Costa Rica has quickly established itself as a popular travel destination, with its lush green forests, interesting wildlife and eco friendly resorts. The country is known for the plethora of adventure activities to take part in. Costa Rica is a small country, but has coastline on both the Pacific and Caribbean oceans. This means there are many beaches in the country, and they are all different! For those who wish to just lie back and relax, check out this list of the best beaches in Costa Rica!
This island offers pristine white sand beaches and coral reefs close to shore that are teeming with marine life. It’s located about 10 miles off the coast of the Osa Peninsula. It’s reachable in about 45 minutes by boat from the resorts on either side of Corcovado National Park. National Geographic has referred to Corcovado as one of the most bio diverse places on the planet.
Caño Island has long been shrouded in mystery. There have been several stone spheres– iconic symbols of Costa Rica’s pre-Columbian Diquis culture– found on the island, as well as other ancient archaeological relics. The legendary pirate Sir Francis Drake supposedly dumped Spanish silver at Caño Island, in order to make more room for gold on his ships. And the island really does get more lightning strikes than anywhere else in the world.
But the island’s greatest treasures are found in the waters just off the picturesque beach. The healthy coral reef provides birthing and mating waters for humpback whales. There are six dive sites and two snorkeling areas, with visibility that typically averages more than 20 feet. Imagine huge schools of yellow and silver-striped Grunts, Amberjacks, Black-tipped Reef Sharks, and dozens of other species. Barracudas, Eels, Turtles, Rays, Puffers, and Parrotfish are often sighted too. Bottle-nosed Dolphins can sometimes seen in winter months.
The majority of Caño Island is off-limits to tourists, with daily visitor numbers strictly limited. As a result, it feels unspoiled and exclusive. Enjoy a picnic lunch between dives, surrounded by stunning scenery. Or perhaps, lay out a towel on the sand and catch some sun. For the more adventurous, climb the rocks strewn with wildflowers to get picturesque views of the gorgeous shoreline.
Casa Corcovado is an award-winning eco luxury jungle lodge situated on a 170-acre private nature reserve. It’s the closest accommodation to Corcovado National Park, and conveniently located near to Caño Island as well. The bungalows there are clustered on a hilltop overlooking Corcovado Bay, surrounded by tropical gardens and lush rainforest for maximum privacy.
Playa Punta Uva
Tucked away in the southeastern corner of Costa Rica is Playa Punta Uva. This tropical paradise will get you away from the crowds. Here, lush forests meet soft sand, offering plenty of shady spots to spread out your towels before frolicking in the Caribbean. Pack a book, snacks, a cooler for drinks, and a buddy! You may not see another person on this secluded beach all day.
The nearest city is Puerto Viejo, a 15-minute drive away. Many visitors choose to bike back and forth to all the nearby beaches. In Puerto Viejo, you’ll find plenty of places to eat and sleep. The area is a half day’s drive from Costa Rica’s capital, San Jose, or a short flight if it’s in your budget. There’s plenty to keep visitors busy and it’s an ideal spot for those looking to escape more popular places.
At Punta Uva itself, though, you won’t find sun chairs, tourist activities or beach bars. And that’s exactly its allure: The feeling of having washed up on a deserted island to claim a sandy stretch of paradise all for yourself.
Puerto Viejo has some of the nicest beaches in Costa Rica. Facing the Caribbean coast in the Limon Province, Puerto Viejo is in the south-eastern corner of the country. The town can be easily reached by bus from San José, the country’s capital. There are direct buses that go all the way to the border with Panama in Sixaola.
Puerto Viejo is a lovely town where time goes by incredibly slowly. It is a great place to hang out, relax, meet other like-minded travelers and explore the surroundings. It’s a typical Caribbean small town, with colorful homes and the majority population are of African descent. Puerto Viejo is famous for the Salsa Brava surf break. Towards the North, Cahuita National Park has a beautiful coral reef and a shipwreck dive site.
While the beaches right outside of the city are the best, even the one right across the city is a nice place to spend a few hours soaking in the sun, swimming, snorkeling, surfing and even diving. Along the road that goes towards Manzanillo, a series of small dirt roads lead to some beautiful secluded beaches. Playa Negra is a black sand beach where the waters are typically calm enough for swimming. Playa Cocles is a surfing beach that is not the best for swimming, but it is excellent for relaxing. Playa Punta Uva (mentioned above!) is one of the best, with the ivory sand and clear waters and tall palms that make it the perfect place to spend a day out of the city.
Corcovado’s wild beaches
Corcovado is one of Costa Rica’s most incredible National Parks, on the remote Osa Peninsula. It may not have the largest beaches, but they are the wildest. It is not unusual to be the only person on the beach. Almost a third of the Osa Peninsula is protected by Corcovado National Park. Getting to the park involves a beach landing on Playa Sirena. Framed by the dense tropical jungle and the endless expanse of the Pacific Ocean, the beaches of Corcovado give the feeling of being on an uninhabited island.
You can hike La Leona trail from Sirena Ranger Station. The trail follows the sandy beaches of the peninsula’s coastline. Lying inside a National Park, these beaches are home to an amazing variety of wildlife. The Endangered Baird’s tapirs like to take an early morning dip in Corcovado, and the beaches are marked with their giant footprints in the sand. If you are very lucky, you may even see a puma. It’s not often that you get to share a beach with wildlife that lives on it. And that’s why the wild beaches of Corcovado are some of the best beaches in Costa Rica. To reach Corcovado National Park you will need to make your way to Sierpe and take the boat to the laidback town of Drake Bay. In town you can book a variety of tours to the park, ranging from day trips to 3-night stays.
The incredible long sandy Playa Grande, about 40 minutes walk from Montezuma, is a beautiful beach in Costa Rica. Montezuma is a small town in the south of the Nicoya Peninsula, on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. Playa Montezuma itself is a nice, popular beach just a few minutes from the town. It is good for swimming, and snorkel trips to the nearby islands depart from here. If you keep walking, following a jungle trail that runs along the beach, you reach the spectacular Playa Grande after about 40 minutes. You can zig zag between the jungle trail and the beach most of the way. It is a long, beautiful beach with only a bather here and there. This is a popular place for surf lessons from the town, it is a good place to learn, but perhaps not great for experienced surfers.
The Romelia Wildlife Reserve borders the beach and the amount of wildlife you can see here is fantastic. Orange and purple crabs run across the sand and howler monkeys roar in the trees. If you are lucky, you may run into a Coati or 2. The beach is also used by turtles, who come here to nest. It is possible to reach Montezuma from San Jose with a 6 hour bus and a ferry trip. There is a variety of accommodation available close to the beach from backpacker’s to more upmarket.
Ostional is a beautiful beach that is located in the Guanacaste Province of Costa Rica. This beach is remote, and the village shows you what Costa Rica used to look like a couple of centuries ago. As it is so remote, it is recommended that you hire a car so you can explore the village and the untouched flora that surrounds the coastline. Ostional beach is also home to the leatherback sea turtle, the largest sea turtles that roam the ocean. There is also plenty of nesting birds and an array of Costa Rican fauna.
Ostional beach isn’t just your typical beach, it is also the home to one of Costa Rica’s most amazing wildlife reserves. During the rainy season, hundreds of Olive Ridley sea turtles will come to Ostional beach to lay their egg in the black, volcanic sands. This natural phenomenon is called the ‘arribadas’ which is the Spanish word for the ‘arrival’. The arribadas happen once a month (sometimes even twice) and tourists will flock to see the sea turtles. Outside of arribadas, Ostional beach will be all yours. Along with its picturesque views, the serenity will definitely highlight why Ostional beach is one of the best beaches in Costa Rica. – Helena from www.throughanaussieseyes.com
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