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San Juanillo, A Hidden Paradise

By Pinar Istek

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.

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 fish, 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 17 km from Guiones Beach. Private transportation is the best way to access to this gorgeous town.

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, Italian pizza at La Bahia, vegetarian serves and smoothies at Ancient People, specialty pastas 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.


More Nature News

Kudos to ICE for Protecting Monkeys

The Guiones area is seeing a remarkable decline in monkey deaths from high wire electrocutions. Brenda Bombard, founder and director of the Nosara Animal Refuge, credits ICE, Costa Rica’s government-owned utility company, with saving animal lives by systematically insulating the electric lines in the Guiones area. More >

Sea Cucumbers Harvested Illegally in Samara and Garza

Sea Cucumbers seem to be a hot commodity in illegal international trade. Antonio Peñas Zuñiga, an official of INCOPESCA, was in Samara on March 9 to decommission about 31 kilograms of sea cucumbers that had been illegally harvested from the ocean, about 6 kilos of which had been cooked. More >

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