Costa Rica is a country that’s known for its natural beauty and stunning beaches. Nestled in Central America, Costa Rica is a land of rugged coastlines, tropical rainforests, and pristine waters that offer visitors the perfect opportunity to relax, unwind, and explore.
Whether you’re a sun-seeker or an adventurer, Costa Rica has something for everyone. With its warm climate, friendly locals, and laid-back vibe, Costa Rica is the perfect destination for a beach vacation.
In this guide, we’ll explore some of the best beaches that Costa Rica has to offer, from secluded coves to popular surf spots, and everything in between. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, we hope this guide will help you discover the beauty and wonder of Costa Rica’s natural landscape.
1. Manuel Antonio Beach
Manuel Antonio Beach is one of the most popular and picturesque beaches in Costa Rica. Located in the Manuel Antonio National Park, the beach is a favorite among locals and tourists alike. What makes it so special is its unique blend of lush greenery and crystal-clear waters. The beach is surrounded by towering cliffs and thick vegetation, which makes for a truly spectacular setting.
The sand at Manuel Antonio Beach is soft and white, and the water is warm and inviting. The beach is relatively small, but it’s perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and relaxing. There are also plenty of activities to enjoy, such as kayaking, snorkeling, and surfing.
One of the main attractions of Manuel Antonio Beach is its rich biodiversity. The beach is home to a variety of wildlife, including monkeys, sloths, and tropical birds. Visitors can take a guided tour of the national park to learn more about the animals and plants that call this area home.
Another unique feature of Manuel Antonio Beach is its location. The beach is just a short walk from the town of Manuel Antonio, where visitors can find a range of restaurants, shops, and accommodations. This makes Manuel Antonio Beach an ideal destination for travelers who want to enjoy the beach while also experiencing the local culture.
With its stunning natural beauty, rich wildlife, and range of activities, it’s no wonder why Manuel Antonio Beach is one of the top beaches in the country.
3 Tips When Visiting
- Arrive early: Manuel Antonio Beach is a popular destination, so it can get crowded later in the day. Arriving early in the morning can help you avoid the crowds and get a good spot on the beach.
- Wear sunscreen and bring a hat: The sun can be quite strong in Costa Rica, so it’s important to protect yourself from the sun. Be sure to wear sunscreen and bring a hat to provide extra shade.
- Keep an eye on your belongings: Although the area is generally safe, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on your belongings, especially if you’re leaving them unattended while swimming or participating in other activities.
2. Tamarindo Beach
Tamarindo Beach is a long and wide sandy beach located on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, in the province of Guanacaste. It’s a popular destination for both locals and tourists alike, thanks to its crystal-clear waters, stunning sunsets, and lively atmosphere.
The beach is surrounded by a variety of trees, including palm trees and mangroves, which provide plenty of shade for those seeking refuge from the sun. Tamarindo Beach is also known for its great waves, making it a popular destination for surfers of all levels.
Tamarindo Beach has a lively vibe with many restaurants, bars, and shops lining the main street. It’s a great spot to grab a drink, relax with friends, and watch the sun go down.
In addition to surfing, Tamarindo Beach offers a variety of other activities, including kayaking, snorkeling, and fishing. Visitors can also take a boat tour to nearby national parks or participate in a yoga class or other wellness activities.
The beach is located very close to the town of Tamarindo, which offers a range of accommodations, from luxury resorts to budget-friendly hostels. Tamarindo is also known for its vibrant nightlife, making it a great destination for those who want to party after a day in the sun.
Tamarindo Beach is for anyone looking to experience the vibrant and active beach lifestyle of Costa Rica. With its stunning natural beauty, variety of activities, and range of accommodations, it’s easy to see why Tamarindo Beach is one of the top beaches in the country.
4 Tips When Visiting
- Be mindful of the tides: Tamarindo Beach is known for its great waves, but the tides can be strong. Be sure to check the tides before heading out for a swim or surf, and be mindful of any warning signs posted on the beach.
- Consider taking a surfing lesson: If you’re new to surfing, consider taking a lesson with a local instructor. They can provide you with valuable tips and techniques to help you get the most out of your time on the water..
- Explore the town: Tamarindo town offers a range of restaurants, bars, and shops to explore. Take some time to explore the town and experience the local culture.
- Book rooms in advance: Tamarindo Beach is a popular destination, so be sure to book your accommodations in advance to ensure that you have a place to stay. There are a range of options available, from budget-friendly hostels to luxury resorts.
3. Santa Teresa Beach
Santa Teresa Beach is also a stunning white sand beach located on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, in the province of Puntarenas. It’s a popular destination for surfers and those looking to escape the crowds and enjoy the tranquility of nature.
It’s also a great spot for those looking to relax and unwind. With its soft sand, gentle waves, and tranquil atmosphere, it’s the perfect place to soak up the sun, read a book, or take a peaceful walk.
The town itself is located near the beach and offers a range of accommodations, from budget-friendly hostels to luxury villas. The town has a laid-back vibe, with plenty of restaurants, cafes, and shops to explore.
The beach is backed by lush green forests and is home to a variety of wildlife, including monkeys and a variety of birds. It’s known for its consistent surf breaks and clear blue waters, making it a favorite spot for surfers of all levels.
In addition to surfing, Santa Teresa Beach offers a range of activities, including yoga, horseback riding, and fishing. Visitors can also take a day trip to nearby Cabo Blanco National Park to experience the region’s natural beauty.
With its stunning scenery, consistent surf breaks, and range of activities and room options, it’s no surprise that Santa Teresa Beach is one of the top beaches in the country.
- Check surf conditions: Santa Teresa Beach is a popular destination for surfing, but it’s important to check the surf conditions before heading out. Be mindful of any warning signs posted on the beach and listen to advice from local surf instructors.
- Book rooms in advance: Like Tamarindo, Santa Teresa Beach is a popular destination, so be sure to book your rooms in advance to ensure that you have a place to stay. There are a range of options available, from budget-friendly hostels to luxury villas.
- Rent a four-wheel-drive vehicle: The roads in Santa Teresa can be bumpy and difficult to navigate, so consider renting a four-wheel-drive vehicle to get around. This will make it easier to explore the area and access remote beaches.
- Try local cuisine: Santa Teresa is known for its fresh seafood and tropical fruits, so be sure to try some of the local cuisine. There are a range of restaurants and food stands to explore, from casual beachfront eateries to upscale dining options.
4. Conchal Beach
Playa Conchal is a stunning white sand beach, again, located on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, in the province of Guanacaste. It’s known for its crystal clear turquoise waters and unique sand made of millions of tiny crushed seashells. This gives the beach a beautiful iridescent appearance and a distinct texture underfoot.
The beach is surrounded by lush green forests and is home to a variety of wildlife, including monkeys, iguanas, and a variety of tropical birds. It’s a popular destination for swimming, snorkeling, and sunbathing, with calm waters that are perfect for families and those looking for a peaceful beach day.
Playa Conchal also offers a range of water activities, including stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, and jet skiing. You can rent equipment on the beach or take a guided tour to explore the area’s natural beauty.
The nearby town of Brasilito offers a range of accommodations, from budget-friendly hostels to upscale resorts. The town also has a range of restaurants and shops to explore, with a focus on fresh seafood and traditional Costa Rican cuisine.
In addition to beach activities, Playa Conchal is also close to a variety of attractions, including Rincon de la Vieja National Park and the Las Baulas National Marine Park. Visitors can take a day trip to explore the natural beauty of the area and experience Costa Rica’s diverse wildlife.
Overall, Playa Conchal is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to experience the natural beauty and tranquility of Costa Rica’s Pacific coast. With its unique sand, clear waters, and range of activities and accommodations, it’s no surprise that Playa Conchal is one of the top beaches in the country.
- Rent a beach umbrella or bring your own shade: There is little natural shade on Playa Conchal, so consider renting a beach umbrella or bringing your own to provide some relief from the sun.
- Be mindful of the tides: The tides can be strong on the Pacific coast, so be mindful of the tides and any warning signs posted on the beach. Swimming and water activities are safest during low tide.
- Rent equipment on the beach: Playa Conchal offers a range of water activities, including snorkeling, paddleboarding, and kayaking. Visitors can rent equipment on the beach or take a guided tour to explore the area’s natural beauty.
- Visit nearby National Parks Playa Conchal is close to a variety of attractions, including Rincon de la Vieja National Park and the Las Baulas National Marine Park. Visitors can take a day trip to explore the natural beauty of the area and experience Costa Rica’s diverse wildlife.
5. Avellanas Beach
Playa Avellanas is a picturesque and secluded beach located on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, in the province of Guanacaste. It’s known for its miles of white sand, clear turquoise waters, and untouched natural beauty.
The beach is surrounded by lush tropical forests, making it a prime location for nature lovers and those seeking tranquility. It’s also a popular destination for surfing, with consistent waves that attract surfers from around the world.
One of the main features of Playa Avellanas is its unique rock formations, which jut out from the water and create a stunning backdrop for beach-goers. These rock formations are also home to a range of marine life, including crabs, starfish, and a variety of fish.
Playa Avellanas offers a range of beach activities, including swimming, sunbathing, and surfing. It’s also a popular spot for fishing and beachcombing, with a variety of seashells and other treasures to be found along the shore.
The beach is relatively undeveloped, with some small restaurants and surf shops nearby. This gives the beach a remote and unspoiled feel, making it a popular destination for those seeking a more authentic Costa Rican experience.
In addition to beach activities, Playa Avellanas is close to a variety of attractions, including the Tamarindo Wildlife Refuge and the Marino Las Baulas National Park. Visitors can take a day trip to explore the natural beauty of the area and experience Costa Rica’s diverse wildlife.
With its unique rock formations, clear waters, and range of activities, it’s no surprise that Playa Avellanas is one of the top beaches in the country.
4 Tips For Travelers
- Be prepared for a remote location: Playa Avellanas is a beautiful and relatively undeveloped beach. While this adds to its charm, it also means that there are limited services and amenities nearby. Be sure to bring enough food, water, and other supplies with you to make your visit comfortable.
- Watch out for strong currents: As with any beach on the Pacific coast, the ocean can have strong currents that can be dangerous for swimmers. Be aware of any warning signs or flags, and avoid swimming alone or in areas where the current is especially strong.
- Rent a surfboard or take a lesson: Playa Avellanas is known for its excellent surfing conditions, and many visitors come specifically to catch some waves. If you’re new to surfing, consider taking a lesson or renting a board from one of the nearby surf shops.
- Visit at low tide: The beach is at its widest during low tide, which makes it the ideal time to explore and enjoy the area. During high tide, the beach can be narrower and some areas may be inaccessible
6. Hermosa Beach
Playa Hermosa, which translates to “beautiful beach” in Spanish, is a stunning stretch of coastline located in the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica. As the name suggests, this beach boasts some of the most picturesque scenery in the country, with a long expanse of soft white sand, crystal-clear waters, and lush greenery lining the shore.
One of the standout features of Playa Hermosa is its tranquility. Unlike some of the more popular beaches in the area, this beach is relatively quiet and secluded, making it the perfect destination for those seeking a peaceful retreat. The beach is also known for its excellent surfing conditions, with waves that are well-suited to both beginner and experienced surfers.
Another unique aspect of Playa Hermosa is its protected status. The beach is part of a designated conservation area, which means that it is home to a diverse array of wildlife and plant species. Visitors to Playa Hermosa can expect to see a variety of marine life, including colorful fish and sea turtles, as well as monkeys and other creatures in the surrounding jungle.
Despite its quiet and secluded location, Playa Hermosa is still within easy reach of amenities and attractions. There are a number of excellent restaurants and cafes in the area, as well as hotels and vacation rentals for those looking to stay nearby. And for those who want to explore further afield, the nearby town of Playas del Coco offers plenty of shopping, nightlife, and other attractions.
Just 2 Tips
- Check the tide schedule: Playa Hermosa is known for its excellent surfing conditions, but the best time to catch the waves can vary depending on the tide. Check the tide schedule in advance to ensure that you’re hitting the waves at the right time.
- Explore the surrounding area: There are plenty of attractions and activities in the surrounding area. Take a day trip to the nearby town of Playas del Coco to explore the local shops, restaurants, and nightlife, or head out on a nature hike to see some of the stunning wildlife and plant species that call the region home
7. Dominical Beach
Dominical is a small coastal town located on the southern Pacific coast of Costa Rica, in the province of Puntarenas. It is known for its beautiful beaches, lush rainforests, and laid-back atmosphere, making it a popular destination for surfers, eco-tourists, and those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of more crowded tourist spots.
One of the most notable features of Dominical is its stunning beaches. Dominical Beach itself is a long, wide stretch of sand backed by palm trees and rainforest. The waves here are known for being powerful and consistent, making it a popular spot for surfing. Other nearby beaches, such as Playa Hermosa and Playa Ballena, are also popular with visitors.
In addition to the beaches, Dominical is surrounded by dense rainforest and mountains, which provide plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventure. Visitors can go on hikes through the rainforest to spot wildlife such as monkeys, toucans, and sloths, or go on a canopy tour to see the jungle from above. The nearby Hacienda Baru Wildlife Refuge is also a popular destination for nature lovers.
Despite its natural beauty, Dominical remains a small and laid-back town. There are plenty of restaurants, cafes, and bars to choose from, as well as a small selection of shops and markets. The town also has a vibrant art and music scene, with live music performances and art exhibits frequently taking place.
Overall, Dominical is a beautiful and tranquil destination that offers a range of activities for those looking to relax and reconnect with nature.
3 Tips For Dominical
- Rent a car: While Dominical itself is small and easy to explore on foot, there are many nearby attractions that are best reached by car, such as the Hacienda Baru Wildlife Refuge and the Nauyaca Waterfalls.
- Take a surf lesson: Dominical is known for its great waves, so why not take a surf lesson? There are many surf schools in town that can teach you the basics.
- Explore the local cuisine: Costa Rican cuisine is delicious and diverse, so be sure to try some of the local dishes during your visit. Some popular options include gallo pinto (rice and beans), ceviche (raw fish marinated in citrus juice), and casado (a dish that typically includes rice, beans, plantains, salad, and a protein such as fish or chicken).
8. Puerto Viejo Beach
Puerto Viejo is a vibrant and colorful town located on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, in the province of Limón. It is known for its stunning beaches, rich Afro-Caribbean culture, and laid-back atmosphere, making it a popular destination for surfers, backpackers, and those looking for a unique and authentic travel experience.
One of the most notable features of Puerto Viejo is its beautiful beaches. Playa Cocles, located just outside of town, is a long, wide stretch of sand with crystal clear waters, making it a popular spot for swimming and surfing. Other nearby beaches, such as Playa Chiquita and Punta Uva, are also popular with visitors.
In addition to the beaches, Puerto Viejo is known for its rich Afro-Caribbean culture, which is reflected in the town’s music, food, and art. Visitors can explore the colorful streets and marketplaces to discover local crafts and souvenirs, or try some of the delicious traditional dishes such as rice and beans, plantains, and seafood stews.
For those interested in nature and wildlife, the nearby Cahuita National Park is a must-visit destination. The park is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, including monkeys, sloths, toucans, and sea turtles. Visitors can explore the park’s trails and beaches to observe these incredible creatures in their natural habitat.
Puerto Viejo is a laid-back atmosphere, stunning natural beauty, and rich culture make it a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Costa Rica.
7 Tips For Visiting Viejo
- Rent a bike: The best way to get around Puerto Viejo and its surrounding beaches is by bike. Renting a bike is a fun and affordable way to explore the area, and it will allow you to stop and admire the scenery at your own pace.
- Try some Caribbean cuisine: Puerto Viejo is known for its delicious and unique Caribbean cuisine, which is a blend of African, Indigenous, and Spanish influences. Be sure to try some traditional dishes such as rice and beans, plantains, and coconut milk stews.
- Attend a cultural event: Puerto Viejo has a rich Afro-Caribbean culture, and there are many cultural events and festivals that take place throughout the year. Check local event listings to see if there are any events happening during your visit.
- Take a chocolate tour: The cacao plant is an important crop in the region, and there are several chocolate tours available that allow visitors to learn about the history and production of chocolate, as well as sample some delicious treats.
- Go snorkeling: The waters around Puerto Viejo are home to a wide variety of marine life, including colorful fish, sea turtles, and coral. Take a snorkeling tour to explore this underwater world and see these creatures up close.
- Visit the indigenous BriBri community: The BriBri are an indigenous community that lives in the surrounding rainforest. Many tour companies offer visits to the community, where you can learn about their culture and traditions, as well as participate in a traditional chocolate-making workshop.
- Take a yoga class: Puerto Viejo has a thriving yoga community, with many studios offering classes throughout the day. Taking a yoga class is a great way to relax and connect with the local community.