With more than 800 miles of pristine coastline along the Pacific coast and Caribbean waters, it is easy to say that there are many Costa Rica beaches. However, it is just as fair to say that there are many of the best beaches in Costa Rica, and whether you are a fan of big surf, gentle waters, or simply doing some beach combing, you’ll want to discover the best beaches in Costa Rica for your tastes.
If you look at a map of Costa Rica beaches, you will note that the western coast seems to be home to the majority of what are often deemed the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica. However, the east coast has its fair share, and particularly in the Cahuita and Punta Uva region. The Punta Uva beach is often described as one of the top beaches in Costa Rica or one of the best Costa Rica beach destinations.
This means you can easily find an excellent beach wherever you might choose to travel. The key is to determine just what sort of beachgoer you are, and what sort of amenities and nearby activities you prefer. For example, there are the best beach towns in Costa Rica in addition to the best beaches.
Many offer unique natural features that include volcanic black sand, rugged cliffs, and shorelines, there are Costa Rica pink sand beaches and classic sand lined with palm trees. With all of this in mind, let’s take a look at a handful of what is often described as the finest of the many Costa Rica beaches:
Punta Uva Beach – A very famous beach in Costa Rica, it is also one of the few along the Caribbean coast. It is part of the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge and is ideal if you are eager to also witness much of the natural flora and fauna of Costa Rica. You can also enjoy snorkeling and diving here in the calm waters. Manzanillo Beach is here, too, and is a great spot if you want to experience a low-key beach town surrounded by the rainforests.
Manuel Antonio Beach – Popular and surrounded by rainforest, it is about a half of an hour’s hike from Manuel Antonio National Park. It has rainforest trails and other connected beaches, and almost all travelers will be able to encounter some of the country’s wild monkeys making their way toward the Costa Rica coast.
Tamarindo Beach – This is the Guanacaste province and is noted as one of the best surfing beach and close to one of the most famous Costa Rica beach towns (also called Tamarindo). It is adjacent to the white sand Langosta Beach and is a common choice among for those who prefer quieter locations and smaller crowds. Conchal Beach is also one of the best Costa Rica beaches and is part of the Guanacaste region, too. This is perfect if you are a fan of diving and snorkeling, and it is home to luxury beach rentals and villas in great abundance. Flamingo Beach is just north of Conchal and is home to amazing pink sand and exceptionally beautiful surf.
Dominical Beach – Far to the southwest, this is one of the more isolated Costa Rica beaches and is noted for surfing. However, it is also a foodie paradise as it is in the same neighborhood as many of the country’s most popular restaurants and eateries. Costa Ballena is also nearby, and don’t let the name fool you. It is not home to lots of whales (as its name implies). Instead, it takes its name from the whale-tail shaped beach at the far end of the stretch of sandbar. However, if you are in the area in August through October, you may catch sight of the humpback whales that pass through.
Nacascolo Beach – This is part of the coveted Papagayo Peninsula, which is also home to many luxury beach rentals. This is one of the best beaches in Costa Rica for those who enjoy kayaking and paddleboarding adventures. It is also noted as one of the best swimming beaches in Costa Rica for the tranquility and calmness of the waters.
Montezuma Beach – Set along the Nicoya Peninsula and part of the Montezuma area home to the famous waterfalls, it is one of the most tropical sites thanks to the jungle that frames the beach and the rough coastline that creates lots of beautiful pools at low tide. Nearby are Malpais and Santa Teresa Beaches that frame charming beach towns. Both Malpais and Santa Teresa Beach have a wilder feel than many other beaches, and are noted for their soft sand and their frequent and excellent surfing conditions. Samara Beach is also here, along with Nosara Beach. The former is a great deal calmer than its neighbors, and a good choice for those who want to snorkel or dive in Costa Rica ocean waters. The latter is a surfing destination with smaller crowds.
Ostional Beach – This is also part of the Nicoya Peninsula but is a stunning black sand beach that is one of the best beaches in Costa Rica if you hope to witness sea turtles. They nest here between July and October and travelers who want to witness the sea turtles in action can arrange for a night visit to these gorgeous sands.
There are also several San Jose Costa Rica beaches, each has a unique vibe, with Jaco often being described as the most low-key and charming among them. Travelers can also find some of the best beaches at Punta Leona and Herradura – all less than two hours from San Jose proper.
Planning Your Visit
If you are eager to savor the delights of the best beaches in Costa Rica, you can use the information here along with the best beaches in Costa Rica map or guide to plot out your visits. There are many beach spots to discover, and most are incredibly well-preserved, especially the national park.
If you are eager to savor nothing more than flawless sand and the calm seas, you can also look to other Caribbean coast destinations and islands. For example, a fantastic luxury villa in Costa Rica might put you close to Pacific coast beaches, but St Barts villa rentals and beachfront villas in Barbados will set you directly along the flawless sands that each of these islands is noted for offering. You might even hop from an island to Costa Rica or vice versa and decide what sort of beachfront is your personal favorite!