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Introducing Playa Grande

From Huacas, the southwesterly road leads to Playa Grande, a beach wide and gorgeous, famous among conservationists and surfers alike. By day, the offshore winds create steep and powerful waves, especially at high tide. By night, an ancient cycle continues to unfurl as leatherback sea turtles bearing clutches of eggs follow the ocean currents back to their birthplace. The name fits, as the beach runs from the Tamarindo estuary for three miles, around a dome rock – with tide pools and superb surf fishing – and onto equally grand Playa Ventanas. The water is exquisite, warm, clear and charged with dynamic energy. Even confident swimmers should obey those riptide signs, however. People have drowned here.

Since 1991 Playa Grande has been part of the Parque Nacional Marino Las Baulas De Guanacaste, which protects one of the most important leatherback nesting areas in the world. Add it all up and you have an epic beach town that attracted a growing expat community and lures return visitors who can't get enough Grande.