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Costa Rica’s top ten beaches
Home to more than 600 miles of unspoiled tropical beaches, which span two contrasting coasts - the Pacific and Caribbean – beach holidays here are as varied as you can get. Knowing where to start is tough, and so the guys on the Imagine Latin America team have picked out their top ten beaches to get you started:
1. Manuel Antonio Beach
This rainforest-backed tropical beach is sprinkled with coconut palms and white sugary sand. With its gentle currents and offshore coral reef, it’s a great place for swimming and snorkelling. Located within Manuel Antonio National Park, butterflies can be seen fluttering in the breeze and monkeys dangling in the trees. With bathrooms, showers and picnic tables nearby, it makes for a perfect place to spend the day. Ideal for families and those wanting to mix nature with an idyllic beach experience.
2. Santa Teresa Beach
This trendy travel destination has been voted by Forbes magazine as one of the world’s top beaches. Santa Teresa beach is a surfer’s paradise, revered for its consistent and powerful waves, long stretch of white sand and picturesque views. With its laid-back vibe and secluded location, this beach is perfect for advanced surfers and young honeymoon couples in search of a semi-deserted beach escape.
3. Tamarindo Beach
A vibrant coastal town which suits those seeking a lively atmosphere and unspoiled beaches. With long stretches of white-sand, blue waters and stunning sunsets, Tamarindo beach is a popular beach destination among families and couples. As one of the more developed areas along the Pacific Coast, there are ample bars and restaurants to choose from, as well as a wealth of activities including excellent surf and legendary deep-sea fishing.
4. Avellanas Beach
Avellansas sits south of Tamarindo and exudes a laid-back vibe and is much less developed than the beaches of Tamarindo. As one of Costa Rica’s favourite surf spots, it boasts powerful waves year round and is suited for the more experienced surfer. With its pristine wilderness and warm waters, it’s perfect for those looking to find their own slice of tropical paradise.
5. Nosara Beach
The area of Nosara is an eclectic mix of surf culture and yoga bliss. The beach of Guiones serves as the surfing hub and is recognised for its excellent beach breaks suitable for both beginners and advanced surfers. The stretch of beach is long with sugar-white sand and secluded bays which offer calm pockets of water ideal for swimming and snorkelling. Accommodation here is remote and luxurious where wellness and tranquillity is key, perfect for honeymooners wanting a touch of privacy.
6. Puerto Viejo
Located on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica, Puerto Viejo was put on the map for its quality of surf. Surfers’ are attracted from world-wide seeking out the commanding waves from Salsa Brava beach. With its long stretch of beautiful coastline, Puerto Viejo is a beach lover’s paradise, where beaches are jungle-fringed, often deserted and nearby to coral reefs where tropical fish are abundant. The quiet beach at Punta Uva is known for its calm reef, secluded bays and white sand – it’s a great place to bring the children to swim. With a Caribbean vibe, the sweet sounds of reggae can often be heard, the cuisine is coconut laden, and the pace of life is slow.
7. Golfo Dulce
This is a hidden gem in Costa Rica. Adjacent to the Osa Peninsula, it is the only tropical fiord in the Americas and enclosed by wild and rugged beaches where biodiversity is intensified. Not so known for its sunbathing, the beaches here are perfect for nature lovers wanting to explore the rugged coastline and simply relax under a palm tree and soak up the magnificent setting.
The laid-back town of Samara is known for its pristine beaches and palpable ease. The sea here is calm and the beaches are revered for being the safest in the country making it ideal for a family getaway. With stunning coral reefs and calm-clear waters, there are a wealth of water activities to be enjoyed, including snorkelling, stand-up paddle boarding and sport fishing.
9. Conchal Beach
Widely regarded as one of the finest beaches in Costa Rica, Conchal Beach gets its name due to the billions of tiny crushed shells that have washed up on shore and have formed into gleaming sand. With its clear, calm and warm waters Conchal beach is a great place for swimming or simply soaking up the sun. The waters are home to a fantastic array of tropical fish and so snorkelling here is some of the best along the pacific coast.
10. Hermosa Beach
Translating in to Beautiful beach, Hermosa Beach lives true to its name. Its long clean stretch of grey-sand is sprinkled with coconut palms and oozes a laid-back atmosphere. Located south of the Gulf of Papagayo, it is much less developed and retains are more pristine feel. Rich in exotic and diverse marine life, it offers some of the best scuba diving in the country as well as other adventure activities including fishing, sailing and snorkelling.