New in 2017!
In anticipation of our upcoming 10th-year anniversary celebrations, we have created the Frijoles Locos Online Store. Our popular t-shirts, towels, and hats are now available direct to you in the US, Canada and worldwide.
Keep an eye on new releases via Facebook @frijoleslocos and Instagram #frijoleslocos and tag us wherever you are, wearing our gear.
We look forward to seeing more of you wearing our product, and hope it reminds you of good times in Pura Vida land plus spreads the love to others yet to visit.
What hasn’t changed?
Of course, if you are in Costa Rica on vacation, we would love to see you in our physical store too- still located at:
Frijoles Locos Surf Shop
25 metros oeste de la escuela,
Playa Grande, Cabo Velas, Guanacaste
Playa Grande sunset. Hardly a soul around.
People ask us often, to explain the difference between Tamarindo and Playa Grande? Everyone has a choice, so we should they choose one over the other? The final decision is ultimately yours and as individual as you are.
Here is a little summary of Tamarindo and Playa Grande:
- Tamarindo is much more touristy- busier, more shops, more people, more stuff…
- If you are looking for nightlife- clubs and bars are open late and there is a lot of choice in Tamarindo. Sharky’s is a top spot for sports-fans and a good time with great bar food.
- Tamarindo has a lot of restaurants but only a handful of outstanding ones. At the moment, Nordico, Seasons by Shlomy and Pangas are topping the charts. Pura Vegan, Noguis and Patagonia are great too. We also love Bamboo Sushi for their ambiance and delicious sushi of course!
- Activities are more readily accessible in Tamarindo and it is easier to join in on group activities as there are more people.
- Like Playa Grande, Tamarindo also has good surfing but the waves at Tamarindo’s best spots tend to be smaller in size than Playa Grande’s main peak. Down-side to Tamarindo is that the learning to surf area is small and crowded with surf schools.
- Playa Grande is more peaceful.
- Uncrowded is the keyword for Playa Grande. There are a couple of commercial stores (our surf shop and another), a collection of small boutique hotels, and a lovely, uncrowded 4km stretch of beach. The beach of Playa Grande is separated from Tamarindo by an estuary. The only place you will find a crowd is at main peak surf break when the waves are good!!
- Playa Grande doesn’t have a real ‘town center’. In fact, it doesn’t have a church, soccer field, bakery, bank or any other key installations one would think was crucial in a ‘town’!
- Small boutique hotels, not resorts, are the rule in Playa Grande. RipJack Inn, with 21 rooms, is one of the biggest and highly recommended. Many others have no more than 6-8 rooms. Hotel Bula Bula and La Marejada Hotel are also great choices.
- The estuary separates Playa Grande from Tamarindo and vice versa.
- Playa Grande has 9 or 10 restaurants, and all are really good! Upstairs at the RipJack, La Marejada, Bula Bula, El Point, Cafe Mar Azul, Cantarana, Seven BBQ, Cafe del Pueblo, El Huerto Pizzeria, and Kike’s Place are the current ones.
- Relaxing, walking on the beach, surfing, boogie boarding, riding a bike, looking for animals are the primary activities in Playa Grande.
- Surf lessons in Playa Grande are less stressful as they are uncrowded and away from the hustle and bustle of Tamarindo.
Many people say that they wished they stayed in Playa Grande. They would have rented a car and headed to Tamarindo a night or two for the nightlife, or to check out the abundant souvenir shops.
For others, Playa Grande is too quiet. It takes an effort to go anywhere else, and can feel remote- so if you like peace and quiet but also to explore, rent a car!
I would say that you know yourself best- do you like the hustle and bustle of a tourist town? If so, Tamarindo might be best for you.
Are you ok taking things slower while on vacation? Do you prefer a quieter setting, where you can visit a busier place if you need to? If so, Playa Grande might be the best choice for you.
What not to do (unless that’s your husband!)
Surf safety and surf etiquette are paramount to an enjoyable surf session for everyone involved.
Surfing is fun, it’s adrenaline-pumping and life-changing.
Surfing can also be dangerous to you, and those around you. Like any sport or activity, there are guidelines for best practices. Keep reading, to discover how you can maximize your own surf etiquette and general surf safety while minimizing the chance of accidents. No one wants to experience conflicts with other surfers, but everyone enjoys good vibes and good karma!
- Select the most appropriate location for your skill level. If in doubt, ask your local surf shop.
- The surfer closest to where the wave broke has priority, or in some places, it’s the person first on their feet. Use discretion and your observation skills and remember, if in doubt, don’t drop in!
- Stay out of the way of other surfers- when paddling out, paddle towards the broken part of the wave so you avoid interfering with surfers on the green face.
- Don’t be a wave hog- take turns, encourage others.
- Be observant, pay attention at all times.
- Assist a fellow surfer in trouble or distress.
- Spend a little time speaking to locals before surfing- figure out the local vibe, how best to fit in.
- Your board is a missile and has the potential to harm another person. Never ditch your board when a surfer is behind you- hold onto it like a life depends on it. Remember a 9ft board with a 9ft leash has a reach of close to 20 feet…. and your fellow surfer on a similar board has the same… try and keep a good 40ft from other beginners.
Surf etiquette is something all good surf schools should teach. A quality surf lesson, with a mature instructor and good track record will start you off on the right foot!
Remember to relax, have fun, and don’t be a jerk. Smile, share and lift the spirits of those around you. Before heading out to surf, consider a good warm up, a work-out, getting some of the extra energy out. In this way, you aren’t depending on catching 50 waves at the expense of everyone else’s fun!
Chef prepared meals in-house, Playa Grande, Costa Rica
Over the years, many visitors have really appreciated the local knowledge and seamless service we offer in our role as Concierge Services Provider. As a result, we receive countless requests for assistance in securing activities, tours and also, services of an in-house chef, or catering, from prospective visitors to Playa Grande, Costa Rica.
Frijoles Locos Concierge Service can recommend and reserve, on your behalf, someone to take the chore of cooking off your hands while on vacation, allowing you to simply relax, enjoy the sunsets, savor a cerveza and sit down to a culinary delight.
From high-end, gourmet chef services, to middle of the road yet quality cuisine and down the budget scale to a simple delivery service of catered meals, we have what you need.
Does a home-delivered meal of chicken lasagne or Spanish Seafood Paella sound appealing? How about fish crepes or beef tenderloin with creamy mushroom sauce. Food allergies, or particular dietary requests? No problem!
Also available, an in- house cooking class where you can learn to cook typical Costa Rican food and extend the vacation mode when you repeat the experience back home.
There are many wonderful restaurant options here in Playa Grande too- so make sure you leave time to explore some of our favorites such as the RipJack Inn, Hotel Bula Bula, Cafe del Pueblo, El Huerto Pizzeria or La Marejada. The Taco Star has delicious and great value tacos for lunch, and there are always new restaurants opening up each season. Email us for the most updated list.
Contact our concierge team at [email protected] to find the best chef or cook options for your next trip to Playa Grande or nearby.
One of the most frequently asked questions we receive, is what to take on your trip to Costa Rica?
While we aren’t experts in all areas of Costa Rica, we sure can suggest some must-haves for your trip to Playa Grande and other beachy towns.
If you have ideas you think we should add to the list, feel free to email us, we would love to hear from you!
Below is your packing list:
- Sunscreen- a water-resistant type- we stock SunBum and HeadHunter which are great!
- Beach pants (for sunset watching, mosquito-free)
- Long sleeved lightweight shirt (as above)
- Insect repellant (especially May through to end November)
- US dollars in smaller denominations of up to $50’s (don’t exchange your cash back home, the exchange rate will be awful!)
- Sarong which can double as a beach blanket
- A pair of Tevas/ Keens/ sneakers you can get wet or dirty (for the adventure day, horseback riding, white water tubing and other super fun adventurous activities!)
- If you plan on scuba-diving, bring your PADI card.
- Items you no longer need at home and wish to donate to a good cause- used sneakers, clothing, always are appreciated at CEPIA, a fantastic local charity. Also, any spare space you might have for Pack for a Purpose items would be greatly appreciated and can be left at Frijoles Locos to be taken to La Paz Community School.
- Toiletries (Toothpaste is more pricey here, razors for shaving too. Tampons aren’t all that easy to get here and variety is limited… plus the price is super high. Check out the Diva Cup for a very travel-friendly alternative that is also environmentally friendly!).
What not to bring?
In many cases, this is even more important of a list.
Leave at home the following unnecessary items, or note the caveats:
- Valuables- excessive jewelry or jewelry of high sentimental value. We are low-key here at the beaches, and its not worth losing to the ocean or being the victim of petty theft.
- Any computer equipment that isn’t fully backed up to a hard drive that you leave at home.
- Any expensive video/ camera equipment unless you have it fully insured (prepare in advance, and make sure you have all the requirements from the insurance company, in case it gets stolen).
- Stilettos, fancy shoes, fancy clothes. The most you will need is a pretty beach dress or a polo shirt for men… it’s all about casual here!
- Excessive make-up – it’s so hot, and most restaurants don’t have AC so it will slide off anyway 😉