Playas Flamingo, Potrero, Brasilito, and Conchal were among the very first of the Costa Rica Gold Coast beaches to become prime destinations for international surf and sun worshippers.
In recent years, however, real estate and resort developers have been concentrating more heavily on the Papayo Gulf just north of Playas Flamingo, Potrero, Brasilito, and Conchal, and also on Tamrindo to the south. That means that Playas Flamingo, Potrero, Brasilito, and Conchal are much quieter today than they once were, and usually less crowded and hectic as well.
This new, subdued vibe can be a very good thing indeed. Travelers looking for a little peace and quiet and a pristine stretch of peaceful shoreline to wander without interruption will find Playas Flamingo, Potrero, Brasilito, and Conchal a soothing change of pace, and rare beachfront bargain.
Located along the central Pacific Coast in Costa Rica’s ever-popular Guanacaste Province, Playas Flamingo, Potrero, Brasilito, and Conchal are still lovely getaway beaches—the perfect setting for honeymooners seeking affordable privacy, or visitors hoping to discover quaint attractions slightly off the beaten path.
Playa Conchal, located just north of the other central Costa Rica Gold Coast beaches, features sand that is actually composed of millions of tiny crushed seashells—hence its name. Development a little father back from the beach has unfortunately resulted in many of the original shells being hauled away to make room for hotels and restaurants, but the beach itself is still rare and gorgeous.
The popular resort Paradisus Playa Conchal offers 310 luxury rooms and a world-class golf course for those lucky enough to get a room. This all-inclusive hotel was once an international hot spot for the rich and famous, and today is still one of the premier luxury resorts in Costa Rica. Reserve a room in advance to avoid disappointment. Restrictions are common during peak season.
Playa Brasilito is the tiniest of the beaches of Playas Flamingo, Potrero, Brasilito, and Conchal, The small village situated nearby is charming and features several affordable local tico dining establishments. The budget Hotel Brasilito books clean, comfortable rooms for only $25-$40 per night USD and makes a nice stopover. Long stretches of nearly deserted grey sand beach run along Playa Brasilito—another unique and comforting vista.
Playa Flamingo, by contrast, offers white sand beaches and a selection of affordable hotels built into a rocky hillside. The hillside construction provides spectacular views for budget prices and makes leisurely outdoor dining a special pleasure. Although the atmosphere at Playa Flamingo is a bit worn and has some of the feel of a bygone era, that quality is also part of its special charm. Check out the Mariner Inn, a mall hotel close to the Marina with a popular local bar and restaurant on site.
Down the road from Brasilito just past the turnoff for Playa Flamingo is the quiet, mostly deserted brown sand beach of Playa Portrero. The water here is calm and perfect for swimming, and the beach itself is so out of the way you may well have it all to yourself. The colorful Playa Flamingo hotels, visible across the bay, make Playa Brasilito an excellent spot to set up an artist canvas or fill a sketchpad while you relax in peace and privacy.
Last but not least, once you’ve soaked up all the peace and seclusion and quiet charm of Playas Flamingo, Potrero, Brasilito, and Conchal, the nightlife and noise of Tamarindo is just a short jaunt south.
That’s the wonder of Costa Rica in general and the Costa Rica Gold Coast in particular. Travel five or ten miles in any direction and you’re likely to encounter a whole new welcoming world to explore, appreciate, enjoy!