Best Beaches in Costa Rica


Calling all beach lovers! If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life, experience the beaches in Costa Rica with its crystal-clear waters and lush jungles. With so many gorgeous coastlines in this South American paradise, knowing where to start can take a lot of work.

That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the best beaches in Costa Rica for sunbathing, snorkeling, or surf lessons — all selected due to their incredible beauty and unforgettable experiences. Keep scrolling to find out which luxurious strips of sand are certain to sweep you off your feet!


Tamarindo Beach

Tamarindo Beach, located on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast, is renowned for its modern amenities and vibrant atmosphere. Due to its consistent yet gentle waters, it attracts both anglers seeking marine treasures and surfers of all levels. Wildlife enthusiasts can explore nearby lagoons and even glimpse majestic leatherback turtles. The beach offers various activities such as:

  • Windsurfing
  • Sailing
  • Beach cruises
  • Snorkeling
  • Scuba diving
  • Jet skiing

At night, visitors can salsa dance at La Barra or mingle with a younger crowd at Pacifica. Tamarindo embraces both modernity and traditional Costa Rican culture, with local markets offering authentic goods.

Manuel Antonio

Manuel Antonio is Costa Rica’s top beach destination on the Central Pacific Coast and one of the best beaches in Costa Rica. With its rich biodiversity and numerous activities, it offers some of the best beaches in the country.

Manuel Antonio Beach is renowned for its magnificent scenery, perfect for swimming, surfing, and snorkeling. While hiking through the rainforest, the national park also provides opportunities to encounter wildlife like monkeys, sloths, and iguanas. Keep in mind that only a limited number of visitors are allowed daily.

Costa Ballena

Stretching across three towns in Costa Rica—Dominical, Uvita, and Ojochal—Costa Ballena is a must-visit destination. With its white sand shores and majestic humpback whales, this beach offers a picturesque setting for wildlife enthusiasts.

Explore the Central Pacific Coast to discover boutique hotels like Playaballena Spa Hotel and upscale restaurants with stunning views. Don’t miss out on whale watching at Marino Ballena National Park or engaging in water activities like:

  • Diving
  • Surfing
  • Kayaking
  • Snorkeling

Thrill-seekers can also try canopy tours, tree climbing, and sport fishing.

Punta Uva

Punta Uva is one of the finest beaches in Costa Rica, with stunning natural beauty, abundant wildlife, and a serene atmosphere. Accessible via a winding dirt road south of Puerto Viejo on the Caribbean coast, this small fishing spot offers an immersive experience.

Located within the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge, the beach provides ample opportunities for spotting sloths, monkeys, and birds. Its calm waters make it perfect for swimming, while snorkeling and scuba diving showcase a vibrant marine ecosystem. Kayaking along Playa Punta Uva allows for turtle and bird sightings.

Ostional Beach

Ostional Beach is famous for its clear waters and protected wildlife, particularly the turtles. Visitors often interact with local Costa Ricans, known as Ticos, who live there. The beach is a must-see, but the real stars are the Olive Ridley turtles that lay their eggs during the rainy season from August to November.

Note that these turtles are endangered, so keep a safe distance. After turtle-watching, enjoy water activities like surfing, snorkeling, stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, or scuba diving.

Playa Guiones

Another Costa Rica beach is Playa Guiones, located in Nosara, a stunning beach known for consistent surf and various activities. This eco-friendly town has prioritized green spaces, sustainable lodging, and preventing large resorts.

Whether you’re a beginner surfer or not interested in surfing at all, the beach offers scenic walks, yoga classes, and nearby mangroves for paddleboarding.

Playa Negra

Playa Negra Beach is renowned as the top beach in Costa Rica due to its black sand resulting from volcanic activity. It is a popular place for both locals and visitors to enjoy long walks and swim in the Caribbean Sea, thanks to the lush green forests that provide shade from the midday heat.

Despite its popularity as Cahuita’s premier surfing destination, Playa Negra maintains a peaceful atmosphere, making it an ideal place to relax and indulge in paradise.

Playa Conchal

Playa Conchal, located south of Brasilito in Costa Rica, is a stunning beach with pink sand and palm-fringed shores. It is often rated as one of the best beaches in the country. The name “Conchal” comes from the billions of crushed shells naturally mixed with the sand, creating a turquoise color that gradually deepens to emerald green in the shallow waters.

During the peak tourist season, Playa Conchal can get crowded, as it attracts many visitors. One of the reasons why it is so popular is the wide range of water activities available, such as snorkeling, jet-skiing, scuba diving, deep-sea fishing, and kayaking.

Playa Dominical

Playa Dominical in Costa Rica is a must-visit if you’re a keen surfer. This Costa Rica beach is known globally for its excellent surf breaks. The remote beach on the South Pacific Coast offers a great spot to improve your skills. Its stunning white sand, palm trees, and various delicious eateries make it the perfect place to relax and enjoy local cuisine.

Notably, it is also one of the safest and best Costa Rica beaches, with year-round lifeguard services. It is highly recommend visiting Dominical Beach for relaxation, exercise, adventure, and culinary delights.


Discover the best beaches in Costa Rica with Caravan

Costa Rica contains some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, and Caravan is the perfect tour company to discover them. From stunning stretches of sand on both coasts to palm-fringed shores and rocky bays, there’s a beach for every kind of traveler.

When you book with Caravan, you have access to an almost infinite number of vacation options, from relaxing retreats in the Caribbean or the Pacific to exciting recreational activities and adrenaline-pumping experiences.

To discover the best beaches in Costa Rica and have an unforgettable trip, call us at 1-800-CARAVAN or +1-312-321-9800! With a fully guided tour, nothing quite compares to the feeling of sand between your toes and summer in Costa Rica.