The 4th of July was upon us for the 1st time since we had moved to San Ramon… would we be able to enjoy a BBQ with friends and celebrate American Independence as we used to in New York? Some ex-pat friends of ours had been telling us about this great beach near Puntarenas called Playa Dona Ana, but as of yet we had not checked it out ourselves. Apparently, a fairly large group of folks were planning on doing some grilling and swimming on the 4th down there, so Anna & I decided it was the perfect day to give it a shot…
The drive from San Ramon is only about 45 minutes down Highway 1 towards Puntarenas. Off the exit ramp you take there is a Maxi-Pali about 1km before you hit Playa Dona Ana, so you can pick up some goodies on the way. This beach is a “blue flag” beach which means that it has passed Costa Rica’s rigorous series of examinations in the areas of water quality, cleanliness, and security. The parking area is clean and secure- it costs 1,000 colones to park a vehicle there and 1,500 colones per adult to enter the beach area. Prices were less expensive for children, but I didn’t note all of the rates during my last visit- I will post a comment indicating all pricing levels after our next trip down.
When you enter the main beach-front area, you have your choice out of a multitude of covered picnic/grilling spots to call your own for the day. The trees are chock-full of monkeys that are more than happy to climb down and eat pieces of banana right out of your hands! Dogs are welcome, which was a phenomenal bonus for us because it meant we could bring the entire family 🙂 All day long, workers circulate around the premises raking the sand and making certain that Playa Dona Ana is pristine.
The water was clean and beautiful, and I was surprised to find that the waves were stellar for surfing (body or board). I’m told that Playa Dona Ana even hosts many surfing tournaments due to the high quality of the waves! My kinda place, folks. My wife and I had a blast splashing around with our canine friends in the water. When we had our fill, we strolled back up to the picnic area to spend time with some amigos and to enjoy a genuine Costa Rican Ex-Pat 4th of July BBQ. What a spread!!! Everyone brought a special edible to contribute, and there were at least twenty of us in attendance. Ice cold Imperials in the cooler rather than Samuel Adams, but other than that it was the same type of cozy Independence Day celebration that we have grown accustomed to in New York ( besides feeding the monkeys, of course!). Playa Dona Ana was a SPLENDID surprise and has earned five stars from us. We’ll be going back as often as we are able 😉