Best Beaches in Guanacaste, Costa Rica

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There are an endless number of beaches in Guanacaste, and it can be hard to pick the best one for your family. This list will give you an overview of each of the beaches we think are best for families in Guanacaste.

For most of the beaches on this list, you’ll want to fly into the Liberia International Airport and find a place to stay in Liberia for the first night.

No matter which beach on this list you visit, you’ll find outstanding beauty, clear warm waters, amazing weather, awesome beach resorts, and friendly locals.

If this is your preferred vacation destination, here’s a list of some of the best beaches in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. Looking for a Caribbean vibe? Check out our list of the best Caribbean beaches in Costa Rica. Have young children? This is the list of best Costa Rican beaches for young families.

Playa Flamingo

With crystal clear blue waters, shade-lined coasts, an array of unspoiled beaches, stunning sunsets, and gorgeous white sand that sometimes acquires a slight shade of pink in certain weather conditions, Flamingo beach is truly a paradise.

Fishing enthusiasts can delight in the wide range of marine life both near the shore and deeper in the waters. Water sports lovers can enjoy snorkeling, surfing, swimming, and scuba diving. And those who are just looking to relax can lounge under the shaded coast and soak in the views of the ocean.

But gratifying beach days are just a drop in the bucket of all the fun you’ll have here. There’s a lot more to do nearby too including wildlife sightings, ATV tours, horseback riding, ziplining, whitewater rafting, and turtle nesting tours, all of which would be fun for the whole family. We love to stay at Margaritaville when we visit Playa Flamingo.

Three pairs of feet buried in the shell filled sand at playa conchal.

Playa Conchal

Named after the millions of tiny pinkish seashells that make up the sand, Playa Conchal is one of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica.

However, admiring the pristine natural beauty of Conchal is not the only reason people come here; the sparkling turquoise waters are also calm, warm, and great for swimming, and the lush palm trees and mangrove forest near the shore provide the perfect shade for a relaxing beach day, making this a popular destination for families.

Visitors who can pull themselves from the charming sand can indulge in various activities such as fishing, snorkeling, kayaking, jet skiing, scuba diving, paddle boarding, and horse riding.

The more adventurous ones can book an ATV tour or make arrangements for a day trip to Diamante Eco Adventure Park and test the country’s longest Superman Zip Line!

Playa Hermosa

Another spectacular destination for people looking for a calm and relaxing day in the sun is Playa Hermosa. With stunning gray sands, pearly blue waters, and verdant green vegetation, Hermosa truly lives to its name, welcoming watersports lovers of all ages every year.

After you have taken a swim, snorkeled, or scuba-dived in the dazzling waters, why not lay on the warm sand and get some tan while you savor the beautiful scenery around you or take an evening stroll on a horse and watch the magnificent sunset?

Additionally, you can visit the nearby Catalinas Islands and spot some marine life; it’s the perfect place for watching stingrays, sea turtles, and sharks. The calm waters are also great for jet skiing, water biking, and windsurfing.

Image courtesy My Playa Grande

Playa Grande

Want to catch the waves all day? Playa Grande has got you covered! Here, you will find different wave breaks for different surfing needs, from the beginner-friendly low tides to the more challenging high tides to perfect your skill. Plus it’s not too crowded, which makes it a great place for those looking for a peaceful surf day.

Another special feature that keeps visitors coming back to Grande is the marine park that’s incorporated into the beach where thousands of rays, tropical fish, howler monkeys, snakes, lizards, and exotic birds dwell. The park is also a popular nesting site for sea turtles; if you visit any time between October and May, you will be able to catch a glimpse of the giant Leatherbacks who come out onto the shore at night to lay their eggs. It’s such a sight to behold!

Playas del Coco

If you walk along the black sand beach at Playas del Coco, you’ll notice that the majority of visitors are families with children just relaxing and having a good time. Why, you may ask?

Well, unlike many popular destinations in Guanacaste and the Pacific Coast, Coco is quiet, laid back, and has calm, mellow waves, making it one of the best beaches for people with kids (or even pets) who love to play with water. Nightlife here can be a bit crazy, so we generally have accommodations here where we stay out until about 8, and then head home to unwind. Don’t miss the traditional Costa Rican food at El Ancla.

Swimming, snorkeling, boating, and scuba diving are among the activities you can enjoy here, and if you’re an adrenaline junkie, you’ll be happy to know that Coco boasts the longest and most unique Superman Zip Line in Costa Rica. Not only will you enjoy the thrill of height and speed; the remarkable views of the ocean from up there will be an unforgettable feast for the eyes.

Tamarindo Beach, Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Playa Tamarindo

The Tamarindo beach is one of the destinations that receive Vitamin Sea lovers in huge numbers and for good reason – the beach itself is clean, the crystal blue waters stay warm all year round, and the sparkling white sands dotted with beautiful palm trees are absolutely stunning. It’s the perfect place to tan and delight in the clear, warm waters of the Pacific Ocean.

You can swim, surf, snorkel, scuba dive, fish, and watch nesting sea turtles, all while enjoying a chilled-out atmosphere. But don’t let the low-key vibe fool you; days in Tamarindo may be calm and slow, but the nights are a different story. With an array of bars and restaurants to choose from, there’s no shortage of live music. You will, without a doubt, experience some of the best nightlife in Guanacaste! We love to visit the Volcano Brewery here.

View of Playa Langosta Costa Rica.

Playa Langosta

If you’re looking for a much calmer and quieter vacation, Playa Langosta would be excellent. Tucked away near the larger and livelier Tamarindo, Langosta is one of the hidden gems in Costa Rica that offer high-quality surf breaks and fewer crowds, making it a top destination for advanced surfers. Just be sure to keep an eye out for coral and rock outcroppings!

For non-surfers, there are many other fun activities available such as kayaking, ATV tours, ziplining, mountain biking, and horseback riding. Also, Las Baulas Marine National Park is only a hike away for those who would like to spot some wildlife including witnessing the phenomenal turtle nesting.

Playa Ocotal

Just a hop, skip, and jump from Playa del Coco is a little hidden gem called Playa Ocotal. Surrounded by cliffs that turn gorgeously green in the wintertime, the best part about this beach is the tidepools to explore at low tide. Oh, and the women who come to do massages on the beach. Don’t miss eating some amazing Costa Rican nachos or sipping a cocktail at the Father Rooster restaurant.

Sunbather on a red towl looking out onto a bay at playa nacascolo.

Playa Nacazcolo

This beach isn’t easy to get to, but it’s so worth it when you do. A private beach on the Four Seasons property, you’ll take a shuttle down to the beach entrance. Just about 50 steps down again, past some gorgeous white-faced monkeys chattering away, you’ll find a little slice of paradise.

Clear water and calm waves make this a perfect beach for littles, or a romantic getaway for couples looking for a bit of privacy. Easily accessible from Planet Hollywood All-Inclusive resort.

Playa Cabuyal

If you are looking for a great hidden beach you can just drive up to, Cabuyal is your place. It’s secluded enough to be private and boasts some of the best sunsets in the country. We love. to go during the dry season to see the sting rays dancing in the water. Be careful here though, there are strong currents and it can be dangerous at high tide.

View of beach, tidepools, and waves framed by tree branches costa rica.

Playa Avellanas

We first visited this beach with my oldest back in 2013 and fell in love- it’s on our top 5 best beaches for families list. It’s a great surfing beach, and accommodations are just a short walk through the tropical forest. We love the restaurant Lola’s right on the beach- you’ll find everything from ice-cold beer to fresh fish ceviche.

Playa Junquillal

I first visited this beach when I was looking for a different beach and got turned around on the roads. (People, navigating Costa Rica is no joke!) Junquillal is a long beach (more than a mile long) with fabulous tide pools at the north end and a great Costa Rican restaurant to the south. This beach is just on the top side of the Nicoya Peninsula and is truly one of my favorite Guanacaste beaches. I’d recommend staying for at least a few days!

Playa Panama

Panama beach is a gorgeous soft white sand beach perfect for families. We love to go here on a day trip from Playa Hermosa. I just love the thin palm trees whose bases are painted like the Costa Rican flag. This is one of the best places to spend the day relaxing with an ice-cold beer, a perfect breeze, and calm waves. Note there isn’t much shade at Playa Panama and we usually bring a large umbrella and really good sunscreen.

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Christa Jimenez

Welcome! I’m Christa, a Spanish teacher married to a handsome Costa Rican and mother of two bilingual daughters. We’ve spent over 25 years living in and traveling to Costa Rica with our daughters, and this website is my love letter to all things Costa Rica- and to bilingual parenting too. You can read my full story here. Thanks for stopping by!

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