Top 5 Beaches to visit in Costa Rica
When traveling to Costa Rica, everyone thinks of two things: Beaches and Jungle!
If you are thinking of going to Costa Rica; I highly recommend you plan accordingly to see one, some or all of the following beaches. The following beaches are listed as a road-trip recommendation. Once you arrived at San Jose (let's say you rent a car: 4 wheel drive is always recommended) you will go to Puntarenas to take the ferry to Paquera (for Schedules and Rates view here http://navieratambor.com/horarios-y-tarifas ). Now you might want to have Waze (it works much better than google maps for Costa Rica and its lack of addresses). Here is the route I will be writing about: Top 5 Beaches Map.
During my time living in this beautiful country, I went to many beaches. These are my TOP 5 BEACHES in Costa Rica. Each one of them has its essence.
Items you should bring with at all times: repellent, sunscreen, and water. Preferably choose always for Reef Safe Sunscreen, Natural or Plant-Based Repellent, carry water in your reusable bottle. This makes our traveling more sustainable and friendly with the environment.
1 - Los Suecos Beach
This beach is very popular among the local population but not many people are at the beach. It is a small beach with clear sand and green-blue waters. It has rocky sand, great shade places, and when the tide is low you can see these natural fish tanks with wildlife within to observe and admire; so don't forget your snorkeling equipment!
It's a great place for privacy and enjoys a quiet day at the beach with friends, family, or just yourself. To get to this beach you can walk along the beach (the beach itself takes you) or if you rent a quad you can take the route that connects Santa Teresa with Malpaís and continue until the end of the road. It is mostly dirt and mud; therefore I recommend that you go with a mask or something to cover your face during the dry season. Or a rain jacket if you are visiting during the rainy season. If you get lost just ask someone since it has become somewhat popular around town. Some people also call it Cave Beach (Playa Cuevas).
2 - Santa Teresa
This is one of my favorite spots. From Malpais it is a 20 minutes drive. If you rented a quad, it would take around 40.
Coming out here was like my little Yoga Surfing Retreat. I usually stayed at Casa Zen Guest House and Yoga Center. This cozy hostel, located a few meters from the beach, a great surfing spot, yoga classes, and an amazing breakfast. What else do you need? The staff here is very friendly and they rent surfboards as well.
Santa Teresa is known also for its parties, a very tourist place and many Argentines live here. I always went in a much quieter plan. Therefore; I connected more with this place for surfing and doing yoga.
You have a few beaches here. Playa Hermosa, Playa Carmen, and Playa Santa Teresa. There are options for Surfing Lessons. I highly recommend going to Playa Hermosa since the beach is wider and the waves are nice to learn. However; always check the weather and tie.
There are a few places for you to go to eat. I usually cooked at the hostel, or went to Cafe Social, The Bakery and Soda La Yunta were my favorites. Another place I liked a lot was Bali Beach Deli, right in the corner of the hostel.
Something I can guarantee about Costa Rica is that the food here is always good and healthy. My favorite: Rice, beans, plantain, and salad. Juices are always fresh and within a variety of fruits.
Another very important highlight of this place is its sunsets. So make sure you catch the time the sun goes down, go to the beach, and enjoy.
3 - Barrigona
Moving forward after a few days of surf, we will continue to our next destination: Playa Barrigona. The closest town to stay in is Samara. From Samara to Playa Barrigona you have like 20-30 minutes drive depending on the conditions of the roads.
This is a small beach, also very popular between locals and a great surfing spot. As all good spots, it is relative to the tie's time (down and high). Make sure you check the tie for each day before going.
There is nothing near this place, so make sure you bring water, fruits, and snacks. You might cross paths with monkeys and sloths, among other smaller species.
I recommend you visit this place during the dry season (from December until April/May). And don't forget your board!
In Samara, you will find many hostels and places to spend the night. There is this great Sushi place called Samara Sushi. It is a very nice, colorful town. There are many places to eat and pubs where to have a beer. Don't forget to have pinto with eggs with your morning coffee!
4 - Conchal
After a few days of surfing, it may be time to chill a bit and rest while enjoying the nature this country has to offer. We will move on and drive to Tamarindo to go to Conchal Beach.
This beach is nice to chill and enjoy the calm and quiet waters. The beach here is super clear, calm, and it is a great spot for snorkeling. I also recommend you bring snacks and beverages with you. Make sure you go all the way until the road ends.
Tamarindo is the place I recommend for you to stay and spend the night. There are several options for dining, lodging and tourist information since there are other beaches for you to enjoy nearby.
5 - Puerto Viejo
Calming down and preparing for the longest ride until our next and last beach for this trip. We will cross the whole country and go to the Caribbean side of Costa Rica to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca.
You can either stay somewhere in town or at some lodge before entering the town. You have many beaches here but my favorite one here is called Playa Negra. I used to rent a room near here and go to Banana Azul Hotel to spend my day at the beach. This lodge has a sector on the beach with tables and lounge chairs, where the only requirement to stay is to consume something. It is not expensive and worth it. Food, beverages, and drinks are really good.
The beach itself is very quiet; ideal to relax and chill for the day. You might see some wildlife such as monkeys and sloths.
For the rest of our stay, I recommend renting bikes and going to the beach. The road is very easy going, full of quiet spots. Some beaches I recommend are Punta Cocles, Playa Chiquita, and Punta Uva. This last one I suggest you bring your snorkeling gear with you.
There is also a National Park at the end of the road called Manzanillo. Good for spotting wildlife, connecting with nature, relaxing at the beach.
And remember: when visiting other countries be understanding with other cultures, don't take souvenirs from the beach, and leave it cleaner than you found it. Taking care of nature and the environment is our responsibility and obligation as world citizens.
I hope you find this information useful. Please feel free to send over any questions you might have! Costa Rica is a great place with a variety of options for everyone!
Live, Love & Laugh
A True Nomad - Sol Acevedo