Costa Rica offers you more than 1,200 kilometers of coastline! Whether you prefer the Pacific side or the Caribbean Sea,f ine white and golden sands, coconut trees or the famous Guanacaste, there’s no doubt you’ll find the beach of your dreams in Costa Rica!
Here’s a list of Terra Caribea’s favorite beaches:
CARIBBEAN AND ATLANTIC OCEAN
The Caribbean region is characterized by a rich variety of aquatic ecosystems and it’s black and white sand beaches are perfect for outdoor and water activities like sport fishing or snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters…or simply walk along the shoreline and soak in the sun.
This place is known to be a very calm, white sanded beach with very beautiful reefs. Located about 8 kilometers from Puerto Viejo, this beach will allow you to escape the hustle and bustle of the city for a while. Situated in the heart of the “Refugio Nacional de Vida Silverstre Gandoca-Manzillo”, you’ll be able to spot many species of animals around the beach and in the mangrove swamps: monkeys, sloths, birds, amphibians, reptiles and more. Ideal for families, as the swimming is relatively safe for children!
Near the colorful village of Cahuita, you’ll find a series of different beaches, each more beautiful and charming than the last. At the North of the village is Playa Negra, which, as its name indicates, is covered of black sand and bordered by a row of palm trees. In the middle of the Cahuita National Park is Playa Blanca, this beach attracts those looking for a quiet environment to relax or discover the marine life.
Located south of Puerto Viejo, the village of Playa Chiquita is small, quiet and isolated and the beaches are unspoiled and preserved. It is the perfect place to relax on the white sand, explore the rich seabed of the region or to trek down to Punta Uva. However, be careful not to go beyond the authorized swimming perimeter, the current can be quite strong!
The Central Pacific region is famous for its beautiful beaches and biodiversity-rich national parks.
Located at the heart of the National Park, the Playa Manuel Antonio is a little corner of paradise that will delight sunbathers! The beach slopes gently down to the calm water that hides a small but beautiful coral reef… the perfect spot for snorkeling! If you visit at the right time of the year, you might have the chance to spot Green and Pacific Olive Ridley sea turtles. The only downside of this spot is that it is heavily frequented by tourists.
Playa Hermosa is located a few kilometers from Jaco, in the central region of the Pacific Coast. This beach is a surfers playground given the quality of the waves crashing along this coastline. You’ll find a series of mid-range hotels close to the beach, most of them with a swimming pool where you can cool off. This beach is not recommended for swimming since the current and the waves are very strong.
If you want to stop by Playa Jaco, make sure you go to the south of the beach, near Madrigales. This side is quieter and further from the city center of Jaco.
Playa Herdurra used to be a small, unknown beach until it was used as a set for the movie “1492: Conquest of Paradise”. Several hotel complexes and a marina were built not long after the movie came out. This is not one of our favorites but it’s a nice place to spend the weekend. Take a look if you are in the area and especially if you’ve seen the movie!
The beaches of the south area of the Pacific Coast are covered with white sand and stretch along the tropical forest.
Located 18 kilometers south of Dominical and close to the Marino Ballena National Park, Playa Uvita is one of the most beautiful beaches of the country. The waters are usually calm enough so you can swim in them. The park was created in 1989 with the goal of protecting the largest coral reef of the country. The reserve gets its name from the humpback whales that come to mate in the warm waters in the dry season. Inside the Marino Ballena National Park is the beach “Cola de la Ballena” (the tail of the whale), accessible through a strip of golden sand when the tide is low. If you’re going in the winter, you might get to observe the migration of humpback whales with binoculars!
Close to the Corcovado National Park and named after the famous 16th-century British explorer, Sir Francis Drake, Bahia Drake is composed of a strip of sand, rocky cliffs and wooded hills. Since the ecosystem is preserved as much as possible, it is not unusual to spot whales or dolphins. Bahia Drake is perfect to trek or relax under the palm trees. It is also very family-friendly.
Isla del Caño
Considered a sacred place by the indigenous people, this uninhabited island is a protected biological reserve, part of the Corcovado National Park. About 20 km long, the island is surrounded by white sanded beaches disappearing in the crystal-clear water, filled with fish when the tide is high. It’s the perfect place for scuba diving, swimming or relaxing on the beach.
THE NICOYA PENINSULA: THE SOUTHERN BEACHES
Ideal seaside region, the Nicoya Peninsula has beaches stretching as far as your eyes can see, each more beautiful than the last. The Nicoya Peninsula is one of the driest regions of the country, which explains the deciduous forest that runs along the splendid beaches of the area, making it a special location marked by a unique culture. We love it!
Playa Santa Teresa
Located south of the Nicoya Peninsula, Playa Santa Teresa is a beach offering everything a surfer can dream of. In 2011, Forbes Magazine named it one of the ten most beautiful beaches in the world! It is also the best spot for an early morning run.
The natural reserve of Cabo Blanco was the first site of the country to be protected in 1963. It used to be an absolute reserve area where visits were prohibited. Nowadays, the eastern part is open to public. After a short walk of five kilometers, you’ll reach the beautiful Playa Cabo Blanco.
Playa Grande / Mantezuma
Located a 30-minute walk of Montezuma, Playa Grande is a deserted beach only accessible on foot. A trail between wild creeks and waterfalls will lead you to the beach. Playa Grande is situated in the heart of the Romelia Wilde Refuge Reserve but to get there, you will have to cross the Nicolás Wessberg National Reserve first.
Close to Santa Teresa but protected from waves, it is ideal for a family swim, far from the surfing atmosphere of Santa Teresa. Moreover, the road that leads to this isolated beach is lovely.
NICOYA PENINSULA, BEACHES OF THE CENTER
With their seaside resorts and surf spots, discover the beaches of the center of the Nicoya Peninsula.
Relax on the grey sand of Playa Samara, a family seaside resort. There, you’ll have the opportunity to try all kinds of activities: yoga, horseback riding, snorkeling and more! Ideal for families.
This white-sanded beach is doted with little pools filled by high tides where monkeys often come to splash around! However, the sea can be sometimes agitated, making swimming dangerous. A perfect spot for experienced surfers!
Playa Ostional is one of the nine beaches in the world where sea turtles come to lay their eggs. If you happen to stop by Playa Ostional a week before the new moon during the rain season, particularly in August and September, you’ll have the chance to witness the incredible phenomenon of “arribadas”. During three to eight days, several thousands of turtles dig holes into the black volcanic sand to lay their eggs. Amazing!