What’s the best beach to visit in the Guanacaste province of Costa Rica? Which beach town is family friendly? Where is the best surf? All of these questions and more are answered below.
The place to be in Guanacaste! Tamarindo is the most developed, highest traffic city in the area. It has the most restaurants, hotels, rentals, and bars, and thus it is the most visited area.
The beach in Tamarindo is known for the surfing. It has reliable waves suitable for beginners and still plenty fun for more advanced surfers. Several surf shops offer lessons.
The quiet sister to Tamarindo. It’s just a few minutes away from Tamarindo, so you can still enjoy all that “Tama” has to offer, but your stay will likely be a bit quieter with a little less nighttime noise.
“Grande” is a quiet surfer’s town. The RipJack Inn is an awesome hotel right near the beach with a restaurant, yoga studio, and a sand volleyball court.
The surfer’s Mecca in Guanacaste. This is where the experienced surfers go to catch quality, consistent waves. Not recommended for first-time surfers.
Potrero & Surf Side
The little town that has it all. Hot spots include Potrero Brewing and Hemingway’s.
The surf can vary a bit at this beach, but it tends toward the calmer side for the beaches in the area. The water is not very clear, and the sand is fine and a bit darker (so it can get hot). The beach has easy public access.
The town is very small and is mostly a town for the local Ticos; not many tourists stay here, although there are a few small hotels in town. There is a grassy parking area in front of the beach with a few sodas. Patagonia Del Mar boasts the town’s nicest restaurant view, and Masala serves up high quality Indian fare.
The beach in Brasilito is not that great. The water isn’t very clear and there are very few trees or shady areas. The adjacent beach to the south, Playa Conchal, is known to be one of the nicest beaches in Guanacaste, and since Conchal has restricted access by vehicle (see Conchal below), people will often park at Brasilito and then walk across Brasilito Beach in order to access Conchal Beach.
On one side of Flamingo you have the marina, and on the other side you have the beach. Marina Flamingo is a newly completed area with a large marina of boat slips and high-end shops on the mainland. It’s all quite posh.
The beach is gorgeous, with mountain views on each side and fine white sand underfoot. The waves can be larger, not consistent for surfing. You will find several beach vendors offering crafts, massages, and even pina coladas served inside a pineapple!
Conchal is a beautiful beach made of tiny white shells. The area around the beach is known as “Reserva Conchal” and is an exclusive, expensive place to get into. There is a golf course as well as a Westin hotel inside. You may be able to find a short term rental inside Reserva Conchal, but if you don’t have a tee time, a rental, or a room at the hotel, you won’t be able to get in. The other way to access the beach is by walking along the sand from Brasilito Beach, or by watercraft.
Las Catalinas is a newer development that is quite unlike anything else in the area. It had a Mediterranean vibe, with brightly colored townhomes and walking-only paths. There are some spendy, trendy shops scattered throughout the development. There’s also a robust hiking trail system that starts at a trailhead in Las Catalinas, leading to various beach and mountain destinations. It’s a fun place for a day trip, and in general is a bit more expensive than other places in Guanacaste.
Playa Danta is the nearby beach at Las Catalinas. It’s a beautiful beach. A moderate hike along the trails will take you to Playa Dantita, the little sister to Playa Danta, which is more quiet and secluded. Dantita is a gem if you’re looking to take a couple hike and picnic lunch on a beach.
It takes a little effort to get there, but Playa Avellanas is a beautiful area. Lola’s is an awesome spot to post up for the day; it’s a beachfront restaurant with many different types of seating areas, included a lofted 2nd story dining area.
It’s a pretty good surfing beach. Nice sand.
Guanacaste has so many beaches and beach towns, and they all have their own character. Have a suggestion of another beach or beach town that should be in this article? Let us know in the comments!
Now get out there and enjoy the surf!