Costa Rica’s pristine beaches in the Guanacaste Province are considered the best beaches in the country. And the best part? They’re all just a short distance away from each other, so you can visit several beaches during your trip to Costa Rica!
Read more about the most popular beaches in Guanacaste below to determine which beaches are the best match for your travel style, budget, and interests:
When translated into English, Playa Hermosa (Hermosa Beach) means “Beautiful Beach,” which is the perfect way to describe this idyllic destination.
Playas del Coco is an excellent place for swimming, deep-sea fishing, and scuba diving near the Bat Islands and Catalina Islands. In town, you’ll find several local restaurants and a lively nightlife scene with dozens of bars and small clubs. If you’re staying in Playas del Coco, you will also have access to grocery stores, fast food restaurants, and other modern conveniences.
Playa Ocotal (Ocotal Beach) is known for its black volcanic sand, bright blue waters, and white ocean mists with healing properties for plants, animals, and people.
Aside from soaking in the beautiful, healing atmosphere, while you’re at Playa Ocotal, you can go snorkeling in the rock formations off the beach, kayak in Ocotal Bay and the Gulf of Papagayo, or pay a visit to The Monkey Farm—an animal rescue just a short walk from the beach.
Playa Potrero (Potrero Beach) is just a short distance from Playa Flamingo, but this beach gives off a different vibe. Unlike neighboring resort towns, this beach has stayed true to its roots as a fishing village, so you’ll still experience the traditional “pura vida” lifestyle while at Playa Potrero.
Playa Potrero is also a popular destination for snorkeling, scuba diving, and deep-sea fishing excursions. In town, you’ll find local restaurants, brunch spots, live music venues, and craft breweries, so if you’re looking for a lively destination with lots to do on and off the beach, you’ll enjoy visiting Playa Potrero.
Playa Flamingo (Flamingo Beach) is one of the most popular beaches in Guanacaste—and for good reason! With fluffy white sand, clear blue waters, and gorgeous sunsets, Playa Flamingo is consistently ranked as one of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica.
In addition to its beauty, travelers love the fun things to do at Playa Flamingo. Flamingo Beach Marina is the perfect launching point for a fishing, sailing, or catamaran boat ride. With the Catalina Islands just a short distance away, it’s also an excellent spot for snorkeling and scuba diving. When you’re hungry, head into town and choose from several restaurants with beautiful beachfront views.
With light brown sand and blue-gray waters, Playa Brasilito (Brasilito Beach) doesn’t quite “shimmer” with beauty like its neighboring beaches, Playa Conchal and Playa Flamingo. However, this short stretch of beach offers plenty of fun things to do, like horseback riding, ATV tours, sailing tours, and more!
Playa Brasilito has an authentic local feel and low-key atmosphere that you’ll miss out on when visiting more “touristy” resort beaches. There is even a soccer field in the center of town where locals play the national sport! You’ll also find a few local restaurants and small markets to shop at if you stay in Playa Brasilito.
Playa Conchal (Conchal Beach) is a one-of-a-kind beach in Costa Rica. Upon first glance, you may think the beach has white sand. However, the “sand” is actually comprised of tiny white seashells that provide a stark contrast to the stunning turquoise water.
Playa Conchal has stronger waves than other beaches in Costa Rica, so activities like jet skiing, kayaking, and snorkeling tend to be more popular than swimming. However, the water is warm, so you’ll be comfortable if you decide to swim. Playa Conchal is tucked away, so you won’t find many restaurants off the beach, but you can venture to the nearby Playa Brasilito and Playa Flamingo for dining and shopping.
Playa Grande (Grande Beach) is one of the most distinctive beaches in Costa Rica. This small beach is part of the Las Baulas National Park, and although it’s open to the public during the day, it’s a highly protected beach at night due to its essential purpose as a nesting spot for leatherback sea turtles!
Between October and May, you may be able to catch a glimpse of the leatherback sea turtles laying eggs on the sandy shores of Playa Grande. This beach also attracts visitors due to its proximity to Tamarindo and its excellent surfing conditions.
Playa Tamarindo (Tamarindo Beach) is arguably the most popular beach in Costa Rica. Though the beach isn’t large, visitors will enjoy swimming, snorkeling, and surfing in the calm waves at Tamarindo Beach. In fact, beginner surfers can take lessons right on the beach!
Playa Langosta (Langosta Beach) is a beautiful white sand beach with spectacular waves located just south of Tamarindo. It’s a great place to stay if you’d like to be close to restaurants, shopping, and nightlife but want to stay away from the crowds to enjoy a relaxing, laid-back vacation.
Playa Langosta has strong waves, so it’s not a great spot for swimming, but it’s an excellent beach for surfing, especially for more experienced surfers.
Nicknamed “Little Hawaii” by the locals, Playa Avellanas (Avellanas Beach) is one of the best beaches in Costa Rica for soaking up the sun and surfing the waves.
Playa Avellanas offers light sand and gorgeous turquoise waters. There are over eight points for surfing, and there are surfing lessons offered throughout the beach, so whether you are a beginner or an experienced surfer, you can find a wave to catch at Playa Avellanas.
Looking for somewhere you can “shred the gnar” in Guanacaste? If so, you’ll love Playa Negra (Negra Beach)—one of the best places to surf in Costa Rica.
Playa Negra may be known for its world-class waves and surf breaks, beloved by experienced surfers, but it has much more to offer. Visitors can search for tide pools on the rocky, black sand beach or grab a bite to eat at the nearby restaurants.