Zancudo Beach Travel Information
Is one of the secluded communities that attract expatriates. It's a relatively small
village stretching along one sandy street with a handful of restaurants, cabin rentals,
and small hotels. The black sand beach is backed by homes not far from the water?s edge
but concealed from the view of swimmers and surfers by the usual coconut and strangler
fig trees. Zancudo is a popular place for local Ticos to come to swim on weekends.
Unlike Pavones, the famous surfing beach to the south, Zancudos beach is very swim able,
with gentle surf.
Several bars and restaurants serve as social centers, with occasional weekend dances. A
stop at any of the local open-air restaurants will usually find a table or two of North
Americans or Europeans discussing local news and making plans for the development of
their properties. Paving the road is a common topic. Those who own homes along the beach
shudder in horror at the image of the throngs of tourists, property buyers, and
developers a paved highway will surely bring. They feel that since they have discovered
this part of Costa Rica, it is rightly theirs, and it would be downright rude for others
to crowd in. On the other hand, those who have businesses, who depend on tourists and
new residents to make their enterprises grow, eagerly look forward to the road and the
increased prosperity it will bring.
Several folks I spoke with routinely come here for three months or longer every year. A
cabin with a small kitchen, right on the beach, can often be found for as little as $350
a month during the off-season. Others are available from $500 to $900. By all means,
stay for a couple of months before deciding to invest or build.
A local resident remarked, ?Everyone wants to come here in the winter months [referring
to winter and summer in the North American sense. People seem to think that summer is a
total monsoon. But the weather is wonderful then, it's actually a little cooler during
June, July, and August. Every morning is sunny, and at least part of the afternoon is
usually rain?free. Often it doesn't rain at all. The hottest month of the year is March,
according to local residents; this is just before the rainy season gets started.
Having said all of these nice things about Zancudo, I feel it's only fair to point out a
possible problem with owning property here. Something that escaped my notice during
previous visits is this: Zancudo Beach is actually a narrow peninsula with ocean beach
on one side and a river swamp inlet behind it. Therefore, the majority of dry land sits
entirely within the 200-meter zona maritima. Everything seemed OK until recently, with
property owners paying taxes and assessments to the municipality of Golfito. Then out of
the blue, the mayor of the municipality began questioning the right of the property
owners to be on Zancudo Beach. My understanding is that the dispute has been settled,
but before investing any money there, speak to your lawyer as well as Zancudo residents.
Buses and stake-bed trucks bring families from nearby towns on weekends, loaded with
children eager to enjoy the beach. The waves are gentle, the water warm, and kids in no
danger of anything worse than sunburn. An easier way to get here is by water taxi from
Golfito. Schedules vary with the tides.
The shortest way to the beach is a two-hour drive over a gravel and sometimes-rocky
trail. This same road splits off and goes to Zancudo's sister beach to the south,
Pavones During the rainy season this route requires a four-wheel -drive vehicle, and
it's not all that great in summer. Maps don't help much in finding either Zancudo or
Pavones I have three different maps, for all practical purposes they might well have
been of three different countries, because each has a different version of the road
system, none approaching reality. It's best to stop often and make inquiries.
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