Playa Potrero

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Playa Potrero is one of the best beaches along Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast for a relaxing vacation in the Guanacaste Province. Located between resort-style vacation communities, such as Playa Flamingo and Las Catalinas, Playa Potrero offers the perfect blend of tourism and the authentic “pura vida” lifestyle.


Playa Potrero Facts


Map of Playa Potrero, Costa Rica

Beach Details

Playa Potrero, Costa Rica: Beach Details

Planning to visit Playa Potrero during your trip to Costa Rica? If so, here is everything you need to know about this popular beach and beach town:
Terrain at Playa Potrero

Unlike the white sand beaches nearby, like Playa Flamingo and Playa Conchal, Playa Potrero is a dark sand beach with minimal palm trees for shade, making it slightly less popular (and less busy) than its neighboring beaches.

However, those who skip Playa Potrero in favor of the white sand are missing out. Playa Potrero offers visitors spectacular ocean views and beautiful sunsets. Since the beach is situated on Potrero Bay, you’ll find this beach is a popular spot for sailing, fishing tours, and catamaran tours.

Weather Conditions at Playa Potrero

The dry season in Costa Rica goes from December to April. The beach enjoys warm, dry, sunny days with minimal rain during these months. April is the warmest month in Playa Potrero, with temperatures topping out at 97°F and bottoming out at 77°F. The warm temperatures also mark Guanacaste’s high season, so you can expect higher prices for airfare, accommodations, and tours during these months.

The rainy season lasts from May to November. You can expect afternoon showers and cooler temperatures during these months. The rainiest months in Playa Potrero are traditionally September and October—each month experiences 17 days of rain on average. September and October are also the coolest months in Playa Potrero, with average high temperatures around 89°F and low temperatures around 74°F. The rainy months are the least expensive months to visit Costa Rica.

Conditions at Playa Potrero

Despite being surrounded by “touristy” beaches and beach towns like Las Catalinas and Playa Flamingo, Playa Potrero has stayed true to its original roots—a small fishing village with a serene, tranquil atmosphere. Though you’ll still find restaurants, hotels, and modern conveniences, like the Bahia del Sol Hotel, within walking distance of the beach, visiting Potrero Beach is perfect for those who want to rub shoulders with locals and enjoy a laid-back, authentic experience in Central America.

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Best Things to Do at Playa Potrero

There are tons of fun things to do at Potrero Beach, including water sports, boat rides, and more! These are just a few of the activities you can enjoy at Playa Potrero:

Scuba Diving
Scuba in Playa Potrero

Playa Potrero is a short distance from Flamingo Marina, one of the main launching points for scuba diving tours to the Catalina Islands. During these scuba diving tours, you will see manta rays, sea turtles, sharks, and other marine life along Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast.

Snorkeling in Playa Potrero

Although there isn’t much snorkeling you can do right off the beach at Playa Potrero, the town is home to several sailing companies, like Costa Rica Sailing Center, Panache Sailing, and Lazy Lizard, that you can book a snorkeling tour through to go snorkeling offshore. Book a tour in the morning for better visibility while you’re in the water, or book an evening tour for the chance to catch one of Costa Rica’s beautiful sunsets on your way back to shore!

Lots of Boating Options in Playa Potrero

If you love boating, Playa Potrero is a great beach to visit on your Costa Rica vacation. Whether you love kayaking, fishing, or sailing or want to book a sunset cruise to enjoy the spectacular sunsets in Potrero, Costa Rica, you’re sure to find a boating tour you’ll love only a short walk from your vacation rental.

Costa Rica Sailing Center is a great place to rent your boats and water equipment from. They even have a full bar, restaurant, and pool that you can use before or after your boating excursion.

Nearby Beaches

In addition to beautiful Playa Potrero, there are plenty of beaches and beach towns nearby that aren’t as well known but are still worth exploring!

Playa Penca, Playa Prieta, Playa Grande, and Playa Danta are lesser-known beaches between Playa Potrero and Playa Ocotal (a famous beach located to the north). If you travel to the south, Playa Flamingo, Playa Brasilito, and Playa Conchal are all larger beaches and beach towns that are worth visiting during your time at Potrero Beach.

Safety at Playa Potrero

Resort towns and popular vacation destinations surround Playa Potrero, so overall, it is a safe destination.

However, like anywhere in Costa Rica, petty theft does occur in Playa Potrero. Don’t leave valuables in your car, lock the door when you leave your vacation rental, keep expensive jewelry in a safe to detract unwanted attention, and use common sense when exploring Playa Potrero.

Getting to Playa Potrero

Regardless of where you are coming from in Costa Rica, there are plenty of ways to get to Playa Potrero from around the country. You can secure car rentals from the Liberia International Airport or San Jose International Airport and drive, take the public bus, or book a shared or private shuttle to Playa Potrero, Costa Rica. Playa Potrero is a:

  • 40-minute drive from Playa Grande and Tamarindo
  • 55-minute drive from Playas del Cocos
  • 1-hour drive from Liberia
  • 5-hour drive from San Jose

Potrero is a walkable town, so if you’re staying near the beach, you won’t need a rental car. However, if you want to visit the nearby beaches, like Playa Prieta, Playa Penca, or Playa Danta, or visit a national park, like Rincon de la Vieja National Park or Santa Rosa National Park, having a rental car is the easiest (and cheapest) way to get around.

If you aren’t comfortable driving, you can hire a shuttle to drive you, or you can book wildlife tours, horseback riding tours, and other adventures from your “home base” in Potrero that include round-trip transportation to and from your vacation rental or hotel.

Note: We don’t recommend taking the “Monkey Road” from Playas del Coco to Playa Potrero. This bumpy ride takes you down rock faces, through jungles, and across streams through Las Catalinas and spits you out at Playa Potrero and Playa Flamingo. It’s especially dangerous and frequently closed during the rainy season.

Beach Town

Potrero Beach Town

Playa Potrero includes Potrero, the town, and Surfside, the beach town’s southern neighbor. You can find the following restaurants, nightlife, and vacation rentals in these towns, located just off the Pacific Ocean.

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Potrero Restaurants

There are tons of great local restaurants in Potrero, serving everything from traditional Costa Rican cuisine to diverse international cuisine. These are just a few of the most popular restaurants in Costa Rica:

Carpe Diem Cafe

Carpe Diem Cafe is an excellent spot for breakfast or lunch in Playa Potrero. In the morning, enjoy a traditional breakfast or coffee with a pastry, and for lunch, order a sandwich or salad.

Carpe Diem Cafe also makes smoothies and has plenty of vegan options to accommodate all types of diets. They have a small outdoor seating area and a few tables inside, but they are close enough to the beach to take your coffee, smoothie, and pastry with you “on the go” on your way to the beach

El Castillo

El Castillo (The Castle) is a restaurant in Surfside, Costa Rica, that offers a wide range of international cuisine. You’ll find items like grilled octopus and tuna steak on the menu, as well as shrimp, ribs, and other types of meats.

The Shack

The Shack is a restaurant and bar just off the beach in Potrero. They serve the same types of appetizers, salads, sandwiches, hamburgers, and entrees as you would find in any gastropub in the United States, with a few more traditional options, like casados and arroz con chicken, beef, or shrimp.

The Shack also serves breakfast daily, but you should keep in mind they are closed on Saturdays for both breakfast and dinner.

La Forketta

Craving Italian food during your time in Costa Rica? No problem. La Forketta, located just down the street from The Shack, serves pizza, pasta, salads, entrees, and other Italian-style specialties. You can also order wine, beer, or cocktails to enjoy with your meal, and don’t forget to order tiramisu for dessert!

Potrero Nightlife

Potrero may not attract as many tourists as neighboring resort towns like Playa Flamingo and Playa Conchal, but if you’re looking for cool places to hang out or lively nightlife, it’s a great place to be! These are some of the top nightlife venues in Potrero:


Perlas is a popular restaurant and bar that offers live music, karaoke, and a game night called “Chase the Ace.” They’re open until midnight and offer plenty of snacks and appetizers to enjoy with your drink, in addition to more filling dishes like sandwiches, pasta, and surf ‘n’ turf meals.

Potrero Brewing Company

Potrero Brewing Company is an airy, indoor-outdoor venue that serves local beer in flights, pints, growlers, and cans. If you don’t like beer, Potrero Brewing Company also serves margaritas on tap and a boozy juice that’s super tasty.

Potrero Brewing Company hosts lots of fun events, and it’s a great place to hang out, watch sports, or mingle with other travelers or locals. You can also grab a bite to eat from the local vendors next to the brewery and bring your food into the brewery to enjoy with your beer.

Vacation Rentals in Potrero

Special Places of Costa Rica offers plenty of vacation rentals in and around Playa Potrero. Whether you’re looking for a beach house to accommodate a large family or small property for you and your partner, our vacation rentals offer something for every type of traveler:

Vacation Rentals Near Playa Potrero

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nearby beaches

Beach Hopping from Playa Potrero: Which Beach Should You Visit Next?

Playa Flamingoto the south, is within walking distance of Playa Potrero. This beach is known for its white sand beaches, gorgeous hotels, and Flamingo Marina. Playa Penca and Playa Prieta, to the north, offer a quiet escape from Playa Potrero.

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