Backed by majestic mountains and lush tropical rainforests, Costa Rican beaches are perfect for swimming, surfing, romantic escapes and family vacations.
Famed for stunning views and secluded sands, the home of Los Suenos Marriott Ocean & Golf Resort offers quiet getaways compared to its more-frequented neighbors. Named “Herradura” because of its cradling horseshoe shape, the bay has calm waters that make it one of the area’s best swimming spots. Some of the region’s best sportfishing lies offshore and the stretch of sand is close to Carara National Park.
To the south of Jacó, Playa Hermosa has over four miles of coastline that is less developed than its busier neighbor. While popular, the long expanse of sand means it never feels crowded. Hermosa is also known for its surfing and hosts competitions that draw in surfers from across the globe. On Hermosa’s northern end you’ll find a nice collection of hotels and restaurants while the stretch heading south is a protected nature reserve. Backed by rolling green hills, the area is populated by colorful toucans and macaws, and you’re apt to spot monkeys frolicking among the greenery.
Known more for the vibrant nightlife just off the beach than quiet sands, Jacó Beach is one of the top surf spots in the Central Pacific. Over two miles of coast entices surfers from across the world and Jacó is home to top international surfing competitions. It’s also a great spot to wander the sands and take in a stunning sunset before enjoying the popular hub’s many dining options. With a range of accommodations from budget to luxury, Jacó also makes a great base for exploring inland mountains and rainforests.
Between Quepos and Jacó, Playa Esterillos has miles of chocolate-colored sands that you can stroll in near seclusion against a dramatic backdrop of forested hills. Esterillos is divided into three sections: East; West; and Central. Beyond a few local enclaves in Esterillos West, you aren’t likely to come across many other people on the sands that get dramatically wider at low tide. While a strong undertow makes the water more suited for wading than swimming, the area offers amazing surfing opportunities.
One of the most popular national parks in the country is also home to some of its best beaches. Meeting rich rainforest terrain, the sandy shores of Manuel Antonio National Park have spots to satisfy nearly everyone. At the park’s entrance, Playa Espadilla is good for swimming, sports in the sand and simply lazing. More-secluded Playa Biesanz is known for superb snorkeling. One of the quieter spots, Playa La Mancha is reached by a winding trail that’s not known to all.
Heading south from Manuel Antonio delivers you to Playa Matapalo. Accessed by a dirt road that’s best traversed in a 4X4, the light-sand beach is backed by swaying palm trees and home to two small coastal villages. Stroll miles of shoreline without encountering another visitor. Better yet, explore the shore on horseback. The calm waters are excellent for swimming and the secluded sands make sunsets even more sublime.
From bustling beach resorts to world-class surfing spots and secluded coasts, Costa Rica excursions are always better with some time on the beach.