Top 10 Best Beaches In Costa Rica
Our top 10 best beaches in Costa Rica recommended by locals and travelers.
Please consider the current COVID-19 restrictions here. (mostly of beaches will be closing at 2:30 pm during Jan, 2021).
Samara is located in the Guanacaste Province on the northern Pacific coast. It is about 1.5 – 2 hours from the Liberia International Airport (LIR).
Samara has become one of the most favorite places for European expats to retire. You will find a good amount of French, Italians, and Germans there. Not only has Samara attracted European expats, but you will also find U.S. and Canadian expats living in Samara which provides a variety of cuisine and restaurant experiences.
Some of the popular attractions in Samara are: Belen Waterfall, Playa Buena Vista, Koss Art Gallery and the Info Center where you can find restaurant and tour options.
Tamarindo is located in the Guanacaste province of Costa Rica, on the Nicoya Peninsula. It is about 1.5 hours from LIR.
Locally known as ‘Tama-gringo,” for the large number of Americans tourists, it is also a diverse community with locals coming from Canada and Europe as well. With international private schools in and around Tamarindo, it has become a popular destination for families who are looking to relocate.
It is the largest developed beach town in Guanacaste, making it one of the most popular surfing and tourist beach tons in Costa Rica. Some of the main attractions in the area are surfing, sailing, whale watching, hiking, and sunset cruises.
3. Manuel Antonio
Manuel Antonio is located off Costa Rica’s central Pacific coast. Manuel Antonio is around 2.5 hours away from the Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO).
It is known as one of the most gay-friendly beaches in Central America. Bars and hotels around the area frequently promote LGTBQ activities.
Near town, you can find the Manuel Antonio National Park, which contains beautiful beaches, casual forest trails, and a dense rainforest teeming with animal life. In 2011, Forbes named it as one of the world’s most beautiful parks.
4. Puerto Carrillo
Puerto Carrillo is a district of the Hojancha canton, in the Guanacaste province of Costa Rica. Carrillo is 15 minutes away from Samara.
With light-colored sand, small waves, and palm trees that make it fresh and natural, you will not find much development which makes it the perfect beach to chill and enjoy the sights.
Often considered Costa Rica’s wellness capital, the drive from Liberia to Nosara is 2.5 – 3 hours.
It is located in the Guanacaste province of Costa Rica and it is known as a yoga center, with beaches like Playa Guiones famous for their long surf breaks.
Cahuita is a village on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast, near the border with Panama.
The Caribbean side has always been one of my favorite spots in Costa Rica. The colorful Caribbean culture is also quite different, since most locals are of Afro-Caribbean descent giving the area a reggae-Rasta vibe.
In Cahuita, you can find the Cahuita National Park, which is best known for the coral reefs close to shore. In the dry season, there is good snorkeling, and you are likely to see light yellow brain, elkhorn, blue staghorn corals, sea fans, and gorgonians as a backdrop to the more than 500 species of fish that live on the reef.
7. Puerto Viejo
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca is a coastal town in Talamanca in the Limón Province in southeastern Costa Rica, known simply as Puerto Viejo to locals.
You must try the “rice and beans” dish which is the most well-known dish of this area. The rice is cooked in coconut milk and is often accompanied by chicken or fish. It is very tasty and definitely worth trying.
Some locals speak patuá which is popularly considered “broken English,” or slang, but in this case, it is a Creole language: a mix of Spanish, English, and French.
Puerto Viejo is one of the best surfing beaches in all of Costa Rica. In fact, the national surfing champion of Costa Rica is from Puerto Viejo. Chocolate tours, snorkeling, and waterfall tours are also popular activities in this area.
Puerto Viejo is one of my favorite beaches on this list, because the food is different, the people speak differently, and the people look differently than the rest of the country. It is like leaving Costa Rica within Costa Rica with its rich history. Most people have ancestors coming from Jamaica, Panama, and other Caribbean islands.
Conchal is located on Costa Rica’s northern Pacific coast. It is less than an hour from LIR and only 25 minutes north of Tamarindo.
Playa Conchal has calm, aquamarine water, which is great for swimming. To further entice, there are picturesque islets offshore and cliffs on the far southern end.
Conchal Beach gets its name from the Spanish word for shell: “concha”. The white sand and tiny shell particles make this destination one of the most beautiful beaches. There are also some nice resorts here and the diving and water tours are popular here.
9. Santa Teresa
Santa Teresa is located in the Puntarenas Province on the Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica. Santa Teresa started as a remote fishing village, relying on agriculture, cattle ranching and small-scale fishing.
Currently Santa Teresa attracts surfers and especially younger crowds to its scenic beaches and great surf.
Playa Flamingo is in the Guanacaste province of Costa Rica, about an hour drive from LIR.
Playa Flamingo is one of Costa Rica’s most popular beaches with fine white sand. It has pristine clear blue waters, lagoons, vegetation and an abundance of activities.
The Playa Flamingo area offers a wide variety of secluded beaches and lagoons due to the mountain formations reaching into the sea.
Some of the activities you can do in Flamingo are snorkeling, jet boating, tubing, and scuba diving.
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