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9 Best Beaches in Costa Rica

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Water activities at Flamingo Beach in Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Flamingo Beach in Guanacaste, Costa Rica

The best beaches in Costa Rica embody the country’s diversity. From remarkable swells to powdery sands, incredible views to coastline fringed with tropical foliage, Costa Rica beaches are an exceptional experience for any kind of traveler.

Defined by shores touching the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, each has a unique personality capturing local characteristics. Find the perfect spot for a romantic getaway or embrace an active snorkeling expedition to a nearby coral garden. The best Costa Rica beaches blend adventure and charm.

Whether looking for the best swimming beaches in Costa Rica or the right surfing spot, you can find your ideal coastal escape with our list of the prettiest beaches in Costa Rica.

  1. 1. Manuel Antonio Beach, Manuel Antonio National Park
  2. 2. Playa Conchal, Guanacaste
  3. 3. Dominical Beach, South Pacific
  4. 4. Tamarindo Beach, Guanacaste
  5. 5. Playa Hermosa, Guanacaste
  6. 6. Playa Tortuguero, Tortuguero
  7. 7. Playa Cocles, Caribbean
  8. 8. Punta Uva, Limón
  9. 9. Flamingo Beach, Guanacaste
  10. Discover the Best Beaches in Costa Rica

1. Manuel Antonio Beach, Manuel Antonio National Park

Manuel Antonio Beach in Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica

Manuel Antonio Beach in Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica

Located at the edge of Manuel Antonio National Park, the beach is an easy trek through the rainforest, blending untouched wilderness with coastal perfection. Monkeys amble through the trees and coral reefs offer rewarding marine life to explore when snorkeling.

Discover yellowfin surgeonfish or keep a lookout for king angelfish. Turquoise waters, white sands, and a collection of hiking trails offer a variety of possibilities during your visit to Manuel Antonio Beach and the protected landscape of the national park.

Best for: Great swimming with clear water and easy accessibility

2. Playa Conchal, Guanacaste

Couple at Playa Conchal at sunset in Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Playa Conchal in Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Celebrated as a couple’s getaway, visiting Playa Conchal in the Guanacaste region can feel like you are on a tropical honeymoon. Deep water shines an enticing cobalt blue and the soft sands feel like fine sugar beneath your feet. The shallow edges of the ocean shine turquoise and glistening volcanic rocks border the quiet bay.

Whether enjoying the sunset or looking for hints of tiny crushed seashells that create part of the shoreline, Playa Conchal can bring your Costa Rica tour for couples to life, where you can combine a dream-like discovery with an exciting journey into a remote corner of the country that’s perfect for snorkeling, lounging, or wading into the refreshing waters.

Best for: Remote ambiance and white-sand beaches for a more relaxed experience

3. Dominical Beach, South Pacific

Surfer at Dominical Beach, South Pacific in Costa Rica

Dominical Beach, South Pacific in Costa Rica

Dominical Beach in Costa Rica has layers of beauty, from the long stretch of coastline to the incredible colors of the setting sun. The relaxed ambiance emerges from Dominical Town, which supports the popular surfing pastime for locals, ex-pats, and travelers from around the world.

Beyond the rolling waves, you can find the top things to do in Costa Rica as you explore the area around Dominical Beach. Find fantastic access to unique local experiences, including snorkeling opportunities at the biodiverse Caño Island Reserve, treasured white-sand beaches, and stand-up paddle boarding excursions up the Baru River, where you may spot monkeys, otters, and sloths.

Best for: Surfers of all levels and travelers looking for the best Costa Rican sunsets

4. Tamarindo Beach, Guanacaste

Costa Rica’s North Pacific Coast embodies the brilliant coastline for which the country is famous, represented in the soft golden sands of Tamarindo Beach. The waters glimmer crystal-clear in the sunlight and the bordering trees bring the tropical ambiance to life. Sport fishing, kayaking, and sailing offer more adventurous ways to experience the Pacific.

Lounging on the shores will allow you to indulge in the warmth, before cooling off in the refreshing Pacific Ocean. Visit nearby shores known for turtle nesting or travel through the local estuary, horseback ride as a family or find the best restaurant in which to enjoy regional flavors. Tamarindo is an exceptional place to enjoy the local beach culture and find the best experience for your Costa Rica family vacation.

Best for: Families interested in spotting turtles or enjoying great sea views

5. Playa Hermosa, Guanacaste

Tropical beach Playa Hermosa in Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Tropical beach Playa Hermosa in Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Gray sand may not sound like the foundation for an area labeled “beautiful beach”, but Playa Hermosa is a stretch of elegant sand more than a mile long and framed by tropical forests that lead to rolling ridges of volcanic rock. Year-round warm water offers an enticing retreat, while safety standards create the perfect conditions for swimming, scuba diving, or canoeing, no matter what time of year may be considered the best time to visit Costa Rica.

Enjoy a more active outing by visiting the mangrove swamp or bask in the feeling of seclusion, even among the number of accommodations that have grown around the nearby town. Tranquil, positioned near hiking trails and ziplining adventures, or a great home base for following waterfall trails, Playa Hermosa exemplifies the spirit of its name.

Best for: Excellent safety provisions and high environmental standards

6. Playa Tortuguero, Tortuguero

Sea turtle in Playa Tortuguero, Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica

Playa Tortuguero, Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica

Playa Tortuguero has attracted wildlife enthusiasts from around the world interested in witnessing the jungle maze of natural canals and the remarkable turtle-nesting season during which approximately 22,500 turtles nest each year. At night, visitors can stand on the shore with a guide to watch the baby turtles hatch from their eggs and venture into the water, using the moon’s reflection off the sea’s surface to find their way in the dark.

The beach is a wilderness adventure, perfect for spotting birds in the jungle terrain, sportfishing in the Caribbean waters, or enjoying the unique pace of the nearby village. Instead of the immersive sands of beaches known for lounging, Playa Tortuguero can feel equal parts adventure and discovery.

Best for: Proximity to wildlife and soft sands

7. Playa Cocles, Caribbean

Playa Cocles, Caribbean, Costa Rica

Playa Cocles, Caribbean, Costa Rica

Unlike Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast, the Caribbean is far less developed and has fewer idyllic beaches, but Playa Cocles is an exception.

Not just one of the best beaches in the Caribbean, but one of the best in Costa Rica, Playa Cocles is the postcard-perfect image of a tropical shoreline. Soft white sands, grinding palm trees, casual waves, and sporadic wildlife sightings offer a microcosm of Costa Rica’s most treasured experiences within a small area in the Limón province, introducing you to one of the best places to visit in Costa Rica.

Sloths camouflage in the trees, monkeys run across the branches, and indigenous communities offer introductions to their heritage with medicinal plant tours and insights into their traditions. Playa Cocles is much more than its shoreline, offering a treasured experience often overlooked by travelers who prefer the western shores.

Best for: Enjoying the immersive natural beauty of the Caribbean Sea

8. Punta Uva, Limón

Boy playing at Punta Uva beach in Costa Rica

Punta Uva beach, Coast of Limón, Costa Rica

There are many beaches in the Limón province, but Punta Uva shimmers with crystal-clear water in a convenient location, demonstrating the melting pot of Costa Rican culture along the eastern coastline. With histories and heritage intertwining over the centuries, the nearby town of Puerto Viejo has cultural and culinary traditions unlike anywhere else in the world, evoking the spirit of the Caribbean.

Uva Beach emerges as the heart of the tropical coastline, with stunning Caribbean waters, sands that shift from gold to white in the sunlight, and lush jungle carrying the aroma of coconut palms and almond trees. Venture into the protected landscape of Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge, relax with a local cocktail made with cane sugar and ginger, or travel southbound to the border of Panama, with each path celebrating Punta Uva’s unique location.

Best for: Soft sands in a relaxed atmosphere embracing the Caribbean experience

9. Flamingo Beach, Guanacaste

Flamingo Beach in Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Flamingo Beach in Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Rather than looking for the tall birds with their radiant plumage, Flamingo Beach is named for its pink and white sand that glints in the tropical sunlight. The combination of shifting colors along the coastline and the radiant turquoise and azures of the water provides a mesmerizing rainbow to enjoy, further accentuated by the burning tones of sunset cast across the sky.

The bay protects the stretch of sand, keeping the waters calm and offering a fantastic escape into adventure with sport fishing and scuba diving. Snorkeling may reveal vibrant starfish or collections of rocks where octopi hide, further demonstrating why Costa Rica beaches are exceptional places to visit.

Best for: A serene and remote crescent beach with the best water activities

Discover the Best Beaches in Costa Rica

Manuel Antonio Beach in Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica

Manuel Antonio Beach in Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica

Costa Rica was named the “Rich Coast” by the Spanish and the name has taken on new meaning since the discovery of the remarkable beaches of the Pacific and Caribbean shores. With exceptional sands and magnificent wildlife, stunning marine life and fascinating adventures, there is always more to discover during your Costa Rica tour.

Whether looking for the best couple’s getaway for a romantic 7-day Costa Rica tour or wishing to explore new, eco-friendly tour experiences, you can find ideas on where to go, what to do, and more with our Costa Rica travel guide.

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