What are the best beaches in Costa Rica?

Although Costa Rica is a small country, it has nearly 300 beaches distributed between its Pacific and Caribbean coasts. There is a beach for every kind of taste, each with unique features and different settings. You can find black-sand, white-sand and golden-brown beaches...some of them are even right next to each other! From beaches with airy-like sand to shell-covered beaches there is something for everyone, whether you're a swimmer, surfer or vacationer looking for a good place to relax and tan.

You could spend nearly a year in Costa Rica visiting a different beach each day. Most people do not have that amount of time to travel, so we have compiled a list of the best beaches in Costa Rica. Remember this is just a small percentage of the beaches in Costa Rica, so if a local recommends one, we suggest that you visit it!

Locos4Travel’s Best Beaches in Costa Rica

Manuel Antonio (Central Pacific Region)

In addition to being home to thousands of flora and fauna species and rain forests, this national park boasts some of the most stunning beaches in the country. You can surf, swim in for gorgeous blue water or relax on the white sand beaches and end the day admiring the sunset over the Pacific Ocean.

See more information on Manuel Antonio

Tamarindo (Guanacaste Region)

This once sleepy fisherman's village has converted in a popular beach town with domestic and international tourists. Here you will find a wide variety of beaches, such as the popular surfing spot, Playa Grande, which is only accessible by boat, the untouched Playa Langosta dotted with white sand to the rocky Playa Tamarindo, ideal for advanced surfers.

Drake Bay (South Pacific Region)

This hidden gem in southern Costa Rica is home to pristine beaches that are seldom visited. A few of its highlights are Caño Island with its uninhabited beaches that are great for snorkeling, swimming or surfing and Playa San Josecito, a palm-lined, remote beach with fluffy white sand that can be reached by boat or hiking.

Uvita (South Pacific Region)

Situated 11 miles south of Dominical, this stunning untouched beach has lush green mountains as the backdrop. Uvita is a great spot for swimming, snorkeling and diving, or simply for walking through the fluffy sand. There is a palm forest where you can escape from the hot sun and observe the wildlife that inhabits this area.

Tortuguero (Caribbean Coast)

If you are looking for a laid back atmosphere, Tortuguero National Park is the place for you. Between the months of April-October, you can observe turtles laying their eggs on the beach at night and from November to January, you can watch the baby turtles going into the ocean for the first time. This park is only reachable by canal boats from Limón or a short flight from San José.

Jaco (Central Pacific Region)

A very popular spot for surfers and tourists, this town has a variety of tours, water sports, lodging option and nightlife. Its world-class beaches are ideal for swimming or surfing. Nearby Playa Hermosa has hosted international surfing championships and is a great place to learn how to surf with the areas first-class instructors.

Mal País/Santa Teresa (Nicoya Peninsula Region)

Home to some of the best beaches in Costa Rica, these two surfing destinations have a 'pura vida' feel. Here you will find long stretches of white sand with large swells and stunning sunsets. Make sure to visit the nearby Cabo Blanco Absolute Natural Reserve with its conch-lined beaches and gorgeous landscapes. Get ready to unwind and enjoy the quiet atmosphere in Mal País and Santa Teresa.

Cahuita (Caribbean Coast)

This little village on the Caribbean of Costa Rica has Afro-American influences and a unique atmosphere. One of its must-see beaches is Playa Negra, a black sand beach that is great for swimming. In the nearby Cahuita National Park, you can find white sand beaches set in front of crystalline Caribbean waters. These beaches are excellent for snorkeling as there are coral reefs close to the shore.

Montezuma (Nicoya Peninsula Region)

This bohemian town is a favorite of backpackers and young travelers. Home to the stunning Playa Grande, this beach offers all kinds of activities for adventure-seeking travelers. The surf in Montezuma is great, but watch out for the rip currents while surfing or swimming. You can also explore the natural pools along its rocky shore and visit the nearby waterfall with its inviting swimming holes.

Samara (Nicoya Peninsula Region)

Considered one of Costa Rica's prettiest and safest beaches, Samara is a great destination for families or beach-goers seeking a laidback atmosphere. One can swim, snorkel or scuba dive here, or even go sport fishing. The nearby town, Matapolo, is famous for snorkeling, while Chora Island is great to explore with a kayak.

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