Costa Rica

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Loll about on one of Costa Rica’s pristine ocean beaches. The tourism board recommends 43 stretches of sand suitable for sunning; most lie on the western, Pacific Ocean shores, although six, including the near-perfect Playa Cocles, are found on the country’s Caribbean coast.

Costa Rica Beaches

Beaches

Loll about on one of Costa Rica’s pristine ocean beaches. The tourism board recommends 43 stretches of sand suitable for sunning; most lie on the western, Pacific Ocean shores, although six, including the near-perfect Playa Cocles, are found on the country’s Caribbean coast.

Playa Cocles, 866-267-8274 (tourism board), www.visitcostarica.com/ict/paginas/playas.asp
Tags: beach | family | editor pick | things to do | outdoors

Beija Flor

Beija Flor weighs in as a surprising good-value retreat. The 11 guest rooms and two villas at this boutique hotel are sparsely chic and set in a tropical garden. When the surf isn’t up on the Nicoya peninsula, guests indulge in spa treatments, yoga classes, and sunset horseback rides. With its nature-rich setting near the Cabo Blanco nature reserve, guests are nearly guaranteed a tropical bird or iguana sighting. The open-air restaurant serves an appealing French-Asian fusion cuisine. Driving to the resort is possible, but flying to nearby Playa Tambor via a local airline from San José is best.

1km north of Cabo Blanco, 011-506-2640-1007, www.beijaflorresort.com
Tags: beach | moderate | great value

Cahuita

This park on southern Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast is a day at the beach. Picnicking, hiking, swimming, and camping are permitted near the beach; scuba and snorkeling excursions to protected offshore reefs are also available.

Main gate near town of Cahuita, Limon & the Caribbean Coast, 011-506-2758-3170, www.costarica-nationalparks.com
Tags: beach | hiking | adventure | diving | national park

Go to Isla Tortuga

This one-day catamaran excursion to Isla Tortuga may be touristy and pricey, but the picture-perfect island destination just off the Pacific coast makes the indignity of going along with the crowd worth it. Choose a weekday trip to have more white-sand beach to yourself.

Calypso Cruises, 800-887-1969, www.calypsocruises.com
Tags: beach | cruise | editor pick | smart splurge | things to do | tour

Isla Tortuga

Cruise ships shuttle guests over to this 3-square-mile-stretch of white sand daily from marinas like Puntarenas or Los Sueños. The 90-minute journey allows plenty of time for spotting pilot whales, manta rays, and even whale sharks. On-island activities include volleyball, snorkeling and sea kayaking. Note: Isla Tortuga is especially crowded on the weekends. Isla Tortuga, off Pacific Coast

Isla Tortuga,
Tags: beach

Los Sueños Marriott Ocean & Golf Resort

Located on Costa Rica’s central Pacific coast, Los Sueños Marriott Ocean & Golf Resort certainly lives up to its name. With its Spanish colonial charm and 201 ocean and mountain-view guest rooms and suites, it is as dreamy as the rainforest surrounding it. Practice your swing at the 18-hole golf course at the edge of a 1,100-acre tropical rainforest or kick back at the spa, where the sun soother facial is a popular choice. Spanish lessons and salsa classes are offered, too.

800 meters west of Herradura entrance, 011-506-2630-9000, www.lossuenosmarriott.com
Tags: beach | romance | golf | moderate | spa | beachfront | swimming pool | views | eco-friendly

Playa Manuel Antonio

Just south of Quepos on the Pacific Coast, this half-mile-long beach with rocky coves and plentiful marine life is part of Manuel Antonio National Park, a stunning refuge hosting hundreds of species of mammals and birds. Particularly entertaining are the white-faced capuchin monkeys and three-toed sloths. Get a bird’s-eye view of the crescent beach from Punta Catedral, a rocky hill which used to be an island.

South of Quepos, www.centralamerica.com
Tags: beach

Playa Montezuma

What stands out about this jewel of a beach town? The waterfalls. And the visitors. It attracts an eclectic crowd of backpackers, yoga enthusiasts, and artists. Wander down the miles of sand to find isolated spots perfect for kicking back. Nearby are Cabo Blanco and Curú, wildlife preserves homes to anteaters, howler monkeys, and coatis, a member of the raccoon family

Nicoya Peninsula, www.nicoyapeninsula.com/montezuma
Tags: beach

Playa Santa Teresa

This once was a remote spot for die-hard wave-riders. It still is, except today it’s attracting the non-surfing set, too. Located in the south of the Nicoya peninsula, just north of the very popular Playa Mal Pais, this beach is known for its beautiful white/gray sand and its consistent year-round swells.

Nicoya Peninsula, www.playasantateresa.net
Tags: beach

Santa Rosa National Park

For those looking to lose the crowds, the beaches located in Santa Rosa National Park – Playa Nancite and Playa Naranjo – are perfect. The 8-mile trek from the ranger station to reach them is definitely worth it. Come August through November you may catch Olive Ridley turtles nesting by moonlight.

, www.centralamerica.com
Tags: beach

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