Where Are the Nicest Beaches?

Costa Rica

With over 300 beaches in Costa Rica, it's difficult to say which are the best - everyone has their own own idea of what makes a great beach. Keep reading to learn more about some of the finest beaches in Costa Rica. The following list covers the coast of the North Pacific to the South Pacific, as well as some of the Caribbean.

Conchal: This gorgeous beach is made of crushed sea shells that are tiny enough to feel like sand. The water here is safe for both swimming and snorkeling. There is direct access to the beach for guests staying at the Paradisus Playa Conchal, or to the public from the nearby Playa Brasilito.

Tamarindo (Playa Langosta, Playa Avellanas, and Playa Grande): Three beautiful white-sand beaches that offer a bit of everything, including relaxation, surfing, and stunning sunsets. Visitors will appreciate the variety of restaurants and nightlife in Tamarindo.

Samara & Carillo: Samara is a laid-back beach town that borders a massive crescent-shaped beach. The ocean here harbors a reef that helps keep the waves calm and the water ideal for swimming. Bachgoers can enjoy incredible sunsets from the southern end of the beach. Carillo, which is located one beach south of Samara, is an attractive white-sand beach.

Mal Pais & Santa Teresa: Hip surfers, international cuisine, stunning sunsets, and good-looking beaches have made a name for these hot spots on the tip of the Nicoya Peninsula. The surf here gets pretty rough, so these can be dangerous beaches for inexperienced surfers.

Montezuma: A combination of long, white-sand beaches, rocky inlets, and a laid-back village with lots of restaurants has attracted savvy travelers for decades.

Manuel Antonio: The famous Manuel Antonio National Park ($12 entrance fee) has pristine beaches and amazing views of both verdant hillsides and the Pacific Ocean. Visitors will find beaches outside the national park that are larger and a bit more crowded, but still ideal for watching a sunset.

Dominical & Dominicalito: While Domincal is perfect for surfers, Dominicalito is great for simply reading a book under the shade of a tree. Dominical is where you will find restaurants and hotels, while Dominicalito is the quiet neighbor with calmer waters. Both have outstanding sunsets.

Carate: Carate is isolated and vast, located in the Southern tip of the Osa Peninsula. Carate marks the beginning of the southern stretch of the Corocovado National Park, where the beaches and rainforest blend seamlessly together.

Cahuita: A small Carribbean village surrounds this beautiful beach. This is a great spot to snorkel, swim, or hike around the nearby Cahuita National Park. Entrance is free to the beach, which is part of the national park, but donations are encouraged.

Punta Uva: Located about 6 miles (10 km) south of the bustling village of Puerto Viejo, the crystal clear Caribbean waters and peaceful beach of Punta Uva awaits.

To view photos and information on more than 45 beaches, visit our Costa Rican Beaches page.