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Salsa Brava, Playa Chino and Parquecito

Salsa Brava, Playa Chino and Parquecito

Quick Facts

  • Location : Puerto Viejo
  • Type : White sands
  • Popularity : visitors, locals, fishermen and surfers

A yarn of white sand and blue water unravels along Puerto Viejo's coast forming Playa Chino, Salsa Brava and Parquecito beaches. Behind them, you'll find Puerto Viejo's surfer hautes: cafes, bars and restaurants serving up happy hour specials, beach eats and live music.

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Salsa Brava

Costa Rica's best barrels form off the coast of Salsa Brava. The thick, left and right breaking waves roll in from the deep water and break over Salsa Brava's shallow reef forming what's often considered Costa Rica's most powerful waves. But these waves come at a price, the shallow reefs underneath can tear up any unlucky surfer reserving Salsa Brava's waves for only the best and wildest surfers. The surf is best from December through March but make sure to check the weather before you plan on riding the waves as the surf can be inconsistent.

Salsa Brava's white sand beach runs in a thin string up the coastline, at times unspooling in sandy plots, the best of which is right beside the Lazy Mon bar and restaurant off Puerto Viejo's main road beside Parquecito. This spot is also one of the best places to swim as the off-shore reef form a natural barrier that prevents the larger waves from coming in.

Playa Chino

The coal-colored sands of Playa Negra fade into the pale straw of Playa Chino as you cross over the bridge on your way into Puerto Viejo (this section of beach is sometimes referred to as Playa Lanchon). Playa Chino wraps around Puerto Viejo's point, offering a quick escape from the city to beach. Playa Chino has some great spots for sunbathing, swimming and enjoying the sea.


Fossilized reef and shady coastal palms create small rifts in this otherwise small, sandy cove. Parquecito acts as Puerto Viejo's marina. Fishermen leave early in the morning to get the day's catch providing seafood for local restaurants and residents. You'll always see at least a couple of overturned pangas (Costa Rican boats) on the beach as well as a sailboat or two anchored off-shore. You won't find too many visitors lying out on the beach at Parquecito, for that you're better off visiting either Playa Chino or Salsa Brava.

Salsa Brava, Playa Chino and Parquecito in Pictures

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