Beaches in Costa Rica
Costa Rica is the perfect place to relax on the beach between giant palm trees while fresh fruit vendor carts lure you into buying something. In this small Central American country, the sun shines almost all year long. The atmosphere between Caribbean bars and worldwide famous surf hotspots is relaxed and carefree. All of this is between two oceans – the Caribbean Sea and the wild Pacific. Wonderful beaches spread along both coasts, offering different vibes and Pura Vida.
1. Playa del Coco
Playa del Coco has a little bit more wild scenery and rhythm. Here, you can mingle with Ticos and enjoy the day sipping fresh cocktails. Standing on the beach promenade, you can see various cocktail bars and clubs with reggaeton music booming inside. In the evening, it is dancing time, and most Ticos will most certainly make you look like a beginner with their dance moves. If you don’t feel like partying under palm trees, there is a wide range of diving tours at Playa del Coco, where you can marvel such underwater creatures as manta rays and bull sharks.
2. Santa Teresa Beach
This is the ultimate surf spot in Costa Rica. Between Manzanillo and Malpaís, stretches the long Santa Teresa Beach, one of the country’s most popular surf spots that attracts surfers from all around the world. Everywhere at the beach, pretty women and handsome men spend their day surfing and having yoga sessions. However, the waves are sometimes too high and not always beginner-friendly. Every now and then, beach raves are held. Nice hostels by the sea and small cafés with the best local coffee are also found here and there. A little side note: even though Costa Rica is a relatively safe country, don’t forget that you are still in Central America, so don’t stay at Santa Teresa Beach alone at night.
3. Playa Tamarindo
Playa Tamarindo is ideal for a classic day at the beach with volleyball and swimming in the bay with young people around you. Ticos ridicule the place for being a “gringolandia” because many American visitors spend their time here. However, this shouldn’t be an obstacle for you when you are sunbathing in this incredible place. In the evening, it is time to go to one of the wild backpacker bars in Tamarindo’s centre.
4. Playa Matapalo
If you enjoy walking long distances, you should definitely pay a visit to the wonderful Playa Matapalo. A kilometre-long beach stretches along Guanacaste’s coast towards the sunset. This long beach lies south of the popular attraction Tamarindo. On this wide beach’s edge, you will see the rainforest and hear the screams of capuchin monkeys.
5. Playa Negra
On Costa Rica’s Caribbean side lies a little place called Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. Here, the rainforest is full of cocoa plantations and, on the forest’s edge, the view of the wonderful beaches with bent coconut palm trees is just stunning. Aside from the myriad of white sandy beaches, Playa Negra is not far from the town centre. You can just hop on a bike with light clothes on and head right for the beach. At the black sand beach, Puerto Viejo, you can swim in the warm Caribbean water and forget about everything around you — a sheer paradise on earth. Besides, the credit for the sand colour goes to centuries-old volcanic rocks. Later in the evening, shake your hips to Jamaican dancehall beats.
6. Manuel Antonio
Costa Rica’s most photographed beaches can be found in the Manuel Antonio National Park. A beach worthy of being on a genuine postcard stretches out in front of you when you stroll out of the rainforest to the wonderful bays. The beach full of palm trees and white sand creates an incredible sight. Everywhere you look – left or right – the rainforest’s green hills tower over the beach. Conveniently, there is a boardwalk for visitors to go from beach to beach. In the national park, there are a unique fauna and a great number of exotic animals.
If you are lucky enough, you will spot a toucan in the treetops, which will astound you with its disproportionally big beak. Wander around, accompanied by blue butterflies and little monkeys rustling in the forest, inquiring what kind of food you have in your backpack. Don’t get too lenient and feed them, though — they can become greedy and aggressive in the blink of an eye. Back at the beach, cute little raccoons and lazy lizards often roam around — a real paradise at the Pacific Ocean.
7. Playa Uvita
At Punta Uvita, the two beaches Playa Hermosa and Playa Uvita merge, forming a sandbank that looks like a whale fin. As a matter of fact, it nicely complements this picturesque beach, because in the summer, humpback whales are frequent guests here. With a bit of luck, you can observe the majestic creatures from Punta Uvita. Even if you don’t see the biggest mammals in the world, it is worth spending a day at Playa Uvita. You can spend some time admiring elegant surfers catching huge waves and enjoy the magnificent sunset in the evening.
8. Playa Sámara
Not far from Nicoya, there is a little place called Sámara. Protected from the wind, the bay is teeming with yoga rooms, nice hostels, and fruit carts full to the brim with mangoes. Hostel Matilori is managed by a young German lady, and it is a little oasis surrounded by palm trees — an ideal place to relax after a day at the beach. In the evening, bonfires and a glass of cerveza are waiting for you at Playa Sámara. Yet, the neighbouring bays are also enchanting. At Playa Carrillo, a part of the beach is even covered with rainforest, so it is an excellent spot to read your favourite book or take a nap in the hammock. In the nearby bays, you will find little breeding farms for turtles, which help preserve the population of these animals. Volunteers can help with taking the turtles far into the open sea.
9. Beaches in Cahuita National Park
Explore the country’s calmest and purest beaches in Cahuita National Park. Giant palm trees hang out from the rainforests over the sea, while little monkeys hop from one tree to another. The sound of the tranquil sea relaxes you and your feet are being covered with invigorating seawater. The beaches Playa Punta Vargas and Playa Blanca are particularly worth discovering.
Even though Santa Teresa and Sámara are really wonderful, they are still rather crowded and mainstream, particularly in the peak season. Another great attraction on Nicoya Peninsula is Nosara surf beach — you can only get there by a four-wheel vehicle, so the chances that you’ll encounter many visitors’ rental cars are low. It is a bit quieter at Nosara. Everywhere at these wonderful beaches, palm trees provide shade to relax in during your surf breaks.
11. Playa Dominical
It might not be the most beautiful beach in Costa Rica, but it is definitely a great surfing spot. If you are a surfer type and want to go inside a steep barrel, Playa Dominical will make your day. The break here is not for beginners, though, as steep waves roar here. Finally, while catching the evening sun over the Pacific, enjoy refreshing post-surf beers in the famous Tortilla Flats Bar, where you can brag and boast about your surf knowledge.
As you can see, there are many great options for some Costa Rican beach fun. From surfing to sun-bathing, we’re sure you will find one or two beaches in Costa Rica that check off all the boxes on your travel list. Get ready for an awesome holiday where you can rock a refreshing Caribbean cocktail in one hand, and your camera in the other!