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Some of the BEST beaches in Costa Rica

A great thing about Costa Rica is that there’s a beach to fit any taste, with more than 750 miles of shoreline on its Pacific and Caribbean coasts, Costa Rica offers beach goers an abundance of riches. You name it, surfing, swimming, relaxing, seclusion, ambiance, snorkeling, sunsets etc; you can be assured that Costa Rica has a beach for you. Here are some of's favorites for various reasons (in no particular order):

Manzanillo & Punta Uva': Just below Puerto Viejo, the beaches of Costa Rica’s eastern coast take on idyllic Caribbean brilliance, with turquoise waters, coral reefs, and palm-lined stretches of nearly deserted white-sand beach. The beaches of Manzanillo and Punta Uva this is the place along the Caribbean’s most scenic stretch of shoreline.

Montezuma is great if you're looking for a little privacy.
Montezuma is great if you're looking for a little privacy.

Manuel Antonio: Manuel Antonio has always been one of Costa Rica’s most popular destinations and rightly so and although its popularity has increased tourism tremendously, it has managed to maintain its charm. The views across the bay are unforgettable and the entire area is absolutely stunning whether you’re sunning on the beach or gazing out from the hills. And if that’s not enough, throw into the mix iguanas, howlers, capuchins, sloths and squirrel monkeys (really, right there where beach meets forest) and you have the perfect setting that is, Manuel Antonio. Manuel Antonio Video

Santa Rosa National Park: The beaches here are great for a few reasons; they’re home to some of the most important nesting sites of several species of sea turtles, such as the olive ridley turtles which come by the thousands to nest in October. The beaches here in the northwest corner of Costa Rica are also a good bet if you really want to get away from it all. However, a vast number of travelers are here for one reason- the opportunity to surf the near-perfect break at Playa Naranjo, which is formed by the legendary offshore natural rock formation known as Witch’s Rock (video.) Santa Rosa is also home to another break of arguable equal notoriety, namely Ollie’s Point, which was made famous by the film Endless Summer II. These beaches here are not easy to access so be ready to hike or have a 4-wheel drive vehicle at your disposal.

The beaches around Playa Samara: Playa Samara is popular with vacationing Tico families, backpackers, wealthy tourists, snorkelers and cliffs on the far side of the bay make this an attractive destination. BUT, if you venture even slightly along the rugged coastal road in either direction from Samara, you’ll find some of the nicest and least developed beaches along the entire Guanacaste coast. A few such secluded little gems are Playa Carrillo, Playa Barrigona and Playa Buena Vista. Just above Samara Video

Playa Montezuma: Located on the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula, this tiny beach town is a great spot if you’re looking for empty white sands, rocky coves and killer sunrises. Montezuma was one of the original destinations in Costa Rica, especially among artists, hippies and dreamers alike. Now, Montezuma attracts just about everybody, but still manages to retain a funky sense of individuality. The beach stretches for miles, with secluded spots in which to enjoy the surf and sand all along the way. And don’t forget to visit the waterfalls, they are a must see if you’re in the area. Montezuma Video

Playa Matapalo seems to go on forever.
Playa Matapalo seems to go on forever.

Malpais/Santa Teresa: Malpais used to be fairly well kept secret, but not anymore. The legendary waves here have been attracting serious surfers since the 1970’s. So, if huge, crashing surf for miles in every direction is your thing, then Malpais is for you. But make no mistake, this is a true surf town and if you’re not into surf ‘culture,’ then you should probably skip the area. If Malpais is too crowded for you, then head further down the road to Playa Hermosa and Manzanillo. Malpais Video

Playas San Miguel & Coyote: Arguably two of the most beautiful and least visited beaches in Costa Rica are Playas San Miguel and Coyote located just south of Playa Bejuco. These two wilderness beaches of fine silvery-grey sand are great for surfing, kayaking and just about anything else you care to do on a sandy stretch of paradise - and almost always abandoned. They also happen to be nesting sites for the Olive Ridley turtles. Video: What's happening to the turtles.

Playa Matapalo: The beach here seems to go on forever and is usually abandoned, but that’s part of its allure. Surf the waves or get out your boogie-board, but be aware that strong riptides (Health and Safety) can often make Matapalo too rough for swimming. Foremost among Matapalo’s appeal is its tranquil atmosphere. Don’t forget to hike to the waterfalls.

Obviously, with 750 miles of shoreline this is a rather short list as there are plenty more beaches that will satisfy any traveler to Costa Rica. A few more notable beaches are - Playa Conchal, Playa Grande, Playa Negra, Playa Josecito, Playa Zancudo and Playa Pavones. Pavones Surf Video

Let us know you’re favorite Costa Rican beach, as mentioned, this is just the short list.