Costa Rica’s Beaches
Costa Rica means “Rich Coast” – rich in golden sandy beaches and turquoise waters, but also in volcanic dark beaches and high waves. Here’s an overview of Costa Rica’s most beautiful and interesting coastlines:
1- Playa Manuel Antonio
In Costa Rica’s smallest national park (as long as you count only the landmass and not the maritime area), you’ll find such a few hidden beaches, although the park itself and especially the public beaches are easily crowded as one of the country’s most beautiful natural landmarks. Surrounded by shady mangroves and palm trees, one feels like in a hidden paradise – if it weren’t for the other dream beach seekers and especially the many, many, many monkeys. Nevertheless, the visit is definitely worthwhile, especially because of the excellent snorkeling opportunities in the calm waters.
2- Playa Santa Teresa
Almost at the very tip of the Nicoya Peninsula is Costa Rica’s largest surfer’s paradise, Santa Teresa, which is unfortunately a bit crowded during peak season in the European winter. Here the surfer boys and the yoga aunties, mostly of American nationality, cavort and show off their tanned bodies – if you don’t mind that, you can have a great time here. Best of all, of course, with yoga classes and surfing. But just lying on the beach and watching the surfers do their thing, enjoying the fresh breeze while reading a book can also be pure relaxation. The beach is about five kilometers long and very natural, parallel to it runs the only road (better said pothole track), which is best to drive with quads. Here you can find everything you need as a chilled backpacker: Hostels, surf stores, bars and cafes, as well as many restaurants and hotels.
3- Playa Cocles near Puerto Viejo
Close to the border to Panama is Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. If you are looking for Caribbean luxury resorts or gourmet restaurants on this golden dream beach, you are out of place here. Life is simple and modest, and that’s what makes the atmosphere here particularly dreamlike. With reggae and guitar music in the background and palm jungles in the hinterland, you can mindlessly watch the waves crash and forget about time.
4- Ostional Wildlife Reserve
A miracle of nature occurs here every year during the rainy season between August and November, about a week before the new moon, when the night is darkest: thousands of sea turtles come ashore between eight in the evening and four in the morning to lay their eggs in deep nests in the volcanic black sand. At the end of each of these brief periods, up to ten million turtle eggs lie buried in the sand, each about the size of a ping-pong ball. Unfortunately, the Costa Rican tourism industry has already recognized the uniqueness of this phenomenon and chauffeurs hundreds of visitors to the beach during this time, which significantly disturbs the turtles’ nesting.
5- Playa Naranjo
It is hard to imagine a whiter and wider beach. Playa Naranjo in the district of Guanacaste is remote, yet the difficult journey is worth it at the sight of this lonely idyll! The best place to stay is in your own tent in nearby Santa Rosa National Park, the oldest of its kind in the country. There are ten different types of landscape here – from coastal mangrove forest to dry savannah and wet swamps.
6- Playa Conchal
Playa Conchal on Costa Rica’s golden coast offers a particularly exotic flair. Located in the far west of the country, near Tamarindo, it is connected to its neighboring beach only by a rocky headland, Punta Conchal, which gives the beach its name. Concha means shell in Spanish – so if you look closely, you don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to realize that the sand is actually made up of many tiny fragmented shells and that’s exactly why it’s called that.
7- Playa Guiones
More than seven kilometers long, Guiones Beach stretches near Nosara on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast. Unnamed country roads run through the backcountry topography, which doesn’t make navigating between the beach and town easy. If you want to spend a little time here in this hidden paradise, you should make sure you have a map beforehand so you don’t get lost. Positively lost, however, you sometimes feel on the white sand, which stretches to the horizon – there you can simply forget everything around you. Just please do not forget the camera – some dreamlike photos you should definitely take home!
8- Beaches of Isla Tortuga
Off the coast of the Península de Nicoya, Isla Tortuga rises from the shallow waters. Together with its neighboring island Alcatraz, it offers sun-seeking visitors everything a vacationer’s heart desires: white sand, turquoise water and shady coconut trees. The underwater world is also particularly beautiful here, so that enthusiastic snorkelers get their money’s worth.
9- Punta Cahuita
For more alternative vacationers there is a special tip: in the village of Cahuita there are fancy bars like sand on the beach, in addition a chill atmosphere and furthermore a very special smell in the air. This deeply relaxed atmosphere comes mainly from the peace and serenity that nature radiates naturally all around. Not to be missed are the dream beaches that lie at the gates of the national park of the same name. The beaches on both sides of Punta Cahuita, a promontory in the sea, are of different colors, which is due to the carbonaceous minerals that are washed into the sea by the creeks here and, depending on the current, are carried to one side and not to the other. By the way, the coral reef in front of the headland also invites you to snorkel.
10- Playa Tortuguero
The longest beach in this list, about 35 kilometers long, is once again a depot for endangered sea turtles. The dark sand, the remoteness from human civilization and the vastness of the beach provide excellent conditions for reproduction of the unique little animals. In the hinterland lies the most pristine rainforest with the densest flora and fauna that can be found in Costa Rica, perhaps even in all of Central America. Among the most interesting animals that live here are three-fingered sloths, howler monkeys, poison dart frogs, elephant and stag beetles, and so-called Jesus Christ iguanas. The nature in Tortuguero National Park is exaggeratedly a breathtaking experience!