From gorgeous sandy beaches and natural parks, to lush rainforests and vibrant coastal towns, these are the best beach towns in Costa Rica.
With over 763 miles of coastline, there’s no better place to book an amazing beach holiday than Costa Rica. Thanks to its beautiful location nestled between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, Costa Rica is filled with beautiful beaches and seaside towns, each with their own unique characteristics and personality.
Deciding where to visit might be tricky, but this guide to the best beach towns in Costa Rica should help you out! This is a country I fall in love with more every time I return, so I have no doubt you’ll love it too. If you’re just starting to plan your trip, I’d recommend having a read of my guide to spending two weeks in Costa Rica as well as my Costa Rica packing guide.
Weather in Costa Rica
Costa Rica is beautifully warm all year round. Annual temperatures reach 26°C to 31°C on the coasts and 23°C to 29°C in the mountains and countryside.
The best time to visit Costa Rica is between December and April. This is Costa Rica’s dry season, so you’ll enjoy long sunny days and very little rain. The rainy season is from May to November, and while you’ll experience more rainfall and humidity, the prices are lower and the country is less crowded.
Just keep in mind that Costa Rica has a tropical climate, so the weather is always a bit unpredictable! I always think this is part of the beauty though, as all of that rain adds to the lush, green landscapes.
12 Most Amazing Beach Towns in Costa Rica
One of the best places to visit in Costa Rica is Playa Hermosa. It’s one of the best maintained beaches in the country and even holds a prestigious “Blue Flag” award. Located to the north of the Pacific Coast, this beach is within a short drive of Liberia Airport.
With over two-kilometres of sandy beach and crystal clear waters surrounded by tropical jungle, it’s a lovely beach the whole family will enjoy. If you fancy a bit of adventure you could try snorkelling, surfing or scuba diving here. Alternatively, stroll the coastal road and visit the shops and cafes close by.
Manuel Antonio National Park
No Costa Rica trip would be complete without a visit to the tropical paradise of Manuel Antonio National Park on the Pacific Coast. There’s an amazing variety of flora and fauna to discover here, along with some of Costa Rica’s most beautiful beaches. It’s also a great destination for adventure activities including zip-lining, white water rafting and canyoning.
If you’re looking for a fun adventure the whole family will love, I’d recommend booking a spot on this nighttime jungle guided tour. You’ll enjoy amazing encounters with Costa Rica’s wildlife that only happen at night!
Puerto Viejo is a beautiful beach town located in the Limon province, right on the shores of the Caribbean Sea. It’s one of the best surf towns in Costa Rica thanks to its gorgeous sandy beaches and crystal blue waters. Surfers come from all over the world to ride the famous Salas waves here.
If you’re not into surfing, don’t worry! Puerto Viejo is a chilled out beach town with Caribbean rasta vibes aplenty! It’s popular with backpackers meaning that there are plenty of restaurants, shops and bars to enjoy.
Close by you’ll find the famous Jaguar Rescue Centre – a refuge for sick, unwanted or underdeveloped wild animals. It was set up by a couple of biomedical scientists from Europe who moved to Costa Rica for a change of pace. Little did they know, as soon as they moved to the area, locals heard they could help animals and turned up on the doorstep with sick monkeys, owls with broken wings, and blind crocodiles! Gradually they decided to set up the rescue centre officially and it’s been expanding ever since.
If you visit you’ll be able to see sloths, monkeys and big cats up close, as they receive vital care, before being released back into the wild.
Corcovado National Park
If you’re visiting Costa Rica for wildlife, I’d 100% recommend spending a few days in Corcovado National Park. I absolutely loved my time here! There are eco-lodges dotted around the national park, and you’ll find wildlife absolutely everywhere, including whales, turtles, monkeys, snakes and frogs!
If you take a trek with a local guide, you’ll spend a bit of time on the beaches as well as inside the thick jungle. The beaches here are undeveloped, raw, rugged and filled with natural beauty. Many beaches in Costa Rica have shops and developments close by, but here your closest neighbours will be exotic birds and crabs!
Located on the north of the Pacific Coast, Playa Conchal is considered to be one of Costa Rica’s most exotic beaches. This fabulous beach benefits from pretty perfect weather all year long, so you can visit at any time.
Thanks to the crystal clear water, snorkelling is an absolute must here! Golfers will also enjoy this part of the country as the prestigious Garra de Leon Golf Course is just a short walk from the beach.
Santa Teresa, located in the Nicoya Peninsula, is one of the best surf towns in Costa Rica. This remote beachside town is home to some of Costa Rica’s most beautiful, jungle-backed beaches and is recognised as a world-class surfing destination.
However, you don’t need to be a surfer to enjoy this town! You could set off on a day trip to the peaceful Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve or try exciting adventures including zip-lining, hiking and paragliding.
For the best sand, surf and sun, you can’t beat the beautiful town of Tamarindo. Located along the scenic shores of the North Pacific Coast, Tamarindo is one of the best surf towns in Costa Rica.
Here, you’ll enjoy miles and miles of soft, golden sand and clear blue water. You could make the most of your time there by booking a fun adventure like this romantic catamaran sunset cruise. Once you’ve had your fill of the lovely beaches, head inland for Tamarindo’s vibrant culinary scene and lively nightlife.
While some of Costa Rica’s best beaches are packed with tourists, Playa Montezuma on the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula has maintained its off-the-beaten-path feel. There’s no better place to explore unspoiled beaches, lush jungles and exotic wildlife, without the crowds!
This area of the country is a bit remote so you may find it a challenge to get here, but I promise it’s worth it! If you’re on a budget, you could catch the local bus from San José, or if you want to save time you could rent a car or book a shuttle bus.
Dominical is one of Costa Rica’s best hidden gems. Located on the Pacific Coast, Dominical is a sleepy yet vibrant beach town that strikes the perfect balance between modern comfort and nature. It’s got a wild and unspoiled vibe.
Dominical is also a foodie hotspot known for its delicious local cuisine and authentic craft brewery, Fuego. If you’re into yoga, be sure to check out Danyasa Yoga Retreat, an amazing yoga studio that offers beachside yoga lessons.
If you’re hoping to explore Costa Rica’s lush jungles and spot some wildlife too, then book a stay in Tortuguero on the north of the Caribbean Coast.
While Tortuguero has some fantastic beaches, most people visit on safari-style cruises to explore the vast labyrinth of jungle canals and wildlife. This part of Costa Rica is only accessible by boat or plane, so you’ll need to plan your trip. The majority of people reach La Pavona and Moin by road, and then hop on one of the long boats.
If you’re staying in San José, you can book onto this exciting cruise through Tortuguero National Park. You’ll get to experience the lush jungles, see lots of amazing creatures in the wild (including turtles) and learn lots about Costa Rica’s wildlife from an expert guide.
If you’re hoping to beat the crowds and spend your trip in a remote, off-the-grid paradise, then Nosara on the Nicoya Peninsula is the perfect place for you!
This small beach town is a great option if you fancy a week of surfing and yoga classes. It’s very zen! Unlike many of the more popular beaches, life is slower here. It’s ideal if you’re looking for a laid-back holiday surrounded by some of Costa Rica’s most picturesque beaches!
Just a 1.5-hour drive from Juan Santamaria International Airport, Jaco is the closest Costa Rican beach town to the nation’s capital, San Jose. Surrounded by rolling hills of green jungle and farmland, this tropical paradise offers a mix of adventure and relaxation.
Walk along the town’s bustling main strip and you’ll find plenty of restaurants, surfer hotels, and boutique shops. It’s an ideal place to visit if you’re only spending a few days in Costa Rica but want to experience a bit of beach life (while being within easy reach of the airport).
Where to stay on the beach in Costa Rica
This 5-star beachfront hotel is located next to a stunning, unspoiled private beach in El Jobo. The gorgeous property offers everything you need to enjoy a luxurious holiday including all-inclusive dining, numerous swimming pools, a fitness centre, night club and 24-hour room service and concierge.
If you’re looking for an exciting day trip idea, then Granada, Nicaragua is only an hour away!
This beautiful beachfront property is nestled between an exotic, lush forest and the beautiful beaches of Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast. You’ll enjoy an amazing carefree holiday thanks to the resort’s all-inclusive package.
Foodies will love all the dining options available, which range from authentic local food to Asian and Italian cuisines. The complex is within walking distance from the prestigious Conchal Golf Course and there are plenty of fun activities on the doorstep including surfing, snorkelling, and kayaking.
Want to enjoy one of the best beach towns in Costa Rica for families? You’ll love Hotel Bosque! Just a 1-minute walk from famous Hermosa Beach, this boutique hotel is perfect for families or couples looking for a relaxing beachside holiday with a bit of adventure. In fact, Santa Rosa, Guanacaste, Palo Verde and Diria National Parks are all within a 1 hour’s drive of the hotel.
The property is simply stunning, too! The hotel is hidden amongst the lush tropical vegetation and the decor is modern with an authentic, earthy vibe
I hope you’ve enjoyed this guide to the best beach towns in Costa Rica. If you’re a sun-seeker looking to enjoy some rest and relaxation, any of these beach towns will provide a fun and authentic Costa Rican experience!
If you want to find out more about visiting Costa Rica’s coastal towns, rainforests and cities, check out these comprehensive guides: