Puerto Quepos is a one-time fishing village that sits along the south Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. It has become a mecca for tourists seeking to fish or surf, but it retains much of its original charms. We know it for Mueblos Elizondo, our friend’s furniture store that sells authentic, top-quality Costa Rican furniture. They have shipped as much overseas as they have sold in their store.
What to Do
Despite my husband’s aversion to sand, we did head to the public beach in Manuel Antonio, a short bus ride from Quepos. It has huge waves and lots of people. We rented beach chairs and umbrellas for about $6/hour. The guys who rent the chairs double as personal waiters and will fetch drinks and food too. There were lots of Nicaraguans selling souvenirs, empanadas and watermelon along the beach. The kids and I tried the fruit and empanadas and loved them. We also tried a Tica beach favorite: a snow cone with flavored water (cherry) with latte (sweetened condensed milk) poured on top for $1. Very sweet but tasty. We dragged hubby to the private beach inside Manuel Antonio National Park ($10 entry for non-resident adults) where the beach was quiet, with calm waves, very few people and lots of white-faced mischievous monkeys.
Our certified tour guide at Manuel Antonio National Park ($75 and up) carried a high powered telescope to point out frogs, lizards and plants along the trail. He was helpful in finding a sloth and a family of monkeys in the trees but we saw plenty of monkeys at the beach. The guides communicate with each other when they discover something so no one feels left out but I am not convinced we needed to spend the $75. The private beaches were pristine and less crowded. All have bathrooms, but there is no food available in the park.
What to Buy
Don’t miss BamBamBoo, an organic clothier owned by a Toronto native. You will find the softest T-shirts made from bamboo and fun clay-dyed shirts, pants and more made from hemp. My 8-year-old son refuses to sleep in anything other than his bamboo T-shirt and my 10-year-old daughter returned with a thunder stick (turn it upside down and it roars).