Costa Rica may be renowned for its infinite array of truly breathtaking beaches yet because we all know that not all beaches are created equal, we’ve compiled this guide to the best strips of sparkling shores that are best suited to surfing, sunbathing, snorkeling and honeymoon vacations. From blinding white sand to black volcanic rock, remote, accessible and all the in-between, the most spectacular beaches in Costa Rica offer something for everyone.
Want to find the Costa Rica beach with your name all over it?
Then off you go!
Manuel Antonio – Best for families, ease of access and great snorkeling
The calm and warm waters of Manuel Antonio and the sheer ease of access and concentration of amenities make the beaches here the most sought-after by families and first-time visitors.
It also helps that the stretch of sandy shore sis startlingly beautiful AND the fact that the coast is framed luscious rain forests brimming with fantastic wildlife. In fact, getting the kids to the beach may prove to be a challenge, once they start spotting the squirrel monkeys and sloths that call the national park home place home. With a great range of hiking trails taking in sections of beach and forest, Manuel Antonio is the undisputed king of the ‘all-rounder’ and a brilliant choice for hassle-free beach bumming.
Puerto Viejo – Best for honeymooners and anyone seeking privacy, romance and remoteness
The Caribbean beach hub of Puerto Viejo attracts avid surfers and the bohemian vibe of the quaint town certainly reflects that. Yet this gem way off the beaten path is actually ideal if you’d love to spend some days soaking up the rays on a quieter beach, with far fewer tourists for company. A fantastic active vacation destination, Puerto Viejo offers bucket loads of adventure for days when you want to get off your beach towel. From hiking to horseback riding, SCUBA and snorkeling, surfing, biking and more, this entire region is a phenomenal playground if you want to mix it up a bit. A short distance from town, moreover, is where you can discover remote coves and totally deserted beaches, all showcasing that signature turquoise sea that makes the Caribbean side of Costa Rica so incredibly idyllic. You can read more about Puerto Viejo, right here.
Tamarindo – Best for beginner surfers who enjoy a vibrant nightlife
Surf lessons by day and socializing by night. If this sounds like your ideal Costa Rica beach vacation then best you set your sight son Tamarindo. Decent waves make this beach not the best for swimming – or families – but the concentration of surfing schools is what attracts beginner surfers. The nearby Las Baulas National Park provides plenty of options for days off the sand, whilst the town’s thriving nightlife means you need not have early nights if you don’t want to. Small but thriving, Tamarindo is a great options for young couples and groups of friends looking to surf and socialize when in Costa Rica.
Samara – The hottest up and coming beach scene with picture-perfect sand
One of those ‘too beautiful to be real’ beaches, Samara is simply drop-dead gorgeous. Fine white blinding sand frame the protected cove, where the clam crystalline waters harbor an array of great marine life. Kayak, snorkel, swim and sunbathe on the beach, grab a bit to eat nearby and explore the uninhabited island in the heart of the bay that’s home to a heady concentration of exotic birds. Samara is, without a doubt, the latest ‘hot spot’ to fly right in the tourist radar so although you’ll still find it quieter than others further north, this idyllic beach in the Nicoya Peninsula still gets plenty of attention.
Jaco Beach – Best for watersports, vibrant town life and surfing
The big swells at Jaco tend to keep families away yet the town’s popularity offers enough dining, drinking and partying to attract everyone else. The beach is fantastic for surfing and all sorts of water sports and, being so close to San Jose, Jaco attracts visitors on short and sweet active vacations. International restaurants and even a couple of casinos cater for anyone of any age and the facilities in town and on the beach mean you’ll need for nada during your stay.
Nosara – Best for spotting marine life and getting off the main tourist trail
Nestled in a remote and lesser developed corner of the Nicoya Peninsula, Nosara features endless miles of sandy shores and tranquil coves home to a flurry of beautiful marine creatures. If you don’t mind foregoing luxuries and prefer a more organic beach vacation in Costa Rica, then this may just be your little corner of paradise. Snorkel, swim, sun-bake and take long walks on the beach in Nosara and you’ll also find a couple of surfing outfitters if you’re keen to learn.
Here at CostaRicaRios, we are firm believers that in order to have a truly unforgettable Costa Rica vacation one must taste a little of all the country has to offer. From whitewater rafting to hiking, biking, kayaking, surfing and beach-bumming, our active vacation itineraries are as diverse as this country’s incredible nature. Visit our adventure tours page and contact us to know more about how we combine all the highlights of Costa Rica in one, totally unparalleled adventure.