It’s almost December, and baby it’s cold outside. What better time to close your eyes, take a deep breath in, and smell the prickly salt of the ocean? Feel the warmth of the sand under your tanned feet? Let the crashing of waves lull you into a perfect sleep?
The answer is never. There’s never been a better time.
With that in mind, we figured we owe it to you to fill you in on some of the best beaches around in Costa Rica. 5 of the best, to be specific. Rated in no particular order, these five offer different vibes, activities, and surroundings – depending on what sort of vacay you’re going for. So. Relax, sit back, and start thinking about what bathing suit you’ll pack. We’re on our way.
1. Playa Uvita, Costa Ballena, Puntarenas
Costa Ballena in the southern Pacific region of Costa Rica encompasses a vast stretch of a gorgeously rugged shoreline and a number of beautiful beaches. This area is called Costa Ballena – or the Whale Coast – for the large number of migratory whales spotted here. One of the most popular things to do in the area includes awesome whale and dolphin watching adventures. Playa Uvita, sitting in the middle of Ballena, is literally known as the Whale’s Tail due to sedimentation that created a sand bridge between Uvita Bay and the mainland. Amazing for swimming and snorkeling, the beach is gorgeous. And during low tide you can walk all the way to end of the whale’s tail. Playa Uvita is part of the Marino Ballena National Park, so expect to pay a small admission fee (kids under 11 are free). And what we love about ALL the beaches in Costa Ballena? The sheer and utter solitude you feel here. It’s quiet. It’s peaceful. It’s unforgettable.
2. Playa Guiones, Nosara, Guanacaste
Need to stretch your legs out a bit and go for a run? How about long stretches of soft golden sand? Yeahhhh. We’ve got that. Maybe running isn’t your jam, and we get that. One of the cool things about the beaches in Nosara are that they’re mega-popular surfing spots, and it’s easy as pie to get a surfing lesson ’round these parts. For decades, this area remained known only to a select few traveling surfers and yogis. As word spread of it’s natural beauty, crazy good waves, and jaw dropping array of biodiversity, visitor numbers increased, accessibility improved and the town evolved into the holistic yoga, surfing and lifestyle Shangri-La that it is today. Sunsets are a celebrity here, so definitely be sure to catch one, possibly with cerveza in hand.
3. Playa Espadilla, Manuel Antonio, Quepos
Known around town as Playa Primera or Playa Numero Uno, it’s pretty clear to see why this is one of our picks. Manuel Antonio is located off of Costa Rica’s central Pacific coast, and famous for having one of the most popular national parks in the country. It’s got TONS of wildlife, and a litany of activities for you adventure-seekers. Playa Espadilla is a large public beach that’s located near the entrance to Manuel Antonio National Park. So, it’s also a great place to stop and unwind if you’ve been wildlife exploring. But, if you want to get in on some action – there’s no shortage of options. Surfing, kayaking, renting a catamaran, perhaps some fútbol on the almost mile-long stretch of sand – you name it, Playa Numero Uno has it.
4. Playa Santa Teresa, Nicoya Peninsula
The town of Santa Teresa has no central focus, really. The town sprawls parallel to the coast, lined up along several miles of narrow roads. It’s basically the Venice Beach of Costa Rica. As you drive down the main road, your eyes can’t keep up with the shops, restaurants & lodging options. People walk about the town in a leisurely fashion, just enjoying the day and not really caring about much else. And all this before we even get to the beach. One of several beaches, Playa Santa Teresa is a broad and long expanse of white sand edged by jungle. It’s the perfect walking beach – shelves of driftwood dot the shoreline along with baby crab friends that make their home in the sand. At low tide, you can even spot some tide pools amongst rock formations. Really, there’s nothing like lounging in a hammock here and listening to the sound of crashing waves. The water is warm but refreshing, and the sunsets are something to write home about – considering you’ll probably never want to leave.
5. Puerto Viejo, Limón
Ahhh, the Caribbean coast. Turquoise water. White sand. It’s amazing how different the Caribbean side of the country can feel from the Pacific. It’s got this bohemian-chic vibe happening, with a town where you get around via bicycle and innovative food creations like beer and chocolate. It’s the quintessential Pura Vida destination. treat yo’ self to losing track of time by lounging on any number of mostly secluded beaches. It’s your own little slice of thatched-roof, banana bushel, idyllic paradise. Your pace here is entirely up to you – just be sure to take the time to soak it all in. Need even more inspiration? Our friend and Globe Guide’s very own Tamara Elliott breaks it down in this must-read blog post: https://www.globeguide.ca/puerto-viejo-costa-rica/
Need even MORE beach inspo? Get a hold of us and we can make all your sandy, salty, chill beach dreams come true.