Costa Rica’s Best Beaches
We get asked all the time: what are Costa Rica’s best beaches? The answer? Well, it depends…
Costa Rica’s beaches have something for everyone, from gentle swimming holes to huge breaks perfect for adventurous surfers.
Some of the nation’s sandy coasts are protected habitats for nesting sea turtles, while others are ensconced in national parks and wildlife reserves. If you’re one of those travelers who prefers relaxation to all else, the beaches of Costa Rica have something for you too: miles of sunny, sandy shoreline shaded by palm trees.
Beaches for Swimming
There are so many beaches perfect for swimming in Costa Rica. With a wide variety of sand, water and vibe, here are just a few of our favorite beaches by region:
One of Guanacaste's most beautiful beaches. Playa Conchal makes the perfect place to spend an entire day swimming and relaxing in the crystal clear waters.
Playa Langosta is one of the most popular beaches in Guanacaste. It has become a favored spot for tourists who enjoy sunbathing on its stunning beachfront.
Coco Beach is one of the most popular beach destinations in Costa Rica. “El Coco,” as it’s affectionately called, is great for nightlife and beach hopping.
Potrero is a hidden jewel in the north-west of Guanacaste, named after the eponymous beach. This rural town embraces the old Costa Rican coast villages style and can be seen as a tranquil spot away from other touristy places.
Playa Flamingo is simply irresistibly beautiful with its brilliant white sand and turquoise water. Located in Guanacaste, on the Gold Coast of Costa Rica.
Playa Samara is located on the northern edge of the Nicoya Peninsula. This inviting and picturesque little beach town has a welcoming international community, with a relaxing atmosphere.
Panama Beach, Papagayo
Located on Culebra Bay, this beach provides a shoreline dotted with trees, palms, fine sands, and diverse wildlife. The waters are calm, and the area is perfect for those who want soft waves for all types of water sports and swimming.
Biesanz Beach, Manuel Antonio
Down a trail from Parador Hotel, Biesanz Beach sits in a small cove offering protection from the open Pacific. Here you'll find easy swimming, plenty of solitude, and monkeys all over the place. Well worth the hike down if you're staying in Manuel Antonio.
Playa Tambor is located in the Nicoya Peninsula, in the province of Puntarenas. It is set along the large and quiet Bahia Ballena, which means Whale Bay, by a lush green valley.
Punta Uva, Limon
Over on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica, South of Puerto Viejo, is the reef-protected beach of Punta Uva, looking like something from the cover of a magazine. It's the perfect spot to get away from the hustle and bustle.
Puerto Jimenez - Golfo Dulce
The remote and beautiful beaches around Puerto Jimenez are truly unique. Puerto Jimenez sits on the unmatched Golfo Dulce, an ideal place for snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding. The waters of the Golfo Dulce provide a special treat as a breeding zone for humpback whales.
Costa Rica is known for having some of the best waves to surf in the world. See some of our favorite beaches for surfing below and also check out our Best Surf Trips and Packages to Costa Rica here!
Playa Hermosa, Jaco
Hermosa Beach is one of the best surfing beaches in Costa Rica. Located on the Pacific coast, Playa Hermosa is surely not a beach for a casual dip. But it makes the perfect place for intermediate and experienced surfers.
Dominical is located in the southern Pacific zone of Costa Rica and it is well known for having some of the best and most consistent surf in Costa Rica.
Esterillos is made up of three beaches over a long stretch of beach - Esterillos Oeste (West), Esterillos Centro (Central), and Esterillos Este (East). And each beach has something for every surfer depending on the tide and swell.
Avellanas Beach is a tropical paradise ideal for those who enjoy exploring roads less travelled. Referred to by locals as “Little Hawaii,” Playa Avellanas provides turquoise waves and beautiful sunsets.
If you are dreaming of a tropical vacation, Costa Rica is the perfect destination for you. Whether you're drawn to the Pacific Coast, the laid-back Caribbean beaches, or the famous northern province of Guanacaste, you'll find unspoiled beaches and abundant wildlife. Truly an adventure paradise.