Playa Potrero, Costa Rica – Paradise By The Sea

The quaint town of Potrero is built around the quintessential local Plaza de Deportes (sports field) just a half block from the north end of Potrero Beach. The Gold Coast’s Little Italy, Potrero town has a number of established Italian expats that call it home, so it is not surprising to find some pockets of Italian flavor like a pizzeria and an Italian import store. The town center offers a number of basic amenities. Traditional homes are interspersed around a small church, a variety of restaurants and sodas (local diners), small supermarkets, real estate offices, gift shops, small hotels, a hairdresser, a bus stop and a gelato shop. Beyond the paved main roads, dirt roads extend into residential areas and pasture lands for horses and cattle. Potrero is almost the “end of the road” heading north along the coast, with only a handful of more pristine beaches and an Italian-inspired community development called Las Catalinas, beyond it.

The remaining 10 minute, ocean-view road heading north to Las Catalinas climbs gently up the hillside, past a number of the high-end residential properties of Potrero. Trails can be found off the main road leading down to small beaches or up to lookout points. At the gateway to Las Catalinas one can find a high end boutique hotel with a restaurant known for its immaculate sunset view. Around the bend are parking lots to accommodate visitors to the area, as the beachside community of Las Catalinas is pedestrian only. Predominantly residential, Las Catalinas offers luxurious amenities for its residents: shops, cafes, kayak and stand up paddle board rentals, an outdoor gym with equipment made out of guanacaste wood, access to the last two accessible, white sand beaches and a network of hiking and mountain biking trails to soak in the view.

East along Via 911 from the town center are many rental properties and hotels plus a few more amenities like a yoga studio and bank machine. This stretch provides access to private hillside properties with stunning views of the Pacific, many of which are still under development. Beyond that, the recently paved “Monkey Road,” a winding secondary route which is still subject to seasonal flooding, leads back to Liberia. The “Monkey Road” is narrow and does not have shoulders or lanes. Rather it has many blind corners and hills that require vigilance so it is not recommended for a leisurely drive.

South along Via 911 across a single-lane bridge is the more recently developed Surfside community of Potrero. Once pastureland for cattle (which are still legally entitled to roam the neighborhood), Surfside is a quiet network of unpaved roads with a few simple, traditional homes and an increasing number of modern private residences and vacation rentals. Although some Costa Ricans call Surfside home, it is largely populated by expats from Canada, the United States and Europe. Despite on-going development on the remaining lots in the area, Surfside still teems with nature. Guanacaste, palms and other dry forest trees provide welcome shade for the residents of Surfside. Fruit trees like mango, starfruit, banana and papaya attract wildlife like native Howler monkeys and iguanas. Colourful hibiscus and bougainvillea draw hummingbirds and butterflies. And, of course, the abundance of seeds and insect specimens bring birds of all hues, like kiskadees, fly-catchers and parakeets.

The stretch of Via 911 running perpendicular into Potrero Beach is considered the main drag of Surfside. It boasts a string of trendy eateries, cafes and bars as well as a craft brewery and street food courtyard. Other amenities along the main road include a pharmacy, a supermarket with a liquor store, vacation rentals, fishing and ATV tour providers, a sailing and yoga center and an upscale beachfront hotel. South of the main drag is the local produce stand and, over a second single-lane bridge at the south end of
Playa Potrero, are some fishing and boating tour companies a final cluster of beachfront restaurants, all overlooking a collection of moored boats and the new 50 million dollar marina across the bay at Playa Flamingo.