I get asked so often, what is your favorite beach in Costa Rica. With over 800 miles of coastline and each coast being so different, I have to say I can’t pick one!
There are four specific beach regions:
- North Pacific
- Central Pacific
- South Pacific
Here’s my list of the best beaches for each region:
North Pacific Beaches are famous for having the best beaches, thus caring the name the Gold Coast. The beaches here will satisfy all types of people: lazy loungers to die-hard surfers. Plus, the small wave beaches are great to play around in while the weather remains almost perfect throughout the year.
-The crystal blue waters with white sanded beaches that are part of a cove and with a calm atmosphere makes it always peaceful and super safe for kids.
- Playa Tamarindo
– Surfing and playing in small surf makes this beach famous in Costa Rica. The beach town is developed and easily accessible by foot to yummy restaurants, supermarkets, bars, and stores. It’s a great location for families, couples, and surfers.
- Playa Grande
– This beach has influenced me so much! Its beauty, tranquility, and calmness are just the beginning. Besides being popular for its great surf, it’s part of a Marine National Park for the Leatherback Turtle where you can take a tour from December through March and see this tender, on-the-verge of extinction giant lay her eggs. It’s one of the most magical experiences of your life.
Central Pacific Beaches are best known for where honeymooners find romance, kids play in mother nature’s playground and surfers can find awesome breaks. It’s super popular because of its proximity to San Jose and everything your heart desires is at your fingertips!
- Jaco Beach
– Being closest to San Jose, it’s also the most popular beach. Filled with great hotels, spas, international restaurants, stores and a nightlife you won’t be bored for even a second! Surfers love it for the breaks, couples love it for the luxury accommodations and families love it for all the family friendly activities.
- Manuel Antonio
– Manual Antonio National Park is the most visited park in Costa Rica. With gorgeous white sanded beaches that are untouched, you can spend an entire afternoon hanging out while monkeys dance over your head. It has hotels with all types of accommodation. Honeymooners love it for the varied options of Adult only hotels, families love it for the wildlife and super family friendly hotels, and you’ll love it for all the reasons combined.
- Playa Hermosa
– This beach is very popular among the surfers rather than the families because of the strong waves. The beach is a five minute drive from Jaco, but a completely different bay that doesn’t have the city feel to it.
South Pacific Beaches region starts in Playa Dominical and goes all the way down to the Osa Peninsula. And do you know why they are special? It is because of their untouched, pristine beauty! The beaches and the little villages are yet to be fully explored. So hurry up and check them out!
- Playa Dominical
–This is the authentic beach town full of cute hotels, tasty restaurants and bars. You will fall in love with the laid back, tropical and surf fueled environment. Be careful, though, the surf here is rough and not safe for the kids but they can enjoy the cool pools amongst the rocks.
- Puerto Jimenez Beach
– This beach is in my top three because it’s so kid friendly. My five year old spend all the day hanging out in the water without any waves, with the water waist high on him for over 200 feet out. What a great way for a mom to spend the day at the beach! Plus, adults can hang out in the shade while watching the pier with the fishing boats coming in and out.
- Cabo Matapalo
– Hugging the tip of Osa Peninsula, getting here is definitely worth the trek. Bring your own food and enjoy a BBQ on the beach or stay at any of the hidden eco lodges.
Caribbean Beaches: Cahuita, Puerto Viejo, Punta Uva, Playa Negra and Manzanillo, are the most popular beaches on the Atlantic side (Caribbean). Take the scenic drive down to Manzanillo stopping along the way at all the lonely beaches with great swimming and snorkeling. However, the best way to get around is to rent a bike from Puerto and enjoy a day trip towards Manzallino.
- Cahuita National Park beaches
– This one is a very long strip of beautiful, palm tree-lined beaches where you don’t have to pay to enter, a donation will suffice, and enjoy the calm waters and soft sanded beaches for as long as you like. It’s also known for great snorkeling.
- Playa Negra
– This popular, black sanded beach is so black you’ll think it’s purple. It’s wonderful for swimming and snorkeling.
- Playa Manzanillo
– Is at the tip of this region and is inside the Gandoca-Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge. Also, the village of Manzanillo is the only town in all of Costa Rica inside a wildlife refuge. This beach is extremely popular for snorkeling, swimming and lazying around!
Bio Marina has been living in Central America for over 7 years and her site Travel Experta is all about traveling in Central America. Marina loves to help people plan the perfect vacation to this amazing part of the world! Join the fun on her facebook fan page and follow her on Twitter at @MarinaVillatoro.