With more than 300 unique beaches in Costa Rica it can be hard to choose where to visit. I prefer the Pacific Coast, as it offers more rugged beaches than its Caribbean counterpart. Tropical forests meet the ocean and the waves are great for surfing. In the northwestern province of Guanacaste, the most sparsely populated province in all of Costa Rica, beaches are especially idyllic. Here are my top picks and why:
Tamarindo – If you’re craving nightlife and a beach town feel, Tamarindo is the place to be. By far the most developed town in Guanacaste, you’ll be within walking distance to tons of shops, restaurants, and bars. The vibe is laid back and water sports are plentiful, but despite the crowds, the beach remains clean and fairly peaceful.
Playa Avellana – Surfers and those craving a more remote beach will love Playa Avellana. Locals call it “Little Hawaii” for it’s white sand and waves that regularly reach up to eighteen feet. It’s a short drive from Tamarindo so it’s perfect for a day trip. Relax on the beach or take a surfing lesson, and finish the day with a drink at Lola’s while watching the always gorgeous sunset.
Playa Brasilito – Sprawling Brasilito Beach is nestled in a quiet town that is considerably less developed than its neighbors, and that’s the charm. For a low-key destination with a more local feel, stay in Brasilito and spend your days lounging on the beach or visiting nearby Marino Las Baulas National Park, where you can see sea turtles come ashore to nest. Make sure to eat at Soda Brasilito, by far my favorite soda in all of Costa Rica!
Play Potrero – If you’re hoping to spend your Costa Rica vacation daydreaming or getting lost in a book, Playa Potrero is for you. The hidden, tranquil beach is made for lying in the sand and reading under the palm trees. The gorgeous bay features exotic plants and turquoise waters, with volcanic mountains on the horizon. If you’re looking to getaway, look no further.
Playa Conchal – Playa Conchal is my absolute favorite beach in Guanacaste. The sand is made up of tiny crushed shells and the blue-green waters are so clear you can see tropical fish swimming below. I love Playa Conchal because it’s the best of both worlds – a Caribbean looking beach in the Pacific region. It’s so remote you have to walk from Brasilito or drive your car along the beach, giving it a secret treasure feel. Quiet and peaceful, with only slight interruptions from men selling coconut water.