Sailing in Costa Rica

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Sailing in Costa Rica is an unforgettable experience. There is nothing quite like taking off on the open ocean while watching the sun sparkle on the water’s surface, surrounded by fantastic company that truly captures the essence of the “pura vida” lifestyle.

Whether you want to relax on a boat with a beer in hand, have a chance to spot sea turtles while snorkeling, or have an opportunity to catch some fish, like tuna or snapper, you’ll be able to do all that (and more!) on a sailing tour in Costa Rica.


Top Places for Sailing in Costa Rica

Most of the best places to set sail in Costa Rica are on the North Pacific Coast in the Guanacaste Province. This region of the country is filled with catamarans, sailboats, and fishing boats that make sailing accessible, and it features beautiful islands, secluded beaches, and snorkeling and scuba diving spots that make sailing an ideal pastime.

Additionally, the weather on Costa Rica’s Northern Pacific Coast is ideal for sailing. This part of the country is generally the driest, so you won’t have to worry about getting “rained out” as often — unlike other regions in Costa Rica, like the Osa Peninsula or Caribbean Coast. That said, here are some of the top places for sailing in Guanacaste and beyond!


Tamarindo beach in Costa Rica

Tamarindo is one of the most popular beach towns in Costa Rica and is well-known for its surfing scene, gorgeous beaches, and vibrant nightlife.

However, in addition to surfing, Tamarindo is also a fantastic location for sailing. You can choose from private or shared charters to explore the ocean off the coast of Tamarindo in Tamarindo Bay, and chances are, you’ll be able to see tons of marine life, like sea turtles, manta rays, and dolphins, from the deck during the sailing experience!

Playa Flamingo

Playa Flamingo is one of the best places for sailing in the Guanacaste Province. This beach town is located on Potrero Bay, which is perfectly sheltered to provide calm waters during sailing excursions.

This beautiful beach town is home to Marina Flamingo — a state-of-the-art marina with 70+ boats stationed at any given time. This makes Playa Flamingo excellent (and convenient!) spot to depart on sunset tours, snorkeling tours, and fishing charters. In fact, Playa Flamingo is one of the best places for deep-sea fishing in the entire country!

Playas del Coco

A blue wave rushing in on the dark sandy shore in Playas del Coco.

Playas del Coco, located on Coco Bay, is another fabulous spot for sailing in Costa Rica. Located within the Gulf of Papagayo, Playa del Coco is a great place for a sailing trip — especially if you’re hoping to go snorkeling or scuba diving at one of the nearby islands!

Many sailing trips from Playas del Coco will take passengers to the Bat Islands and Catalina Islands, where you can see giant manta rays, eagle rays, reef sharks, bull sharks, and other incredible marine animals underwater.

Gulf of Nicoya

The Gulf of Nicoya in the Puntarenas Province is another one of the best places to sail in Costa Rica for an unforgettable experience on the open ocean.

There are several places you can depart from to set sail in the Gulf of Nicoya — including Jaco and Puntarenas. The Gulf of Nicoya is an excellent spot for sportfishing, and roosterfish, mahi-mahi, and tuna abound in these waters. You can also sail to Tortuga Island — one of the best places for snorkeling and scuba diving in Costa Rica!

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Which to Choose: Catamarans vs. Monohull Sailboats?

There are generally two types of sailboats you can choose from for a sailing tour in Costa Rica — a monohull and a catamaran.

Monohulls are the “traditional” single-hull boats you think of when you picture a sailboat. These boats are generally smaller — usually with one bathroom on board — and can hold fewer people. Sailing tours on monohulls are usually shorter and more affordable.

Catamarans, on the other hand, have multiple hulls and are much larger. They can hold more people and gear comfortably and are generally preferred for full-day tours since you’ll have more space to move around. Generally, catamaran sailing tours tend to be more expensive than monohull tours.

Which to Choose: Private vs. Shared Charters?

Usually, you’ll have two options for sailing tours in Costa Rica — private or shared charters.

Private charters allow you to rent out an entire boat for a sailing experience with a private group. The advantage to chartering a private boat is that you’ll have more privacy, but you’ll also be required to pay to rent out the entire boat, so it is more expensive. Shared charters allow you to purchase one spot on a boat with several other passengers. On a shared charter, you’ll ride with other tourists, but it’s cheaper to reserve a spot on one of these boats.

Best Sailing Tours in Costa Rica

Some sailing tours in Costa Rica include a sunset tour with a delicious meal, complimentary drinks, and live entertainment. Other boat tours provide snorkeling gear and paddle boards to allow you to come face-to-face with marine life — like manta rays, sea turtles, and dolphins — while snorkeling or swimming. Some sailing tours last a full day, others only last for a few hours, and some tours are private, while others are shared with other tourists.

Regardless of your preferences and budget — you’re sure to be able to find the perfect way to “set sail” in Costa Rica. These are just a few of the sailing tours we offer at Special Places of Costa Rica:

  • Bali Private Catamaran Sailing Tour — This private sailing tour can be booked for a full day or a half day and includes a delicious meal, an open bar, snacks, professional fishing and snorkeling equipment, a stand-up paddle board, and a floating mat. The boat departs from Playa Flamingo and can accommodate up to ten passengers of all ages.
  • Mantaray Private Catamaran Sailing Tour — This private sailing tour on the Mantaray departs from Playa Flamingo and can accommodate up to ten passengers of all ages.
  • Lazy Lizard Catamaran Sailing Tour — This four-hour private boat ride can accommodate up to 20 passengers and departs from Playa Flamingo. There is also a shared sailing experience on the Lazy Lizard for a cheaper alternative to set out on the open ocean!

Stay with Special Places of Costa Rica for Proximity to Costa Rica's Best Sailing Destinations

Many of the best sailing locations in Costa Rica, like Playa Flamingo and Playas del Coco, are just footsteps away from our beachfront homes, cozy condos, luxury villas, and other vacation rentals from Special Places of Costa Rica.

Browse our rentals to find the perfect “home away from home” for your stay, and enjoy sailing on the gorgeous waters of Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast during your vacation!


Choose Your Next Adventure

Costa Rica is the perfect opportunity for thrill-seekers and nature lovers alike to explore the beauty and diversity of this tropical paradise. From white sandy beaches to lush rainforests, Costa Rica is home to a wide range of breathtaking landscapes and activities. Whether you want to zipline through the canopy, surf the waves, or relax in a luxury eco-lodge, there is something for everyone in Costa Rica.

Other Attractions

After you have visited volcanoes and national parks you may want to observe (or cool off in) some of the many beautiful waterfalls while in Costa Rica. Be sure to view our full list of things to do in Costa Rica to ensure you’re experiencing all of the main attractions while on your vacation.


Frequently Asked Questions About
Sailing in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is an excellent place for sailing, especially along the Northern Pacific Coast. You can find the best sailing between the Gulf of Papagayo and Tamarindo. This region is home to two large marinas — Marina Papagayo and Marina Flamingo — filled with tons of sailboats, and it’s one of the best spots in the country for snorkeling, fishing, and sunset sailing!

Though most people fly to Costa Rica, you can cruise to Costa Rica on a South American or Caribbean cruise. Caribbean cruises stop at Puerto Limon, whereas South American cruises stop at Puntarenas — one of the best sailing destinations in Costa Rica. Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean Cruises, and Carnival Cruises all sail to Costa Rica.

Most of the waters along Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast are pretty choppy unless you’re at a beach along a bay or cove, like the beaches protected by the Gulf of Papagayo and Brasilito Bay. These beaches are usually calm enough for sailing, swimming, snorkeling, and other water sports.

Generally, the waters on Costa Rica’s Caribbean Coast are more peaceful than the Pacific Coast.

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