Costa Rica draws visitors from all over the world for various reasons, but one very obvious reason is the incomparable beaches dotted along both the Pacific and Caribbean coasts. Beaches are plentiful but each is unique with its own vibe and personality. Beach lovers can romance in a perfect white sand paradise, enjoy hidden beach coves, or curiously explore black volcanic sand shorelines; untouched deserted beaches, resort-lined shores, or jungle hidden waters. But one thing’s for sure, there’s a beach to satisfy all souls.
Check out our top 7 beach picks that should be on your Costa Rica bucket list!
Bahia Ballena, Punta Uvita
An aerial view of the park coincidentally reveals a whale tail shape where humpback whales can be spotted from August to October, and again from December to April. Following the whales are the sea turtles that journey to nest on the beaches from May to November, making it an ideal location to visit all year round. You can spend your days whale watching, snorkeling, kayaking, paddle boarding, swimming, or sunbathing.
Manuel Antonio Beach, Manuel Antonio
Manuel Antonio beach is one of the most popular destinations in the country and with good reason! With its backdrop being Manuel Antonio’s National Park, beachgoers will enjoy sighting the diverse species that live among the forest such as the popular Titi monkeys, Howler monkeys, White-faced Capuchin monkeys, sloths, coatis, and over 350 bird species! The beach is an easy 30-minute trek from the entrance of the park and the perfect endpoint for some fun in the sun. As a bonus, you can work on your Spanish language immersion at Maximo Nivel’s Institute located just a 10-minute bus ride away.
Ostional Beach, Nicoya Penninsula
Though sea turtles end up at Costa Bellena to nest, their favorite beach is Ostional Beach. It is said that Ostional Beach belongs to the olive ridley sea turtles as they make their way to the volcanic black sand 4-10 times per year between July and October. The beach resides within the Ostional Wildlife Refuge which is dedicated to the preservation of wildlife and ecosystems. If you’re just as passionate about sustaining the natural environment and the species that depend on this eco-system, check out a sea turtle conservation program that takes place right here.
Tamarindo Beach, Guanacaste
Surfers, welcome home. Tamarindo is known for its bucket list reputation among the surfing population, and although riders can find some of the most exciting breaks in the country, it’s also a great beach for beginners to catch some waves. Surf schools galore in this beach town and the town itself is lively with great restaurants to fuel you after a long day at the beach.
Conchal Beach, Guanacaste
Just north of Tamarindo, you can explore the more tranquil Conchal Beach. Away from the crowds, visitors can enjoy peaceful sunbathing, snorkeling a variety of coral, and swimming in the turquoise waters. Walking north on the shore you notice a pink hue overcoming the white sands leading you to the appropriately named Flamingo Beach.
Punta Uva Beach, Limon
Located along the Caribbean coast, Punta Uva beach sits within the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge. Untouched jungles which house monkeys, sloths, and hundreds of bird species leave you enchanted by a dreamlike paradise. The calm, clear waters make it an ideal location for families with young children.
Manzanillo Beach, Limon
As one of the most tranquil beaches in the country, Manzanillo is a picture-perfect strip of white sand, swaying palm trees, and clear, calm Caribbean waters. If you’re looking to spot dolphins, Manzanillo is the perfect base. There are three species that live in the area and dolphin tours are a super popular activity. It’s also perfect for scuba diving, snorkeling, and swimming.
Costa Rica’s beaches are a bucket list destination for every sun worshipping, sea-loving, pura vida encompassing traveler you might know. Whether you prefer a lively atmosphere with diverse crowds or a more isolated beach with fewer footprints in the sand, we guarantee you can find your perfect beach here. Though we’ve only listed our favorite 7 beaches, the country is home to over 300 beaches waiting to be explored by you. So, what are you waiting for? Pack your swimsuit, sunscreen, and your coolest sun blockers and let us know which beach you’d add to the list yourself!