The best beaches in Costa Rica

Costa Montezuma

Playa Montezuma, photo by Christian Haugen

Costa Rica is a fantastic tropical paradise with amazing national parks and lush jungles, but when people hear ‘Costa Rica’, most of them will thing ‘beaches’. And that’s not surprising, considering that Costa Rica has some of the finest beaches in the world, not only Central America. With a climate like Costa Rica’s, the waters are warm throughout the year and swimming is possible anytime, the sun is shining brightly and there are enough tourist facilities to satisfy even the pickiest beach-goer. In short, if you want a beach vacation, there is no better dmestination for you than Costa Rica. Whether you want to surf, swim or simply lounge on the beach and read a book, there’s a beach in Costa Rica that is perfect for you. Here are some of the best beaches in Costa Rica.

Manuel Antonio Beach

Manuel Antonio Beach, located in the national park of the same name, is not only one of the best beaches in Costa Rica, but the whole world. The beach is separated from the adjoining Espadilla Sur beach through a narrow strip of sand, and it is located in a national park, so on the whole it is pretty remote.And yet, while the beach isn’t crowded, there are always at least two people enjoying the clear water and the white sand.

Playa Naranjo, Santa Rosa National Park

Manuel Antonio Beach, photo by Jeremy Vandel

Santa Rosa National Park has quite a few lovely beaches that are the perfect destination for those who want to get away from it all. The beaches on the northwest coast that are within the bounds of the park are not very accessible (you will either need an off-road vehicle or to be open to hike), but they are worth the trek. Playa Naranjo is essentially a surfer’s paradise, but swimmers will also enjoy their time here.

Playa Carillo

Playa Carillo is located near the more famous and far more developed Playa Samara, but if you prefer to avoid the crowds then this beach will not disappoint you. Playa Carillo is the perfect tropical beach, lined with palm trees and shaped like a crescent. with good water for swimming and soft sand. Playa Carillo is quiet and peaceful – a lovely place to relax and escape the bustle of cities for a while.

Playa Montezuma

Malpais, photo by dipfan

If you like your beaches small and quaint, you can’t go wrong with Playa Montezuma. For a long time, Playa Montezuma has been not only one of the best beaches in Costa Rica, but also a favorite destination of hippies, UFO hunters and yoga enthusiasts. The beach stretches on for miles and it’s very easy to find a secluded spot to lay your towel.


Malpais is a newly discovered gem that hasn’t become a luxury resort yet, although it’s on its way there. There are a few luxury lodges in Malpais and some fancy hotels and restaurants, as well as surf camps. There are deserted beaches to be found in Malpais too, must mostly there is a crowd of people wherever you go, which makes for a lively atmosphere.

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