Driving Directions From Riu Guanacaste to Playa Grande
- Our GPS coordinates are 10.33949139 (Latitude) and -85.84547281 (Longitude)
- Drive time from RIU Guanacaste to Playa Grande: allow 1 hr 15 minutes.
1. When you depart the front gates of the RIU property, you will take a LEFT.
Follow this road all the way along until you reach the T-intersection with the paved road. Left is towards Playas del Coco, and right is towards Liberia/ airport etc
2. Turn RIGHT here.
Continue along this main road, back towards the highway until you reach the next T-intersection.
3. Turn RIGHT here. (The left goes towards LIR airport and the right is towards Belen, Filadelfia, Santa Cruz, and the beaches of Playa Grande, Tamarindo etc.)
Continue along this main highway for around 20 minutes until the town of Belen. There is a gas station on the far right diagonal corner in Belen.
4. Turn right before the gas station, following the signs towards Playa Grande (Parque Nacional Marino de las Baulas). These signs for the Parque Nacional Marino las Baulas have a drawing of a turtle, they are brown with white writing, and refer to Playa Grande. You might also see signs pointing towards Flamingo, Westin resort Playa Conchal.
Follow this road without turning off on any dirt roads. After around 20 minutes, you will pass another gas station called “Oasis” on your left. This is the last gas station you will pass before Playa Grande.
Continue going straight along this road. You will go up over a mountain after the Oasis gas station, you will go down the other side of the mountain, and about 2km along, will see a turn off to the left for Tamarindo.
DO NOT take the left to Tamarindo here!
Stay straight. You will see Super Compro supermarket on your right around 200 meters past this intersection. If you are staying in Playa Grande, get groceries here but don’t leave anything in the car unattended by you or your companions.
Stay straight on this road, passing by the turn-off to the right for Flamingo, Conchal, Las Catalinas and Playa Danta.
When you get to the next t-intersection, you are in Matapalo. On your right will be a soccer field.
5. Turn LEFT here, pass over the little bridge, continue on the paved road for another 8-10 minutes.
You will go over and down another mountain, continue along until you come to a little more of a township.
Pass by Kike’s place (Kee-Kays) on your left (down their driveway, there is a big rancho style roof).
6. Take the next left turn at the big sign and the little school of Playa Grande is on your left.
Frijoles Locos Surf Shop in on the left just after the school.
Taking a surf lesson or a series of surf lessons while on vacation is a great introduction to surfing- a sport the whole family can enjoy!
Why Frijoles Locos for your Surf Lessons in Playa Grande?
- Safety is #1
- Focus on fun
- Professional, experienced, mature-minded instructors
- Quality equipment
- Max of 4 students per instructor for group surf lessons (less if kids involved)
Frijoles Locos Surf School, provides quality surf classes, with safety the highest priority. Undoubtedly, the fun, excitement, laughs, and all round great physical work out will boost endorphins and leave you feeling like you achieved something while on your Costa Rican vacation.
Playa Grande, located in the province of Guanacaste, Costa Rica, is a long sandy beach, with no rocks or reef and consistent waves, suitable for all levels of surfer. The beach has many surf spots to utilize, to escape the crowds and find your very own area on which to practice.
Surf lessons with Frijoles Locos Surf School include 90 minutes of professional instruction, the use of the surfboard for the duration of the lesson, quality long-sleeved rashguards to protect your skin against abrasions/ rash from the surf board, and transportation within Playa Grande.
Frijoles Locos Surf Shop offers surf classes for all levels. Our most commonly requested lesson is the beginner surf lesson. Intermediates or those wanting to get comfortable at a new break can request a surf coach to accompany them for a surf session. Advanced coaching is available upon request.
Budding young surfers can enjoy a lesson, from age 3 and up. These menehunes as they are called in Hawaii, or Groms as the Aussies call tiny-tot surfers, will require one-on-one instruction and advance notification will be necessary. There is nothing like seeing your little one enjoying the beauty and natural rush of catching a wave.
Parents of younger children have expressed interest in having an introductory surf lesson for kids as young as 3 years old. We take each child on a case-by-case basis and with the parent’s involvement, can create a fun start to surfing for these little ones too. The tide will be very low, the water very shallow, and safety paramount.
We have taught hundreds of visitors to surf, with instructors who are CPR qualified, mature minded, and with years of ocean experience. Safety is #1 priority, and we use the best equipment (Gnaraloo soft surfboards), the best surf instructors, and select the best part of the beach to learn to surf on any given day.
Many of our customers come from the Papagayo region, as Playa Grande is one of the closest and best surfing beaches in relation to the Papagayo area. Playas del Coco, Ocotal, Riu Guanacaste, Westin, Playa Danta, and the Flamingo area are all within easy driving distance to Playa Grande for surf lessons. Call us if you would like transportation arranged or require driving directions. Driving directions can also be found in our Blog.
Check out these photos of surfers of all ages having the time of their lives and we look forward to seeing you here doing the same.
Contact us to pre-book your surf lessons for your next visit.
By now, you may have come to your own conclusion that bringing a surfboard with you makes no sense financially. We all would prefer to travel with our own, tried and trusted surfboard. High airline surfboard carrying rates, the distinct possibility of same said airline damaging your board and it being unrideable regardless, is pointing you in the direction of renting a surfboard while on vacation in Costa Rica.
A long standing stigma has been attached to ‘rental surfboards’- in times gone by, they were usually old, yellowed, junky boards. No one would want to be seen riding one, highlighting the fact that you are a traveling surfer, not a local, and on top of that, a tourist!
Thankfully, those days are behind us here in sunny Costa Rica. Even in the little community of Playa Grande, you can find brand new off the rack, lightly used, or standard surfboard rentals at rates that make airline fees look like Teahupoo compared to Waikiki.
While some of the upsides of renting a board include getting to try something without having to buy it, possibility of renting a brand new board for the fraction of the cost of that board, being able to switch out boards if the swell or surf conditions change.. there are potential downsides too, if you are not aware of how to avoid them.
No matter where you rent a surfboard in Costa Rica, or anywhere else in the world for that matter, make sure you inspect the surfboard thoroughly prior to walking out the door with it. Below is a quick checklist for newbies to surfboard rental:
- Check the fins, check where the fins attach to the board (called the fin boxes). Make sure there are no cracks in the fin boxes, and make a note of how many fins are on the board.
- Check all the way around the surfboard (the sides are called the ‘rails’) and particularly inspect the nose (front) and tail (back) of the board. Make note with the shop assistant of any dings on your rental form. Generally we note down just the open dings, areas that water can enter the surfboard. Pressure dings are indentions made by a knee or elbow, hopefully not your head 🙂
- Check that there is a leash on the board, and sufficient wax so you don’t slide off.
- If you are a beginner surfboard, read below on how to NOT damage your surfboard!!
- If you are unsure of how to transport the surfboard, ensure you ask someone at the surf shop to show you the best way to secure the surfboard to the roof of your vehicle. At Frijoles Locos, we provide the use of tie-down straps for free to those renting surfboards.
You will need a valid credit card or your passport to rent a surfboard. At Frijoles Locos, we take a swipe of your credit card, opening a tab/ account for you, which you can utilize throughout your week here in Playa Grande.
If something happens to the surfboard you have rented, you are advised to bring it back to the shop asap so it can be repaired. You will be charged for any dings/ damage to the board. This is why it is so important to check over the board prior to renting it. If there was a ding/ damage there already, and it was not noted, you will be responsible for it. If it were your own board, you would need to fix it, so it is not such a surprise that you must pay the cost to repair a rental board.
Some Surfboard Rental Considerations (where-ever you might be renting a surfboard):
Always ask for the replacement cost of the surfboard in the event it is broken or stolen.
If you would like a surf board with a lower replacement value, ask your shop assistant to help to select one. If the board is broken or stolen, you will be responsible for the replacement fee.
As a beginner surfer, still learning how to ride waves, you are less likely to need a ‘performance surfboard’, nor will you want the higher replacement cost associated with breaking it or if it is stolen.
Please take care of the equipment, and honor the fact that if you break it, you will pay for it. If you borrow a friend’s board, would you replace it if you broke it? If someone borrowed your equipment, what would you expect from them?
Please be sure to check over your rental surf board and/ or equipment, just as you would a rental car, as any unrecorded dings/ broken fins/ damages, will be your responsibility.
How to Avoid Having Your Rental Board Damaged, Broken or Stolen:
- Never leave your surfboard out of your sight, not in the car, not on the beach, even if you are just grabbing a drink, take your board with you.
- Never leave your boards on the roof of the car, or inside the car, even if you have paid a ‘guard’ to watch them. Not even for a minute. Your boards are worth more than a month’s pay to them, so don’t leave the temptation there.
- Avoid breaking your board by sticking to the area of the surf that are suitable for your abilities. If you are a beginner, and the waves are big, stay where the waves have already broken (called the white water) and practice standing up here. Nose-diving the board is generally how a board breaks, so avoid steep, fast waves outside your ability especially at low tide here in Playa Grande.
- Avoid busting your fins by being aware of how close you are to the shore-jump off your board before it gets too shallow, where your fins will hit the sand and bust out. They are not cheap to fix. A broken fin and fin box will cost at least $45.
- Never leave your board standing upright, never lean it against a wall or a tree – it can very easily be knocked down by the wind and smash against the ground or another hard surface. On windy days, be especially careful of leaving the board on the roof unsecured- it will fly off!
- Make sure to observe your shop attendant while they securely strap your boards to the roof of your car. A sure way to lose your board or cause great damage is by not learning how to safely strap the boards to the roof! Always have the fins facing the sky, and at the front of the car. Check that it is secure, as the bumpy roads will shake loose a poorly secured board. Please do not stick the surfboard through the windows of the vehicle- it is very dangerous for pedestrians, other vehicles and for your board.
- If you are keeping your surfboard inside your hotel room, be aware of ceiling fans.
- Do not allow children to stand on the surfboard at any time unless it is in the water or you have already ensured that the fins are pushed carefully down into a sandy place. If you don’t, you will be likely to break a fin or at worse, break the board in half.
- Try to find a quiet area of the beach where there are the least amount of other surfers. This is even more important if you are not very experienced. You should never paddle out where there are a lot of other surfers, as you will be a hazard to yourself and to others.
We hope that these pointers help make your rental experience much more pleasant. It is never fun to have to pay for damages to your surfboard or possessions!
The Frijoles Locos Guide to Playa Grande Attractions and Activities.
Here is a summarized outline of things to do in Playa Grande, Costa Rica during your vacation. For more in-depth information, check out our ‘tours and information‘ tab on our homepage.
Playa Grande is famous for its Leatherback Turtle nesting season (October to March). You can arrange a night-time turtle watching tour at the local MINAE office. Guided tours cost $26 per person, and if you don’t see a turtle, you can come back for free the next night.
Rent a bicycle and explore the area. Low-tide biking on beach cruisers is a great way to get to Tamarindo to explore. Bicycle rentals are available from Frijoles Locos Surf Shop.
Early morning walks to look for monkeys- they are loud! Just follow the strange, deep bellowing sound and take your camera.
El Frijol Feliz Day Spa located at Frijoles Locos offers massages, facials, pedicures, manicures, body scrubs and more.
Day-trips to Arenal Volcano, Rincon de la Vieja National Park, Palo Verde National Park and more are easily arranged through your hotel or at the local tourist information.
Yoga Classes are conducted 6 mornings per week in the high season at the RipJack Inn.
Surf lessons for all levels are available from Frijoles Locos Surf Shop.
Take a Spanish class- ask at Frijoles Locos for more info.
Play ping-pong at PGI’s table tennis table
Kids love the tide-pools at low tide… bring with you a little kid’s fishing net that doubles as a butterfly net when you aren’t at the beach.
Walk to Playa Carbon- the black sand beach to snorkel or just feel a million miles away from it all. Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy!
For night-clubs and night-life, Playa Grande isn’t the pick. Tamarindo is where you go to party, any night of the week. Wednesday nights in Potrero at Las Brisas are Ladies’ Night, a hot pick for some all night music and dancing.
Where to Eat in Playa Grande? Read our Frijoles Locos Guide to Playa Grande restaurants, bars and nighlife.
For a small town, Playa Grande has a wide selection of places to eat, good food, good service and never too far away.
The RipJack Inn is an excellent choice for any time of day. This upstairs restaurant has ocean view dining a great atmosphere, bubbly vibe and parking close to the main peak of Playa Grande if you surf. Breakfast, lunch and dinner in a family friendly atmosphere, with great food. Prices around $8 for breakfast, $12 for lunch, and dinner from around $14 to $25. Try their signature Hot Garlic Shrimp dish for dinner or appetizer. For breakfast, the huevos rancheros are hard to beat, along with the Typical Costa Rican breakfast. The bar serves up a dazzling selection of tropical and traditional cocktails, along with the must-try beer michelada style. Just ask for it and enjoy 🙂
The Marbar serves up delicious breakfast burritos with homefries or fruit for around $7. Wraps and light lunch options, including yummy pank chicken, the most incredible french fries, as well as well priced, delicious dinner options available. We love their chicken curry meal, as well as their signature pasta dish. Mojitos are a drink of choice here, and their chocolate cake for dessert is a great way to end the day.
The Great Waltini’s
The Great Waltini’s, located at Hotel Bula Bula, in Palm Beach Estates to the south end of Playa Grande, offers fresh seafood and grilled meats, turkey dinners and Club Sandwiches for lunch. B,L,D served daily. They have a large bar area, with excellent selection of beverages.
Kike’s Place, on the right hand side as you are leaving town, just past Frijoles Locos Surf Shop, has cheap, good food. 7-8 minute walk from main parking area at Hotel Las Tortugas, this is the place to go to mingle with the locals. Kike, the owner loves to play backgammon, and will likely drop what he is doing to participate in a game or two. Good vibes, good people.
Cafe Del Pueblo
Cafe Del Pueblo, a little further out of town (3 to 4 minutes drive from the beach, on the left as you leave town), has pasta and pizza, as well as gorgonzola tenderloin, and the best pannacotta for dessert! A must visit on your trip to Playa Grande.
El Huerto Pizzeria
El Huerto Pizzeria is located on the left just past Kike’s Place as you head out of town. Renowned for its hard to beat pizza, this is the place to go for pizza.
Pizza Restaurants, Playa Grande
Pizza is also available at Kike’s Place in addition to Cafe del Pueblo and El Huerto.
Typical Tico Food, Playa Grande
Typical Costa Rican style food available at Kike’s Place, and Las Malinches in Palm Beach Estates.