10 of the Best Beaches in Costa Rica
Costa Rica beckons. Will you answer the call of its crashing waves and finest shores?
Whether you want a one-of-a-kind Costa Rica honeymoon or a heavenly family holiday in Central America, hit the waters of the “Rich Coast,” which is the literal translation of the Spanish name Costa Rica. And you won’t regret any minute of it.
Costa Rica has a beach to suit every type of traveler. That’s what you’re about to discover through this post.
1. Jacó Beach
Spot surf camps and schools along the coast of Playa Jacó by day. Practice taming the waves and emerge a stronger, limber surfer before your vacation ends. If you’re traveling with the kids, book a cruise, adventure tour, or a day trip to popular tourist spots nearby. If you’re here for your honeymoon, you can have a good time at any of the bars and bistros dotting the shores. Los Amigos Restaurant and Bar is arguably the best spot to enjoy special beers and party with locals and tourists after dark.
2. Tamarindo Beach
Playa Tamarindo’s proximity to the airport makes it an attractive beach destination in Costa Rica. You might have read from guidebooks that it is a commercialized beach with souvenir vendors, tour operators, and surfing instructors cropping up at every bend to offer you their services. Resist the urge to say, “No gracias,” and politely respond with “otra día” instead. Being close to the town’s restaurants and bars, this is a good spot to try authentic local cuisine at mealtime. Staying here for a few days will spoil you for life.
3. Manuel Antonio National Park Beach
Do you love watching a splendid sunset or greeting the wondrous sunrise? In this spot, where steep mountain cliffs meet rocky shores, the view of the sun is unobstructed and truly surreal. Relax by the beach with a drink as you gaze admiringly at the view. If you’re with outdoor enthusiasts, there are exciting tours you can try together, including rafting on the Savegre or Naranjo River, enjoying a boat trip at Damas Estuary, taking a hike in the rainforest, or joining a guided tour to Manuel Antonio National Park. The possible tour options you can tackle are endless; unfortunately, your time is not, so choose well.
4. Samara Beach
The town of Samara draws a crowd with its calm sea and stunning shores, and very few first-time tourists are immune to its appeal. It pulls you in, and it’s suddenly hard to escape this coastal getaway. Backpackers enjoy its laidback vibe, and most expats walk barefoot from their beach towel to a popular local store or bar. Want more beachside discoveries? Drive up north, and seek out hidden gems, such as Barrigona and Buenavista beaches.
5. Playa Guiones, Nosara
When a surfing destination claims it has formidable swells year-round, budding and veteran surfers itch to explore it. Unlike famous Costa Rican beaches, however, the 10-mile coast of Guiones is free of bars, bistros, and souvenir shops. Instead, what you’ll find is a jungle backdrop, which makes it a blissful break from the highly commercialized beach destinations. But this spot isn’t just for surf geeks; yoga practitioners, horse-riders, and nature lovers also secretly adore this Costa Rican hideaway.
6. Cano Island
This biological reserve is a diver’s dream destination, and understandably so. For one, it is more accessible than the other option, Cocos Island. The island’s dive sites are protected and designated by the Costa Rican government, so you need to ask for relevant permits. Explore its depths, and make fantastic travel memories meeting stingrays, turtles, and even sharks during your dive. An underwater camera is essential to capture these rare scenes.
7. Cahuita National Park
Dirt roads. Old houses. Mekatelyu(Costa Rican Spanish)-speaking locals. If these don’t deter you, then you belong in the paradise that is Cahuita National Park. Coconut tree-lined, white-sand beaches, greenish-blue waters, and rich coral reefs await you when you venture to this 2,711-acre property near the town of Cahuita. As you create great memories, leaving suddenly feels like a very tough ordeal.
8. Playa Rajada
Perhaps the most picturesque of all Costa Rican beaches, Playa Rajada is a favorite among first-time and returning visitors to the country. For a luxurious stay, tourists can book one of the villas at Recreo Resort. The beach might look far from the property on the map, but in truth, it’s just a golf-cart ride away.
9. Playa Jobo
Like people-watching and learning about the local culture? This is the beach destination for you. A serene fishing village like Playa Jobo boasts superb beaches prettily situated on a small peninsula surrounded by three varied bodies of water: Pacific Ocean, Salinas Bay, and Santa Elena Gulf. For a secluded, comfortable trip, book a room with a view at Dreams Las Mareas Resort.
10. Nicoya Peninsula
For a calm and truly breathtaking beach escape, look no further than Nicoya Peninsula’s Punta Islita. Take a leisurely stroll by the beach, and wait for the brilliant sun to set on its horizon. If you’re paying attention to the swampy mangrove forest, odds are you’ll find camera-ready sea turtles. Want more? Hit the trails, or join a fishing trip with expert local guides to get the most out of your visit.
Decide what you’re most interested in – nightlife, scenery, seclusion, or marine wonders. Doing so will help you narrow down your options and find the best beach destination for your Costa Rica vacation.