During the dry season, which runs from Mid-November through April the upper west coast region terrain that back the upper west coast beaches is brown and dusty, but on the up side, the sun is unrelenting so if the beach is your destination and you plan to park yourself on one of them, it’s a good time to go. During the rainy season, which runs from May to mid-November, the surrounding countryside is lush and green but you will see a daily afternoon shower. Travel during the dry season can be unpleasant, and the daily shower you will get in the rainy season can always be used for a siesta or a snack indoors. In any weather the upper west coast beaches are spectacular and worth visiting. Except for the mountains off in the distance, the upper west coast regions of Guanacaste and Nicoya look very similar to part of Texas, and like Texas these regions are home to cattle ranches, savannahs, and huge stretches of grassland.
Travellers can reach the upper west coach beaches of Costa Rica by flying directly to city Liberia from any one of a number of major American cities. Forty-five miles southwest of Liberia is the town of Tamarindo, a boom town built on one of the most popular of all Costa Rica beaches. Playa Tamarindo is a popular surfing destination, and is also home to many fishing boats that are moored at the south end of this popular Costa Rica beach. A small islet that is located not too far off shore makes a destination if you are a strong swimmer, and is also serves as a start launching point for the surfers. Brown pelicans can be observed fishing just past the breakers, and the sunsets are spectacular. Many small affordable hotels are available in Tamarindo, and several larger resort hotels have also been built there in recent years.
Just north of Playa Tamarindo and is another of the more popular Costa Rica beaches, Playa Grande. While Playa Grande is usually too rough for swimming, it is very popular with surfers. Play Grande is also one of the principal nesting sites for the giant leatherback turtle, which is the largest turtle in the world. Development of the upper west coast beach of Playa Grande may well threaten the giant leatherback turtle in time. The entire area around Play Tamarindo and Playa Grande is experiencing rapid development and intense tourism, but it’s easy to see why.
If you are looking for a more deserted upper west coach beach and a place to just “get away from it all,” you can find plenty of those too. Playa Junquillal, located just twelve miles south of Tamarindo, is a quiet beach backed by grassland that stretches for miles. The feel of this beach is very different than the Costa Rica beaches like Playa Grande and Playa Tamarindo that have seen bourgeoning tourism, making it a great place for meditation and quiet retreat. Playa Nosara is another series of west coast beaches that is mostly deserted most of the time. Play Nosara is located about 32 miles south west of Nicoya. The hotels there are small and spread out, giving the beach a more soothing, private feel.
A good, easy to reach choice of west coast beaches for families is Play Hermosa, which is located just 25 miles from Liberia and is surrounded by lush forested hills. Playa Hermosa is a long and wide is rarely crowded. Nearby are the beaches of Playa Panama and Playa Culebra, both of which are quiet and have been recently cleared of campsites and other distractions, making them both calming and quiet getaways that are easy to reach and inexpensive to visit.
The west coast features so many beautiful Costa Rica beaches that it is impossible to name them all in a short space. Anyone who loves beaches will appreciate the upper west coach. If you can’t find a beach you love here, you won’t find one anywhere.