Playa Puntarenitas, Have Lunch Off the Beaten Path in Costa Rica

Costa Rica     Destinations, Food
Looking across to the green hills above Golfito.
Looking across to the green hills above Golfito.
Across from the town of Golfito in southern Costa Rica, at the entrance to the harbor, is a small boat-only accessible "island" with makeshift restaurants and a really cool vibe ... and not in the tour books.
Looking for something a little different in southern Costa Rica? Known as Lobster Island to some locals, the thinly attached peninsula of Playa Puntarenitas right across from Golfito is a local favorite spot to stop if you're out on your boat for the day. Pull your boat up to the little dock, or right up to the restaurant at high tide, grab a bite and a beer, and even go for a swim.
The restaurants are lined up along the right part of that front shore.
The restaurants are lined up along the right part of that front shore.
There is a small line of restaurants. Our favorite is the one furthest to the left coming in.
There is a small line of restaurants. Our favorite is the one furthest to the left coming in.
It's all maritime zone so is not legally allowed to be developed, but there are quite a few restaurants along the shore. It used to be even more rustic, but now some of the places have electricity via solar (that may or may not work), a retaining wall built to keep the tide from coming right up into where the tables are(!), and some comfy sofas . . . all still on the sand.

They no longer have a bar pig (yeah, there was a pig that ran around the restaurant with the dogs - I am unsure of her fate - we won't ask), but there are hammocks galore, the food is all still cooked on wood-burning stoves, and you'll get some good authentic Tico meals. But don't worry about it being too rustic, they do keep the beer cold!

The food averages around 4,500 colones ($8) for a nice large plate of freshly cooked chicken rice, a vegetarian casado plate, fish filet, patacones, or other local specialties. Oh yes, and of course ask if they have lobster that day! Everything there is good and be sure to bring cash (remember, rustic - no credit card machines).
Rustic cooking with a wood-burning stove.
Rustic cooking with a wood-burning stove.
What a cool restaurant. Sand floor, swimming right off the front, and hammocks galore!
What a cool restaurant. Sand floor, swimming right off the front, and hammocks galore!
You never know what might be going on on any given day. You might be the only people there, there might be someone playing guitar and singing, and you might even get to visit the local chiropractor! Yes, there is a man who lives on the next beach over who is a 3rd generation chiropractor and practices a very unique technique with a light touch for manipulation. He brings his table over and gives adjustments to the local children and gringos alike. Pay him what you can.

Swing in a hammock, relax, and chat with the locals. There are lovely people there with very interesting stories, and the view across the water of the lush green cliffs behind Golifio is something of sheer awe. The combination of getting there by boat (always cool, right?), the casual yet thoughtful way it's run, and the adhock-turned-semi-permanent nature of it gives you one of those "yeah, this is pretty darn cool" moments.
That's Playa Puntarenitas there on the left.
That's Playa Puntarenitas there on the left.

How to Get There

If you have your own boat, navigate to the Northeast part of Playa Puntarenitas, Golfito. You can drop off at the dock and moor in the shallow water and walk in.

Don't get it confused with the Playa Puntarenitas further across the Gulf on the Osa Peninsula near Puerto Jimenez!
Pulling into the restaurant. This one has a new dock. :)
Pulling into the restaurant. This one has a new dock. :)


The muellecito in Golfito where you can look for someone to take you to Puntrenitas in their boat.
The muellecito in Golfito where you can look for someone to take you to Puntrenitas in their boat.

If you are coming from land in Golfito, you can get a small water taxi from the Muellecito dock in town across from the Supermercado Pearson.

Go to the dock and start asking around for someone to take you. The boat only takes about 5 minutes and you should be able to negotiate a fare of 1,000 colones per person each way with a minimum of 4,000 (according to the Golfito website). You can always hire a private boat, but it's cheaper if you can find a boat that is taking other people too, making it more of a water taxi than a private hire.

Make sure to arrange for your boat to come pick you up when you're done. Give yourself a couple of hours to be able to relax and enjoy the place.

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