With close to 1,000 miles of coastline along both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea it’s safe to say that Costa Rica is a beach country. While there are countless other natural beauties and attractions throughout the country, the beautiful beaches of Costa Rica are by far one of the favorite reasons to visit. From the seemingly endless shoreline, it isn’t easy to choose the best beaches but some do stand out more than others. Below are some of the best beaches that Costa Rica has to offer.
Manzanillo Located at the end of the road, the last stop before the jungle ambles down to the Panamanian border, Manzanillo is a sleepy little beach town on the Caribbean coast. A small community resides on the magical beach where howler monkeys hang out in the trees nearby and the reef just off shore provides great snorkeling options. The waves are small but fun and the water is clear and warm. Walk just outside of town and have your own private beach, or enjoy a beer at the main bar and restaurant in town and watch the waves roll in.
Manuel Antonio One of the most visited beaches in Costa Rica, Manuel Antonio is a national park on the Pacific coast and sees high crowds on the weekends. It’s best to go during the week to have the place a little more to yourself but once you’re there, you’ll see why so many people choose to put this on their trip itinerary. Home to four types of monkeys, sloths, scarlet macaws and other wildlife, the lush jungles of Manuel Antonio create a stunning backdrop to the glistening waters of the Pacific.
Dominical This funky little beach town on the Southern Pacific coast is a small laid back place where surfers gather to catch some waves and chill out at the open air bars and restaurants that dot the shoreline. Surfers and backpackers have been traveling to Dominical for years but the town has remained small, with only two roads to choose from. Relax and enjoy the fresh seafood, cold beers, and even check out whale watching depending on the time of year you visit.
Tamarindo Probably one of the most well-known beach towns in all of Costa Rica, Tamarindo has been attracting surfers, backpackers, travelers, and yogis from all over the world for years. With full scale resorts, small hostels and lots of vacation rentals, Tamarindo has more of a hustle and bustle than some of the other beaches in Costa Rica, but it’s still a great place to check out. Nice waves, beautiful beaches, high end restaurants, fun bars, and all kinds of water activities make Tamarindo an awesome place to visit if you’re looking for a full on beach town experience.
Playa Ocotal Conviniently located about an hour from Liberia, home to Costa Rica’s second international airport, Playa Ocotal is a largely undeveloped strip of beach. Just outside of the popular town of Playa del Coco, Playa Ocotal is mainly a residential community with few options for accommodations or dining, but day trips from Playa del Coco offer a nice reprieve from the crowds that can gather in the popular resort town. Playa Ocotal has calm waters as the beach is set inside a cove. It’s a great place to relax and unwind.
Playa Uvita Located in the Southern Pacific, Playa Uvita is a dramatic beach with tall mountains dropping down to blue waters crashing on golden sand. This undeveloped beach is part of national park that helps protect migrating humpback whales. There are no large scale developments in this region of Costa Rica and the accommodations that do exist are mainly eco lodges and boutique hotels. While more and more expats are calling this region home, Playa Uvita and the small town of Uvita remain small and laid back.
Playa Conchal Playa Conchal, in the Guanacaste Province of Costa Rica, is one of the most beautiful beaches in the region and the only beach on the Pacific coast that boasts crystal clear waters, like famed beaches of the Caribbean. This beach is close by to the luxurious Paradisus Playa Conchal Resort and Golf Course and first class lodging is available here. For those looking for a more off the grid experience, camping is permitted on certain parts of Playa Conchal. The beach itself is beautiful and undeveloped but the nearby town of Brasilito has everything a visitor needs. Playa Conchal is a must on any Costa Rican vacation.