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Costa Rica Beaches: The Ultimate Beach Travel Guide

Costa Rica Beaches The Ultimate Travel Guide

Costa Rica Beaches are famous due to its unique beauty of the coastlines surrounded by green jungles. We all know that the whole of Central America is blessed with soft Caribbean beaches and golden Pacific beaches. Out of all those countries, Costa Rican beaches always take a top position. Jungle beaches with stunning shorelines, pink beaches, colorful corals, a variety of marine lives, and plenty of beach experiences attract a large number of tourists to these Costa Rica Beaches annually.

Here’s the ultimate travel guide on Costa Rica beaches.

Costa Rica Beaches

Which part of Costa Rica has the best beaches?

Since Costa Rica has two coastlines (Pacific and Caribbean), it has a huge variation of the beaches or playas. Therefore it is very famous among beach travelers all over the world. The tropical sunny climate, white sand beaches with off-shore corals, make a stunning climate. It is truly amazing.

Which part of Costa Rica has the best beaches?

I have visited most of the beaches in Costa Rica. Based on personal experiences, I realized that the most stunning beaches in Costa Rica are located in the Southern Caribbean and Northwest Costa Rican sides.

Southern Caribbean side beaches like Cahuita and Puerto Viejo are more highlighted. Northwest Costa Rican side beaches like the Nicoya Peninsula and Guanacaste are also more famous due to their unique beauty. Both sides have some common beauty features like soft and white sand, optimum surfing waves, and tropical warm climate. Therefore, those sides have the best Costa Rica Beaches for sure.

On the other hand, there are some other pretty beaches all over the country, such as the Osa Peninsula on the Southern Pacific side. That side is more famous for its plenty of wildlife. But, there are some golden sand jungle beaches as well. I love them. (Costa Rica beaches)

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Costa Rica Beaches cont…..

Manuel Antonio National Park has stunning and famous beaches in Costa Rica. Located on the Central Pacific coast, it offers you unforgettable beach experiences for sure. And also, Ballena National Marine Park on the south side in Uvita offers you spectacular, calm, uncrowded beaches.

Northern Caribbean coast is the less famous side among beach travelers. But if you are in love with sea turtles and see how to lay eggs by them, then this is the ideal place for you. Trust me, seeing how the baby turtles hatch and walk to the sea was one of the best things I’ve ever seen in my entire life.

Suggested Reading: Help to Save Sea Turtles in Costa Rica

What are beaches like in Costa Rica?

Costa Rican beaches have a variety of features. The most common and attractive feature is that lush forests and mountains surround most beaches. And the next feature is Costa Rica beaches offer ideal surfing waves for any surfer in the world.

Compared with other nearby countries, Costa Rica has safe and clear beaches. And another feature is the attraction of sea turtles. Most of the Costa Rican beaches are the home for many sea turtles for their nesting purposes. The undisturbed and remote features of these beaches support them more. (Costa Rica beaches)

Can you swim in the ocean in Costa Rica?

The answer is yes. But, all Costa Rica beaches are not safe to swim. Certain beaches are safe and ideal for swimming. Here’s one tip for you, if you see most of the fluent surfers in the sea, then do not try to swim there.

Just scroll down and read more to discover the best beaches for swimming.

Is the water clear in Costa Rica?

Compared with the other Central American countries’ beaches, Costa Rica has clear water sources and beaches. But, if I speak honestly, Costa Rican water is not such clear majorly due to sediments.

Is the water clear in Costa Rica

The common thing that happens in Costa Rica is collecting sediments on the river and ocean beds. Due to the land preparations, cultivations, and other human works, the soil is disturbed and collected on those beds. Then, the strength of the waves mix those sediments and create unclear water content.

Most of the rivers and beaches have this sediment issue in Costa Rica. But when you go far into the sea, you can find clear water unless there’s no red or green tide. And also, dirty water runoff creates plankton blooms in the water sources. Then, those planktons make water more unclear.

And, especially in rainy times, chemicals, fertilizer, and other harmful things gather in the river mouths. Therefore, you can see red tides in the river mouths after a heavy rainy season. (Costa Rica beaches)

Costa Rica beaches cont…..

There is a lot of rivers in Costa Rica. Most of them have unclear water due to the above reasons. But the rivers in the Osa Peninsula like Rio Agujas in Drake Bay and Rio Claro in Punta Marenco have crystal clear water. One important point is that the beaches where there are more coral reefs most probably are the cleanest ones. Because normally, corals build only in transparent water contents.

In Costa Rica, the wisdom in September and October months is getting heavy rains and occur plankton blooms on the Pacific side. But, on the Caribbean side, you can see the summer climate with calm and clear water.

But, we have to admit that, Pacific side is always less polluted and has clear water than the Caribbean side. Therefore, transparency is higher in the Pacific beaches like Cocos Island, Cano, and the Osa Peninsula than the Caribbean beaches like Manzanillo. (Costa Rica beaches)

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Best Costa Rica Beaches

Having around 800 miles of coastline bordering both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean sea, Costa Rica has numerous awesome beaches. There is a variety of beaches for any beach lover in Costa Rica. So, here’s the list. (my favorite)

Manuel Antonio Beach Costa Rica

Manuel Antonio National Park is located in a beautiful seaside village in Costa Rica. Due to its popularity and beauty, it attracts more tourists. So, I highly recommend you to visit there in the offseason or on Mondays.

Manuel Antonio Beach

Since the beach is a part of Manuel Antonio National Park, all the park travelers automatically attract to the beach. Therefore the days like Mondays, which the park closing dates. Although the park is closed, the beach is open to any traveler. For example, the beaches like Playa Playita and Playa Espadilla has white sand and open for travelers even the park is closed.

Actually, the major reason behind the popularity of this park has soft, white-sand beaches. And on the other hand, it has the best-protected cove with soft powdery sand coast surrounded by palm trees. Since it is covered with a natural park, there are some animals as well. Ex: white-faced monkeys. Actually, for me, this is completely a different beach experience. So, I placed it on the top of the list. (Costa Rica beaches)

Costa Rica beaches: Tortuguero

This beach is only reachable from a boat or a flight. You can take a boat from Porto Limon or take a flight from San Jose to reach there. And this beach is famous for sunbathing since it is ideal for it. Apart from that, experiences like scenic hikes, walkthrough jungle canals, safaris, and seeing rare green sea turtles.

Tortuguero Beach Costa Rica

Do not forget to visit Tortuguero National Park as it has more rare species (endangered) like tapirs, ocelots, and manatees. Be careful when touring the canals in this national park since they are famous for dangerous crocodiles.

If you have money to spend, then do not forget to spend a night in the jungle as there are several accommodation options.

Costa Rica beaches: Samara

If you need to travel to a crowd-free, calm, and quiet beach, Samara is ideal. Locating in the wild and remote Nicoya Peninsula, Samara has tan sand, clear water, and stunningly lined palm trees along the coastlines. Since the beach has more remote features, locals attract more. But, I warn you that once you visit and stay for a while in Samara, then you surely get addicted to the beach.

One of the major features that I love in Samara is, it is purely remote. It is not polluted with more hotels, resorts, restaurants, and tall buildings. Therefore, the sea is clear and less polluted. On the other hand, it is ideal for surfing and swimming and a safe, shallow sea with gentle waves. (Costa Rica beaches)

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Costa Rica beaches: Tamarindo

Although there is plenty of beaches ideal for surfing, there are very few beginners to learn surfing. Tamarindo is one of those. Since there are bigger waves, it is not safe for the swimmers. But, Tamarindo has a lively night party climate.

Tamarindo Costa Rica beaches

On the other hand, there’s Las Baulas National Park nearby the Tamarindo. Actually, the specialty of this national park is, it is home to leatherback sea turtles. They usually come between October to February for nesting in this area. 

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Costa Rica beaches: Playa Santa Teresa

Playa Santa Teresa is ideal for consistent surfing. Located on the Nicoya Peninsula’s west edge, Santa Teresa is a tiny village with a stunning white sand beach. Exactly four spectacular beach areas attract many adventure travelers since there are hike trails.

Playa Santa Teresa Costa Rica Beaches

Another impressive feature is that the area has a year-round tropical climate with brighter sunshine. And since the area is unspoiled and undisturbed, it is lucky to such a pure beach climate.

Playa Flamingo

Playa Flamingo is a total beach package with all the experiences in it. Like: swimming, scuba diving, sailing, and watching the sunset. Since having a year-round pleasant climate (except two rainy months), you can freely experience any beach fun. One more thing, it may not be easy to find a budget-friendly place to stay near Flamingo in the Guanacaste region. (Costa Rica beaches)

Costa Rica beaches: Uvita

Again, here’s a quiet beach in Costa Rica. Uvita is located on the south side of Dominical. And it is a small town with a jungle hillside. Uvita’s major attraction is Marino Ballena, National Park. As I mentioned above, it has the best Costa Rica beaches with many unique features.

With the unique geographical feature, it attracts migrating humpback whales for nesting. So, you can see their behavior while on a boat ride or flight ride (to get a bird’s eye view). Another strange feature of this beach is, its geography shows a whale’s tale-shaped sand coast that extends into the sea. I highly recommend getting a flight ride to see it from the sky.


First, I will tell you the negative point. Montezuma’s accommodations are very expensive because the town is famous for nightlife with many clubs and bars.

Apart from that, the beach is stunning and has romantic scenery locations. Many divers, swimmers, surfers, beach walkers, honeymooners, and backpackers attract to this beach. (Costa Rica beaches)

Costa Rica beaches: Playa Conchal

Playa Conchal is one of the most famous beaches in Costa Rica. And also, the turquoise blue water and calm environment offer you great snorkeling experiences as well. Because of that reason, most of the locals, tourists attracted to Playa Conchal annually.

On the other hand, the name “conchal” was created due to its millions of conchas or shells washed and gradually crashed into soft sand in different colors. Ex: the pink sand beach

Playa Dominical

After visiting the famous Manuel Antonio National Park, you can visit the nearby Playa Dominical. Actually, this beach is a paradise for surfers. I think this is the only surf-friendly beach lined with jungles and mountains.

Playa Dominical

Playa Dominical has shops to buy or rent surfing items. And, most probably, there’s a lifeguard on the beach for the protection of surfers. Since this beach doesn’t attract many locals and normal tourists, it rarely gets crowded. (Costa Rica beaches)

Costa Rica beaches: Playa Hermosa

When you reach Liberia’s Daniel Oduber International Airport, it will take a very short time to reach Playa Hermosa in Guanacaste. Since there are very big and unique waves, this is an international surfing competition spot like North Shore in Oahu.

A tropical forest surrounds the beach, and there are hiking trails as well. Apart from hiking and surfing, the beach offers some other adventure experiences as well like: jet-skiing, kayaking, windsurfing, and sailboarding.

Costa Rica beaches: Puerto Viejo

Puerto Viejo is not an official black sand beach in Costa Rica. But, it has more volcanic sand. This is also a good destination for surfers located on the Caribbean side.

Jaco Beach

When you drive just 2 hours from San Jose to the middle of the Pacific side, you can find Jaco’s town. It is perfect for surfers and beach lovers. Since there are huge waves, only surfers attract here. So, you cannot see any family or beach walkers here. For solo travelers, backpackers, and budget travelers, this place is perfect for a summer vacation.

And also, it offers night parties, Casio, and club experiences. (Costa Rica beaches)

Nosara Beach

Another paradise located on the Nicoya Peninsula, Nosara beach extends for around 7 kilometers. And it offers you great snorkeling and marine life exploring opportunities as well. Also, Nosara is perfect for beginner surfers as well.

Costa Rica beaches: Carate

Carate is a stunning black sand beach in Costa Rica. Located on the Osa Peninsula (on the south Pacific side), Carate is a small village with plenty of birds, wildlife, jungles, and hiking opportunities. Because “crowned jewel of Costa Rica’s National Park System” or Corcovado National Park is just next to this village.

Carate black sand beach

Especially, from June to November, sea turtles are coming to this beach for nesting. Hawksbill, leatherback, green sea turtles, and also endangered Pacific Ridley like species are coming to this Carate beach to lay eggs.

Punta Uva

Punta Uva is one of the best beaches on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica. Because it offers you great Caribbean flavored food from Costa Rican cuisines, this is a small village with a clam climate, soft and white sanded beach, and reef-protected water.

It has two major beaches with crystal blue water and white sand. So, bike riding, kayaking, hiking, snorkeling, and scuba diving are highlighted Punta Uva experiences. (Costa Rica beaches)

Playa Biesanza

Playa Biesanza is a hidden gem in Costa Rica. Since it is tough to find, it remains very pure and undisturbed. This playa is a hidden small cove close to Quepos Point.

This gem beach is covered with tropical rainforest. And it has crystal blue water, with great underwater rock formations. On the other hand, since there are not many waves, this beach is perfect for swimming and snorkeling. Fewer crowds will help you to discover more freely.

Playa Langosta

Playa Longosta is the perfect place for beachcombers. On the other hand, since it has a powerful surf break at the beach’s southern edge, most of the professional surfers attract here.

Costa Rica Pink Sand Beaches

Conchal Pink Sand Beach in Costa Rica

The official pink sand beach in Costa Rica is Playa Conchal. As I mentioned earlier, the name Conchal was made due to numerous shells crashed into a stunning beach. The shells are mostly in white color and pink color. In the case of Conchal beach, it has a stunning pink sand beach.

Millions of pink color shells or Conchals were crushed and made into a pink powdery beach attracting many tourists. I highly recommend you to visit this beach on your Costa Rica tour. 

The beach is located on the northern Pacific side in the Guanacaste province.

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Costa Rica Beach Resorts

Click here and search for the best hotels in Costa Rica. Just zoom out the map to find the best Costa Rica beach resorts. (Costa Rica beaches)


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