A Detailed Look at the Best Beaches in Guanacaste Costa Rica

Share this article
Click image to enlarge

Updated November 2017:

With a total of 1228km of coastline to offer, it is no wonder Costa Rica is known for its countless beach destinations. It is also no surprise that travellers have a hard time deciding on which beach town to visit, since there are so many different options to consider. For the purpose of this post, we will focus on Costa Rica’s northern pacific beaches stretching from the Papagayo Gulf down to the ever-popular Tamarindo Beach.

Of course, additional available beach destinations include those found on Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula (such as Samara, Nosara, Santa Teresa, Mal Pais, Montezuma, and Tambor), along the central Pacific (including Jaco, Manuel Antonio, Dominical, and Punta Uvita), down in the Osa Peninsula (Drake Bay, Cabo Matapalo, and Puerto Jimenez), and on the Caribbean side (Cahuita, Puerto Viejo, Punta Uva, and Manzanillo), and we look forward to posting about these alternative beach destinations later.

For now, we aim to compare some of the popular beach options located in the Northen Pacific region of the country – Hermosa, Coco, Ocotal, Flamingo, Conchal, Real, and Tamarindo – where the majority of travellers flying into/out of Costa Rica’s Liberia (LIR) Airport will aim to visit.

So what is it exactly that makes one beach stand out from the next?

After all, we are just talking about sand and water – how different can one stretch of coast be from the next?

Actually, quite different. Not only can the texture and colour of sand change from mile to mile, but so too can a number of other beach factors that could impact a visitor’s overall experience. For this reason, we aim to identify some of the ‘pros’ and ‘cons’ of each beach area according to a number of different factors (including the beach’s degree of popularity with tourists, its proximity to towns offering dining, shopping, and tour options, and its distance from the nearest airport, to name a few) in order to help travellers compare the various options and decide on a beach that is perfect for them.

The beaches mentioned herein are part of Costa Rica’s Gold Coast, which extends from the province of Guanacaste down to the Southern Pacific region. This area is known for its valuable real estate opportunities. Take a look at our Real Estate Section to get more information about this special region of Costa Rica.

Playa Conchal

Located north of Playa Real and south of Playa Flamingo along Costa Rica’s northern pacific coast.

  • Distance from Liberia: 70km (approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes)
  • Closest Town: Brasilito (small town), Tamarindo (large town)
  • Beach Status: public beach
  • Type of Sand: white sand, smooth beach

Selling Points:

  1. Playa conchal has (in our opinion!) one of Costa Rica’s most beautiful beaches. Not only does the beach offer some of the whitest sand you can find in the country, but its remote area has kept this section of the coast a hidden gem.
  2. Ideal for those travellers who are looking for a quiet beach to relax at without the distraction of other visitors.
  3. Nearby Playa Real is an excellent place to take in a beautiful sunset!

Disadvantages:

  1. Given its remote location, transportation to/from Playa Conchal is typically required as few opt to stay in its closest town (Brasilito).
  2. The Playa Conchal area does not offer travellers a wide variety of tour options (when compared to the countless activity possibilities offered in nearby Tamarindo). For this reason, it is not the best beach location for those travellers who wish to participate in many tours and activities during their time at the beach.

Recommendations:

A visit to Playa Conchal is recommended to those travellers with a rental vehicle and/or those travellers who plan to use taxi services to get to/from their accommodation and this beach. If opting for an accommodation option in nearby Brasilito (in order to have regular access to Playa Conchal), it is also recommended that travellers have a rental vehicle or else plan to use taxi services to get themselves to/from Tamarindo in order to participate in the majority of tours that the area offers (transportation to/from accommodations in Playa Conchal is not regularly included with tours run from the Tamarindo area).

Extra notes:

  • Visitors staying at the Westin Conchal Resort (and other popular hotel options in the area) have access to playa conchal.
  • Recommended day trips from Playa Conchal include visits to Playa Real, Playa Flamingo, and Playa Tamarindo.

Playas del Coco

Located north of Playa Ocotal and south of Playa Hermosa along Costa Rica’s northern pacific coast.

  • Distance from Liberia: 35km (approximately 40 minutes)
  • Closest Town: Playas del Coco (large town)
  • Beach Status: public beach
  • Type of Sand: brown sand, partly rough/partly smooth beach

Selling Points:

  1. For those travellers looking to visit a popular beach town, Playas del Coco is a great choice. This town is one of the most vibrant and populated areas along the northern pacific coast, especially when compared to its neighbouring beaches (Hermosa, Panama, Ocotal). Travellers who choose to stay at accommodations in town have access to a variety of dining and shopping options – the majority of which are within walking distance to the beach.
  2. Travellers looking to participate in a number of tours/activities during their time at the beach will find a variety in Playa del Coco. Most of the tour operators in this town also service nearby beaches, however transportation to/from these other beaches and Playas del Coco is not always included with the tour cost. For this reason, Playas del Coco is a good choice for those individuals who will not have a rented vehicle and would prefer to stay in a popular town where tour offices can be reached on foot.

Disadvantages:

Given its popularity, Playas del Coco is more of a rocking beach town than a quiet, coastal retreat. The area draws a younger crowd, and although there are many activities that children can participate in, families tend to prefer the more remote and relaxed feel of nearby Playa Hermosa (or Playas Panama or Ocotal) to Playas del Coco.

Since Playas del Coco tends to attract younger travellers, this town offers more economy accommodation options than superior and resort-quality stays.

Playas del Coco’s beach is not the most attractive one in the area. Although not a dirty beach, the large number of visitors to the area prevent it from feeling like a natural, untouched area. For this reason (and the fact that litter from the town often finds its way to the beach), Playas del Coco’s brown-sand beach often fails to impress.

Recommendations:

If a beach town offering a party atmosphere is what you are looking for, than Playa del Coco would be one of the best northern pacific beach options for you. Otherwise, if coastal swagger does not play into your trip plans, perhaps a less busy and more intimate beach area would be a better choice.

Extra notes:

Recommended day trips from Playas del Coco include visits to Playa Hermosa and Playa Ocotal.

Playa Flamingo

Located north of Playa Conchal and south of Playa Ocotal along Costa Rica’s northern pacific coast.

  • Distance from Liberia: 75km (approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes)
  • Closest Town: Playa flamingo (small town), Tamarindo (large town)
  • Beach Status: public beach
  • Type of Sand: light brown-white sand; smooth beach

Selling Points:

Playa Flamingo offers a beautiful beach and the next best thing to white sand – a light brown, smooth, sandy beach. This beach provides a shallow area by the coast to wade in, waves to play in, and shady areas further back from the coast to cool off in.

With a coast that seems to never end, the same could be said about parking opportunities. Travellers visiting for the day with their own rental vehicles can park along the side of a long road that runs parallel to the beach.

Playa Flamingo is a long beach. Although it is popular and attracts quite a few visitors, its length allows visitors to spread out down the coast providing beach-goers with the feeling that the area is less busy than it actually is.

Disadvantages:

  1. Similar to Playa Conchal, many visitors to Playa Flamingo opt not to stay directly in Flamingo. As a result, transportation to/from Playa Flamingo is required as most travellers instead choose to stay at accommodations located in nearby areas.
  2. The Playa Flamingo area does not offer travellers a wide variety of tour options (when compared to the countless activity possibilities offered in nearby Tamarindo). For this reason, it is not the best beach location for those travellers who wish to participate in many tours and activities during their time at the beach.

Recommendations:

A visit to Flaya Flamingo is recommended to those travellers with a rental vehicle and/or those travellers who plan to use taxi services to get to/from their accommodation and this beach. If opting for an accommodation option in Flamingo (in order to have regular access to Playa Flamingo), it is also recommended that travellers have a rental vehicle or else plan to use taxi services to get themselves to/from Tamarindo in order to participate in the majority of tours that the area offers (transportation to/from accommodations in Playa Flamingo is not regularly included with tours run from the Tamarindo area).

Extra notes:

  • Visitors staying at the Flamingo Beach Resort (and other popular hotel options in the area) have access to playa flamingo.
  • Recommended day trips from Playa Flamingo include visits to Playa Real, Playa Conchal, and Playa Tamarindo.

Playa Hermosa

Located north of Playa del Coco and south of Playa Panama along Costa Rica’s northern pacific coast.

  • Distance from Liberia: 40km (approximately 50 minutes)
  • Closest Town: Playa Hermosa (small town), Playa del Coco (large town)
  • Beach Status: public beach
  • Type of Sand: light brown-white sand; smooth beach

Selling Points:

Playa Hermosa is (in our opinion!) one of the best coastal destinations a traveller could hope for. It offers a nice balance of town amenities (grocery store, shops, etc.), a few restaurants, and a number of tour/activity possibilities while maintaining its small-town feel and intimate beach area. Everything else a visitor might need can be found in nearby Playa del Coco (the largest town in the area).

Second to Playa Conchal, Playa Hermosa has one of the nicest beaches comprised of light-brown sand and a long, shallow shore. Its position at the top of the northern pacific coast (just south of the Papagayo Gulf) also sets the scene for incredible sunsets.

Ideal for those travellers who are looking for a quiet beach to relax at without the distraction of other visitors.

Disadvantages:

  1. The Playa Hermosa area is home to many condo complexes and vacation home rentals. While hotels are certainly available, they are outnumbered by rental properties. For this reason, visitors who wish to stay at a hotel in the Playa Hermosa area have less of a variety of accommodation options available to them and availability is often more difficult to come by.
  2. While the Playa Hermosa area does offer some tour/activity options, it offers less than what travellers can find in nearby Playa del Coco. For this reason, it is not the best beach location for those travellers who wish to participate in many tours and activities during their time at the beach (transportation to/from Playa Hermosa is not regularly included with tours run from the Playas del Coco area)

Recommendations:

Since some hotel options are located near the beach, it is not required that all visitors have a rental vehicle. However, since the Playa Hermosa area offers some, but not many, dining, shopping, and tour options, it is often recommended that travellers staying in the Playa Hermosa area make plans to visit nearby Playas del Coco in order to access additional amenities. In this case, having a rental vehicle is advantageous as travellers can drive themselves to/from Playa Hermosa and nearby beach towns, however travellers without a rental vehicle can simply plan to use taxi services to get to/from where they wish to go.

Extra notes:

Recommended day trips from Playa Hermosa include visits to Playa Ocotal and Playas del Coco.

Playa Ocotal

Located north of Playa Flamingo and south of Playas del Coco along Costa Rica’s northern pacific coast.

  • Distance from Liberia: 40km (approximately 50 minutes)
  • Closest Town: Playa Ocotal (small town), Playas del Coco (large town)
  • Beach Status: public beach
  • Type of Sand: brown sand; partly rough/partly smooth beach

Selling Points:

  1. Playa Ocotal is a very small beach town offering an even smaller beach – a ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ type of place. For those looking for remoteness (an area offering few dining and tour options) they can find it in Playa Ocotal. Everything else a visitor might need can be found in nearby Playas del Coco (the largest town in the area).
  2. Ideal for those travellers who are looking for a quiet beach to relax at without the distraction of other visitors.

Disadvantages:

Like Playa Hermosa, the Playa Ocotal area is home to many condo complexes and vacation home rentals. Hotel options, although available, lack variety.

Although Playa Ocotal does offer a handful of tour options, it offers less than what travellers can find in nearby Playa Hermosa and Playas del Coco. For this reason, it is one of the worst beach locations for those travellers who wish to participate in any tours and activities during their time at the beach (transportation to/from Playa Ocotal is not regularly included with tours run from the Playas del Coco or Playa Hermosa areas).

Recommendations:

A visit to Playa Ocotal is recommended to those travellers with a rental vehicle and/or those travellers who plan to use taxi services to get to/from their accommodation and this beach. It is also recommended that travellers have a rental vehicle or else plan to use taxi services to get themselves to/from Playas del Coco in order to access dining and shopping options, as well as to participate in the majority of tours that the area offers.

Extra notes:

Recommended day trips from Playa Ocotal include visits to Playa Hermosa and Playas del Coco.

Playa Real

Located north of Playa Tamarindo and south of Playa Conchal along Costa Rica’s northern pacific coast.

  • Distance from Liberia: 75km (approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes)
  • Closest Town: Matapalo (small town), Tamarindo (large town)
  • Beach Status: public beach
  • Type of Sand: brown sand; partly shell-filled (by the water)/partly smooth beach (further away from the shore)

Selling points:

  • The beach at playa real is one of the best we have found in all of Costa Rica where one can experience a beautiful sunset!
  • Ideal for those travellers (especially travelling with kids!) who are looking for shells in Costa Rica (playa real offers an incredible amount of shells near its coastline)
  • Ideal for those travellers who are looking for a quiet beach to relax at without the distraction of other visitors.

Disadvantages:

  1. Playa Real is a very small beach area that offers little beyond the accommodation options (resorts and vacation rentals) that surround the area.
  2. Given its remote location, transportation to/from Playa Real is typically required as few opt to stay in its closest town (Matapalo, although accommodation options here are scarce, or else Brasilito).

Recommendations:

A visit to Playa Real is recommended to those travellers with a rental vehicle who wish to visit for the day. We do not recommend planning to stay overnight in the Playa Real area. Instead, those with their own vehicles (and/or those travellers who plan to use taxi services) can make a day trip to/from their accommodation and this beach. If opting for an accommodation option in nearby Matapalo or Brasilito (in order to stay nearby Playa Real), it is also recommended that travellers have a rental vehicle or else plan to use taxi services to get themselves to/from Tamarindo in order to participate in the majority of tours that the area offers (transportation to/from accommodations in Playa Real, Matapalo, and/or Brasilito areas is not regularly included with tours run from the Tamarindo area).

Extra notes:

Recommended day trips from Playa Real include visits to Playa Conchal, Playa Flamingo, and Playa Tamarindo.

Playa Tamarindo

Located north of Playa Langosta and south of Playa Real along Costa Rica’s northern pacific coast.

  • Distance from Liberia: 75km (approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes)
  • Closest Town: Tamarindo (large town)
  • Beach Status: public beach
  • Type of Sand: brown sand; partly rough/partly smooth beach

Selling Points:

For those travellers looking to visit a popular beach town, Tamarindo would be your best bet throughout the entire northern pacific region. This town is one of Costa Rica’s largest and most commercial beach areas, far more developed than its neighbouring beaches (Real, Conchal, and Flamingo). Travellers who choose to stay at accommodations in town have access to a wide variety of dining and shopping options – the majority of which are within walking distance to the beach.

Travellers looking to participate in a number of tours/activities during their time at the beach will find nearly everything they are looking for in Tamarindo. Most of the tour operators in this town also service nearby beaches, however transportation to/from these other beaches and Tamarindo is not always included with the tour cost. For this reason, Tamarindo is a good choice for those individuals who will not have a rented vehicle and would prefer to stay in a popular town where tour offices can be reached on foot.

Given that Tamarindo is a highly developed area, this beach town offers countless accommodation options ranging from hostels and economy hotels to superior and resort-quality hotels. Accepting of a variety of vacation budgets, Tamarindo is sure to have an accommodation option that it perfect for any traveller.

More than anything else, Tamarindo is the ideal surf town. For anyone looking to surf, wanting to learn how to surf, needing to buy surf gear, and/or yearning to be a part of the surf culture that is Costa Rica, Tamarindo is the correct place for you.

Disadvantages:

Given its popularity, Tamarindo is more ‘the place to be’ than ‘the place to go to get away from it all’. The area draws a mixed crowd – a young, single’s population drawn to the area for its surf, together with family travellers impressed by the variety of tours and activities available (especially activities that children can participate in). For those travellers who would prefer a less populated town area and/or beach, unfortunately Tamarindo does not support this type of setting.

Recommendations:

If easy access to tour/activity options (especially surfing), dining options, and shopping options is what you are looking for, than Tamarindo would be the prime northern pacific beach location for you. Otherwise, if developed areas, a popular beach, and tourism in general does not interest you, perhaps a less busy and more intimate beach area would be the smarter choice.

Extra notes:

  • Visitors staying at the Tamarindo Diria Resort (and other popular hotel options in the area) have access to Playa Tamarindo.
  • Recommended day trips from Playa Tamarindo include visits to Playa Real, Playa Flamingo, and Playa Conchal.

Playa Grande

Located north of Tamarindo, this beach is part of the Marino Las Baulas National Park, it is highly protected because it is a nesting site of leatherback sea turtles. This is probably one of the most beautiful beaches in the Guanacaste region, with ideal conditions for surfing,

  • Distance from Liberia: 77km (close to 1 hour and 30 minutes)
  • Closest Town: Tamarindo
  • Beach Status: Public beach but after 6 p.m. access is not allowed
  • Type of Sand: Light grey – smooth beach

Selling points:

  1. This beach can easily make top ten of Costa Rica’s most beautiful beaches, it is never crowded, it extends for about 3 kilometers, and it’s surrounded by nature.
  2. Excellent surfing conditions
  3. Walking to the north past some rocks you will find Playa Ventanas, an isolated beach which is great for a walk or just relaxing with the sound of the waves.

Disadvantages:

  1. Be careful while swimming in this beach, he sea floor drop at one point and there are strong rip currents that can drag you in before you notice it.
  2. There are no bathrooms or infrastructure of any kind here.

Recommendations:

If you happen to visit during the months of October through March try to arrange a night tour to watch the leatherback turtles arrive to lay their eggs; it is a one of a kind experience.

Extra Notes:

There are no close by places that sell drinks or food and no bathrooms, make sure to take water with you if you are going to need it and if you are traveling with kids make sure to stop by a bathroom before you reach the beach, or plan to stay for a short period of time. Please take your garbage back with you, as there are no trash cans available either.

Playa Danta

Danta Beach is located North of Tamarindo in the bay of Catalinas.

  • Distance from Liberia: 52km (close to 1 hour and 10 minutes)
  • Closest Town: Las Catalinas and Flamingo
  • Beach Status: Public beach
  • Type of Sand: White

Selling points:

  1. Calm waters are ideal for young children, and also a good place to practice stand-up-paddle (SUP).
  2. Doesn’t get crowded so it offers a relaxing and serene ambiance, walking distance (15 minutes or so) to the North you can find Dantita Beach, a smaller version of Danta,

Disadvantages:

  1. The conditions here are not appropriate for surfing or to do a lot of swimming
  2. Small beach

Recommendations:

Take your tennis shoes to make the hike up from Danta to Dantita, regular flip-flops won’t do the trick. Take water with you.

Extra Notes:

There are no public bathrooms in Playa Danta, but there are a couple of restaurants in the area that will let you use them with no problem. Stop by an enjoy a good meal here too.

Bahia de los Piratas

Situated North of Tamarindo and just a few minutes away from Playa Grande, right before reaching Brasilito

  • Distance from Liberia: 76KM (approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes)
  • Closest Town: Matapalo (small town) and Tamarindo
  • Beach Status: Public beach
  • Type of Sand: White sand

Selling points:

  1. Isolated, private beach
  2. Great for kayaking, paddle boarding and snorkeling

Disadvantages:

  1. The road to get here is in bad conditions
  2. Conditions are not appropriate for surfing and there is only one hotel in the area that has received mixed reviews.

Recommendations:

If you are staying in Tamarindo or Flamingo and you want to just take off to explore some of the beaches, Pirates Bay is a good option.

Extra Notes:

Walking along the beach in the low tide is nice, but water shoes are necessary as the rocks get slippery.

Playa Avellana:

Avellana beach is situated to the south of Tamarindo , locals refer to it as “little Hawaii”

  • Distance from Liberia: 75km ( approximately 1 hour and 25 minutes)
  • Closest Town: Tamarindo
  • Beach Status: Public
  • Type of Sand: White sand beach

Selling points:

  1. One of the best beaches to practice surf
  2. Quiet and not too crowded, walk along the shore and explore the rock formations where you will find colorful fish, and even starfish

Disadvantages:

  1. Visitors must be very careful when swimming here, strong currents are present
  2. The road to get to Playa Avellana is not in the best conditions

Recommendations:

There is a restaurant in the main entrance to the beach, where you can get drinks and use the bathrooms, take some change for the “guard” that watches the cars.

Extra Notes:

Avellana is close by to the Hacienda Pinilla Beach Resort which is a beautiful complex that features an 18-hole championship golf course.

Nicoya Península Beaches

Playa Guiones (Nosara):

Guiones beach is located in the coastline of the Nicoya Península, near the beach community of Nosara.

  • Distance from Liberia: 123km from Liberia (close to 2 hours and 30min), 68km from Santa Cruz . Domestic flights available
  • Closest Town: Nosara
  • Beach Status: Public
  • Type of Sand: White sand (and a very small portion of pinkish sand)

Selling points:

  1. Awesome conditions for surfing, it extends for 6km
  2. Exclusive communities such as Bellazo by Kalia, lots of expats living here, so there are many restaurants and different activities to enjoy.

Disadvantages:

  1. Although the beach is surrounded by nature there is hardly any shade, so if you have children you may want to consider this
  2. Lodging here tends to be a bit pricy

Recommendations:

If you are in the area from July through November plan a visit to the nearby Ostional National Wildlife Refuge, it is one of the most important nesting sites for four different species of turtles. Some arrive during the month of February, ask the locals, they will keep you informed.

Extra Notes:

Playa Guiones is just one of three beaches in the Nosara region, so you can enjoy Playa Pelada and Playa Nosara all in the same trip. There is a landing airstrip in Nosara, so you can take a domestic flight and save yourself the drive.

Playa Sámara:

South of Nosara, in Nicoya Peninsula’s western shore, this is another beach town community.

  • Distance from Liberia: 105km (1 hour and 52 minutes) 37km from Nicoya (45min drive)
  • Closest Town: Samara
  • Beach Status: Public
  • Type of Sand: White/Tan

Selling points:

  1. Protected by coral reef, soft waves, ideal conditions for swimming, SUP, snorkeling and fishing
  2. Wide selection of hotels (no big names), and restaurants for all budgets, stores and nightlife

Disadvantages:

  1. It can get crowded during high season
  2. The many fishing boats in the area tend to leave behind oil on the sand and they also attract black vultures.

Recommendations:

Take short tours to different close by places, explore the tropical dry forest of the Werner-Sauter reserve, freshen up at the swimming hole of the Belen Waterfall, or take a boat ride to a diving spot.

Extra Notes:

Carrillo Beach (South) and Barrigona and Buenavista (North) are just a few minutes away and are great places to escape the crowds of high season.

Playa Carrillo

Just a few minutes’ drive from Samara beach, heading south, also in the coastline of the Nicoya Península.

  • Distance from Liberia: 110km from Liberia (almost 2 hours away) and 50 minutes from Nicoya.
  • Closest Town: Samara (8km away)
  • Beach Status: Public
  • Type of Sand: White/Tan

Selling points:

  1. Excellent spot to relax and enjoy the beautiful views.
  2. Very good swimming conditions for kids

Disadvantages:

  1. There are a few lodging options here but they tend to be pricey and some distance from the beach
  2. No restaurants or infrastructure near the beach

Recommendations:

Take a moment to visit La Selva Wildlife Refuge.

Extra Notes:

Kayaking, windsurfing, and jet skiing are good activities for this beach.

Santa Teresa

Santa Teresa is in the Nicoya Gulf, but in the Puntarenas province

  • Distance from Liberia:  192km (close to 4-hour drive), if you are driving from San José it means a 5 hour drive with ferry ride included.
  • Closest Town: Santa Teresa
  • Beach Status: Public
  • Type of Sand: White

Selling points:

  1. A surfers’ paradise, a small, laid-back community
  2. Plenty of lodging options and restaurants

Disadvantages:

  1. It’s raising popularity means it gets very crowded specially by youngsters, so it has a bit of a party vibe, which can be good or bad depending on your preferences.
  2. Not the best conditions to swim

Recommendations:

Take a domestic flight from the Juan Santamaría airport to Tambor beach landing strip, this only takes 25 minutes, and then take the bus or taxi to the southwest which means about a 40 minute drive.

Extra Notes:

Many tours are available from Santa Teresa, one of the more popular ones is the one-day tour to Cabo Blanco Natural Reserve.

Mal País

Also located in the Puntarenas Province, right next to Santa Teresa, and in the tip of the Nicoya Península

  • Distance from Liberia: 206km (close to 4 hours and 30 minutes’ drive), if you are driving from San José it means a 5-and-a-half-hour drive with ferry ride included.
  • Closest Town: Santa Teresa
  • Beach Status: Public
  • Type of Sand:

Selling points:

  1. Great surfing conditions and great weather year round
  2. Serene environment opposite of neighboring Santa Teresa

Disadvantages:

  1. Limited selection of hotels
  2. No supermarkets or stores here

Recommendations:

Take a domestic flight from the Juan Santamaría airport or the Pavas Airport to Tambor beach landing strip, this only takes 25 minutes, and then take the bus or taxi going southwest which means about a 30 minute drive.

Extra Notes:

Water sports are very popular in Mal País, birdwatching in the area and tours to Cabo Blanco are a must.

Montezuma

 Located in Puntarenas, this once remote fishing village now has gained popularity among tourists looking for a serene getaway.

  • Distance from Liberia: 207kms (almost 4 hours by car), from Puntarenas is a 3 hour and 21 minutes’ trip, ferry ride included.
  • Closest Town: Montezuma and Tambor
  • Beach Status: Public
  • Type of Sand: White/Tan and Smooth

Selling points:

  1. Very good swimming conditions but the sea floor drops steeply so is best to be careful, especially with kids
  2. Many lodging options at affordable prices.
  3. Four beaches in one area: Playa Montezuma, Playa Grande, Playa Cocalitos and Playa las Manchas

Disadvantages:

  1. Surfing conditions are not the best at Montezuma Beach, better head to Playa Grande

Recommendations:

Can’t miss the tour to the Montezuma waterfalls, also from here you can take a boat tour to Isla Tortuga, or head south towards Cabuya village.

Extra Notes:

This is a laid-back, bohemian and charming village, don’t expect big, fancy hotels, this is not what Montezuma is about, but there are some nice boutique hotels that will offer comfort at an affordable rate.

Playa Tambor

Situated in the Nicoya Península, in the province of Puntarenas

  • Distance from San Jose: 158km and from Liberia in Guanacaste 181km
  • Closest Town: Tambor / Pochote
  • Beach Status: Public
  • Type of Sand: White / smooth

Selling points:

  1. Excellent swimming conditions and ideal for water sports
  2. Relaxing place, ideal for families

Disadvantages:

  1. Some of the best beach area is in front of the All-inclusive Barcelo Hotel

Recommendations:

Visit the Curu Wildlife Reserve while in the area. Golf course at Los Delfines is also a good alternative.

Extra Notes:

Tambor village has an airstrip, a flight from San José to Tambor takes only 25 minutes and then 15 by bus or car to the beach.

Get out there and explore the beaches and culture of Costa Rica. Pura Vida!

To get a detailed look at the best Central Pacific Beaches in Costa Rica click here

To get a detailed look at the best beaches in the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica click here

To get a detailed look at the best beaches on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica click here

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Comments

Related Articles

Access to Playa Naranjo Costa Rica Reopened

The Guanacaste Conservation Area announced this week that the access to Playa Naranjo in the Santa Rosa [...]

Strong Waves Expected in the Costa Rican Caribbean and North Pacific Beaches This Weekend

The Center for the Investigation of Sea Science and Limnology (Cimar) warned of strong waves this weekend [...]

Be on the Lookout For Crocodiles in Costa Rican Beaches

Usually when people visit the beach they worry about sharks or even sea snakes, crocodiles hardly every [...]

Court Restricts Access by Car to Conchal Beach in Guanacaste, Costa Rica

The Contentious Administrative Court acted upon a request presented by Reserva Conchal Beach Resort and [...]

Popular Content