Top 10 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 North America. 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!

  • Cahuita // Caribbean Coast

    Cahuita, Playa Blanca beach

    Cahuita is a small town not far north of the Panama border on Costa Rica's Caribbean coast. It is one of the eastern-most points of this small Central American nation, where Afro-Caribbean cultural influences remain firmly in place and create a special ambience. You might even think you were in Jamaica! Forget about "airs and graces" around here,... read more »

  • Jaco Beach // Pacific North

    Jaco Beach Costa Rica

    The somewhat unlikely name of "Jaco" that belongs to this seaside resort is in honour of American Charles Elwood Jaco. He envisioned the resort way back in 1925 and went on to develop it. This was thanks to the fortune he accumulated during the pioneering days of Texas oil discovery in the USA.

    Located just a ninety-minute drive southwest of... read more »

  • Manuel Antonio Beach // Pacific North

    Manuel Antonio beach Luis Cesar Tejo

    While the central Pacific coastal region of Costa Rica may not rank uppermost for its beaches, the four found in the Manuel Antonio National Park are definite exceptions. Manuel Antonio Beach is the best of them from a safe swimming view and is certainly one for your beach bucket list. It is a short and scenic drive south of the regional city of... read more »

  • Manzanillo Beach // Caribbean Coast

    Manzanillo beach Costa Rica

    The fabulous waters of the Caribbean Sea lie to one side of this beach, and a green mantle of tropical palm trees to the other, confirming your arrival at Playa Manzanillo. We are referring to what is a magnificent corridor of white sand beach separating dense tropical vegetation and sea. This is the last vantage point for indulgent relaxation on... read more »