Where are the Best Beaches in Costa Rica?
Something that is common for all the beaches in Costa Rica is all-year-round comfortable water temperatures.
Indeed, Costa Rica features some of the best beach resorts, sun-kissed sands, turquoise waves, and pristine shorelines.
The place is a perfect beach gem, lying between the shorelines of the Caribbean and the Pacific Ocean.
Costa Rica offers various fancy white sand beaches with beautiful palm trees, classic volcanic black sand beaches, and also naturally rugged beach coves pampered by tropical rainforests.
Related: Best Beaches in New Zealand
Where are the Best Beaches in Beaches in Costa Rica?
Find a perfect spot for your next beach escape with our list of the best beach locations in Costa Rica. With a wide shoreline and diverse and serene beaches with unique characteristics, Costa Rica has something for everyone.
Playa Conchal Beach, Guanacaste
The province of Guanacaste has some most exotic beaches on the Costa Rica Gold Coast. Playa Conchal Beach is located on the shores of the Pacific Ocean and north of Guanacaste. It features a turquoise stretch of shoreline and temperate water. It is mostly bathed in daylight all year round, with 10+ hours of sunshine even in the months of December to April.
Activities include snorkeling as it has some of the clearest waters on the Gold Coast. With a wide variety of sea life, you can swim parallel with some tropical fish, and even be lucky to have a peek at stingrays. Adventurous activities are scuba diving, deep seas fishing, and a few areas of Playa Conchal offer to camp out and sleep under the majestic stary sky. Moreover, some national parks and nature reserves are also nearby Playa Conchal.
Also, you can enjoy the Westin Resort & Spa Playa Conchal, a 2,400-acre escape that offers three classy pools, eight impressive restaurants, and an 18-hole Robert Trent Jones II designed Golf course. Staying here is good for travelers who can afford pricey places as this beach has no adjoining town. However, budget travelers can find some stay in the town of Brasilito.
Tamarindo Beach, Guanacaste
Another beautiful beach in Guanacaste province, near the town of Tamarindo. This village was once renowned as a quiet fishing town but is now widely popular as a surf town. Moreover, this place comes with various accommodation options, many restaurants, boutiques, and even art galleries.
Whereas, Tamarindo Beach is a long beach with great waves and strong currents. So, take a glance at the posted advisories before swimming. However, don’t be alarmed by its surf town fame, it is ideal for beginning surfers.
Moreover, it has a “Party and Play” vibe. Famous beach activities are swimming, surfing, fishing, daytime water sports, and a buzzing nightlife that comes after an exquisite sunset. Most tourists consider it as a base because of its central location. In this way, they can explore Guanacaste over a number of days. You can also enjoy the local cafes and bars, here. The famous Liberia airport is just 1 hour away. So, when feeling tired of beach time, rent a car and explore its well-maintained roads.
Further, if you’re looking to swim and escape the crowds of Tamarindo, visit the nearby serene white sand beach of Langosta.
Manuel Antonio Beach, Manuel Antonio National Park
It is a famous coastal gem of Costa Rica. Further, it is located on a 30 minutes hike from Manuel Antonio national park entrance. The park is actually a coastal rainforest with natural wildlife, especially monkeys. Go for some well-connected hiking trails that are heading to other beaches, if you are into some rainforest exploration.
The must-do activity is snorkeling. So, get ready for swimming gear in advance. Other activities are swimming, surf lessons, or just relaxing in brightly colored sunsets. Further, the coral seascape of Manuel Antonio Beach is worth exploring.
Hotels in the Manuel Antonio area are not beachfront because of environmental restrictions. Most of them are located cliff-side with sweeping views. Further, only some of them have direct beach access. You can also use the hotel or public shuttles to reach the beach and the entrance to Manuel Antonio National Park.
Dominical Beach, South Pacific
The dominical town is heaven with an ideal balance of nature, wildlife, and modern comfort. However, most tourists miss this gem because of its off-the-beaten-path. Moreover, it features one of the best places for surfing – Dominical beach.
The Dominical beach is a wide stretch of pure powdery beach on the South Pacific Coast where you can enjoy both the serene sunset and the divine sunrise. Further, it is a flat, vast, and safe beach. As it is the only beach with year-round lifeguard services. Waves are robust and consistent.
The most famous water activities are surfing and strolling. For yoga-bees, Dominical features a world-class yoga studio – Danyasa Yoga Retreat. It is actually a great yoga studio that offers various yoga classes at all fitness levels.
Dominical is a small beach town with some of the best food options in Costa Rica. There is a weekly farmers’ market on the town’s main road. Whereas you can buy giant papayas, sweet mangoes, and tasty granadillas at affordable rates from smaller fruit and vegetable vendors that are open for the whole week.
Samara Beach, Nicoya Peninsula
Samara is a small beach town, situated on the northern Pacific coast in Guanacaste Province. It takes around two hours to reach Samara from Liberia International Airport (LIR). Samara’s most famous tourist attraction is its long and epic beach – Samara Beach. It is a family-oriented beach on the Nicoya Peninsula that wraps around a horseshoe bay dispersing the weekend crowds. You can see children at play in its calmer ocean waters.
Samara beach comes with rows of exquisite palm trees, light tan sand, and calm water (due to an offshore coral reef). Some of the water activities are scuba diving, swimming, kayaking, snorkeling, and sport fishing.
Having an accessible centrally located downtown that’s full of numerous restaurants, stylish boutiques, tour operators, cafes, and hotels. Borders with thick tropical dry forest, you can catch glimpses of wildlife i.e. monkeys, iguanas, and various birds, even on hotel grounds. Some best restaurants are El Lagarto, Samara Pacific Lodge, Lo Que Hay, Bohemia Cafe, Samara Organics, and Microbar. Further, some popular hotels are Montelaguna Boutique Hotel, Villas Kalimba, Hotel Belvedere, Samara Pacific Lodge, and Hostel Samara.
Flamingo Beach, Guanacaste
This pretty pinkish-white sand beach sits north of Conchal Beach in the Guanacaste region. The name Flamingo beach comes from its white sand which has a pinkish hue in the right light.
Its waves are manageable and good for swimming. More must-dos at Flamingo beach are scuba diving, seeing exotic marine life, sailing, and diving. Further, you can also enjoy all-year-round deep-sea fishing i.e. marlin, tuna, mahi-mahi, sailfish, roosterfish, swordfish, and snapper can be found off the coast. In fact, an amazing international sailfish tournament that is sponsored by the Costa Rican Amateur Fishermen’s Club is hosted here every July.
Here, you’ll find a few luxury homes and some seashore trees that serve as a refuge from the strong Costa Rican sun. You can also find some hotels that are overlooking Flamingo Beach and lay high up on a cliffside overlooking the bays and inlets of the Pacific. Moreover, you will definitely enjoy the saintly sunsets overlooking the Pacific Ocean from this amazing Flamingo Beach.
Manzanillo Beach, Southern Caribbean Coast
Situated inside the amazing Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife and Marine Refuge, this small fishing town of Manzanillo sits on Costa Rica’s exquisite Caribbean coast and in the south of Puerto Limon in Limon province.
The most popular tourist attraction of this small town is its magnificent white sand beach – The Manzanilo Beach. This divine seashore is lined with beautiful palm trees, giggles with gentle waves of the Caribbean Sea, and borders with tropical rainforests. In short, Manzanillo is a tropical paradise with a wonderful coral reef offshore.
It is an ideal beach for snorkeling, swimming, kayaking, and scuba diving. You can also enjoy the dolphin tour and can be lucky enough to see one of three species of dolphins that live in Manzanillo waters. Moreover, it is the best location for fishing.
If you love hiking, you can hike up to Monkey Point or Punta Mona and can see some of the local monkey species. It is a myth that Christopher Columbus named this area after seeing many monkeys here.
Whale Tail Beach, Uvita
The small town of Uvita is part of the National Marine Whale Park and is located in the southern part of Costa Rica. The park’s delicate ecosystems include mangroves, coral reefs, whale-breeding grounds, and a mystic beach – Uvita’s Whale Tail Beach. That’s why It is one of the unique beaches in Costa Rica.
The whale tail is a result of natural converging sea currents which deposit sand on top of the rock formations to create this unique and mysterious, tail-shaped pattern. One of the most important tips is: to plan your visit at low tide so that you’ll be able to walk right to the end of the whale tail.
The beach’s small and calm waves make it a perfect location for swimming and ideal for families with kids. Although an entry fee is charged this amazing visit compensates for it. Moreover, it is the exact spot where hundreds of humpback whales gather each year.
It comes with various nearby accommodation options from basic to luxurious. One of the top high-end places to stay in Rancho Pacifico.
Matapalo Beach, Canton Quepos
A Blue Flag beach – Matapalo is a hidden gem on the extreme southern tip of the Osa Peninsula. It is best suited for those who want to visit Manuel Antonio National Park but don’t want to chase the crowded tourist area next to the park. Famous for its central and less crowded location. In fact, it is just 15 minutes away from the lively surf town of Dominical and 30 minutes away from Marino Ballena National Park in Uvita.
You will surely unwind on a gorgeous stretched-out sandy beach with no rocks where you can walk for miles and miles without seeing anyone else. Quite abundant with natural wildlife i.e. capuchin monkeys, sloths, and toucans. Moreover, the water of the ocean is warm and relaxing all year. One term to describe its weather is ‘endless summer!
Moreover, it is an ideal beach for experienced surfers and eco-minded travelers. However, do check surf reports regularly and chat with locals for up-to-date tips, as the sea conditions change quickly. Kayaking, rafting, and zip-lining are some of the adventure sports there.
In addition, the nearby small town is committed to eco-friendly practices such as it is a home of solar-powered lodges and resorts that serves meals using native ingredients. Further, the furniture used there is also made from local bamboo.
Montezuma Beach, Nicoya Peninsula
This bohemian-style beach is located at the tip of the Nicoya Peninsula. It is a great place for backpackers, divers, and surfers. Moreover, divers love this for three known shipwrecks in this very area.
Activities other than water sports include hiking to dig the jungle in search of two nearby divine waterfalls, or exploring in the Cabo Blanco and Curú wildlife reserves. The people who go on the trek are commonly a mix of backpackers, young families, and couples looking for a romantic escape.
It has a hippie revelry vibe —the nickname of this area is Montefuma, after the Spanish word for smoke. In addition, you can still feel a laid-back luxury feel among the hostels. You can go for the affordable villa rentals at Casa Frangipani.
Always remember that Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast is known for its riptides. So, don’t ever dare to swim alone or leave kids unattended. In an extreme case, if you have been caught by the current, never ever try to swim back to the beach. Firstly, don’t panic, and then try to go at a 45-degree angle towards the beach. Moreover, keep in your mind that the most deadly period for dangerous riptides is two hours before and two hours after low tide.
Hope it helps you in exploring some of the best beaches in Costa Rica for your next trip!