of us making the journey. In theory you can walk the path, but unless you’re really on a mission to be active, I would advise against it. The road is rugged and the descent is fairly dramatic during the 15 minute drive, taking you through jungle (we saw a monkey with its newborn during the drive) down to sea level.
We jumped off and were greeted by hotel staff who provided us with beach towels and escorted us to the waterfront where a series of lounge chairs and cabanas are set up for guest use. A covered sitting area and a bar serving cocktails and lunch are nearby to keep visitors fueled during the day.
We had our pick of cabanas. Besides one other couple who had ventured down to Playa Caletas, it was just us and the world, and it felt like perfection. Playa Caletas isn’t a secret of course, but it felt like discovering the best kept secret thus far: a tranquil expanse with a gorgeous rugged landscape, and beach service. My objective for the next few hours was to read, sun, sip, and further explore the beach on foot, and I did just that.
Beyond the rocky beachfront, there’s a stretch of sand that is the perfect launching point for taking a dip in the ocean. We saw one person snorkeling nearby, but we chose something far less active: just slowly sinking into the salt water to cool off after marinating in the scorching sun. We’re spoiled with pristine beaches in Anguilla, but there’s something about a beach littered with shells, rocks and coconuts that I absolutely love, too. As a child, I can remember hunting for shells during our beach escapes in California, and there’s a bit of that childlike wonder and mentality that always lives beneath the surface waiting to escape at the shore. Plus, who can resist the sound of the ocean? You may think we’d be used to it, but I don’t listen for it in quite the same way at home. On vacation, it’s a perfect soundtrack.
And lest we have a ceviche-less day, we ended our day at the beach with a quick lunch before taking a mid-afternoon shuttle back to Villa Caletas to catch the sunset. There were a few other guests on the beach during the day, but for the most part it felt like the we were uncovering something that had been patiently waiting for us. While prying ourselves away from the resort’s infinity pool was tough, we knew it would be there for us for sunset when we were ready.
And what a magical sunset it was.
While we left Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast with a mix of pros and cons, the sunsets were one element that proved consistently mesmerizing; gorgeous cotton candy shades melting into the horizon as the evening emerged. And watching it from this pool? Not bad at all.
Have you been to Costa Rica? Where’s your favorite part of the country to visit?