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While Costa Rica isn’t necessarily known for its white-sand beaches, Playa Blanca with surprise you with its gorgeous sand, crystalline water and proximity to Jaco Beach and the capital of San Jose.
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About Playa Blanca
There aren’t too many white sand beaches in Costa Rica. Playa Flamingo is the only one that comes to mind, and I would call that more of a pink sand beach.
In my opinion, Playa Blanca is one of the absolute best-hidden gems of a beach in Costa Rica, and it is definitely worth a visit if you are going to be on the South Pacific Coast of Costa Rica.
Playa Blanca is a semi-private beach in part owned by the all-inclusive resort of Punta Leona. Because all baches are required to have public access in Costa Rica, Punta Leona has to provide access to Playa Blanca, but they don’t make it easy.
Looking for all-inclusive hotels in Costa Rica? Check out our guide here.
This guide to Playa Blanca will help you experience one of the finest beaches in Costa Rica- just minutes from Jaco.
This is a great day trip from Jaco beach, or even from San Jose. This would also be a fun stop if you are heading down south to Manuel Antonio or Dominical.
Location – Getting There And Away
Both beaches are located just bout 15 minutes north of Jaco Beach, and the turnoff is just north of the hotel entrance to Punta Leona.
You’ll drive on the main highway (la Costanera also known as Highway 34) and turn off onto a dirt road. There will be a grocery store on the left just after the first curve. Follow the road for about 5 kilometers and you will pass the Punta Leona resort. There are a ton of big hidden speed bumps along here, so peel your eyes.
Keep driving to the Playa Mantas parking lot, where you can park. On the way you will see a small grocery store and a Pops ice cream shop. Both are open to the public.
If you follow the paved road to the top of the hill you will see the entrance to Playa Blanca, but the trick is that you have to be actually staying at the hotel to use the road and the parking lot.
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You can still get to Playa Blanca however! Here’s how you do it:
You will park at the Playa Mantas lot and walk to the south for about 10 minutes. At low tide, you can climb over the embankment to Playa Blanca. The last time I was there there was a rope in the rock to help pull you over. We had to lift our kids over (ages 4 and 6), but it wasn’t too hard.
This beach is not wheelchair accessible unless you stay at Punta Leona resort and drive over to the beach.
But- it’s worth the hike- the white sand and turquoise water will take your breath away.
Make sure you leave when the tide is low or the entrance will be covered up and you will be stuck on Playa Blanca! Ask the locals for tide charts, and plan to arrive early if you are on the weekend as the Playa Mantas parking lot fills up fast.
There is no bus service to the beach. You can call an Uber or taxi to take you, but you may not be able to get home. Most private drivers will be familiar with this beach and can take you, especially if you mention that it is to the north of Playa Blanca.
There are lifeguards on duty on the South end of the beach.
Looking for a black sand beach? There are over 7 in Costa Rica!
You can stay at Punta Leona all-inclusive resort and have unlimited access to the beach. There are several types of hotel rooms, all-inclusive options, and houses for rent in the area.
There is no camping or any type of overnight stay allowed on either Playa Blanca or Playa Mantas.
If you are visiting Playa Blanca or Playa Mantas, you need to bring your own food or expect to buy snacks at the grocery store before you head over the hill to Playa Blanca.
You may also purchase a meal from Punta Leona’s restaurant.
What To Bring
- your own food and drink
- mosquito repellent
- Sturdy shoes to cross the hill
- There is ample shade at the beach, there are palm trees set back from the water
- Optional- beach chairs
Just remember you will need to be able to carry everything you take, and get it over the hill to the entrance.
Welcome! I’m Christa, a former high school teacher married to a handsome Costa Rican and mother of two bilingual daughters. I love all things Spanish and bi-cultural, (especially travel and food!) and you’ll find my observations on life here. Thanks for stopping by