The Beach Guide

Top 15 Beaches in Costa Rica

With so many pristine beaches along two magnificent coastlines, Costa Rica has caught the attention of tourists looking for exotic holiday experiences. It should come as no surprise too, because this friendly tropical nation in "Middle America" has two distinct shorelines caressed by two oceans, namely the Caribbean along the entire east coast, and the Pacific in the west.

Tourism down Costa Rica way has become the country’s main income earner and biggest employer. This tropical playground offers an impressive list of natural attractions with many national parks, superb beaches, central mountains and even active volcanoes from which to choose. This small nation of a little over 4-million souls covers an area slightly over 51,000 km² / 31,857 mi².

The Republic of Costa Rica is sandwiched between Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the south, placing it between eight and twelve degrees north of the Equator. Its year-round tropical climate spawns a number of microclimates thanks to the varied geography of the terrain.

Coast to Coast Beaches

With 1,290 kilometres / 806 miles of coastline, Costa Rica has more than its fair share of beaches in three distinct regions:

  • The Pacific North (Guanacaste Region / Nicoya Peninsula) in the northwest of the country on the Pacific Ocean
  • The Pacific South along the remainder of Costa Rica’s west coast in the central and southern regions of the country
  • The Caribbean, stretching the full length of Costa Rica’s eastern seaboard from Nicaragua in the north to Panama in the south

With such a vast coast, it is hardly surprising that much of the interest grabbing the visitor’s attention is ocean-related. Swimming and water sports are the easy choices, with competitive surfing fast moving up as a national asset. Deep-sea fishing charters attract anglers from all over the world, with serious competitions and prize money offered. This part of the Pacific boasts the best game fishing anywhere on the planet.

Flying In

The flying time to Costa Rica varies between 3 and 7 hours depending on the start point from the North American mainland. Most international flights land at San José's Juan Santa María International Airport. Another option is Liberia's Daniel Oduber International Airport, which is the gateway to the beaches of the Guanacaste Region and the Nicoya Peninsula. Once you arrive, you will experience a "Lost World" charm about the place, with active volcanoes, occasional hurricanes (Caribbean) and even the odd earthquake certain to make your visit memorable!