Playa Junquillal, Costa Rica
If you crave long beach walks along deserted stretches of coastline Junquillal might be the right spot for you. Only a 1.5 hour drive from the airport of Liberia you find beautiful coastal scenery with very few people even during high season months. Due to the powerful waves and ocean currents swimming on the main beach of Junquillal is not advisable. There are however tide pools and beaches nearby where you can swim and snorkel in calm waters.
Junquillal is a relaxed little village set in the middle of a 4 km long expanse of gray and black sand beach. To the north of Junquillal is the delightful white sand beach of Playa Blanca in a protected cove. Here you can swim and float in turquoise waters, do boogie bording, snorkel or read your book in the shade of trees.
Venturing a bit further along the beach you get to Playa Callejones, a rocky beach with tide pools and two beachside restaurants which specialize in sea food. From Callejones you can also embark on a fishing tour with experienced local fishermen. Further north along the beach of Callejones you arrive after another 3.5 km at the surf spot of Playa Negra.
South of Junquillal the road ends at a river estuary where a lagoon has formed behind the beach. The majestic Rio Nandamojo extends inland and you can explore its mangrove forest on a kayak tour. The tranquil water jungle with its flora and fauna is an intriguing world of its own. Besides monkeys and birds you might see crocodiles bask on a river bank.
Sometimes you see locals at the river who do fishing with hand lines, or you can learn what Pura Vida means for Costa Ricans when you meet a family hanging out at the estuary and having a barbecue of freshly caught fish while their children frolic in the water.
Around low tide - 3 hours before and after - you can cross the Rio Nandamojo on the outer edge of the river mouth. A hike along the coast yields a fantasyland of beach wilderness and you can get lost in time collecting shells and bathing in small coves. 6 km south of Junquillal you arrive in the small fishermen village of Playa Largato.
Despite its small size there is a good choice of nice and intimate hotels in Junquillal who also have restaurants and bars for travelers enjoying a relaxed beach vacation away from the crowds. The village of Junquillal is remarkably tidy and the friendly small beach community cares about their environment.
The sea turtle project in Junquillal
On the beach of Junquillal is a hatching station for sea turtles and at night boys of the village patrol the beaches to protect the eggs from poachers. 4 different species of sea turtles digg their eggs into the sand of Junquillal, including the large and severely endangered leatherback sea turtles. The main nesting season is from July through February.
At certain intervals you can watch baby turtles at the hatching station struggling out of the sand. Ostional, one of the world's most important nesting sites of sea turtles, is only 25 km south of Junquillal.
Activities in Junquillal:
Snorkeling is possible in tide pools at the southern end of the Junquillal beach or at Playa Blanca at the north.
Surfing is world-class in Playa Negra (6 km) or Avellanas (9 km). To the south of Junquillal you additionally find the surf beach of Playa Marbella, and when there is a swell you can just surf in Junquillal at the northern end of the beach.
Sport fishing tours are professionally run by a Tico family in Playa Callejones who has been fishing in these waters for decades. During the boat trip you might see schools of dolphins, manta rays and sea turtles.
Kayaking Tours can be arranged through your hotel in Junquillal.
Golf can be played on the 18-holes championship course of Hacienda Pinilla, only 10 km from Junquillal. The golf course is one of the best you can find in Costa Rica.
Hotels in Junquillal also arrange day tours to nearby attractions. You can go on a caving tour in Barra Honda, do bird watching in Palo Verde, see an arribada in Ostional or hike the volcano at Rincon de la Vieja.