Beach, Peace and Purity Combine in One Town Called Corozalito

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It wasn’t any advertising agency or marketing consultant who created Corozalito’s slogan: Pueblo, Playa, Paz y Pureza (Town, Beach, Peace and Purity). That description of the four P’s came from its inhabitants, who describe in the best way this mystical place that has a harmony that is perceived in few places in Costa Rica.

Corozalito is located between the beaches of Punta Islita and Bejuco and houses a virgin beauty that very few Ticos and foreigners know of. The town’s design is the same as the majority of towns in this country: a church that looks like something out of a meadow from Heidi, a square and several houses around it.

About 140 people live in the town and most work in tourism, working in neighboring beaches like Islita, where there are more hotels and employment.

To go to the beach from the center of town, you go down a small street lined with vegetation and at the end of the road, you catch sight of one lone tree. This picture-perfect scene guarantees that the beach has stupendous scenery. Corozalito’s beach is surrounded by palm trees and wooden tables, the ocean water is clean and you can see the Blue Flag waving in one of the entrances, meaning that the beach meets high standards of quality.

To maintain these high standards, Juan Gabriel Viales, vice president of the Corozalito Neighborhood Association, affirms that the community gathers almost every Sunday to work on cleaning.

“On Sundays we get the whole town involved, even the children. We make some food, share and get to work cleaning the beach. We are also making tables so tourists have a place to sit and enjoy this beach,” Viales explained.

The waves at Corozalito are also good for surfing, with the added advantage that the beach is so private that surfers don’t run the risk of colliding with each other in the ocean. Such is the case for Alejandro Quiros, a resident of San Carlos, who takes advantage of his weekends to escape to this paradise.

“I love to surf this beach because there are no people. The waves are not very rough, but they do have their strong waves. There are days when the waves aren’t that good, but there are days when, if you catch them, they are really incredible,” commented Quiros, who was resting in a hammock after his morning session.

As part of its natural beauty, during the months of July to December, Olive Ridley and Pacific Green sea turtles arrive at Corozalito. They are safeguarded by community residents and volunteers from the organization Pretoma, who divide up the days of the week to watch that eggs are not stolen.

But the natural beauty and surfing are not the only draws. The social ties within the community are another attraction. Stemming from the town’s vision to strengthen rural tourism, in which all residents perform different services, the Bosque Mar project was founded a few years ago to bring together local artists from the community. According to Leticia Vasquez, a member of Bosque Mar, the idea is to create original works of art from recycled materials, gourds items washed up by the ocean and other things.

“What we want to do is give value to what is ours and regain our identity. Here we are trying not to be copying anything and we make original pieces. We’re trying to change the mentality– we are no longer simple craftsmen, we are artists,” Vazquez said.

The community lives day by day always united, either to improve their town or to receive tourists as well as when the certain presence of death encircles the town. Corozalito is so welded together that when one member dies, the daily dynamics break down completely. On my visit, I witnessed a funeral in which all of the neighbors contributed money so the family would not have to be in financial need with the expenses.

We returned to Nicoya longing to return to Corozalito. We wanted to get to know the people better, to listen to their stories, to drink coffee on the beach at sunrise, to dine with strangers who felt like they had always been friends.

Want to Visit?
To Get There: Corozalito has an airstrip with daily arrivals of Nature Air flights at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. By land, it can be reached from Samara, passing through Punta Islita, but only in the dry season when the rivers are low. If you go in rainy season, go through Nandayure and take the road down to Playa Bejuco to get to Corozalito.

Where to eat? Soda Yorleny receives tourist groups and prepares breakfast and lunch with the wonderful flavor of being cooked on a wood fire. For reservations, call 2655-6247 or 8871-1615. There are also small stores and a supermarket.

Where to Stay? The beach has a small square that functions as a free camping area. In addition, you can stay in Cabinas Corozalito, which has a swimming pool and game room. These cabins sleep six or eight people at a rate of $20. For reservations, call 2655-8025. For larger families, Cocomar cabins has spaces for ten people, which are priced at ¢50,000 (about $94) during high season and can be reserved at telephone number 8804-4909.

Local guide: Juan Gabriel Viales at 8804-4909.