Although not as popular for Europeans, Costa Rica is one of the favoured holiday destinations for North Americans (although European visitors has increased in recent years). It’s no surprise that so many people want to come and visit this part of the world.
This country is well known for it’s activities, and it’s one of the best places to go white water rafting, zip-lining and a whole host of other exciting activities. But, did you know that Costa Rica has some of the best beaches in Central America too? Let’s take a look at a few of the top destinations here.
Best Beaches in Costa Rica
Manuel Antonio Beach
Around a 3 hour drive from capital San Jose, Manuel Antonio Beach is one of the nicest beaches in the country. It’s a secluded beach, which will suit those looking to take things easy.
What’s the price you have to pay to get to a closed off beach like this? Well, you will have to take a bit of a trek through the forest to get here. But, this is all part of the fun, and the journey to the beach itself is actually quite enjoyable – you’ll likely encounter some monkeys along the way!
There is more to do on this beach than just relaxing if you want to. You can also go surfing here, and it’s quite a popular location for parasailing as well. The ocean can get pretty rough here, which is worth bearing in mind if you’ve got young kids.
The only thing I will say that is if you’ve packed yourself a picnic, watching out for the racoons and monkeys! There’s a good chance they might sneak in and steal your lunch whilst you’re going for a swim.
Located to the West of Costa Rica, Tamarindo is one of the better places to come if you’re looking to find a great beach. The area has one large beach across the coast, which both tourists and locals both enjoy.
The water here is very shallow at the beachfront, so you can walk a ways out before coming to deeper water. When you get a little deeper, then there will likely be a lot of surfers here trying to catch the waves.
Towards the South of the beach is where the majority of the people go, however you can also head North just down the beachfront along to Tamarindo River too if you want to take a boat tour if the river here. You’ll be able to see some of the local inhabitants, with beautiful birds, moneys and even crocodiles quite easy to spot.
Conchal Beach, Guanacaste
Just a little further North along the coast from Tamarindo you’ll come to Conchal Beach, which is just outside of the beach town Brasilito. This is another beautiful beach quite similar to Tamarindo.
However with this beach, although it’s not strictly a snorkelling destination, there are a few areas here where you can get some snorkelling in. So, this could be something that can help to keep you busy throughout the day.
Whilst some of the beach is full of soft sand, the other part of the beach is made up of shells (the name is a bit of a giveaway, as Conchal is Spanish for shell). This might be a little bit uncomfortable to walk on, but it definitely gives the beach a little more character.
There’s also a pretty great restaurant here too, which I recommend you try after spending your day relaxing on the beach. It’s a good walk to and from the beach if you park here yourself too, so keep that in mind.
Dominical Beach is around 4 hours away from San Jose, and it’s a great beach to head too. As you can see from the image, this beach is rather intriguing due to the river which runs through the middle of it.
Now, if you’re looking for your typical lush beach with soft sand, then this isn’t going to be the right choice for you. However, it’s a little bit off the grid, which means you’ll definitely have a more secluded time, and there will be far less people here than further North along the coast.
This beach does definitely offer some excellent views, and it’s a great area to come for surfers too. The beach can get quite rocky in parts, so you’ll likely want to wear shoes for parts of it.
Another thing to mention is that this beach is very close to the Nauyaca Waterfalls, which are a must see if you’re going to come to Costa Rica. So, you can kill two birds with one stone and fit them both into the same trip!
Situated right in the North-East of Costa Rica and almost in Panama, you’ll find Playa Cocles, nearby to the town of Cocles. It’s around a 3 hour drive from the nearest big city of Limon, which has around 50,000 people living there.
One thing that this coast, and this beach in particular, is pretty well known for is it’s surfing conditions. Whilst you might catch waves further along the coast, at this specific spot the waves are a little more mellow For this reasons, it’s a much better place to come if you’re a beginner and want to give surfing a go for the first time. The whole area has a laid back and cool surf vibe.
The water here is nice and warm, and the beach itself is large enough that it never feels too crowded either (although it never getting ridiculously busy anyway). If you need to get a break from the hot sun, then there are plenty of palm trees you can find a spot below here too.
So, whilst this is a great beach for surfing, it’s also a good one for swimming as well, and it’s one of the best beaches on the coast of Costa Rica.
Overall, Costa Rica remains one of the more popular destinations to come if you’re looking for a great beach in Central America. There are many great beaches you can find here, on both coasts of the country too, as it’s flanked both sides by Panama and Nicaragua.