Is there only one reason to visit Quepos? Is the village only there as a jumping base to nearby Manuel Antionio national park? Nope. If you want to mingle amongst some locals and get a taste of some unspectacular everyday Costa Rican life, this seaside town is a good option as well.
It is a weekday afternoon and on the pitch 22 juveniles are chasing a ball. One converts an exhilirating free kick for the home side, causing an outburst of noise here in the middle of the village. But whenever one of the kids performs a flying tackle, and there are more of these leg-breaking ones then you can imagine, everyone shrugs. That’s just the way they play football here.
It’s funny to see how such a relaxed people can show so much temperament. They often say that a game of football shows the true character of a society. If it does on this pitch (more of an acre actually…), we might have miscalculated the Ticos.
But once you stroll 500 metres down one of the three main streets of Quepos, you see the shadowplay of this temperament. It is sunset, and one that is so beautiful even the locals seem to go watch it almost every evening. It casts a near-golden glow over the Pacific. The Costa Ricans and the foreigners sit on benches, overlooking the water that has risen in the past couple of hours and has covered the sandy banks closer to the coast again. People can actually use their ship again 🙂
Straight into tourist trap
This is what a glimpse of local life looks like. If you go to the nearby village of Manuel Antonio, close to the entrance of the park, you will only see tourists. If they even take the trouble of staying for one or two nights. Most of them come in minivans or touring cars, straight into the trap of street-side merchants selling them binoculars, tickets, personal tours and food.
Quepos is the place most people skip entirely. Or just for a night, to have an early start in the national park. And it definitely isn’t the most beautiful place on earth. But where else can you drink a beer with the locals during a Champions League game on television (Barcelona or Real Madrid of course, no other teams seem to exist here)? Or watch an old guy go fishing just before sunset to get himself a meal?
That is exactly what I did, unwind and just relax for a couple of days, almost at the end of a long trip, tired of all the impressions that needed to be digested. Quepos, for that, is a good place. Because there is not much else you can do there 🙂
Good to know:
- there is a small airport in Quepos
- But most people will take a bus. All line buses stop in the main bus terminal, 300 metres from the beach. From San Jose, the Tracopa buses are a good option (2-3 hours). Some of them go through the airport on the way back, most don’t. Check https://centrocoasting.com/costarica/quepos/ for more detailed information
- Although Quepos is at the coast, swimming near the center is not a good option, mainly because of the rocks. Playa Maracas, hidden behind the marina building, is slightly better but still not comfortable. The best option is to take one of the buses to Manuel Antonio, and get off early so you can walk the fifteen minutes to Biesanz beach
- There are some great options for breakfast and lunch. Tentacion (near the coast) has smoothies, cafes and sandwiches. Brooklyn Bakery is a local classic (with New York bagels!). Soda Sanchez is a safe option for all three meals
- In the evening, Quepos also caters for all budgets. La Cocina is on the lower end, but still has incredible good value local meals. Balu is a great place for some sea food (and a quiz night once a week for the many American expats that are here, especially in the dry season). But if you really want to taste some great fish, Marisqueria Jiuberth (on the northern edge of town) is your place to go