Another list feature for Beach Tomato about captivating Costa Rica…
A tale of two oceans – its coastlines lapped by the Caribbean on one side and the Pacific on the other – Costa Rica attracts surfers with some of the wickedest waves in the world. With miles and miles of beaches, backed by jungles, national parks and home to some incredible wildlife, it’s as much about what’s happening behind the beach as what’s happening on it. Here’s our current pick of the playas.
Playa Tamarindo, Guanacaste
With a friendly international community gathering here, this is a place for the restless, offering beach activities galore during the day and buzzing bars later on. Nip off to the waterfront at night to marvel at the multitudes of shooting stars.
Playa Santa Teresa, Puntarenas
Attracted by the killer breaks, surfers flock to Santa Teresa in their droves. Though development has inevitably followed, the chilled ambience is still in place. On dry land, try some yoga or capoeira, then turn your attention to the horizon for a communal sunset moment.
Playa Montezuma, Puntarenas
A hub of counterculture where backpackers, artists and surfers congregate. The fishing village of Montezuma on the western Nicoya Peninsula, is well-loved by eco-friendly yoga-bending beach bums but spruces itself up each November for the Costa Rican International Film Festival. A morning hike through the jungle to a handful of stunning waterfalls really should be followed by an afternoon basking on Montezuma’s wide sandy beach – Yogi’s orders.
Manuel Antonio, Puntarenas
For beach babies who are feeling a bit frazzled, Manuel Antonio offers sweet relief: you can swim in the shade of the jungle as it overhangs the sea, before heading into the surrounding vegetation to explore the national park.
Playa Chiquita, Gandoca Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge, Limon
This long beach is the very image of untouched Caribbean playa, nestled in the wildlife-teeming Gandaco Manzanillo park. If you’re up for a hefty walk along the water, neighbouring Punta Uva is also grand for a dip.
Playa Tortuguero, Limon
Possibly not the quietest place to escape to from a human perspective, Playa Tortuguero is also absolutely pulsating with wildlife, including the noisiest Howler Monkeys we’ve ever encountered. Other critters in the area include caiman, iguana, bats, nesting turtles and multitudes of brightly coloured birds. Watch out for the jellyfish.
Playa Grande, Guanacaste
A cool, calm atmosphere awaits at Guanacaste, with great surf and tasty local food on the menu – try Café Playa Negra. Turtle fans take note – the Leatherback Turtle nests at this beach.
Isla Chora, Playa Samara
Kayak your way to some beachy goodness across the water from the mainland; this rugged, wooded little isle and its quiet beach sits off the shore of Playa Samara. Be careful – it’s surrounded by reefs, and it’s easy to get caught out trying to get there or back in low tide.
Playa Coyote, San Francisco de Coyote, Guanacaste
If beautiful, remote and serene is your thing, the horseshoe-shaped bay of Playa Coyote will be spot-on. Nature-lovers will marvel at the height of the coconut trees, and admire the birds of paradise that are abundant along the sea shore.
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