Top 10 Off-the-Beaten-Path Beaches To Explore In Costa Rica

Costa Rica, a tropical gem nestled between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, offers an abundance of breathtaking beaches that are sure to captivate any traveler’s heart. While the country is renowned for its pristine shores, there are hidden gems off the beaten path that offer a truly remarkable experience. Join me as we explore the top 10 best beaches in Costa Rica, each with its unique charm and a trove of activities waiting to be discovered.

  1. Playa Conchal: Located on the Guanacaste coast, Playa Conchal stands out with its stunning shell-strewn shores. Relax on the soft sand, take a dip in the crystal-clear turquoise waters, and embark on an underwater adventure while snorkeling amidst vibrant coral reefs. Don’t forget to explore the nearby mangroves or indulge in a round of golf at the renowned Reserva Conchal Golf Course.
  2. Playa Ventanas: Nestled along the South Pacific coast, Playa Ventanas is known for its remarkable sea caves. During low tide, you can walk through these natural formations and witness the sun casting enchanting rays inside the caves. Explore nearby Playa Ballena for its magnificent whale-watching opportunities.
  3. Playa Grande: A surfer’s paradise, Playa Grande is a pristine beach famous for its consistent waves. Intermediate and advanced surfers will revel in the challenging swells, while nature lovers can witness the awe-inspiring nesting ritual of leatherback turtles, a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
  4. Playa Santa Teresa: Surrounded by lush rainforests, Playa Santa Teresa on the Nicoya Peninsula boasts some of the most consistent and diverse surf breaks in Costa Rica. After catching some waves, unwind at beachfront yoga classes, enjoy fresh seafood at local eateries, or embark on an exhilarating canopy tour through the jungle.
  5. Playa Tortuga: Located near the village of Ojochal, Playa Tortuga beckons visitors with its untouched natural beauty. This peaceful beach is a sanctuary for nesting sea turtles, making it a must-visit for wildlife enthusiasts. Take a guided tour or volunteer to protect these majestic creatures during nesting season.
  6. Playa Zancudo: Escape the crowds and discover tranquility at Playa Zancudo, a hidden gem on the southern Pacific coast. Stroll along the endless shoreline, collect seashells, and witness the mesmerizing sunset over the Golfo Dulce. Engage in sport fishing, kayaking, or simply unwind in a beachfront hammock.
  7. Playa Avellanas: Famed for its picturesque white sand and scenic coastal backdrop, Playa Avellanas enchants all who visit. Surfers flock here to ride the renowned “Little Hawaii” break, while beachcombers can explore the rocky tide pools and witness the beauty of marine life up close.
  8. Playa Biesanz: Nestled on the Manuel Antonio coastline, Playa Biesanz is a secluded oasis surrounded by lush rainforest. The calm waters are perfect for swimming, snorkeling, or kayaking. Afterward, hike the nearby trails teeming with wildlife, or simply relax under a palm tree and savor the serenity.
  9. Playa Dominical: A haven for adventure seekers, Playa Dominical offers an adrenaline-fueled escape. Learn to surf, go horseback riding, explore dramatic waterfalls, or venture into Marino Ballena National Park to witness humpback whales during their migratory season.
  10. Playa Cocles: Located in the Caribbean province of Limón, Playa Cocles entices visitors with its laid-back atmosphere and vibrant reggae culture. Immerse yourself in the Afro-Caribbean vibes, savor the local cuisine, and unwind amidst the breathtaking beauty of the Caribbean Sea.

Costa Rica’s hidden beaches promise unforgettable experiences, allowing you to connect with nature, indulge in thrilling adventures, and soak up the sun in paradise. Whether you seek relaxation, wildlife encounters, or exhilarating activities, these off-the-beaten-path destinations will leave you in awe. Uncover the secrets of these remarkable beaches, and let Costa Rica’s natural wonders become your playground.

BeachCostEase of TravelAmenitiesAvg. Trip Advisor Review3-Day Itinerary7 Day Itinerary
Playa Conchal$$EasyResorts, Snorkel4.5/53-Day Itinerary for Playa Conchal7 Day Itinerary for Playa Conchal
Playa Ventanas$ModerateNatural Caves4.3/53-Day Itinerary for Playa Ventanas7 Day Itinerary for Playa Ventanas
Playa Grande$ModerateSurfing, Wildlife4.6/53-Day Itinerary for Playa Grande7 Day Itinerary for Playa Grande
Playa Santa Teresa$$ModerateSurfing, Yoga4.4/53-Day Itinerary for Playa Santa Teresa7-Day Itinerary for Playa Santa Teresa
Playa Tortuga$ModerateSea Turtles4.2/53-Day Itinerary for Playa Tortuga7-Day Itinerary for Playa Tortuga
Playa Zancudo$ModerateFishing, Kayaking4.1/53-Day Itinerary for Playa Zancudo7 Day Itinerary for Playa Zancudo
Playa Avellanas$$ModerateSurfing, Tide Pools4.5/53-Day Itinerary for Playa Avellanas7 Day Itinerary for Playa Avellanas
Playa Biesanz$EasySnorkeling, Hiking4.3/53-Day Itinerary for Playa Biesanz7 Day Itinerary for Playa Biesanz
Playa Dominical$$ModerateSurfing, Waterfalls4.6/53 Day Itinerary for Playa Dominical7-Day Itinerary for Playa Dominical
Playa Cocles$ModerateLocal Culture, Food4.2/53-Day Itinerary for Playa Cocles7-Day Itinerary for Playa Cocles


Cost key: $ = Low, $$ = Medium, $$$ = High

Ease of Travel key: Easy = Accessible by public transport or car, Medium = Requires some walking/hiking, Hard = Requires difficult hiking or boat access.

These ratings and information are approximate and subject to change. Costs are relative, ease of travel is based on general accessibility, amenities represent the availability of facilities and services, and average TripAdvisor review scores reflect user ratings as of the time of writing.

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