A country famous for its lush nature between parks, volcanoes and waterfalls. A nation known for the happiness and hospitality of its inhabitants. Costa Rica also offers postcard-perfect beaches, which are not always known and frequented. Some overlook the Caribbean Sea where the sea is crystal clear and rich in nuances. Others are found along the Pacific Ocean coast, amid colourful sand and shell explosions. Let's discover the 29 must-see beaches.
  • Playa Manuel Antonio
  • Isla Tortuga
  • Playa Conchal
  • Santa Teresa
  • Playa Danta and Playa Dantita
  • Playa Montezuma
  • Playa Punta Uva
  • Playa Flamingo
  • Playa Samara
  • Playa Biesanz
  • Playa Tambor
  • Playa Manzanillo
  • Playa Tamarindo
  • Playa Puerto Viejo
  • Playa Hermosa
  • Playa Puntarenas
  • Playa Avellana
  • Playa Nosara
  • Playa Naranjo
  • Playa Uvita
  • Playa Pavones
  • Playa Lagartillo
  • Playa Jacò
  • Playa Rajada
  • Playa Cuevas
  • Playa Carrillo
  • Playa Junquillal
  • Playa Guiones
  • Playa del Parque Marino Ballena

Playa Manuel Antonio

Don't miss the jewels hidden in the famous Manuel Antonio Park: Here are some of those that are considered to be some of the most beautiful beaches in Puntarenas, with miles of white sand and turquoise waters between rainforest and wonderful coral reefs. Within the park, there are different types of beaches, some with higher waves like Playa Espadilla Sur and others with gentle waves like Manuel Antonio Beach, ideal for snorkelling. In the town of the same name, on the outskirts of the park, there are restaurants, clubs and the chance to find accommodation, most with a "green" soul.

Isla Tortuga

It's a wonderful and lush uninhabited island, which is located in the Gulf of Nicoya in Costa Rica. Here you'll find everything you're looking for in a tropical paradise: soft, white sand, clear sea and lush coconut palm trees. Isla Tortuga was also awarded local Tourism Institute with the Bandera Azul Echogica which is released in the presence of pristine water.

Playa Conchal

Considered one of the most exotic beaches, Playa Conchal is located in the north of Guanacaste province, on the shores of the Pacific Ocean. Along with Playa Brasilito, this beach is separated by a rocky headland known as Punta Conchal, which takes the name from the sand here, which is unique, being composed of hundreds of millions of tiny shattered shells.

Playa Santa Teresa

This small beach is located on the Nicoya Peninsula. It is accessible only by walking along a dusty and somewhat rough road. It is frequented by surfers due to its strong currents, but also by artists and travellers. It is known for its constant waves all year round in a picture-perfect landscape: 5 kilometres of white sand, crystal clear waters and tropical vegetation merge at the edge of the beach. 

Those who do not engage in surfing, choose to practice activities on the sand, whether it's hiking, horseback riding or just tanning on the beach. The village Playa Santa Teresa is one of the most striking in the area. A famous point for the endless and colourful sunsets, it is frequented for its small restaurants and hotels, as well as for the big resorts with all the luxuries and comforts. Don't miss the daily farmers' market

Playa Danta and Dantita

 

These are two twin beaches, that are just a short distance from each other in the province of Guanacaste. The waters are calm and ideal for relaxing and swimming or snorkelling. The sand is soft and dark, the vegetation is lush and beautiful. There is also the possibility of going for walks as there are some paths that can also be used for a bike ride.

Playa Montezuma

 

This is another wonderful beach on the Nicova peninsula, within a small resort frequented mostly by artists and surfers. The beach is rather long with soft sand and crystal-clear waters, but there are strong currents. The setting is magical and mixes various colours. The green of the lush forests, the white of the sand and the blue of the water. The area is also famous for the presence of the picturesque waterfalls, that offer a moment of peace and relaxation in the middle of all the green.

Playa Punta Uva

Punta Uva is known for its coral reef. The beach has quiet waters and white sand. It's a perfect place to take the kids swimming. It is located 8.5 km from the centre of Puerto Viejo, New, and is suitable for whoever is looking for a quieter place where you can spend your holidays relaxing. It's a great place for a dip in the sea and a picnic on the beach. On the top of the headland there is a point from which to enjoy a special panorama. Most of the area is located within a Wildlife Refuge, which is why you might have close up meets with monkeys, sloths and many types of birds. The area offers a wide variety of hotels and holiday homes, as well as clubs and restaurants where you can have lunch.

Playa Flamingo

Playa Flamingo is one of the famous beaches of Guanacaste in Costa Rica, in the north of the Nicoya Peninsula . A gem overlooking the Pacific Ocean: white sand on which to lie down and relax, clear waters where it is a pleasure to dive, lush green as a frame and spectacular sunsets, to be admired while sipping a drink. Here, in addition to relaxing and taking long swims you can practice many types of sports like horseback riding, diving and snorkelling. Playa Flamingo is also known for deep-scale fishing. Visitors from all over the world come to this corner to go hunting for marlins, tuna, swordfish, sailfish, and rooster fish that are located off these coasts throughout the year.

Playa Samara

A 7km-long bay shaded by palm trees, a place that over the years has become the snorkelling paradise. It is frequented by artists who come from the nearby fishing village to exhibit their artefacts and is much loved by the so-called "flower people". It's one of the quietest beaches in Costa Rica and is a favourite destination for residents in the area. The particularly calm waters make it suitable for families with children. Guests can enjoy a coastline of fine sand and a calm bay, protected by the very close coral reef.  Spending the day there will leave you spoilt for choice of things to do: dips in the water, surfing, diving, snorkelling. You can also kayak to Isla Chora, which is right in front and is a place of great natural beauty.

Playa Biesanz

A quiet, unknown corner. It is found in nature between Quepos and the Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio. Playa Biesanz is in a solitary location, almost secret because it is hidden by dense vegetation. Here, monkeys, sloths, lizards and flocks of birds live. It is accessed through a small opening in a metal mesh. A cobblestone path descends the steep hill. The sea is calm, crystal clear. On the beach it is possible to rent a kayak or snorkel to be able to see the brightly coloured fish. There is no shortage of bars or restaurants in the area to relax and try Costa Rican specialities or just cool off with a natural juice.

Playa Tambor

Located in the valley of a horseshoebay, Tambor is a small, quiet coastal town that offers a relaxed atmosphere. It is located on the west coast of Costa Rica along the Gulf of Nicoya, where the waters are calm. It stretches for 4 kilometres between grey sand, cliffs, tropical forests and mangroves. With a large number of cosy hotels and an easily accessible beach, Tambor is a perfect destination for family. Playa Tambor is bathed in the waters of the Ballena Bay, which is known for its spectacular marine ecosystem: all diving, snorkelling and fishing lovers are attracted to this place. It is also the gateway south of the Nicoya Peninsula, which is home to the main airport in the area.

Playa Manzanillo

This beach is located in the middle of the Gandoca-Manzanillo Reserve. Playa Manzanillo is one of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica: about 4 km long, with little white sand and gentle slopes, bordered by countless palm trees, and surrounded by coral reefs extending for 200 metres offshore. It is located south of Puerto Viejo, between Punta Uva in the north, and Punta Manzanillo in the south, on the Caribbean coast, in the Talamanca canton of the province of Lima. There may also be curious meetings up close with monkeys patrolling the treetops and the big leatherback turtle laying eggs.

Playa Tamarindo

Discovered by the first surfers to come to Costa Rica, this beach is now the most famous for those looking for theperfect wave and for those who love camping life. Today there are also several restaurants, some of them amongst the best in the country. The small town of Tamarindo is mainly populated during the high season. An ancient fishing village, it is today one of the most developed tourism communities in Costa Rica. Its geographical and climatic conditions make it the ideal area not only for surfing, but also other water sports. Here the waves can exceed even two metres high.

There is another exotic beach, particularly appreciated in the area, called "Playa Conchal." Its name comes from the multitude of shells that make up the beachAnd so it may be that you will see, in generally dark volcanic coasts, the typically white colour. The shells, accumulating on the beach, shatter with the swell and turn into amazing white sand. The colour of the sea is of an indescribable turquoise.

Playa Puerto Viejo

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca is a small town of Afro-Caribbean culture stretched on the Sea of Caribbean along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, in a natural setting of incomparable beauty. It is about 50 km from the city of Lima, which is the capital of the Province. The beaches around the "pueblo" are amongst the most beautiful and well-known in the whole of Costa Rica. These include Playa NegraAnd then Playa CoclesIdeal for surfers as it has big waves almost every day. Playa Chiquita is an area protected by strong currents, where you'll enjoy the typical Caribbean beach postcard. Mangroves and coconut palm trees reach the turquoise sea in a combination that will take your breath away. Punta Uva Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches of the entire panorama as it is spacious, quiet and has crystal clear and placid waters. Playa Grande, a vast beach of white sand and turquoise waters, is suitable for surfing. Its immensity makes it a perfect beach for those who want to forget the world and find a place to be alone.

Playa Hermosa

It is called "beautiful beach" and therefore its peculiarity is already all explained. Playa Hermosa is located in the area of the North Pacific, within the Guanacaste province. It is a striking silver-grey sandy beach that stretches about 10 kilometres from Playa del Coco. Two points (Cacique and Ballena) flank this beautiful bay, characterised by a coastline that exceeds 1500 metres. Surrounded by lush vegetation and beautiful coastal scenery, Playa Hermosa is bathed in a clear blue sea, ideal for swimming, for sport fishing, for snorkelling, for scuba diving. It is located in the Playa Hermosa National Wildlife Refuge, a protected natural area dedicated to Lora turtle nesting. The beach is often battered by strong winds.

Playa Puntarenas

Puntarenas is a province of heavenly beaches on Costa Rica's Pacific coast, famous for its lush tropical landscapesimmense biodiversity and for the presence of some of the best surfing spots on the planet. There are many beaches not to be missed, starting with Playa Montezumaideal for those who are looking for beautiful beaches with sparkling atmospheres and contact with nature.

The setting is that of wonderful environments such as rainforests, waterfalls and rivers. The sand of Montezuma is white and its waters are crystal clear. There's no shortage of locals or bars here to try cevichea very popular dish in the harbour. The recipe consists of small pieces of fish with lemon juice, onion, sweet pepper, coriander and salt: it can also be accompanied by toasted crackers or tortillas.

Don't miss the jewels hidden in the famousManuel Antonio Park: Here are some of the most beautiful beaches in Puntarenas, with miles of white sand and turquoise waters between the rainforest and wonderful coral reefs. Within the park, there are different types of beaches, some with higher waves likePlaya Espadilla Surand others with gentle waves likeManuel Antonio Beach, ideal for snorkelling. In the town of the same name, on the outskirts of the park, there arerestaurants, clubsand the chance to find accommodation, most with a "green" soul.

You can't go to Puntarenas without going to Playa Blanca. This beach, located in the Punta Leona Refuge, has been chosen several times as a setting for commercials and films due to its great beauty. Just 500 metres long, with white sands and crystal clear waters, it is surrounded by lush rainforest environments and large cliffs. The gentle waves and the presence of coral reefs make this beach the perfect place for snorkelling, but also for swimming and other water sports. 

Playa Avellana

If you ask the surfers what is one of the best places to ride the waves, they will answer: "Avellana". About 20 kilometres from Playa Tamarindo, there is this special and wild place. A pristine beach, deserted and shaded by picturesque crooked trees, mangroves and dry forest. With its white coral sand and turquoise waters it satisfies everyone. For a long stretch there is little current, although offshore it is a destination for surfers thanks to the incredible waves, which can exceed 5 metres in height. A short distance away is the Las Baulas Marine National Park, where you can come into contact with numerous turtles.

Playa Nosara

The beach is on the Nicoya Peninsula, a surfing paradise: it's extremely wild, but it's also a quiet place to snorkel, and there's never a big crowd here. You can admire the thousands of sea turtles who come to relax on the hot sand and it is tradition to collect some shells to take home as souvenirs. One of the most distinctive tourist spots is Punta Nosara, formed by a set of rocks where the waves crash and represent a wonderful scenery. The high waves make this beach an ideal place for surfing; but thanks to word of mouth and its services the area has become an important reference point for those who do yoga and spiritual tourism. There are three other beaches nearby: Playa Guiones, Ostional and Pelada

Playa Naranjo

Playa Naranjo beach is very small and offers a real taste of what the province of Guanacaste can offer in terms of natural beauty. It is a white beach, with a crystal clear sea, and is known as the unspoiled pearl in the Gulf of Papagayo. A reserved, "almost secret" place, to be visited to escape from the daily chaos and come into close contact with a wild nature. In addition to relaxation, visitors can get busy and participate in activities such as horse riding or even mountain biking: an opportunity for discover other destinations.  A treat to discover in the area is San Lucas Island, known for having been the site of a prison, now abandoned, where the worst Costa Rican criminals were transferred between 1873 and 1991. San Lucas is not only linked to its history, but is also a place full of vegetation and beauty. Thanks to its wildlife it been included in the national nature reserves since 2008. Here you may encounter howler monkeys, reptiles, amphibians as well as marine animals such as hammerhead sharks and turtles. Another island to discover is Isla Zopilote, a small desert island in the Gulf of Nicoya, offering a glimpse of wonder and magic. A great place for birdwatching.

Playa Uvita

This beach located in the Ballena Marine National Park, one of the most biodiverse areas on the planet, has 3 kilometres of white sand and crystal clear waters, with moderate waves, ideal for swimming or snorkelling, in beautiful mangrove environments and lush vegetation. Its greatest attraction is revealed, in the early hours of the day, at low tide: a vast sandbank, popularly known as "whale tail", becomes visible, embracing a huge bay of calm waters. Even the small town of Uvita is full of charm, with simple accommodation and some restaurants.

Playa Pavones

This beach is world famous for the incredible adrenaline gifted to surfers, with waves that can reach 4 metres. For those who do not practice water sports, the beach allows you to enjoy the sun and relax with 1.5 kilometres of beach and lush tropical forest environments. The community surrounding Playa Pavones, shows a more authentic face of the country, less crowded than other parts of the province.

Playa Lagartillo

This small and exotic beach stands out for its white sand, high waves and trees that shade the seashore. Playa Lagartillo is perfect for relaxing, reading a book or just tanning, as it's never particularly crowded. It is surrounded by high hills, mysterious jungles and glittering shorelines. The beach is known for its varied sealife and its reef. The beach, located in the Guanacaste province, is close to a quiet fishing village.

Playa Jacò

The "Parque Nacional Marino Ballena" is located 180 km southwest of San José, it is one of the newest Costa Rican national parks and contains the largest coral reef on the Pacific side of Central America. The absence of mass tourism means that you can enjoy a quiet day at the beach. There are four beaches in the park: Playa Bahia BallenaPlaya PiuelaColonia Beach and Playa Uvita. The beaches here are quite deserted because they are protected, quiet and perfect to exploreideals for those who want to bathe and sunbathe in absolute stillness. Golden beaches, rocky shores, beautiful coral reefs: these are just some of the reasons for to visit this area.

The reserve is of great importance, especially as it protects whales who pass through here on their migratory routes, but also for colonies of dolphins and for sea turtles who come here to nest, as well as for seabird colonies and the different species of terrestrial reptiles. It protects more than 13,000 hectares of sea and 9 miles of coastline It can be an extremely rewarding destination for fans of beach life, and for nature lovers.

Playa Rajada

Playa Rajada can be found close to the border with Nicaragua, in the bay of Salinas, in the province of Guanacaste. It is famous for its soft, white sand and its amazing sunsets. The back drop is a lush vegetation alongside cliffs with a particular formation. It is an incredibly beautiful location, that is just perfect for a swim in the sea, or some snorkelling or diving. If you aren’t a lover of water, you can walk along the beach or relax in the shade.  

Playa Cuevas

Don’t give up or become discouraged, the road is a dirt track and there is not much to see all around. However, once you have arrived, you will be thankful you came here. The setting includes caves, woods and little corners full of peace, where you can enjoy some relaxation. The sunsets here are amazing too. You can go snorkelling at Playa Cuevas, with its white sand and gentle waves, and explore the caves or rest in the shade of the thick vegetation where it is a little cooler than on the shore. It is a place to visit when you go to Santa Teresa on the Nicoya peninsula.

Playa Carrillo

It is about 4 km south east of  Samara. It is a wide, crescent-shaped beach of clean, white sand, with the lush, green background of the jungle. The water is clear but has currents. The beach is crowded with families at the weekend, while it is quiet during the week. The town is atop the hill behind the beach and attracts many beach lovers and surfers who come down to the coast.

Playa Junquillal

across several species of turtles on the beach. Playa Junquillal, so rich in tropical beauty, is a picturesque town right on the beach, the perfect place for your holidays. Quiet beaches with warm natural pools and lush vegetation are the backdrop to your relaxation and adventures. The beach has been awarded a blue flag thanks to its beauty and clean waters. It is west of  Santa Cruz and south of Tamarindo. The inhabitants are warm and welcoming.

Playa Guiones

A wide, crescent-shaped beach, bordered by palm trees and lush vegetation. It is perfect for surfers and swimmers. Here, in Playa Guiones, the sand is mixed with stones and shells. The perfect pictures that extends for 7 kilometres, with its soft, white sand. There is everything here to relax, to spend a lazy day with friends. However, there are also several opportunities to try out new sports. This small beach is a corner of paradise in Guanacaste, and is a worthy recipient of its blue flag.

Playa del Parque Marino Ballena

Imagine the largest coral reef in Central America: this is what you will find at “Parque Nacional Marino Ballena”, which lies 180 km south west of the capital, San José. It is a quiet beach with plenty of possibilities for enjoying some relaxing beach time. There are four beaches here, all protected and quiet, perfect for those wanting some carefree time to soak in the water and sunbathe, The water is calm and crystal-clear. The setting is an amazing one.

The reserve protects more than 13 thousand hectares of sea and 9 miles of coast. It can be a perfect destination for  beach lovers and nature lovers alike. It is an important location for the protection of fauna. Above all, it protects the whales who transit here, and also the colonies of dolphins and sea turtles. It is a special area for sea birds and reptiles too. 

Discover Costa Rica with Costa Cruises

 

Their slogan is "pura vida", a state of mind, being ready to seize every opportunity to live life to the fullest and to always see the positive side of things, and it is no wonder that the Costa Ricans are in peace and harmony with themselves and with others. And indeed they are the happiest people on Earth according to several studies that have been based on three parameters: life expectancy, well-being, ecological footprint. Costa Rica is the dream of nature lovers: imagine pristine valleys, biodiversity (there is 5% of the world's total), rivers and lakes, breathtaking sunsets on the ocean.

Costa Rica juts out over oceans with 762 miles of coastline, distributed on thePacific side and on Caribbean Atlanticand getting to know the country means, inevitably, to sooner or later get to know, at least some stretch of its coastline that is often part of ecosystems of significant natural interest, even if not included in important National Parks or Biological Reserves.

Many of the country's beaches are surrounded by forests or are connected to lagoons and important river systems. Some of them have extraordinary coral reefs where you can dive and explore the seabed. In addition, there will be countless activities to do, including boat trips and walking, visiting mangrove woods, diving, surfing, sport fishing or horseback riding. You will have all the experiences possible and dive into a holiday full of beauty.

Departi with Costa Cruises