On Saturday, October 25, 2014, a group of us from Atenas went to Esterillos Oeste, a beach south of Jaco and Playa Hermosa on the Pacific Ocean. Thanks, Tom, for organizing us. We hitched a ride with our friends Diane and John. Esterillos is divided up by rivers into three sections: Esterillos Oeste, Esterillos Centro and Esterillos Este. Each one has well marked entrances, with Esterillos Oeste being the first one.
The beach is made of dark volcanic sand and surf conditions can be quite rough and powerful, dangerous for swimming. This is an area for surfers. There are motel accomodations along the beach, as well as a camp ground, and numerous places to eat. Since we were here in the off season, not everything is open all the time.
The facilities on Esterillos Oeste are not as plentiful as at Playa Doña Ana in Puntarenas, which has shower/change room facilities, picnic benches, BBQ's, and so on. However, for 3,000 colones ($6.00) for the entire day, we got two loungers and an umbrella. The fellow who looks after this service works very hard - he was wearing a shirt that said "lifeguard". He dragged lots of loungers and umbrellas from away down the beach, dug holes to put the umbrellas in and arranged our loungers. Later, when the tide started coming in he moved everything up closer to shore. An incredible deal.
Not long after we were settled in our loungers, a young guy with a cooler came around selling ceviche. It was delicious, the best I've ever had. The fish and shrimp were fresh, lots of cilantro, lime juice and spices and nice and cold. Price - 2 mil ($4.00 - includes a package of crackers!)
We spent an idle, relaxing morning - walking on the beach (I think you could walk all the way to Panama on these beaches), reading and snoozing on the loungers, paddling in the ocean, looking for shells. This is one area where I would not want to swim because of the strong waves and undertows. A nice stroll up the north end of the beach will take you to the mermaid statue, "La Sirena". When the tide comes in, she is almost covered over.
A big thrill for me was seeing four scarlett macaws flying overhead to the almond trees that line the beach. They fly in pairs. Absolutely magnificent. It's the way they were meant to live - not as pets or in cages.
One of the reasons for this Beach Day was to enjoy the first ever Chili Cook Off at Surf Mi Restaurant. Live music was provided by Jim Lajudes and Rodney Paige. We had lunch there and the food was excellent. Between Lance and myself we ordered ice teas, popcorn shrimp and BBQ chicken wings and drumsticks - delicious. I was told the seared sesame crusted tuna is excellent also. Lots of local dogs hang around hoping for a tidbit - they all belong to someone and are in good shape and like being petted. I highly recommend Surf Mi Restaurant. There's a grocery store next door too.
Back to our loungers, a short stroll away. Now that we were safely settled up near the shoreline, we watched the breakers crashing in and admired the surfers. Around three o'clock, we headed home for Atenas, about an hour and half away in the mountains.
There's just something about a day at a Costa Rican beach - I slept like a log that night. The sun, the heat, the ocean, the shifting sands, the good food and friends - priceless.
Speaking of price, here is what a day at this beach cost the two of us (in dollars):
- Gas share - $20.00
- Loungers and umbrella - $6.00
- Ceviche - $4.00
- Lunch for two - $19.50
- Road toll - $1.00
Grand total: $50.00.
This is really great value. I'm still amazed at our life here in Costa Rica - over three years later.