A Cruising Couple | July 14, 2016 11:00 PM ET
8 Awesome Beaches in Guanacaste, Costa Rica
It’s no secret that Costa Rica is host to a spectacular variety of beaches. In fact, the small country has nearly 300 unique beaches on the Pacific side alone! The famous northern province of Guanacaste is where you’ll find some of the best sandy gems. From the super secluded black sand beaches of Playa Negra to the rugged coastline at Sugar Beach, here are some of our favorite beaches within easy reach of one of Costa Rica’s most popular destinations: Tamarindo.
Note: We recommend visiting during the shoulder season of November and early December as this is when the rainy season is coming to an end and the surrounding landscape is lush and beautiful.
This unique beach is unlike any other we’ve visited anywhere else in the world. The first thing you notice when you arrive is that the beach is covered with millions of small shells, which have been tossed by the waves and rolled smooth. As you make your way down the beach, it slowly turns from smooth shells to soft white sand. Be sure to time your visit with low tide so you can see the whole beach when it is fully exposed.
READ MORE: 7 Epic Waterfalls in Costa Rica
Surrounded by chic resorts, Playa Flamingo was one of the first beaches in Costa Rica to receive international recognition. It is a great place to spend a day soaking up the sun, taking a boat tour to look for dolphins or simply enjoying a beachside spa treatment with cocktail in hand. For a spectacular view of the surrounding area, head to the top of Salinas Point.
The busy beach town is a popular place to base your stay, as it is right in the middle of the action. Here you’ll find everything from beach bars with live music to souvenir shops with handcrafted artwork. The beach itself is popular with surfers of every variety and has suitable waves for both beginner and experienced surfers.
Photo via Flickr/dog4aday
Photo via Flickr/ferrariguy90
Just a few kilometers down the road from Tamarindo is the more relaxed Playa Langosta. This long stretch of sandy beach is far less crowded than its neighbor and has plenty of room to relax with your toes in the sand while watching the waves roll in.
Situated in a small cove looking out over the islets and bays toward the south, Sugar Beach and its beachfront hotel are a beautiful display of Costa Rica's calm yet rugged and wild coastline. The beach is typically secluded, so while you won’t have any amenities outside of the hotel, you will have plenty of natural beauty all to yourself.
Photo via Flickr/Laurens
True to its name, this large beach will feel practically empty compared to Tamarindo, which is just on the other side of the estuary. The beach is part of Marino Las Baulas National Park, named for the leatherback turtles that lay their eggs here. Groups of the world's largest sea turtle come back year after year to use the beach as a nesting ground. Nighttime tours can be arranged to see these amazing animals at the ranger station located just a few meters from the beach.
Photo via Flickr/Arturo Sotillo
If it weren't for the advent of surfing or the installation of the restaurant Lola's, this beach might never have been discovered. It remains far off the beaten path, as you must take a long dirt road to reach it. We recommend spending an afternoon enjoying the sunshine and washing it down with an Imperial or two from Lola's. Make sure you meet Lolita, the restaurant's mascot, an enormous potbelly pig.
A few kilometers further down the road from Playa Avellanas you'll find the ultra-secluded Playa Negra. You're likely to be one of the only visitors to this pristine, black-sand beach. Be sure to pack snacks, as the closest thing you'll get to a restaurant is a local farmer selling fresh coconuts out of his pickup truck. This is also a great spot to look for shells along the rocks.
These are just a handful of our favorite beaches within easy reach of Tamarindo. Have you visited Costa Rica’s famed Guanacaste region? What beaches were your favorite?
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