If you blink too quickly, you might miss Playa Grande. A quiet and sleepy town, Playa Grande lacks the tourist infrastructure that has come to define the rest of the Nicoya Peninsula. It’s just one main road, a long stretch of beach, and a handful of restaurants and hotels. However, there are two main features that make Playa Grande a worthwhile stop: the leatherback turtles that nest upon its shores and the legendary waves that attract world-renowned surfers. (The spectacular sunsets are an added bonus.)
The surf break certainly lived up to it’s reputation—almost every individual on the beach was toting a board along. The turtles also made an appearance, and it was certainly a once in a lifetime opportunity to watch the 5-foot long female nest and bury her eggs. We were expecting these things, and we were glad not to be let down. However, there was one little gem in Playa Grande that we weren’t necessarily expecting: Sol y Luna Lodge.
Tucked away just a few hundred meters from the beach, Sol y Luna Lodge is an Asian-inspired bungalow complex. With many over-priced, cookie-cutter hotels competing for business in Costa Rica, Sol y Luna Lodge is a welcome escape.
We’ve stayed in a lot of bungalows, and unfortunately what we’ve found is that they often sacrifice comfort for aesthetics. Happily, this was not the case at Sol y Luna Lodge. Here you’ll find satellite TV, air conditioning, Wi-Fi, hot water, and even a bathtub. All the furniture is handmade from local, Guanacaste wood, and the painstaking detail that went into crafting the wooden floors and palm leaf roof is obvious.
The distinguishing feature of the bungalows—which is especially nice in the small town of Playa Grande—is the fully equipped kitchen. A simple highlight of our time at Sol y Luna Lodge was brewing a strong cup of coffee to sip on our private porch, passing the afternoon by swinging on our hammock and listening to the sounds of Costa Rican nature. When you tire of your bungalow, there’s a beautiful pool and plenty of lounge chairs to enjoy, as well as a swim-up bar and restaurant.
We can’t talk about Sol y Luna Lodge’s highlights without mentioning Alex, the lodge’s amiable Venetian owner. Alex shares a sense of wanderlust, and we thoroughly enjoyed getting to know more about his travels around the world over a dinner at one of the town’s only sodas (local restaurants). Alex is always more than happy to help with planning area attractions and bookings; he even sent us a follow-up email after our departure to inquiry about our turtle sightings and offer further trip planning advice. That kindness, which extended far beyond the boundaries of his property, is certainly a hard thing to come by.
We would not hesitate to return to Sol y Luna Lodge should we find ourselves in Playa Grande again. However, there is one thing to keep in mind about the lodge: to maximize your enjoyment here, you really need a car. We didn’t have a vehicle at our disposal, and obviously we were fine. But as I previously noted, there’s not a lot going on at Playa Grande. This is a double-edged sword. Playa Grande provides a secluded escape away from the rest of super-touristy Costa Rica, but it also makes simple tasks (like using an ATM in the closest city 30 minutes away) a bit difficult. However, with a car, the entire coastline becomes available to you, and many area attractions are within a 30-minute drive.
Sol y Luna Lodge has 2 and 4 person bungalows, available at daily, weekly and monthly rates. At the time of writing, a two-person bungalow during low season runs at a reasonable $75 a night. For a fully equipped, immaculate bungalow only minutes from the beach, this is really quite a fair price (especially in comparison to the rest of Costa Rica). For more information, and to inquire about a reservation, be sure to check with Sol y Luna Lodge directly.
We were guests of Sol y Luna Lodge. All opinions remain our own.