A Guide to Dining in Coco Beach, Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica

Recommendations:

Stay at Ruby's! We found this gem on AirBnb and paid $46/night. It's a comfortable, quiet little hotel one block back from all the beach noise. One block to the west is main beach strip, and one block to the east is another little shopping center. Our first morning there, there were seven monkeys in the tree across the street.

The woman who runs the place is so friendly, and we made friends with her and her younger friend who was helping her. Each evening they offered us beers and when we could we sat down and practiced our Spanish with them. One morning we walked with them for about two hours along the beach, and they showed us the waterfall at the far end.

Right next door (on La Chorrera, just west of Cangrejos) is a wonderful little cafe we never would have noticed if we hadn't stayed there:

The Brisa Marina
We saw this sign and were trying to figure out what "tortilla check at home," "strained lettuce, and "hemstitched" meant.


The Spanish side was more useful. We realized that, due to an internet translation of their misspelling of "made" as "echa" instead of "hecha," they got that "check at home" business. That didn't account for "strained lettuce," and we still didn't know what "desmecha"/"hemstitched" meant, but the Brisa Marina people told us to come check it out and that each meal came with papaya juice, so we decided to try it.



Even though we split one serving, they gave us each a papaya juice. It was so refreshing. The tacos were made on perfect little homemade tortillas. Hemstitched apparently meant "pulled," and the pulled beef was exceptional. Everything was delicious and unlike any other tacos either of us had ever had. This place is a gem, and if we hadn't been staying at Ruby's we probably never would have seen it. Be warned, just like many places in Costa Rica, they're pretty loose on the hours they keep.

Calderos
Whatever else you do, try to eat everything this woman makes. Her hours are a little hard to pin down, but she's hypothetically open Friday through Wednesday from about 11am till maybe 8pm. It's 3000 colones (or about $6) for two tacos or seafood broth. Every meal you can eat here, you should. It's the best food in the city.


Ticoffia

-Try the coconut milk latte, made with small batch, hand-made coconut milk. It's usually ready at about 10am, and it's well worth sleeping in for :]
-Their honey processed coffee is insanely good. It tasted so sweet I kept thinking they'd sweetened it with something, but it's just the process.
-The chimichurri sauce that come with the nice little breakfast tortilla sandwiches is so good. Ask for extra (and tip!).
-Skip the power balls, but consider trying the Chilean dulce de leche cake.



-Whatever else you do, get the coconut milk chocolate
-At the very least, enjoy samples of the caramelized cacao nibs

These truffles were good too, especially the banana one.


Java Cafe

This little coffee shop was pretty hip, with cucumber water on the counter, local, jarred sauces and salsa for sale (buy some hot sauce to take around with you wherever you eat, trust me), a borrow-a-book shelf, board games, a really good iced mocha, and some moon pie things too that are really good. We only ever saw those salsas and moon pies at one other cafe or store in the area, no price difference.


Don Christian

There's a nice little French bakery a little northeast of Java Cafe. The coffee sucks (it's automatic crap out of a machine), but the pastries and desserts are solid.


Papagayo Seafood

We were pretty disappointed on our last evening in Costa Rica that we missed the sushi chef who apparently comes and goes as he pleases. When he comes, it's at 6pm.

Our waiter was so kind and brought us two salads and a serving of mashed potatoes and vegetables for free because we're cool. The salad had their famous Caesar dressing on it and it was actually good enough to live up to this "famous" talk.

The grilled calamari with peppers and onions was awesome, and our seafood platter with garlic butter sauce was delicious and filled with tons of seven or so kinds of seafood. All that, plus super dirty martinis (he even brought me 
an extra shot glass of olive juice), came to about $40 USD.
If you see this beer at the store, buy it!!! And bring me some. Seriously, I never like fruity beers, but this was crazy good.


El Ancla 


Their pina coladas are made with real pineapples as well as coconut cream and Nicaraguan rum, about $7 each, I think (that was on the first day when I wasn't paying as much attention).

Tico's Tacos (3000 colones or $6) -Skip this nonsense. It was basically 3 taquitos like from one of those cheap frozen bags at any grocery store in the US, comes with chicken or beef, although we ordered chicken and received beef, and it was served under a bed of shredded cabbage, ketchup mayo and mustard. 

The shrimp cream soup was mostly milk. We added a lot of salt and the hot sauce we'd bought from Java Cafe, but it was still bland, so we ordered nachos and combined them. The nachos were actually pretty darn good. 




The bar next to it had decent margaritas, $6 each, and the food looked pretty good on others' plates, but the menu wasn't that interesting and was pretty expensive.















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