Costa Rica is home to volcanoes, jungles, and beautiful, diverse beaches. Tourists visit this land to soak up the sun, swim, surf, and explore the laid-back beaches spread out along the coast.
The nature of its landscape begins to change as one moves from one place to the next. Some of the best beaches are located on the Nicoya Peninsula, situated in the North.
Check out: Best beaches in Nicaragua
6 Best Beaches in Costa Rica MAP
This list of the six best beaches in Costa Rica should help visitors decide where to vacation.
1. Manuel Antonio Beach
Manuel Antonio town is home to the Manuel Antonio National Park. Numerous beautiful beaches surround this park.
Playa Espadilla, for example, sits right in front of Manuel Antonio town. It’s beloved by the locals for its clear water and small waves.
It measures around two miles long and is highly recommended for tourists who like to walk along the beach. It’s also a great place to spend the day with family.
Playitas Beach is another beach a traveler may want to visit. It starts at a rocky headland, marking the end of Playa Espadilla beach.
2. Tamarindo Beach
Tamarindo Beach is the second most popular beach in Costa Rica. It doubles up as home to many restaurants, rental apartments, and tourist resorts.
It has many dining options and bars meant to entertain locals and tourists.
Tamarindo has exciting energy that can prove fun and infectious, especially for those who like to explore new locations.
Visitors to this beach love the idea of getting to fish and surf during the day and interacting with locals in the evenings by the beach side bars for happy hour drinks.
3. Playa Nacascolo
It sits on the northern end of the Pacific coast, a few miles from the Nicaragua border. The dry climate in Playa Nacascolo is one of its appealing features.
The drier climate in the area is relative to the far south. Often, the wet season starts in May and ends in September. But even during this season, the rains last for more than a few hours.
Short rains mean that visitors have enough time to soak up as much sun as they would like. Over the years, the region has developed a reputation for its swanky resorts.
If looking for something cheaper than a resort, visitors to Playa Nacascolo can always check out the other low-cost accommodation options on offer.
Adventurous activities to engage in on a visit to this beach include:
- A visit to public beaches
- Tour of local wildlife sanctuaries
- Taking part in watersports
4. Costa Ballena (Whale Coast)
Hermosa Beach and Uvita Beach are beloved coastal treasures bordering the “Whales Tail.” The “Whales Tail” sits in Punta Uvita on the South Pacific coast inside the Marino Ballena National Park.
Aerial photographs of this park have shown that it has a sandbar shaped like a whale. Coincidentally, it’s the exact location where humpbacks return to every year.
The humpbacks make their return between August to October and from December to April. Sea turtles also visit the park to nest between May and November.
Visitors to the area can rent snorkeling gear to help them explore its coral reef or opt to go on a whale watching tour. Other viable options include renting standup paddleboards and kayaks.
5. Playa Hermosa, Jaco
Costa Rica is one of the few countries globally that are bisected by volcanoes. Many of its volcanoes are still active.
Playa Hermosa, Jaco translates to a “beautiful beach” and is the latest recipient of the World Surf Reserve award. It’s an award given to beaches to appreciate their efforts to protect the natural and marine environment.
The beach boasts of volcanic sand that has a distinctive dark grey color. For those in the area who would like to dip their toes into white sand, they should check out Playa Blanca.
It’s located thirty minutes away from Jaco and features a beautiful tree-lined cove.
6. Santa Teresa & Malpais Beach, Nicoya Peninsula
The Nicoya Peninsula, located South of Guanacaste, is home to several beach destinations popular with yogis and surfers. They include:
- Santa Teresa
- Carmen Beach
The above mentioned are the small beaches that serve the locals and tourists visiting Santa Teresa and Malpais towns. They stand out on this list as visitors have to use beaten paths to get to them.
Tourists looking to spend time on a secluded beach with great surf options should visit Santa Teresa beach. Malpais beach is best for exploring rocky tidal pools and playing in the white sand.
What’s the best beach in Costa Rica?
Manuel Antonio Beach and Tamarindo Beach are the most visited beaches in Costa Rica. They’re loved by the locals and travelers from around the world.
Which is the best part of Costa Rica?
The best places to visit and stay in Costa Rica are Manuel Antonio National Park and the Osa Peninsula. They both boast of great attractions and amazing things to do all year-round.
Is the sea warm in Costa Rica?
The seawater in Costa Rica is pretty warm, with temperatures above 20°C/68°F, making it ideal for swimming. Please note that the water temperature in Costa Rica is on a decline.
All the Reasons to Visit Costa Rica
Costa Rica is the adventure capital of the expansive Central America region. Apart from the six beaches mentioned above, the country has many activities to offer, including zip-lining above the jungle canopy to hiking in its rainforests.
Its shorelines have proven popular with surfers worldwide and boast of turquoise waves and sun-kissed sands. A visit to any of the beaches mentioned in this list will ensure you get to enjoy your time in Costa Rica.