You have arrived in Costa Rica and itching to take a dip in the warm, tropical waters of the best beaches in Central America. Costa Rica is known for its rain forests, volcanoes, and biodiversity, but most of all – its beaches! Looking to surf or perhaps a magical horse ride along the waters edge? Costa Rica has it all. So pack those shades and plenty of suntan lotion and be ready to hit the sand. We have put together a few of our recommendations below for choosing the best beach for your vacation.
The Guanacasta Region is home to the best beaches in Costa Rica with Playa Tamarindo among the top of that list, with restaurants and shops lining the picturesque tourist destination. Its lengthy beaches provide plenty of room for all to enjoy. If you’re looking to surf, this beach offers tame areas to learn how to surf or larger waves for the seasoned wave catcher. The soft, blonde-sand, stretches for miles with plenty of palm trees and warm sunshine. If you’re looking for a spot away from the crowds, just a mile south of Tamarindo, you’ll find the less developed and quite Playa Langosta. The tide pools and stretches of sand make it a favorite among families looking to stay near the restaurants and other amenities of Tamarindo.
Millions of visitors travel to Costa Rica each year to experience the tropical beaches, but the numbers exclude the thousands of sea turtles that use the northern Guanacasta beaches as their nesting ground. Travel just north of Tamarindo and you’ll discover Playa Grande. You must drive to reach this beach, as there is a river nearby with crocodiles looking to say hello!
Year after year, five species of gentle sea turtle giants come to shore to lay hundreds of thousands of eggs on Costa Rican beaches. Many species are listed as endangered and so we highly recommend taking a guided turtle nesting tour. In many ways this is the only legal way to watch the turtles nesting and more importantly to keep the turtles and their nesting area safe. Book a tour with a park ranger at a nearby national park or ask around for a licensed guide. Please take care to keep your environmental impact in the area to a minimum and help us keep the turtles returning for many decades to come.
Looking to escape the tourist traps and crowds? About a 45-minute drive away from Tamarindo you’ll come across Playa Pan de Azúcar, a favorite among the locals for its secluded and most private shorelines you’ll find in Costa Rica. Guests may lounge on the white-sand beach while listening to the hooting of wild monkeys, iguanas, and birds nearby. Sit on the beach and enjoy the sounds of nature, while listening to the calm waves of the Pacific Ocean. The beach is a perfect spot for swimming and snorkeling or for the more adventurous divers. Fishing boats are nearby if a half-day or full day of fishing interests you. Horseback riding is also popular here, perfect for a special romantic getaway or honeymoon! Playa Penca is another beach nearby within walking distance, with excellent water for swimming.
If you’re looking for the neon lights and disco of the nightlife, Playa Flamingo with its pink hue sand is your beach! Just a short drive away from Playa Penca, the beach offers plenty of shopping, dancing and entertainment, frequented by tourists looking to explore a different side of Guanacaste.
Saving the best for last, near Tamarindo on the Nicoya Peninsula is Playa Conchal. The beach is set in a large bay surrounded by clear waters and is easily one of the most popular beaches in Costa Rica. Expect large crowds in the high season, due to its many small, crushed seashells that line its shores making the water crystal clear. It may be treacherous to walk on, so good sandals are recommended. As with Playa Grande, remember to keep your environmental impact to a minimum by leaving the seashells on the shores, instead make your photos and memories of your time here your best souvenirs from Costa Rica!
Whether you are looking for a calm, relaxing day at the beach surrounded by nature, or the best surfing spots in the country, to a rich nightlife, Guanacaste Region has a beach to fit for your Pura Vida vacation!