Simply put, Costa Rica beaches are stunning. From the smooth sands of the most popular tourist beaches to the rocky coast of some of the country’s more remote locations, the beaches here are just breathtaking.
Whether you’re visiting the Pacific Coast or the Caribbean/Atlantic side of the island, you’ll find that the beaches offer a number of opportunities, from relaxing on the sand to snorkeling to surfing to just admiring the view. Northern Pacific Beaches
The Guanacaste region in the northeast portion of the country by far boasts the most beaches, some two dozen in number. This Pacific region has become known as the Golden Coast and many of the country’s finest resorts are located on the beaches here.
The abundance of beaches also makes this the most heavily populated tourist area, but guests can still locate a few Costa Rica beaches here that are far removed from the crowds of visitors.
Families like Playa Blanca, not far from the city of Liberia, because of its long, wide beach and gentle waves. During the dry season, it’s sunny here at least 12 hours each day.
Playa Brasalita is also a favorite northern beach thanks not only to its natural beauty but also because of the shops, hotels, and restaurants that are set up near the beach. There’s even an internet café nearby.
The beach at Playa Negra has rocky ends but plenty of clear space and magnificent waves in the middle, just right for surfers.
Playa Tamarindo is often teeming with tourists, especially during peak season when Costa Rica beaches are most full. Many hotels are located near this pretty beach as well as all the other things travelers need or want, such as small grocery stores, restaurants, banks, bars, and discos. Besides swimming, this is a good place to dive, snorkel, kayak, and fish. Central Pacific Beaches
On the Nicoya Peninsula, visitors will find Puntarenas, the old main port city. Visitors to the Puntarenas will find several nice beaches, a boardwalk, plenty of hotels, and a variety of restaurants.
Further south, you’ll come to Jaco Beach, a favorite with locals and tourists and just 2 hours from the capital city of San Jose. Here, the tourist infrastructure is quite well-developed, making it popular with those who prefer not to be off-the-beaten-track.
The town of Quepos is home to a surf camp for novice and experienced surfers. This Costa Rica beach is stunning, boasting huge waves. After you’re done surfing there, you can take non-surfing family members to nearby Manuel Antonio National Park, which is home to a beautiful swimming beach and lots of other activities.
Southern Pacific Beaches
Most of the beaches in the south are not really meant for swimming. They are, nonetheless, breathtakingly beautiful and worth a look. Corcovado National Park has 37 kilometers (23 miles) of beaches but the waters there are often populated with unwanted swimming partners, such as hammerhead sharks!
Atlantic Coast Beaches
Dominical is probably the most popular of the handful of Costa Rica beaches on the eastern coast, especially for surfers. There are a number of surf schools here as well as surf shops that sell and rent boards and other equipment.
Playa Puerto Viejo, near the town of Limon, is a gorgeous place to visit. Full of exclusive hotels and excellent restaurants, this beach is good for swimming as well as other watersports.