The Central Pacific region of Costa Rica is one of the most visited and popular areas in Costa Rica, but unfortunately many people fail to explore areas other than Jaco Beach and the Los Suenos Resort. While Jaco is clearly the hub of the Central Pacific and the primary focus of the regions marketing, there are some areas in the Central Pacific off the beaten path that remain somewhat undiscovered.
One of those areas is Esterillos. Esterillos is a quick 20 minute drive south of Jaco and features some of the most beautiful beaches in the region. Its lighter, soft sands and long beach lines are often deserted, providing the feeling that travelers are left to themselves on their own private beach.
With no large resorts, no paved roads, and no big anchor hotels, the area provides more of the traditional Costa Rica village vibe that many travelers still seek. Esterillos beach is divided into three areas, Esterillos Oeste (West), Esterillos Centro (Center) and Esterillos Este (East), followed by neighboring Bejuco, a very small beach village that often is included when speaking of Esterillos. Each area has a little different feel.
Fishing & surfing
While there is no shortage of fishing and surfing in the Central Pacific, Esterillos is no exception. Consistent waves and less crowded beaches make it a favorite spot for diehard surfers, in fact the The World Surf League (WSL), the sport’s international sanctioning body, will hold the Costa Rica Pro men’s and women’s qualifying series event from Oct. 5-9 at Esterillos Este.
Fishermen also love Esterillos for the in-shore fishing that is available. Panga boats and crew are available at a fraction of the cost of the charters out of the Los Suenos marina. Red snapper, snook, sea bass, mackerel, tuna, and barracuda are all commonly caught. Happy fishermen often take their caught fish to one of the local restaurants where they are happy to prepare and cook for them.
Other activities in Esterillos
With its long stretches of beach, the area is also very popular for horseback rides along the beach, while the mountains to the East make for some excellent hiking, biking and ATV trails. Esterillos is still plenty close to all of the local tour activities. Canopy tours, monkey tours, waterfall rappelling, rafting are all nearby.
Food in Esterillos
And let’s not forget that any hidden gem can't truly be a gem without having some great local food. One of my favorite restaurants in the area is located Esterillos Oeste. Los Almendros features an authentic Costa Rican Caribbean cuisine and fresh local seafood. Truthfully I love everything on the menu, but their Carribbean stew chicken and spicy plantains are probably my top recommendations.
Head a little farther south to Esterillos Este and you'll find a couple more great restaurants right on the beach. The Pavillion, located in the Alma de Pacifico Hotel is a beautiful beachfront setting with excellent food, while the neighboring Pelicano is great for dining or grabbing a couple beers and watching the sunset right on the sand. The new Esterillos Town Center also features some great new restaurants that visitors should check out.
Living in Esterillos
The area continues to be an excellent option for retirees and snowbirds seeking a second home. Properties and land are much more inexpensive than the more populated areas of Jaco and Hermosa. One of my favorite communities is this one here which features single family homes in a gated community just a short walk to one of the most beautiful beaches in the area. These furnished beach homes start as low as $230,000 and are hands down one of the best values in the area.
Are you convinced yet? Spend a little time in Esterillos and I'll think you'll agree that it is truly a hidden gem. If you are ready to explore a bit more Contact David
By David Karr, your Jaco Beach, Los Suenos Resort and Esterillos real estate specialist. Originally from Washington State, David Karr has been living and working Costa Rica real estate in Jaco Beach since 2006.
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