Beaches in Costa Rica

Costa Rica occupies a privileged spot in the heart of Central America. While its territory of 19,652 square miles touches both the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, the country is surprisingly accessible - one can travel from coast to coast in just three hours by car (or 45 minutes by plane).

Costa Rica's beaches are surrounded by forests, and have great natural diversity. In many of them there are beautiful coral reefs, where you may dive and explore. In addition, depending on the place visited, you have a series of complementary activities, such as: hikes to mangroves, diving, surfing, sport fishing, hiking on trails or horseback rides.

Thanks to the easy access to many beaches, you can make the most out of both coasts. Most of them have warm water throughout the year, so you may come and enjoy the country any season you prefer. If it's diversity you're interested in, each coast offers different shades and textures of sand, white, yellow, gray and black, product of the constant crashing of seashells on coral reefs.


WHAT YOU'RE LOOKING FOR AS ROOM AND BOARD

Costa Rica's great variety of beaches will let you plan your vacations according to your interests and budget. They all offer the perfect conditions to forget about the city's noise. There are diverse options for lodging near the coast, to fully enjoy yourself, with your family, couple or friends. As you prefer, there are great hotels, offering comfortable facilities, or staying in the warmth of boutique hotels. Besides that, you may treat yourself to Costa Rican gastronomy, varied and characteristic of each region. From coast to coast, you'll find enormous differences as to the food's ingredients and preparation. A common element to all, is their excellent taste, something to excite your appetite and curiosity for sampling the delicious dishes you'll find in this country.

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GUANACASTE REGION

These are the beaches located in the Guanacaste area, which offer many options for adventure and recreation. It is one of the destinations that satisfies different expectations of visiting tourists. For those who like sunbathing in the coast, they have radiant sunshine almost all year round. Atmospheres are varied, and to profit from each one of them, you may select among adequate lodging options. If you go for retired places, as the beaches found near the Santa Elena Peninsula, there are small boutique hotels, or beaches with hotel compounds, at the Gulf of Papagayo.

In them, you may try and combine different activities as swimming, diving, surfing, windsurfing, fishing, beach volleyball and golf. Or simply enjoy the sun while walking along the coastline. You might want to have the opportunity of tasting the gastronomy of Guanacaste, which has a strong indian influence. The products of the area are mainly based on maize, some of them are "bizcochos" or biscuits, "tortillas", "pozol" and rice with maize, or if you have a sweet tooth, you should try the popular "cajetas". The positive side is you can reach the local beaches of the area, with direct flights from the United States to the international airport in Liberia, Daniel Oduber, or also by land, from San José and the Middle Pacific.

CENTRAL AND MID PACIFIC REGION

Find fun for all tastes. Your visit may begin with the islands on this shore, that offer visitors nice beaches to sunbathe, swim, snorkel, have a boat ride, or peacefully share the surrounding nature found in the rainforests. In the central area you may find attractive places, like Puntarenas, with the landing of cruise ships on its pier, its famous gastronomy, offering well-known and varied seafood dishes, like "ceviche" (marinated/pickled fish in lemon and/or vinegar) and baked whole fish.

Other specialties of the region are the "churchil", made with frappée ice and different flavors, condensed and powdered milk and ice cream, "mate" and fruit salads. For the area of the Middle Pacific, you will find exuberant landscapes where sun, beach and forests combine, mainly where there is some kind of protection, in national parks such as Manuel Antonio and Marino Ballena.

On the other hand, for surf lovers, the beaches of Jacó and Hermosa have the ideal conditions for the practice of this sport. At night, these tourist centers fill with fun and enjoyment, so you may expect to have great moments. All the beaches of the area have comfortable accommodations in the different hotels available. There's easy access thanks to the International Airport Juan Santamaría, from where you continue by land for approximately 3 hours, until reaching the desired destination.

SOUTH PACIFIC REGION

This region of Costa Rica offers the possibility of combining the attractions of a beach with the virgin vegetation and coral reefs of Caño island, where you may also practice diving and snorkeling. All of the scenic and exuberant beauties bestowed by nature to this coast are surely going to help you spend some quiet, relaxing vacations. This added value you will discover in its purest form, in the beaches of Golfo Dulce and the Osa Peninsula, being protected by Biological Reserves and the National Park of Corcovado.

Access to this area you have in Golfito's or Puerto Jiménez's runways, which have internal flights that make your trip easier. Thanks to these facilities, you'll arrive faster to one of the places of greatest natural diversity of the country, surrounded by magnificent landscapes, formed by the forests that populate the seaside. This area also counts with access by land and great lodging facilities, characterized by rustic accommodations that will make you feel in closer contact with nature. Give yourself the opportunity of living an adventure, with the activities you may engage in: observation of flora and fauna, will show you a vegetation that is unique, or admire animals as the marvelous macaw. You may go fishing, or surfing, whose fans will profit from the left wave of Pavones, one of the longest in the world.

SOUTH CARIBBEAN

Beautiful beaches are expecting you in this region of Costa Rica, which you may reach by land. When visiting the South Caribbean with your family, couple or friends, admire the contrast of colors of white or black sand, of the beaches of Cahuita and Puerto Viejo. To the colors is added an exuberant vegetation, blending perfectly with the sea shore, in places where beaches and forests are side by side.

Also enjoy sharing with the local culture. There is a strong Afro-Caribbean influence that will make you live a different experience. Learn about the particular architecture of the region, the joy of living of its people, the popular fashion of braided hair, the flavor of the exclusively characteristic foods of the area such as "rice and beans", "pati" "plantinta", chicken with coconut and "ron don" and the autochtonous exotic habits, that originate because of the ethnic diversity that coincides in this place.

All of this you may complement with adventure activities, such as surfing, fishing or diving, which will allow you to learn about the coral reefs, protecting an incredible amount of fish species.

NORTH CARIBBEAN

The voyage to the North Caribbean you may do by sea or air. From June to October, you can live the unforgettable experience of the green turtles' spawning at the beaches of the National Park of Tortuguero. Also enjoy fishing for shad and snook at Barra del Colorado.

ISLANDS

Costa Rica offer islands to enjoy sun, breeze and sea. The most surprising is Coco's Island, declared by UNESCO as Natural Heritage of Humanity. It is located 330 miles from Costa Rican territory, and you may reach it by boat, trip that lasts 36 hours, prior consulting specialized companies that may take you in this journey, to enjoy all of the natural beauty, diving or hiking in the island.

Here you may appreciate incredible examples of marine life, such as the whale shark, white-tip sharks, tuna fish, parrotfish, corals, mollusks or the hammerheaded shark, in quantities that are hard to find elsewhere. Another of the popular islands is Tortuga. Besides enjoying the beach, here your may practice diverse aquatic sports. There is also Caño Island, which is perfect for diving, as its waters are crystal-clear and you may also learn of its Pre-Columbian legacy. Do not miss the islands of the Gulf of Nicoya, that include lots of activities like diving and fishing, with the benefit of the short time to get there and its natural richness. All of these islands, you may reach in a quiet yacht or boat trip.

These tours are organized by specialized companies, offering everything necessary to make your stay in that place comfortable, since neither one of them has hotel facilities. Generally, permanence in the island is limited to daytime, when you may profit from activities organized for receation, such as island tours or beach games. Also offered is the necessary nourishment for the different times of the day, so you may delight with them while observing the immense ocean surrounding you.


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