Playa Brasilito, Costa Rica: Authentic, Attractive and Never Boring
The name of Playa Brasilito, Costa Rica, means “Little Brazil,” suggesting a place that’s exotic, audacious, multicultural, authentic, welcoming and never boring. And all of that describes Brasilito pretty well.
Brasilito is located between Huacas, a totally Costa Rican town with few tourist attractions, and Flamingo, a tourist town with few totally Costa Rican attractions. And like some kind of seaside transition zone, Brasilito straddles the best of both worlds in style.
Brasilito is one of the few places on the Huacas-Las Catalinas highway where the road actually comes to within one block of the beach. If you’re coming from the airport, Brasilito might be the first place where you see and smell the ocean that you’ve flown thousands of miles to visit. (And often you’ll see two or three horses saddled up under a shade tree on the beach, waiting for visitors to climb aboard.)
It’s tempting to say that Brasilito proper doesn’t have any high-end hotels — except that just five minutes to the south, Brasilito can claim the 2,300-acre Reserva Conchal, which is arguably the finest beachfront resort in Costa Rica after the Four Seasons in Papagayo.
Downtown Playa Brasilito
Downtown Brasilito is a bit more humble — local bars, low-priced sodas and occasionally a late-night party seemingly breaking out everywhere at once. In the center of town, appropriately, there’s a very Tico one-lane bridge where cars on one side have to wait for cars from the other side to squeeze by.
There are also totally decent hotels and restaurants scattered around the small downtown, as well as nearby vacation rentals, though rather than “fancy,” most of these would be more appropriately described as “affordable.”
In the heart of town is a soccer field, which is also very Costa Rican, though you rarely see people playing soccer here. This field has become the de facto parking lot for Playa Conchal, a spectacular beach where the sand is made of crushed white seashells, but you can’t drive there anymore unless you’re a guest of Reserva Conchal.
Playa Conchal is sometimes called the most beautiful beach in Costa Rica, and it richly deserves this honorific. But a few years ago, authorities banned vehicles from driving along a little beachfront beach road to get there, in part because cars sometimes got stuck during high tide and ending up fouling the waters with oil and gas from their stranded cars.
Today you have to park in Brasilito and walk 20 minutes or so to get to Playa Conchal. You’ll always find parking attendants on the soccer field dressed in official-looking orange vests, guiding you to a secure parking spot and happy to relieve you of a few dollars for the privilege.
Attractions in Brasilito
But don’t make the mistake of thinking Brasilito is just a gateway to somewhere else. It’s a legitimate destination in its own right, with a big beach of its own. And you can walk from one end of the town to the other in 15 minutes or so (depending on what you consider the end of the town).
Good restaurants here include the Patagonia del Mar, inspired by the steaks and seafood of Argentina; the Papaya Restaurant at the Conchal Hotel (international fusion); the Italian Restaurante Il Forno; the Deli Café (sandwiches, quiche and pastries); and Soda Brasilito (nicely priced local cuisine).
Special Places of Costa Rica offers vacation rental and long-term rentals just north of downtown, including low-budget condos at La Carolina 5 or La Carolina 6, as well as high-end homes at Catalina Cove. We also represent luxury properties at Reserva Conchal, including Bougainvillea 1204.
Living in Brasilito
If you’re interested in living in or near Brasilito, you can find most of the comforts of home nearby. There’s a good little grocery story here called the Super Conchal, and in nearby Huacas there are larger grocery stores, a pharmacy, a hardware store and a gas station. There are two banks in nearby Flamingo, the Banco Nacional and the Banco de Costa Rica. If you need work on your car, there’s a reputable garage nearby called Car Service Huacas.
Brasilito has its own “Ebais,” a medical clinic for those who have Costa Rican health insurance, as well as two private hospitals nearby — the Hospital Metropolitana just outside town and the 24/7 Beach Side Clinic in Huacas.
If you have kids that you’d like to enroll in a private, bilingual school, take your pick between CRIA (the Costa Rica Educational Academy), on the Brasilito-Huacas road, and La Paz, at the Mar Vista development on the road to Flamingo.
Brasilito also has one of the best-stocked souvenir shops anywhere between Playas del Coco and Tamarindo, the Sea Star, just south of downtown.
And Brasilito is only an hour from the international airport in Liberia, making it easy to get to from anywhere in the world.
They say time is what keeps everything from happening at once, so perhaps space is what keeps everything from happening in the same place. You have many spaces to choose from when you come to Costa Rica, so shop around.
But for a lively, hopping little town that sits on the edge of expensive luxury and an authentically Costa Rican small-town experience, Brasilito occupies a middle ground that might be just right for you.