Top 11 Most Beautiful Coastal Towns in Costa Rica

28-09-2022 11 2 0 0 Báo lỗi

Travelers flock to Costa Rica for its flora, fauna, and, of course, beaches. Thanks to its two distinct coastlines, a visitor could return to the country year after year and still uncover something new on every trip. Whether you’re hoping to catch some waves, go deep-sea fishing, or practice your downward dog in the sand, you’ll want to check out these 11 most beautiful coastal towns in Costa Rica.

1 Đỗ Thị Nga

Manuel Antonio

Manuel Antonio ranks first in the list of the most beautiful coastal towns in Costa Rica. Popular coastal community Manuel Antonio is encircled by pristine white sand beaches and a lush jungle. One of the most beautiful national parks in the world is Manuel Antonio. Wild sloths, snakes, frogs, monkeys, and a variety of other animals can be seen here. The village is essentially one vibrant 6-kilometer road on a hilly area, with a ton of amazing eateries and shops hidden away in the lush jungle.


One of Costa Rica's most stunning beaches, Manuel Antonio Beach is a great place to spend the rest of the day or to cool off after the hike. Espadilla South Beach is on the other side, and it is also stunning. Because they are private property, the beaches in Manuel Antonio National Park are only reachable by passing through the park's gates. It is typical for visitors who have already visited the national park to buy a ticket to spend the day at the beach because it is beautiful and only a 20-minute walk from the entrance.


What to Know About Visiting Manuel Antonio

  • It’s expensive. As one of the most touristic destinations in Costa Rica, it is expensive. Make sure to do some research if you are traveling on a strict budget
  • You don’t necessarily need a car in Manuel Antonio. There is a local bus from Quepos to the national park about every half an hour. This area is super hilly though so it’s not the best for walking. Taxi and Uber are present.
  • Great for all travelers!
  • Quepos is a bit cheaper, you can find cheaper lodgings and vacation rentals and restaurants.
  • It has a fun party atmosphere.
  • Not the best snorkeling in the area but the beaches are beautiful.

By bus

  • From San Jose: There is a direct bus from San Jose to Quepos every day at 6, 12 PM (Mon – Sat), 14:30 (Mon – Sat), 6 PM and 730 PM with Transportes Tracopa. This takes about 3 hours and 45 minutes. There is also a colectivo (stops a ton of places) from San Jose to Quepos every day at 7, 10, 14:00, 15:00, 16:00 and 17:00 (Mon – Fri) and takes about 4 and a half hours. Then from Quepos, you can take a bus to Manuel Antonio once every half an hour
  • From Liberia: From Liberia, take the bus to Puntarenas and then to Manuel Antonio, every day at 5, 7, 9, 11, 13:00, 14:30, 16:30 and 17:30 which takes 3 hours.

Flying to Manuel Antonio

  • There is a local airport right outside of Quepos that domestic airlines such as Sansa Air fly into. From the airport, you can get a taxi or meet your rental car. The airport is about 10 minutes from Manuel Antonio.

By Shuttle

  • From San Jose: A shared shuttle is $57 USD per person, a private is around $220 USD.

Google rating: 4.6/5.0

Location: Puntarenas Province, Quepos, Costa Rica

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2 Đỗ Thị Nga

Playa Uvita

Located in the southern province of Puntarenas, about 16 km south of Dominical, a surfing hotspot, Playa Uvita is located in Marino Ballena National Park. This marine park is popular because from December to April Whales migrate to warm waters offshore to mate before returning north. Since this beach is part of Marino Ballena National Park, fishing and hunting of any marine life is strictly prohibited. However, the swimming conditions here are ideal and tourists can participate in many water sports. The best features of Playa Uvita are the stunning landscape with estuaries and mangrove swamps as well as the lovely local village atmosphere.


Horseback riding, snorkeling, kayaking and scuba diving are very popular activities here, while for those who prefer a more relaxing pace, you can walk along the shore, sunbathe on the beach and enjoy the amazing beauty and marine life. that Playa Uvita must provide. As a relatively quiet beach and without many tourists, you can also take a tour of nearby Caño Island, Violines Island, or Ballena Island, or you can hike to the forests and mountains just a few steps away. that's a few miles.


What to Know About Visiting Uvita

  • You should rent a car to explore the area. There’s lots to discover!
  • You can visit Corcovado National Park from Uvita as a day trip.
  • It gets crazy crowded and busy in February due to the Envision Festival. If you visit in February, make sure to book your hotels and car rentals at least 3-6 months out!

By bus

  • There is a bus fom San Jose to Uvita everyday at 6 AM and 3 PM. There is also a bus from Quepos everyday at 6 AM, 930 AM, 230 PM and 530 PM. From San Isidro del General, there is a bus everyday at 9 AM and 4 PM.

Goole rating: 4.6/5.0

Location: Puntarenas, Costa Rica

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3 Đỗ Thị Nga

Samara

Samara is situated on the northern Pacific coast in the province of Guanacaste. The trip from Liberia International Airport takes about two hours (LIR). It is a simple location to get to as the drive from the airport is on entirely paved roads. The city of Samara's downtown is one of its main attractions. The beachfront downtown is crowded with eateries, hip boutique stores, travel agencies, and a few small hotels.

Its surrounding forest and wildlife are also attractions. Samara is surrounded by a dense tropical dry forest, unlike areas to the north. Monkeys, iguanas, and various birds are common sights even on hotel grounds. Samara’s biggest attraction is its beautiful beach. Playa Samara attracts all types of travelers with its rows of palm trees and light tan sand. You will find 20-somethings grabbing a beer at one of the beachside bars, couples strolling at sunset, and children at play in the calmer ocean waters.


What to Know About Visiting Samara

  • Don’t necessarily need a car. You can walk around town easily and there are two other beaches you can get to without a car
  • Beach is great for swimming and surfing
  • Lots of ocean adventures such as kayaking, surfing, swimming. Also has good fishing
  • Town has everything like pharmacies, grocery stores, etc.
  • For long term rentals, check the Beach House Apartments.
  • Many restaurants may be cash only so bring plenty of cash with you (USD or CRC)

By bus

  • There is a bus from San Jose to Samara everyday at 12 PM and 5 PM (high season). From Nicoya, there is a bus Monday – Saturday at 5, 545, 8, 10, 11, 12 PM, 1 PM, 2 PM, 3 PM, 430 PM, 630 PM, 8 PM and 945 PM.

For shuttles

  • It is about $130 USD from Liberia for a private.

Google rating: 4.5/5.0

Location: State of Nicoya, in the province of Guanacaste of Costa Rica

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4 Đỗ Thị Nga

Flamingo

For almost all ocean-related activities, including fishing, swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, wakeboarding, jet skiing, and much more, Flamingo is one of the most beautiful coastal towns in Costa Rica. This beach is actually well-known for its fishing, and it is currently constructing a top-notch marina that should be finished in the following few years.


Flamingo is the ideal beach vacation spot in Costa Rica for retirees and families because it is a luxurious, upscale beach community in North Guanacaste. The beach is gorgeous, with very tan or white-looking sand and crystal-clear waters. Additionally, Flamingo offers mansions with ocean views, upscale beachfront resorts, and opulent vacation rentals to cater to luxury travelers. It has a great location because it is close to many other stunning beaches and beach towns. Liberia International Airport is 45 kilometers (27 miles) away from Flamingo. The trip takes about 1.5 hours. Flamingo is 275 kilometers (171 miles) from San Jose and takes 4.5 to 5 hours to travel there.


What to Know About Visiting Flamingo

  • Not many budget accommodations, better to check neighboring town Potrero. Lots of fancy vacation rentals like Flamingo Towers and 360 Splendor del Pacifico.
  • A car is highly recommended. This area is quite spread out and there isn’t a constant bus going around.
  • Weather: Flamingo has hot and sunny days nearly all year long. Year round average day temperatures are in the low 90s F(32 C). Because of the high temperatures and drier weather, the mountains turn very yellow like a dessert from the months of January through April.

By Bus

  • There is a direct bus from San Jose to Playa Flamingo at 8 AM, 1030 AM and 3 PM everyday with Empresa Tralapa. From Liberia, there is a direct bus to Playa Flamingo at 430 AM, 6 AM, 8 AM, 11 AM and 6 PM with Transportes La Pampa.

By shuttle

  • You can find shared shuttles to Playa Flamingo. A private shuttle from Liberia Airport to Flamingo is around $80 USD one way.

Google rating: 4.5/5.0

Location: North Guanacaste, Costa Rica

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5 Đỗ Thị Nga

Santa Teresa

Most other places in Costa Rica are far from Santa Teresa. And all of that adds to the appeal. It is situated on the Nicoya peninsula in the country's northern region. Beautiful beaches are Santa Teresa's main draw. The town has grown up only a short distance from the palm-lined beach. The steep hillside directly behind the main road is also dotted with houses and rentals. These provide stunning ocean views.

Although Santa Teresa is well known for its surfing, swimming can be more difficult due to the choppy waves and rip currents. Besides surfing and sunbathing, Santa Teresa’s beaches serve as the main gathering place, especially at sunset. From around five in the afternoon until well after the sun touches down around six, it seems like the whole town comes out. Small and large groups gather on the sand, surfers catch their last waves of the day, and everyone tries to get that perfect sunset pic.


What to Know About Santa Teresa

  • Cash is king in Santa Teresa. Bring plenty as there is only one ATM in town and it runs out of money often.
  • ATV’s are the main mode of transportation in the area
  • There are many beaches in Santa Teresa and there is one main road running parallel to them
  • Roads are completely unpaved so 4×4 really recommended. Gets super dry and dusty in dry season

By bus

  • There is a bus from San Jose to Mal Pais everyday at 6 AM and 2 PM that goes to Santa Teresa. There is also a bus from Cobano everyday at 1030 AM to 230 PM.

For shuttles

  • Private shuttles are available and cost around $250 USD one way for 1-8 people from San Jose. From Liberia, it is around $250 USD one way too.

Google rating: 4.5/5.0

Location: Puntarenas, Costa Rica

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6 Đỗ Thị Nga

Playas del Coco

Previously a sleepy fishing village, Playas del Coco has transformed over the past few decades into a bustling tourist destination complete with tour operators, private and public clinics, an upscale supermarket, and shopping. Playas del Coco is best known for its exciting nightlife and close proximity to some of Costa Rica's most stunning and distinctive beaches. It provides a fun and useful home base for a romantic or family trip to Costa Rica. Most importantly, it serves as a great starting point for exploring nearby beaches, socializing with residents and visitors, and preparing for nearby adventure and tourism activities.


The possibilities for adventure and outdoor recreation are numerous in and around Playas del Coco, in addition to swimming and lounging on the beach. Surfing, snorkeling, sea kayaking, bird watching, horseback riding, and ATV tours are just a few of the options available. Playas del Coco is renowned for its abundant waters and great fishing. Every day, sport fishing tours and charters leave from the marina. Snapper, marlin, yellowfin tuna, and sailfish of various kinds are frequently caught in this area of the Pacific.


What to Know About Visiting Playas del Coco

  • It’s super laid back and a very popular town for USA/Canadaian retirees. It doesn’t have a ton of nightlife compared to other beach towns like Samara, Jaco, Manuel Antonio, Tamarindo or Puerto Viejo.
  • You can perfectly visit without a car. A lot of tourists like to rent a bike or a golf cart.
  • You can find more vacation rentals in Coco than hotels due to the amount of snowbirds, immigrants and expats. Many are just a 2 minute walk to the beach.

By bus

  • From San Jose: everyday at 8 AM, 2 PM and 4 PM with Empresa Pulmitan. There is another option to take the bus from San Jose to Liberia, then Liberia to Playas del Coco.
  • From Liberia: The Pulmitan de Liberia (public bus) runs from Liberia to Coco from 5 AM to 7 PM every hour. It costs 550 colones (~$1).

By shuttles

  • There are no shared shuttles available. A private shuttle is around $55 USD one way for 1-4 people.

Google rating: 4.4/5.0

Location: Guanacaste, Costa Rica

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Tamarindo

Tamarindo is most well-known for its fantastic beaches and nightlife! Both experienced and novice surfers love it because it provides simple access to top Costa Rica surf spots like Tamarindo, Playa Grande, Playa Negra, Playa Avellana, and Playa Langosta. Although all of the Costa Rica beach destinations along the Northern Pacific Coast are great spots to dip your toes in the water and go for a beachside stroll, Tamarindo is bordered by a number of breathtaking beaches that are only a few minutes from the downtown area. Miles of soft, golden sand and crystal-clear waters are available to visitors, contributing to the area's reputation as a tropical getaway.


There are plenty of things to do further inland in addition to other well-liked beach and surf activities like sunbathing, sailing, kayaking, and sport fishing. You can try out horseback riding, go golfing, hike or bike down a forest trail, or eat at a local restaurant to experience the real food culture of Costa Rica. Tamarindo vacations are simple to tailor to your preferences, which also lessens crowding at the area's numerous attractions.


What to Know About Tamarindo

  • Tamarindo also offers the type of tourism catering to young partiers (drugs and prostitutes). It is family friendly but it does offer this as well.
  • Tamarindo can get super crowded during holidays since it’s a popular destination for locals.
  • Some businesses are cash only so bring plenty of cash. Luckily there are several ATMs in town
  • For long term stays, check the Tamarindo Rentals and Real Estate Facebook group.
  • There are some co-working spaces and cafes with high speed Internet in downtown Tamarindo.

By bus

  • From San Jose: One leaves from Calle 14 daily at 11:30 by way of Liberia and 15:30 by way of Tempisque. Another one leaves from Calle 20 daily at 7:15 and 16:00. Both routes take about 5.5 hours.
  • From Liberia: the bus leaves at 3:50, 4:30, 5:15, 6:10, 7:30, 9, 10. 11, 13:00, 14:00, 16:00, 17:00 and 18:00 which takes 1.5 hours.

Flying

  • Tamarindo has its own local airport. Tamarindo is about a 30 minute flight from San Jose and 10 from Liberia.

For shuttles

  • There are shared shuttles from San Jose and Liberia for around $57 USD per adult with Interbus. For private shuttles, it is around $320 USD from San Jose to Tamarindo and $100 USD one way from Liberia Airport.

Google rating: 4.2/5.0

Location: Guanacaste, Costa Rica

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8 Đỗ Thị Nga

Dominical

One of Costa Rica's best kept secrets is Dominical. A sleepy yet lively beach town on the Pacific Coast, Dominical strikes the ideal balance between convenience and the natural world. It exudes a wild, untamed vibe. Beginners to advanced surfers can enjoy the beach's waves. There are also several other beginner-friendly beaches nearby if the waves get too big.


Dominical is in a great location because it is close to numerous natural attractions, including Diamante Falls, Marino Ballena National Park, and Nauyaca Waterfalls. There are many undiscovered and undiscovered places to visit in this area because it is less developed than other beach towns in Costa Rica. Dominical is also a popular destination for foodies because of its delectable regional fare and genuine craft brewery, Fuego. If you enjoy yoga, check out Danyasa Yoga Retreat, a fantastic studio that offers classes on the beach.


What to Know About Dominica

  • A car is the best to get around this area, especially if you want to explore. There is only a local bus that goes up and down the Costanera Sur highway (Route 34) and not directly to attractions. You can visit without a car, but you’d be stuck in the town.
  • There are many very nice vacation rentals in Dominical, more than hotels. You can find fully furnished apartments, studios and houses, perfect for those looking for a long term stay in Dominical. Check the Costa Rica Southern Zone Long Term Rentals FB group for listings.
  • Weather: Dominical is in the South Pacific in proper tropical rainforest. It’s humid and hot, with year round average temperatures of mid to high 80s F (28-31 C). And since it’s in the South Pacific, it tends to rain more in this area.
  • Thanks to the more constant rains and humid weather, Dominical is surrounded by year round lush mountains and rainforest.

By bus

  • There is a direct bus from San Jose to Dominical everyday at 6 AM and 3 PM with Empresa Tracopa. There are also direct buses from Quepos, San Isidro del General, Ciudad Cortes and Ciudad Nelly.

By shuttle

  • There are a couple shared shuttle companies like Ride CR that go to Dominical. Private transfers are also available and cost around $240 USD for 1-8 passengers.

Google rating: 4.0/5.0

Location: Bahía Ballena District, in the state of Osa, province of Puntarenas, Costa Rica

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Puerto Viejo

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca is a relaxed beach town with a distinctly Caribbean vibe, located in southeast Costa Rica along the turquoise Caribbean Sea. Afro-Caribbean and indigenous people coexist in Puerto Viejo, creating a distinctive culture that is exclusive to this region of Costa Rica. Coconut rice, Reggaeton music, vibrant homes, and a laid-back attitude are all prevalent here. And it is no surprise that Puerto Viejo is now a well-liked destination given that it has some of the most gorgeous beaches in the nation, lush jungle, and a variety of restaurants and nightlife.


Smaller dirt paths leading to remote beaches can be found along the road that goes to Manzanillo. Each of these beaches has a distinctive atmosphere. Beautiful Playa Negra in Puerto Viejo has black sand and is frequently calm enough for swimming. Despite not being the best for swimming due to rip currents, the surfing beach Playa Cocles in the south is a great place to unwind on the sand and people-watch. Favorite beach by far is Playa Punta Uva. This cove is the ideal place to while away a day thanks to its clear ivory sand, clear aquamarine water, and tall palms.


What to Know About Puerto Viejo

  • It is a big party town so you will find tons of hostels in downtown. Downtown does get very noisy so pick a hotel outside town if you don’t want to be around that.
  • Puerto Viejo can get a little dicey in some parts and late at night. They do not recommend walking after dark, always take a taxi. Furthermore, don’t go to the beach or walk around by yourself at night or in the early mornings before sunrise.
  • Bicycle is the main mode of transportation. You can rent a sedan to get to Puerto Viejo and get around but lots of people rent bikes. The main road running from Cahuita to Manzanillo, passing through Puerto Viejo is completely paved.
  • For long term stays, check the Puerto Viejo Rentals Facebook group.
    Check out Cahuita, the small town a bit north of Puerto Viejo for a more local experience.

By bus

  • There is a direct bus from San Jose to Puerto Viejo with the Terminal Atlantico Norte everyday at 6 AM, 10 AM, 12 PM, 2 PM and 4 PM. From Limon, there is a bus everyday from 5 AM to 6 PM with Transportes Mepe.

Shuttle

  • You can take a shared shuttle with Interbus for $57 USD from San Jose. A private shuttle from San Jose is $300 USD one way for 1-8 people.

Google rating: 4.0/5.0

Location: southeast Costa Rica

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10 Đỗ Thị Nga

Montezuma

A charming small town called Montezuma is well-known for its bohemian vibe and the breathtaking natural beauty of its beaches and waterfalls. Any beach lover or eco-tourist will love Montezuma, which is tucked away in a true tropical paradise. Small rivers create picturesque » waterfalls and pools on the hillsides surrounding the village, which are covered in jungle. Capuchin monkey groups can be seen in the forests where they live.


For many years, Montezuma has drawn a diverse mix of free spirits, creative types, and hippies looking for a different way of life. Costa Ricans also call it Montefumar or Moctezuma due to its eccentric nature. At the neighborhood farmer's market on Saturday mornings, Montezuma's hippie roots come to life. In addition to organic food, handmade crafts, and artwork, musicians jam here.


The town center of Montezuma, with its charming old wood houses, traveling artists, and vibrant street life, has a Caribbean-like feel and resembles the neighborhood's outdoor living room. In Montezuma, hotels, restaurants, and beaches are all conveniently close by. Numerous inexpensive lodging options are available in hostels and cabinas. Chico's Bar, located in the center of the village, is the center of Montezuma's nightlife. Here, you can dance all night long to techno or Latin beats.

What to Know About Vistiing Montezuma

  • This town is known for attracting those who dabble in leisurely marijuana use so keep that in mind if visiting with family.
  • Beaches are not the best for swimming since the current can be strong. But the beaches have lots of tidepools you can sit and bathe in.
  • Popular town for free camping.

By bus

  • There is a direct bus from San Jose to Montezuma every day at 6 AM and 2 PM. This bus takes nearly 6 hours and uses the Puntarenas ferry. The bus ticket costs around 7000 colones including the ferry ticket.

Google rating: 4.0/5.0

Location: Puntarenas, Costa Rica

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11 Đỗ Thị Nga

Jaco

Jaco is the closest beach town to San Joseon, the Central Pacific Coast, and a popular destination for both locals and expats. With dark sand and a crowded town, although Jaco Beach is relatively unattractive, its proximity to San Jose has kept Tico surfers and hobbyists stuck in the water. The city turns this into a surfing day trip or weekend destination. You'll notice that the town fills up as Friday approaches.


Although the waters of Jaco have dangerous waves, the waves here, especially towards the southern end of the beach, are more controllable for amateur surfers than in Playa Hermosa vicinity. There are plenty of surf schools and board rentals to choose from in town and right on the beach. Because there's no shortage of restaurants in town, you should branch out and try something new every day. In recent years Jaco has gained a reputation as the Sin City on the coast of Costa Rica, and it is likely that during your stay you will notice that both prostitutes and drugs are available here. However, if you come here for surfing or healthy play, you won't be directly affected.


What to Know About Visiting Jaco

  • Jaco is known for nightlife that caters to bachelor parties and yes, that does include drugs and prostitution. The town has cleaned up a lot lately so it is more family friendly but do note that that type of tourism is very present in Jaco.
  • Jaco is one of the few beach towns with painted parking lines and police wll give parking tickets
  • It’s a big beach town, you don’t necessarily need a car to get around though.
  • If you’re looking for long term rentals, check out Condomonios Costa Linda, Las Palmas or Best in Jaco Condos.

By bus

  • From San Jose: There are direct routes from San Jose downtown, leaving from the 7-10 bus station to Jaco. (You need to get a taxi or Uber there from San Jose Airport). It takes 2 hours and costs around $5 USD. You can read this guide on taking the bus from San Jose to Jaco here.
  • From Liberia: You need to go from Liberia –> Puntarenas –> Jaco. The bus from Liberia to Puntarenas departs daily at 5, 7:45, 8:30, 9:30, 10:30, 12:30, 14:30 and 15:30 and takes 3 hours. Puntarenas to Jaco departs at 4:30, 5:30, 7:30, 9:30, 13:00, 15:00 and 17:30 and takes 1.5 hours.

By shuttle

  • From San Jose: A shared shuttle costs $47 USD per person with Interbus. A private shuttle is around $145 USD one way for1-8 people.

Google rating: 4.0/5.0

Location: Puntarenas, Costa Rica

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