Start your day at the Wave Café (thewavecafe [at] rocketmail [dot] com, 7:30 A.M.–3:30 P.M. daily), a lovely little place on the approach road to the beach, selling hot cinnamon rolls, plus fresh-baked pastries, coffee, and smoothies. It also has WiFi. Owner Cara Decristoforo is a graduate of the California Culinary Academy.
You don’t have to leave the beach to eat. Just pop up to Taco Star (9 A.M.–sunset), a grill at the park entrance. Jay sells burgers and more. Here, too, the Hotel Las Tortugas has an airy restaurant (7:30 A.M.–9:30 P.M. daily) serving an eclectic menu; leave room for the apple pie and ice cream.
Inland, Kike’s Place has an inexpensive soda selling típico dishes.
For gourmet fare, head to the elegant Great Waltinis (5:30–8:30 P.M. Tues.–Thurs., 5:30–9 P.M. Fri.–Sat.) restaurant at Hotel Bula Bula. It serves international cuisine, including quesadillas, chicken wings, and shrimp and crab cakes, plus such superbly executed dishes as duckling with mango chutney ($14), filet mignon ($16), and filet of ahi tuna sautéed with white wine and garlic butter ($12). Leave room for the “Siberia” chocolate drink-dessert. Avoid the superb martinis if you’re driving!
Gourmands will appreciate the German-run Restaurante Cantarana (7:30–9:30 A.M., noon–2 P.M., and 6–9 P.M. Mon.–Sat.), at the namesake hotel. Delights at this airy upstairs venue include carrot and ginger soup ($9), mixed salad with garlic shrimp ($11.50), and duck breast with veggies and jasmine rice ($19).
Café del Pueblo Pizzería (tel. 506/2653-2315) is an Argentinian-run air-conditioned restaurant in a Tuscan-themed house about 400 meters from the beach. Jason at Playa Grande Inn (tel. 506/2653-0719, www.playagrandeinn.com ) cooks casados, pulled-pork sandwiches, quesadillas, and pizzas (from $6).
You can stock up at Super Pura Vida, in Comunidad Playa Grande, or at Super Malinche (tel. 506/2653-0236), which has a thatched seafood restaurant attached.