For those who like to venture out a bit further, there are even more diverse and exciting activity options. Renting a car is helpful to get out and about in Guanacaste but many tour companies offer packages that include transportation with pick ups in Potrero and its environs.
Many of the most pristine national and private parks in Costa Rica are located close to Potrero. The Santa Rosa National Park is a haven for animal-lovers who want to spot tropical birds, monkeys, inguanas and sloths. For experiencing turtles, visit the Baulas National Marine Park. Visitors can also easily access the Rincon de la Vieja and Tenoria Volcanos from Potrero. Hike through the beautiful dry forests to witness volcanic activity, mud pots and waterfalls. Rafting tours are also available on the Tenorio River. The Palo Verde National Park is another beautiful wildlife destination for wetland boat tours, with the nearby Guiatil Potteries to tour. For an underground experience, explore the caves of Barra Honda. The astonishing Rio Celeste is a must for those who want to climb up its electric blue waters and falls. Or make your way to the Hacienda El Viejo Wetlands, a privately owned wildlife reserve and sugar cane plantation offering cultural and rum tours. Finally, the Diamante Eco-Adventure Park offers a long ocean-view zipline as well as an animal sanctuary, a cultural tour and ocean activities.
Neighboring Beaches and Beach Towns
Just a short drive north of Potrero, visitors will ascend up the ocean side hills to access to a few more secluded beaches. The almost-secret white sand Sugar Beach is on the way to the residences, restaurants and shops of the Las Catalinas development. Finally, Playa Danta and Playa Dantita mark the end of the road for access to beaches. Playa Danta, a sun-drenched, light grey sand beach, fronts Las Catalinas and is a popular place for the locals on weekends. This calm cove is an ideal activity spot for swimming or renting a stand up paddleboard. Beyond the north point is Playa Dantita, a remote gem that can be accessed at low tide along the rocks from Playa Danta or via a short hike through the tropical forest from the end of the main road. Families of monkeys greet you on your way down to this serene white sand, turquoise water beach, perfect for snorkeling.
Five minutes south of Potrero, on the other side of the point, is the popular, white-sand beach, Playa Flamingo. The beach has a vibrant and robust community expanded around it with many restaurants, resorts, luxurious beachfront residences and amenities of all kinds. The gorgeous Playa Flamingo is a hot spot day and night. A substantial stretch of sand allows this crescent-shaped beach to feel spacious even when busy during peak season or holiday weekends. During the day, choose from a massage on the beach, renting your own beach chair and tent, shopping from a local jewelry vendor, kicking back in the shade of an almond tree with a refreshing pipa fria (fresh young coconut juice), swimming, snorkeling, surfing, strolling or boogie boarding. At night, dip your toes in the waves, admire the celestial night sky, amble among the local beach fires or enjoy dinner at a beachfront restaurant. Monday nights, head up from the beach to the Flamingo arena for the night market. Once the nearby Flamingo marina is complete it will also offer a number of restaurants and a casino.
Another ten minutes south along Via 911 is Playa Brasilito. Playa Brasilito sees fewer tourists and more locals because it runs along the front of many original local residences in Brasilito. It is an impressive stretch of light gold sand, with a beautiful bay and small estuary on the north side as well as a group of small rock islands that can be reached at low tide. The locals there offer beachfront horseback riding tours, ATV tours and Jetski tours. During rainy season you will find the local surfers catching waves and always you will find couples and families taking in the sunset. The town of Brasilito has grown significantly more commercial over the years with a number of different restaurants, sodas, convenience stores, tour providers, gift and art shops, coffee shops, real estate offices, small hotels and other modern amenities.
The famous Playa Conchal extends south of Playa Brasilito. Known as one of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica, Playa Conchal boasts crystal clear turquoise water and white, sea-shell sands. Access requires a short walk along Playa Brasilito or from a parking lot on the southern-most end. Portions of Playa Conchal are accessible directly from the luxurious Westin and W resorts in the prestigious Reserva Conchal.
A bit further down the Gold Coast is Playa Grande. This extra-long, white-sand beach is a surfer’s paradise with year-round waves. Playa Grande offers little to no shade and can be a bit windy, so a tent or beach umbrella is recommended. Playa Grande is about 35 minutes drive from Potrero, through the towns of Huacas and Matapalo. The growing town of Playa Grande has a number of trendy restaurants and cafes, a craft brewery, a number of accommodation options, private residences and communities, surf shops and a fitness/yoga studio.
Further still, about 40 minutes from Potrero, is the iconic beach town of Tamarindo. The original surf destination in the area, Tamarindo is the most developed and populated. It also sees the highest number of tourists so Tamarindo is dense with quality amenities, services, shops, events and nightlife. Residents from all along the Gold Coast come to the well-established community of Tamarindo for one thing or another. Tamarindo offers things like a regional airport, vacation or car rentals, professional services in health, dental and finance, spas, gyms, resorts, souvenir and clothing shops, schools, art galleries, real estate offices, surf shops and lessons, tour providers, a wide selection of specialty foods, bars and clubs, tattoo shops and even a skate park. As in any other highly populated area, visitors to Tamarindo are advised to be more vigilant about safety, especially at night.