One of Costa Rica’s best kept secrets is Playa Ventanas, windows to the sea.
It is a beautiful secluded beach with a series of five sea caves, some accessible by sea, and some by foot. We discovered them on a border run to Panama to get our three-month visas renewed. We were looking for a place to take a driving break.
If you arrive at the beach during high tide you will be greeted by what appears to be two large nostril holes breathing a puff of sea mist as the tide surges through mountain tunnels that lead to the sea. It is a magical experience that brings to mind pirates, treasure and mermaids. My sense of wonder and excitement started to mount as the tide retreated farther and farther leaving a huge beautiful crest shaped beach and two visible tunnels into a rocky mountain. Eventually I was able to see the ocean through the openings.
Venturing into a cave my heart beat rapidly as gushes of sea water hit my body.
Sea shells, sand and unknown creatures hit my legs and made my skin crawl. A cool gust of wind howled through the cave bringing images of sea ghosts into my mind. The cave was black except for the two openings. I waited for my eyes to adjust. Gazing ahead 100 feet was the window to the sea. I edged closer until I was waist deep. The sea towed me ever closer and panic seized my heart as I realized it was about to pick me up and suck me out into the rock lined coast, a deadly prospect. I retreated letting the sea push me in, my eyes fixed on the window to the sunlit palms ahead of me. A total juxtaposition. A deadly sea at one end and a beautiful coconut lined beach on the other. I was delighted.
Travel Tips: Located about 1½ km (1 mile) south of Whale Marine National Park, Ojochal, Costa Rica. As of 2015 there is a public parking lot with an attendant and a small fee to park. A 4WD vehicle may be needed to access during the rainy season. You must drive through a river with no road bridge. Do not leave anything of value in your vehicle or unsupervised on the beach. You will find strong surf and rip advisories during high tides’ whereas a calmer swimming area during low tide.