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Costa Rica Beaches

Best Beaches of Costa Rica- Something for Everyone

Santa Teresa Sunset


When people think of Costa Rica, the rainforest may come to mind first. However, Costa Rica is also well-known for its idyllic beaches, which are every bit as wonderful as you might imagine. Costa Rica boasts over 300 beaches, which line both its Caribbean side and its Pacific side. Every beach in Costa Rica is very different, and not every beach is suitable for every activity. However, whether you want to kayak, snorkel, swim or surf, there is a beach for every interest.

The following is our list of top beaches in Costa Rica for every activity imaginable.


Many of Costa Rica’s shorelines are rocky, choppy, and unsuitable for swimming. However, there are some great swimming spots available if you know where to look. Playa Manuel Antonio, a 1/2-mile long beach in Manuel Antonio National Park, offers white sand beaches and safe swimming. On the Caribbean coast, Punta Uva is a favorite swimming spot – it’s clean, and features tranquil waters. For those who like to enjoy the waves as they swim, Playa Samara in Guanacaste features a beach that’s choppy enough for adventures, but safe enough for swimming.


There are many, many great surfing beaches in Costa Rica. In fact, there are options for every surfing ability. Jaco Beach is perfect for beginners, as it has mild waves and access to any number of private instructors. Nearby Hermosa Beach is perfect for intermediate surfers, and is lined with surf shops and laid-back restaurants that serve as surfer hangouts.

Playa Tamarindo in Guanacaste is one of Costa Rica’s most popular beaches for surfing, as it features beautiful weather, favorable winds and pristine waters. What’s more, several great surfing spots, including Witch’s Rock, Playa Negra and Playa Langosta can be easily reached from Playa Tamarindo.

Snorkeling and Diving

For seal life enthusiasts, Costa Rica can be a diver’s paradise. Herradura Beach is one of the country’s prime snorkeling and diving spots, with great dive sites just ten minutes from shore. Cahuita National Park features brightly colored fish and shallow, calm waters that are perfect for beginners. And the beaches in Manzanilla Wildlife Refuge offers the opportunity to et an underwater glimpse of coral, sea fans and crustaceans – all for free.

Wildlife Watching

Many beaches in Costa Rica offer a spectacular look at local wildlife. Santa Teresa Beach features the Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve, where you wildlife lovers can visit a seabird sanctuary and try to catch a glimpse of pacas, armadillos, anteaters and howler monkeys. Manuel Antonio National Park features several beaches adjacent to the rainforest, which makes them prime places to spot iconic rainforest dwellers like sloths and capuchin monkeys. And on the beaches of Tortuguero National Park on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast, depending on the time of year, visitors are treated to the sight of sea turtles nesting on the shores.


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