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If scenes of impressive volcanoes, lush green jungles, mysterious cloud forests, and idyllic palm-lined shorelines comes to mind when you hear the words “Costa Rica,” you are not wrong! The Costa Rica beaches are among the most beautiful in all of Latin America, and attract sunbathers, surfers and beach-bums from all over the world, to enjoy the countries pristine, picture-perfect shorelines. With warm waters year-round, an excellent tourism infrastructure, top of the range eco hotels and luxury lodges and an astounding amount of activities, Costa Rica is home to some of the best beaches in the world. With almost two-thirds of the country’s borders consisting of impressive coastlines, it is sometimes hard to know where to go! Here are some of the best beaches in Costa Rica, along both of the country´s impressive coastal areas.
The Nicoya Peninsula isn't a single Costa Rica beach; however, the country's largest peninsula is blessed with so many blissful strips of sand, it should have its own top-ten list of beaches. The Nicoya peninsula literally has a beach for everyone, with lively beachside cities and popular backpacker destinations like Montezuma, Tamarindo, and Mal País, and then there is the more relaxed, laid-back Pacific beaches like Playa Hermosa, Playa Sámara, Playa Flamingo, Playa Conchal, and Playa Grande. The Nicoya peninsula is truly a beach-lovers paradise.
Manuel Antonio is arguably the most beautiful Costa Rica beach, due to its location inside one of the most incredible national parks in the country, The Manuel Antonio National Park. The coastline boasts perfect horseshoe bays bordered by powdery white sands, dazzling turquoise waters, and surrounding hilltops of lush green jungle and streaming waterfalls. Whether you prefer diving, snorkelling, surfing, kayaking, hiking, or zip lining, don't forget to take a step back, relax and enjoy the view. With activity´s abound, the Manuel Antonio Park is a phenomenal beach to visit in Costa Rica.
Manuel Antonio Beaches
Playa Dominical is located about 30 miles south of the Manuel Antonio National Park. It is widely recognized as one of the best surf beaches in Costa Rica with a number of surf camps and surf shops for all levels and abilities. Even if you don't surf, you will marvel at Playa Dominical's lush green landscapes, booming nightlife and relatively uncrowded sands. If you are looking for a more remote experience, head 15 minutes north to Matapalo Beach, a more chilled-out stretch of sand known for private horseback rides.
Located on the inner part of the Nicoya Peninsula, Montezuma is a gathering place for Costa Rica's most idiosyncratic locals and travellers. Dreadlocked Rastafarians, tattooed bohemians, sun-kissed surfers, and other examples of exceptional beauty are the norm at this picturesque little beach, which also boasts tide pools, forested waterfalls, and an array of wildlife if you’re hoping for a Capuchin monkey or Costa Rican crocodile sighting.
While Playa Tamarindo, one of the best beaches in Central America, offers world-class shopping, dining, and coastal attractions, this is the top luxury destination in Costa Rica. Playa Tamarindo's natural prowess certainly makes the extra expense worth it! On the beautiful beaches adjacent to Tamarindo beach, giant leatherback sea turtles, among other types of turtles, arrive at the shores each year to lay their eggs on the sand, a truly spectacular experience.
Corcovado is considered the jewel in the Costa Rica's- Osa Peninsula´s, crown. Its beaches are windswept and wild, with dark sands and towering palms. The mountainous inland jungles of the Corcovado National Park are the natural habitat for some of the country's most fascinating wildlife. No trip to Corcovado is complete without a boat excursion to the nearby Isla del Caño, which offers spectacular diving as well as the opportunity to examine the island's ancient stone spheres.
A photographer’s paradise! This beautiful stretch of sand, which, from above, closely resembles a whale’s tail, is located within Southern Costa Rica’s Marino Ballena National Park. You can appreciate the best views at low tide, when both ends of the tail are visible. Otherwise, it’s a great beach to take a swim, as waters are calm, and quite popular with families, especially those travelling with their little ones!
If you’re looking for a quiet beach to spend a day lounging, swimming or snorkelling along the reef, head to Playa Conchal, an idyllic spot just 40-minutes away from Tamarindo beach on the Nicoya Peninsula. Be aware that the beach is made up of millions of tiny crushed seashells, which give its sand a pinkish hue and can be hard on your feet, so don´t forget your sandals!
Found on Costa Rica's Caribbean coast, Tortuguero is an eco-tourist's paradise. Travellers to the area can experience any array of outdoor activities, including a trip down the rainforest canals in dugout canoes, impressive hiking trails, and guided safaris. Sixteen of Costa Rica's endangered species, including tapirs, ocelots, manatees, and green sea turtles, are native to the Tortuguero National Park, after which the area is named. Tortuguero's beaches are perfect for sunbathing if you’d rather lay out and enjoy a relaxing day, catching some rays.
Beaches near Limón
South of the port city of Limón heading toward the Panama along the Caribbean coast, there are a number of incredible beaches offering a low-key Caribbean vibe, walm waters and pristine sandy beaches. Cahuita National Park is an excellent place to camp, if you don't mind waking up to the sounds of howler monkeys. Further down the coast, spectacular sunrises await you at Puerto Viejo and in Manzanillo, which is a protected area with tropical rainforests, palm swamps, coral reefs, and of course, idyllic Caribbean beaches, are all present.