The 12 Best beaches in Costa Rica

Are the best beaches in Costa Rica in the Caribbean or in the Pacific? On both coasts! The Costa Rican territory has beautiful beaches in both oceans that deserve to be known. In this post we present the 12 best beaches in Costa Rica for you to enjoy. Keep in mind that the weather is not the same on both coasts, so we will tell you what is the best time to travel to Costa Rica so that you can enjoy your vacation to the fullest.

It is very important to travel to Costa Rica with travel insurance. You will spend most of your time surrounded by nature, with all that this entails: possible bites, heat stroke, falls and others. To be covered you can book your travel insurance with a 20% discount with InterMundial. Imagine finding yourself in such an unpleasant situation without knowing where to turn

Also Read: 50 things to do in Costa Rica

What do we tell you in this post?


Best Beaches In Costa Rica


Manuel Antonio (Puntarenas, Pacific), one of the best beaches in Costa Rica to see fauna

Manuel Antonio (Puntarenas, Pacific
Manuel Antonio (Puntarenas, Pacific

For us, the beaches of the Manuel Antonio National Park are the best in the country. The park and its beaches are one of the most popular destinations in Costa Rica. So you will see foreigners and nationals, all in love with its white sand and crystal clear waters. It is true that it is quite a tourist site and that makes it lose some of its charm. But the beaches are quite large and there is room for everyone. In fact, it is one of the most popular excursions from San José.

We not only recommend Manuel Antonio for its beach but for the National Park in general. Before relaxing in its water you can walk along its trails to appreciate all kinds of fauna and flora , as well as reaching a small waterfall.

As a note, we liked Espadilla Sur better , the beach that falls to the right of the access road. Quieter and prettier, although both are worth it.

Watch out for monkeys and raccoons!

Feeling in the middle of nature has its good and bad things. You have to be careful with monkeys and raccoons. We saw how a raccoon bit a girl and she had to run to the doctor. Hide the food well and stay away from the trees, otherwise the monkeys will come like crazy for your food. And they go in a pack! We insist on the importance of traveling with insurance that covers unforeseen events like this. You can book it at InterMundial with a 20% discount.

It is also important that you know that the entrance of food to the park is quite limited. You can only enter very few products: sandwiches, fruit or cookies without plastic wrap or aluminum foil.

You must pack everything in paper bags or tupperware to avoid contamination of the park with plastics. We bought some prepared sandwiches at the Joseth supermarket, near the entrance to the Park.

In general, Costa Rica is a fairly safe destination. However, we believe that it is worth knowing some security tips in the country.

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Tortuga Island (Puntarenas, Pacific)

Tortuga Island (Puntarenas, Pacific)
Tortuga Island (Puntarenas, Pacific)

If you think of paradise, surely something like Tortuga Island comes to mind. It is a super quiet island accessible by boat from Jacó, Puntarenas or Herradura. You will have to hire a day tour , since there is no hotel or restaurant there. The water looks like a pool, ideal for taking a leisurely swim or kayaking. You are sure to see some colorful fish, octopus, rays, and even sharks and dolphins.

Looking for inspiration? We have the solution! We tell you a route through Costa Rica in 15 days so you can get to know the best of the country.

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Manzanillo (Limon, Caribbean)

Manzanillo (Limon, Caribbean)
Manzanillo (Limon, Caribbean)

The beaches of the Gandoca-Manzanillo refuge are spectacular. For us, Manzanillo is one of the best beaches in Costa Rica and the best in the Caribbean. It is characterized by its white sand and crystal clear waters. It is much quieter than Manuel Antonio, although it is also quite touristy.

The most beautiful sector is very close to the small town of Manzanillo. You will only have to cross a small suspension bridge and follow the path. We advise you to go to the Punta Manzanillo viewpoint and enjoy the views of one of the best beaches in Costa Rica.

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Playa Conchal (Guanacaste, Pacific)

Playa Conchal (Guanacaste, Pacific)
Playa Conchal (Guanacaste, Pacific)

This beach is one of the most famous in Costa Rica. Partly because it has a unique feature: the pieces of shells replace the sand. In other words, its composition consists of 98% pieces of shells and strata of pulverized rocks , which distinguishes it from other Guanacaste beaches. Its name is not difficult to imagine. Without a doubt it is one of the best beaches in Costa Rica.

How to get to Conchal and the rest of the Guanacaste beaches?
If you have not rented a car, it is best to take a hotel near Playa Flamingo or Brasilito. Many well-priced hotels abound there and you can get to them by taxi or public transport. We stayed at the Flamingo Beach Resort for its communication facilities, it’s just a stone’s throw from the bus stop. We loved it. We would repeat.

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Santa Teresa (Puntarenas, Pacific)

Santa Teresa (Puntarenas, Pacific)
Santa Teresa (Puntarenas, Pacific)

For many surfers, Santa Teresa is high up on the list of the best beaches in Costa Rica. Its waves are usually ideal for those who practice this sport. It also has such fine, white sand that it is pleasing. If you like beaches that look like a pool, it’s not worth going, because otherwise road access is pretty bad. Around the beach there is a very cool atmosphere with several bars and some hiking trails.
Do you want to have internet connection in Costa Rica? We recommend you buy a SIM card with data. As simple as inserting it into your mobile when you land!

You can be in permanent contact with your loved ones keeping your WhatsApp number, use Google Maps and post photos on social networks.

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Dantita Beach (Guanacaste, Pacific)

Dantita Beach (Guanacaste, Pacific)
Dantita Beach (Guanacaste, Pacific)

This is, without a doubt, one of the best beaches in Costa Rica and also one of the quietest. Shaped like a horseshoe, it is surrounded by vegetation and the water has a beautiful color. Of course, when we were there it was a bit messy and there were unevenness in the sand. So maybe it’s not ideal if you love to take a dip, but it is to be calm with hardly any company.

Access is somewhat cumbersome , but that means there are very few people. If the tide is low, you can carefully walk on the rocks to the right of Playa Danta. Otherwise, you will have to go on a dirt road for about a kilometer. In any case, we recommend that you put your flip-flops in your backpack and wear slippers to avoid hurting yourself.

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Montezuma (Puntarenas, Pacific), one of the best beaches in Costa Rica for snorkeling

Montezuma (Puntarenas, Pacific)
Montezuma (Puntarenas, Pacific)

If you love coastal towns with atmosphere, you will surely consider Montezuma to be one of the best beaches in Costa Rica. It is small with a dry forest around where you can see some monkeys. It is great for swimming and also for snorkeling in the rocky area. In addition, there is a bohemian atmosphere similar to that of the Caribbean , with street craft vendors and an organic market that is held every Saturday.

Although there are plenty of beaches in Costa Rica , we also recommend visiting San José, the capital of the country.

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Punta Uva (Limon, Caribbean)

Punta Uva (Limon, Caribbean)
Punta Uva (Limon, Caribbean)

We ended up at this beach by chance, but ended up falling in love with it. It is quite collected, but it has enough space to throw in the towel and sunbathe. In addition, being sheltered there are hardly any waves and the water is very clean. Who does not like to bathe with spectacular views of palm trees and other tropical vegetation? Another point in favor is that it has very easy access compared to other beaches in the area , which are more hidden. But that doesn’t mean it’s overcrowded.

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Flamingo (Guanacaste, Pacific)

Flamingo (Guanacaste, Pacific)
Flamingo (Guanacaste, Pacific)

In a fairly exclusive area of Guanacaste, Playa Flamingo is surrounded by a few hotels and condominiums. It is quite extensive, so there are quiet areas and other more lively ones. When the sea is a little rough it is a popular place for surfers. On the other hand, when the water is calm, the best thing to do is take a snorkel gear and go in to discover the marine life. Another great attraction of this beach is the sunsets that can be seen from there. We stayed a few steps from this beach, at the Flamingo Beach Resort and Spa , and we thought it was a great choice.
Tips to save money

Get a debit card to save yourself the bad exchange rates and commissions of conventional banks. We recommend using the Bnext card. It’s free and they also give you €5 ! We always use it to travel and it represents a great saving.

Many places do not accept credit cards. If you want Costa Rican colones in cash for the trip, you can exchange currency from home at a discount through Ria Cambio de Divisas. They have a great exchange rate and send your money home safely.

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Samara (Guanacaste, Pacific)

Samara (Guanacaste, Pacific)
Samara (Guanacaste, Pacific)

White sand surrounded by vegetation and water full of marine life make Samara one of the best beaches in Costa Rica. It is quite a popular place to dive or snorkel. This beach will especially appeal to bird lovers. Right in front there is a very small desert island where you can see many birds. There is the possibility of renting a kayak to get up there and see them up close.

The town of Sámara is charming beyond its beautiful beach. There are several places to eat and shops where you can buy a souvenir.

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Tamarindo (Guanacaste, Pacific)

Tamarindo (Guanacaste, Pacific)
Tamarindo (Guanacaste, Pacific)

Tamarindo beach is one of the most visited in Costa Rica. In part, because it offers enough hotels and a beautiful beach perfect for surfers. It is true that Pacific beaches tend to have quite a few currents, but they are also good for relaxing. In general it is quite crowded since it is easily accessible. If you are looking for more tranquility you can escape to Playa Langosta or Playa Grande. They are less crowded and can still be considered some of the best beaches in Costa Rica.

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Biesanz Beach (Puntarenas, Pacific)

Biesanz Beach (Puntarenas, Pacific)
Biesanz Beach (Puntarenas, Pacific)

And finally, to finish this list of the best beaches in Costa Rica, we cannot leave out Playa Biesanz. It is relatively close to Manuel Antonio , although it is not very easy to find. Hence its appeal. It is not very crowded and is one of the typical postcard beaches. It is calm, without much waves and with delicious water. In addition, it is one of the best beaches in Costa Rica for snorkeling.

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