Costa Rica is not the biggest country in the world, to say the least, so you would think picking the top ten beaches would be easy. However, with so many beautiful beaches, trying to decide which 10 to choose was more difficult than I thought.
Anyway, let’s look at the ten best beaches in Costa Rica I decided are definitely worth a visit.
1. Conchal Beach
Conchal Beach is located in Guanacaste on the Pacific side of Costa Rica. It is called Conchal Beach because it is made up of little bits of seashells, which in Spanish is conchas. By the way, make sure you have a pair of sandals if you visit this beach as the seashells can be quite sharp.
Conchal Beach is an absolutely stunning beach, beautifully white with clear blue waters. What makes it even more amazing is that it can often be practically deserted. If you find the sun a bit much, there are plenty of mangrove trees to hide under. One of the 10 best beaches in Costa Rica by far.
2. Nacascolo Beach
Nacascolo Beach is located on the Papagayo Peninsula, about 20 kilometers north of Conchal Beach. One of the best reasons to go to Nacascolo Beach rather than Conchal is that it is much more kid-friendly. The beach is more sand than seashells and the water is very calm, with little to no currents.
There are places to eat and drink which may be a better choice than eating on the beach. If you decide to eat on the beach, careful of the pesky monkeys that will try and steal your food. Plenty of other wildlife to see so another great reason why this is one of the best beaches in Costa Rica.
3. Ballena Beach
Beach Ballena, located on the South Pacific coast of Costa Rica, is the site of the whale marine park. It’s a beautiful beach but a little hard to get to, which makes it quieter than many easier-to-get-to beaches.
There are many places to eat and drink, which is another reason it’s worth a visit. However, the one negative is that the public toilets need to be improved, and you should bring your own toilet paper.
4. Montezuma Beach
Montezuma Beach, in the Nicoya Peninsula, has jungles as well as beaches. There’s a small town to visit, which can either be described as bohemian or full of hippies, depending on your point of view. There are complaints that because of the nature of the town, the place is full of Americans and Europeans, Of course, these complaints are mainly from Americans and Europeans.
The beach itself is another of the best beaches in Costa Rica, with plenty of wildlife surrounding it. There is a river that runs into the ocean here, which you can follow into the jungle to see waterfalls and bathing pools.
5. Punta Uva Beach
Punta Uva Beach on the Southern Caribbean Coast is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, so it obviously makes this list of the best beaches in Costa Rica. There is plenty to do here including horse riding along the beach, and swimming and snorkeling, of course. One of the best things to do if you visit this beach is to rent a kayak and paddle up the river.
However, this beach is very popular with the locals/ This is not a bad thing, of course, but it does mean it can get a little bit noisy. Also, it’s worth noting that the waves can be quite challenging, so if you have children or people who are not strong at swimming, this may not be the best place for you.
6. Manuel Antonio Beach
Manuel Antonio Beach is in the Manuel Antonio National Park. To get to this beach and a few others in the area will cost $16 per person. This is pricey but because of the cost, the beaches are much less crowded than free beaches in the area. There are also far fewer hawkers around.
There is plenty of wildlife to see. You can pay a guide to take you around some of the national parks to see the animals. To be honest, you don’t need to pay for a guide as you can see pretty much everything without one. However, if you want to help the local economy, this is a good way to do it.
7. Flamingo Beach
Flamingo Beach in Guanacaste is another wonderful beach with warm water to swim in and parking right by the beach. This is one of the quieter beaches in Costa Rica with not much to do except sunbathe and swim. Unfortunately, the waves can be big and the currents strong, so be careful if you have little ones.
There are a lot of bars and resorts in the area, but you should head for a restaurant on the beach called Coco Loco. It’s a nice place to eat, drink and wait for the sunset, which is pretty spectacular.
8. Samara Beach
Samara Beach is in the Nicoya Peninsula and is a beach popular with tourists and locals. It’s a lovely clean beach in the shape of a horseshoe, which definitely makes it one of the best beaches in Costa Rica. There are plenty of bars and restaurants on the beach if you get bored of swimming in the beautiful warm water.
Remember, this is a popular place, so if you’re looking for peace and quiet, this is not the place for you. There are plenty of quieter beaches nearby though, so you might want to consider visiting them instead.
9. Manzanillo Beach
Manzanillo Beach is on the Southern Caribbean Coast and is very popular with the locals as well as tourists. For this reason, if you go there on the weekend or a national holiday, you may find it annoyingly crowded, depending on the sort of person you are. Go at any other time and it is one of the best beaches in Costa Rica.
There is another nature reserve here which is a great place to visit. There are other activities to do, such as bike riding, and there are also plenty of places to eat and drink. A great place for adults and children alike.
10. Dominical Beach
Dominical Beach on the South Pacific coast, is another very popular beach with plenty of activities to get involved in. However, this is a bit of a rough and ready area with unpaved roads so be prepared to do some hiking and watch out for the potholes.
There are some good places to eat in this area including American style grills. It’s worth remembering that the beach is popular with surfers, so if you have young kids, it might be a bit lively in the evenings
And there you go. To be honest, I reckon I could have written a post of 50 best beaches in Costa Rica, and I still would have had some leftover. If you love swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, horse riding on the beach and many other activities, then Costa Rica and its beautiful beaches are the places to go.