Nosara, Travel

San Juanillo Beach, A Hidden Paradise

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A Sunday afternoon road trip through the dusty roads between Guiones Beach and San Juanillo took us to a town where our car engine seemed to disturb the silence. At first glance, with the soccer field, the church and the school that create the center of the town, it didn’t look that different from any other Costa Rican coastal towns. However, arriving at the San Juanillo Beach made the first big difference.

The turquoise color of the water captures one’s attention as soon as the beach comes into  sight. This short and narrow, yet beautiful beach is populated with local fishermen and residents.

Santiago Cerdaz Hurtado, a member of the Fisherman Association of San Juanillo, and many other local fishermen offer boat tours to see the turtles at Ostional Beach, with the possibility of seeing dolphins, whales and stingrays as well.

The real surprise came when we made our way through a narrow dirt path to the second beach, Venice Beach. With similar water quality, Venice Beach is longer and even more desolate than San Juanillo Beach. For a quiet afternoon of reading, family time or just spending some loner time, this beach couldn’t be any better and the sunsets are magnificent.

Snorkeling in San Juanillo, on either beach, is among the best in the area as it provides the opportunity to see the rich marine life near the beach. Because it is possible to swim out to see the blue and yellow fish, star fish and sea orchid, many visitors prefer snorkeling without taking a boat tour. 

San Juanillo is located on the west coast of Costa Rica along the Pacific Ocean. Nearby towns are Marbella to the north, and Ostional, Nosara and Garza to the south. It is 10 miles from Guiones Beach. Private transportation is the best way to access to this gorgeous town but if coming from Santa Cruz, take the bus to Ostional and stop in San Juanillo.

For such a small town, San Juanillo offers a rich selection from the world cuisine. A classical dish of the Americas, ceviche, at Soda El Cruce, vegetarian serves and smoothies at Ancient People, specialty pastas and pizzas at Buddha Bar and Costa Rican dishes at Soda Mundo Feliz are culinary options to satisfy any appetite.

When you get tired of the crowded surfing beaches and are in need of some private time, San Juanillo is a good destination to visit.