Last updated: 11:00 PM ET, Thu July 21 2016

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  • A Cruising Couple | July 21, 2016 11:00 PM ET

    Guancaste, Costa Rica and the Beach of Countless Seashells

    Guancaste, Costa Rica and the Beach of Countless Seashells

    Known to the locals as Playa Conchal, this extraordinary beach in Guanacaste (just north of Tamarindo) is one of only a handful of beaches in the world made up entirely of seashells!

    It's unclear why millions of crushed and whole shells seem to end up here and not on the numerous nearby beaches and bays. Either way, this is one must-visit beach on any trip to Costa Rica. Here's everything you need to know about visiting Playa Conchal so you can experience the wonder for yourself.

    Playa Conchal Costa Rica

    The Beach

    Playa Conchal Costa Rica

    Playa Conchal is a beautiful strip of white beach between two large rocks, with calm, crystal-clear turquoise waters. It is a popular destination for both international tourists and vacationing locals (particularly on the weekends). The north end of the beach is filled with millions of shells that have been slowly rolled and smoothed by the lapping waves. As you make your way farther down the beach away from the dirt parking lot, you'll find the shells slowly turning into powdery soft white sand. Time your visit with low tide so you can see the whole beach when it is fully exposed.

    READ MORE: The Top 9 Reasons To Visit Uvita, Costa Rica

    How To Get There

    Playa Conchal Costa Rica

    Signs are relatively well marked, although we will admit we missed it on our first try. To access Playa Conchal, you'll need to drive to Playa Brasilito, a small beach community about 20 minutes north of Tamarindo. If you hit Playa Flamingo, you've gone too far.

    Once you turn left onto the short sandy road that connects the highway to Playa Brasilito, you can either drive or walk south about a kilometer or two down the beach to Playa Conchal. There will be a sandy parking lot where you can park your car.

    Note: Costa Rica is not a dangerous country, but don't leave valuables in your car or unattended on the beach as they may disappear.

    What To Do

    Besides the obvious shell collecting, the beach offers many water-based activities like jet skiing, snorkeling, stand up paddle boarding and the classic banana boat ride. You'll see vendors about halfway down the beach where you can rent your choice of activity for an hour or two. Be sure to bring some cash.

    Playa Conchal Costa Rica

    There is also a short hike up to the top of the hill between Playa Conchal and Playa Brasilito. It is not a particularly easy climb, but we highly recommend it as you are rewarded with spectacular views overlooking both beaches.

    Where To Stay

    We recommend basing yourself in Tamarindo as it has the widest range of accommodation, from hostels to hotels to vacation rentals. Tamarindo also has great access to other beaches in the area you might want to check out. We stayed at a gorgeous ocean-view condo between Tamarindo and Playa Laguna as guests of Blue Moon. Alternatively, the Westin in world-class and located right near Playa Conchal.

    READ MORE: 8 Awesome Beaches in Guanacaste, Costa Rica

    Where To Eat

    There are a few small restaurants in the town of Playa Brasilito. For authentic Costa Rican cuisine, Soda Brasilito receives raving reviews. If you're in the mood for seafood, The Spot Brasilito right next door is one of the best places in town to grab a meal and watch the sunset.

    Have you ever visited Playa Conchal? What about other shell beaches?

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A Cruising Couple A Cruising Couple's Column

A Cruising Couple Dan and Casey are the two lovebirds, world travelers and adventurers extraordinaire behind the popular travel blog A Cruising Couple - adventure travel with a dash of class. Their stories and photographs feature that special place where experiential and stylish travel meet. Find out how you can spend less money, live more adventurously and travel more luxuriously on their blog,
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