Costa Rica has some of the most gorgeous beaches on earth.
From dramatic views on the Pacific Side to more intimate, charming beaches on the Caribbean side of the country, this land offers you stunning beach front real estate to be thoroughly enjoyed.
After spending 5 months in Costa Rica I discovered my two favorite beaches.
Both Playa Potrero and Playa Espadilla warmed my heart. PP is a pretty little chill beach well off the beaten tourist path. Playa Espadilla is located by Manuel Antonio National Park. Less intimate deal there but you will probably not find a beach on earth offering more diverse wildlife, including my beloved Jesus Christ lizards.
Costa Rica gives visitors a wide range of geographies though. Kelli and I loved our time – albeit a bit challenging – in the deep tropical jungles around Bribri. We also dug the immense highland beauty in San Francisco, by Rio Chirripo. Atenas was fun, as was Montverde and Nueva Arenal.
Let’s see why you need to visit these 2 winners in the Land of the Ticos.
Playa Potrero is a gem of a beach located in Guanacaste.
Curiously enough, this region of Costa Rica is quite dry during the high season. Bone dry. Shocked the pants off of me. I always envisioned the whole of CR to be a lush, humid, tropical jungle. Not so.
The beach itself is simple. Pretty, but not jaw-droppingly stunning. The chief benefit: serenity. Or, peace.
Kelli and I visited during a quieter season yet we saw virtually nobody on the beach. What a treat.
We rented a home 2 blocks from the Pacific, strolling each night to the water for lovely sunsets.
Think more bay than ocean. The water was calm. But I waded in gently because no lifeguards – or many humans, for that matter – were present.
Playa Potrero is all about the chill vibe. Picture a horseshoe shaped bay with few sentient beings around – we did spot 2 white horses wading in tidal pool waters one day – and a sleepy pace of living in the surrounding village.
Getting to PP is a chore. As is getting to any off the beaten path, relaxed, calming ocean side community. If it were easy to get to, it wouldn’t be so quiet, right?
Well worth the trip, of course.
I would frame Playa Potrero as a great spot for R and R. If you are a beach bum this spot likely will work for you. But if you enjoy engaging in beach activities you would be better off on a different beach, more attractive to surfers, divers and water sports.
Playa Espadilla is one of my favorite beaches on earth.
I enjoy the mix of convenience, wildlife and beauty one experiences on this beach in the Manuel Antonio region of Costa Rica. Yep; the famed national park that is both the smallest and perhaps most bio-diverse national park in Costa Rica.
Playa Espadilla is not the quietest beach. Folks spending time in one of the many hotels in and around Manuel Antonio tend to enjoy this beach. But you have enough space to enjoy peace and quiet in this little slice of paradise.
- Jesus Christ lizards
- titi monkeys
- Capuchin monkeys
among other exotic wildlife on this beach.
The Jesus Christ Lizards took the taco.
These little chaps look like B movie stand ins, being primal of nature. Oh yeah; said lizards received their name by being able to skip across water. Aka walking on water. Aka pulling a Jesus move.
JC lizards move swiftly enough to where they dance across calm water with stunning ease. Miraculous-looking, I admit.
I peeped these guys running on water leading from quiet, lazy streams into the Pacific Ocean. The streams led into the Mighty Pacific. The lizards remained land-side.
As for swimming, be cautious. I noted strong currents any time I waded beyond waist level. Perhaps strong swimmers can confidently knife through the mighty Pacific. But I did not feel clear on swimming; especially because life guards did not seem to be present, per custom at most beaches around the globe.
I preferred to hang out under the canopy to enjoy the wildlife. Animals freely approach humans because the lack of hunting and general openness to creatures removed any deep innate fears in local wildlife.
Ultimately, you cannot go wrong with any beach in Costa Rica.
Some beaches seem better for lazing on the sand. Other beaches work for adventurous water sports enthusiasts.
Enjoy the natural beauty, wildlife and warm, tropical beaches in one of the most lush countries in the world.
Do you visit Costa Rica often?
What are your favorite beaches in Costa Rica?
Or do you prefer different regions of the country?