The best Costa Rican beaches: An Amazing Guide (Part I)


The best Costa Rican beaches offer stunning views, excellent accommodations, well-organized touring options, and comfortable transportation. The best beach destinations in Costa Rica are not the ones that we, as Amazing Costa Rica, think of. They are comprehensive places where you can find accommodations, activities to enjoy for weeks, and breathtaking locations.

In the following articles, you will find a guide to the best beaches in Costa Rica.

In this article, we will talk about the beaches in the Central Pacific region of Costa Rica.

We are also giving a glimpse of the other regions that we will fully write about in future articles.

Below is a full list of Costa Rican beaches, along with their most remarkable features. That way, you can choose which of the beaches is best for you.

Let’s embark on a journey to discover the renowned and beloved beaches of Costa Rica.

To explore Costa Rican beaches comprehensively, we will categorize them into four regions and dedicate an article to each.

The best Costa Rican beaches are located in

  • Central Pacific
  • South Pacific
  • North Pacific
  • South Caribbean Coast

As a quick guide, we will start by giving a small summary of each region:

North Pacific:

Guanacaste is a province that encompasses the North Pacific region. This is the area where you find all the main hotel brands, like Four Seasons, JW Marriott, W, Riu, and other well known franchises.

The area has its own international airport; thus, the province of Guanacaste is one of the most popular places in Costa Rica for people who are simply looking for a leisure vacation.

Tamarindo Beach

Tamarindo, located in Guanacaste, is one of the most popular beaches. It is a busy town with a beautiful beach, diverse restaurants, and accommodations ranging from affordable hostels to five-star hotels. Tamarindo is known for its “play and party” atmosphere, offering swimming, fishing, surfing, and water sports. It is a popular destination for Costa Rican vacations, especially for younger crowds who enjoy bars and discotheques.

Gulf of Papagayo

The Gulf of Papagayo in Costa Rica features luxury resorts, beaches, and hotels that blend with the stunning nature, offering exclusive choices for visitors. This is where you will find the most luxurious and beautiful beach resorts if you just want to enjoy a leisurely beach vacation.

Central Pacific

Humid and hot, as well as luscious and super biodiverse, the Central Pacific area is the most popular place for visitors to Costa Rica. It is closer to the main international airport (SJO), and it has many possibilities. The most popular beaches and places in the region are:

Manuel Antonio National Park and Beach

Wherever you search for the beaches of Costa Rica, you will find Manuel Antonio at the top.

And it deserves to be a must on any list of Costa Rican destinations.

The tiny waterfront in Manuel Antonio has plenty of luxurious accommodations, gourmet cuisine options, stunning landscapes, teeming wildlife, and an incredible array of fun activities for travelers of all ages.

Manuel Antonio is divided into various areas that are important to know at least slightly before you get there to make reservations and see distances:

The Manuel Antonio National Park

At the end of the road, Manuel Antonio National Park is why everyone comes to Manuel Antonio.

The park’s entrance is at the end of Playa Espadilla, and unless you are going on a tour, you have to purchase your tickets online.

Now, Manuel Antonio National Park deserves all the recognition it gets. The place is fascinating by the inch! This is a place that has everything you dream about in an exotic place!

It has a luscious rainforest where wildlife sightings are as abundant as can be, as well as four white-sanded beaches with calm turquoise waters touched by the rainforest tips, literally.

It has bathrooms and facilities to change and shower after a soothing sea bath.

You cannot enter with food, but you can buy snacks, smoothies, and even ice cream inside the park.

Espadilla Beach offers restaurants, stores, surfing schools, banana and paragliding tours, and comfortable beach chairs. The calm, warm sea is perfect for a few hours.

Quepos Port is an international port for cruises and ocean tours. A classic Latin American town with narrow streets, shops, and a marina.

The road between National Park, Espadilla Beach, and Quepos is a small hill with hotels, vacation houses, condos, restaurants, and pubs. This is the area where you will find the best hotels.

Another aspect of the area of Manuel Antonio is the great array of activities that can range from rafting to night hikes.

Herradura, Jacó, and Hermosa Beach

These three beaches are located in the Central Pacific area of Costa Rica. Conveniently close to the airport in San José, it’s one of the most popular areas for visitors to come.

Punta Leona and Herradura

Punta Leona holds one of the most beautiful small beaches in Costa Rica: Playa Blanca. Although foreign tourism has slowly learned about it, it was a popular destination for Costa Ricans to visit.


The Marriott Los Suenos, along with other lodging options like hotels, homes, and condos, a modest but interesting shopping center, as well as a number of dining establishments and tour companies, make up Herradura’s compact but practical hub.


Jacó is a vibrant town known for its lively nightlife and fishing opportunities. It is a bustling town with big apartments and condo buildings.

If you are thinking about Jacó for a stay, please talk to our amazing Costa Rica experts to find the perfect place for you, avoiding the noise and bother of the nightlife that is pretty busy in this beach town.

Costa Rica Destinations for Surfers

Playa Hermosa Beach

Playa Hermosa in the Central Pacific is a haven for surfers, with a strong emphasis on surfing activities.

If you want to enjoy the great waves and swells of Playa Hermosa, our recommendation will always be to leave this stay for the weekdays, as on the weekends it gets packed as locals and visitors alike love to ride the waves.

Dominical Beach

Located south of Manuel Antonio, this is another trendy surfers paradise. With amazing rainforests and gorgeous forest and ocean views, Dominical is a place where you will find some of the most beautiful and exclusive boutique hotels and private homes.

Pavones Beach

This incredibly remote beach is a Mecca for serious surfers, as you can find on its rocky beach a legendary left-hand break that expert surfers can ride for around three minutes at a time. The length of the wave goes for more than one kilometer, turning Pavones into one of the largest lefts in the world.


As you plan your next vacation, consider the stunning beaches of Costa Rica and embark on a journey to discover the renowned and beloved beaches of this beautiful country. And when you’re ready to make your travel dreams a reality, don’t hesitate to reserve with Amazing Costa Rica, a locally owned, women-owned tour operator that is dedicated to providing exceptional experiences for every traveler. Let’s make your Costa Rican beach adventure a reality!


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