5 Top-Rated Best Beaches in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is an enchanting destination in Central America, famous for its rugged rainforests and wonderful wildlife. Flanked by the Caribbean Sea to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west, this country has plenty of coastline to explore, with beautiful stretches of sandy beaches just waiting to be enjoyed. Here are 5 of the best beaches in Costa Rica!

1. Tortuguero

The small town of Tortuguero on Costa Rica’s northern Caribbean Coast is named after the sea turtles that come to nest in the area. Tortuguero National Park’s remote location means it remains an unspoiled paradise, despite being one of Costa Rica’s worst kept secrets. In fact, the park is only accessible by plane or boat, but the trek is 100% worth it. 

Tortuguero beach

If you visit between July and October or from February to April, you’ll be able to watch various turtle species’ nesting on the shores of Tortuguero’s sandy beaches. Besides, the turtle nesting season is the main attraction for tourists visiting the area. 

The beaches of Tortuguero are not typically enjoyed for swimming or sunbathing, but they are undoubtedly beautiful and wild. There are hundreds of kilometres of sand and jungle extending almost to the Nicaraguan border. And when you’re not on the beach, take a boat trip along the canals of the lush jungle to spot other creatures such as sloths, monkeys, birds, and frogs. 

monkey on the tree

2. Playa Manuel Antonio

Manuel Antonio National Park is also most famous for its wildlife, but within the park you’ll find several beautiful beaches too. Situated on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast, Manuel Antonio and the nearby beach town of Quepos are often full of tourists. However, if you venture further into the park, slices of paradise can be found. 

Playa Manuel Antonio, Playa Escondido and Playa Espadilla Sur are all beaches which are sure to be less busy due to their requirement of a small entrance fee. Top tip: arrive early to beat the crowds and enjoy a morning on the beach, then escape into the cool rainforest to embark on a wildlife walking tour.

Playa Manuel Antonio 

Playa Manuel Antonio was voted one of the top 25 beaches in the world by TripAdvisor’s Travellers’ Choice Award 2019. All of the beaches in the area feature wide shores and calm waves. Therefore, they are perfect for plenty of activities from snorkelling and swimming, to sunbathing and surfing. 

3. Playa Cocles and Punta Uva

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca is a city on the Caribbean coast which has been heavily influenced by an influx of migrant workers from Jamaica. You’ll find a blend of the two cultures wherever you go. In local bars, the music will fluctuate between reggae and salsa. Then, at dinner, you’ll see Jerk chicken served up alongside some gallo pinto. There is a beautiful, paradisiacal vibe to the area which is enhanced by this combination of cultures. 

Playa Cocles and Punta Uva 

Best of all is the 8 miles (13km) of white-sand beach stretching south from Puerto Viejo to Manzanillo. Enjoyed by families and backpackers alike, everyone loves Puerto Viejo’s beaches!

Puerto Viejo’s beaches

5. Playa Guiones

Nosara, a beautiful town on the Pacific coast, is a hotspot for surf schools and yoga retreats. It’s quite well-known, but the tourist infrastructure has been developed ethically and sustainably. In fact, green spaces have been preserved, hotels and lodges have an eco-friendly focus, and the prevention of large resorts has been successful. 

Playa Guiones is the main beach area because it has some of the most consistent surf in Central America. If you’re a beginner in surfing, visit during the dry season (December to April) for less lively waves. Moreover, it doesn’t matter if you’re not into surfing as the beach is a gorgeous place for a walk or yoga class. Alternatively, there are mangroves nearby which are perfect for paddle boarding too. 

Playa Guiones

5. Bahia Ballena

Also on the Pacific coast is the small town of Uvita, just down the road from Dominical, a popular surfing hub. Uvita is the gateway to the idyllic Parque Nacional Marino Bahia Ballena. 

Bahia Ballena owes its name to the humpback whales that migrate through the water here. From December to April and July to September you can spot whales among the waves as you stroll down the white-sand beach. In fact, a peninsula of sand emerges which is shaped like a whale’s tail if you visit at low tide. Throughout the rest of the year, Bahia Ballena is an ideal place to swim, kayak, snorkel, and simply soak up the sun’s rays. 

Bahia Ballena

Can you imagine feeling the sand between your toes on a Costa Rican beach? Check out our Costa Rica tours here!

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