Playa Blanca – Costa Rica’s BEST White Sand Beach

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While Costa Rica isn’t necessarily known for its white-sand beaches, Playa Blanca will surprise you with its gorgeous sand, crystalline water, and proximity to both Jaco Beach and the capital San Jose.

About Playa Blanca Costa Rica

In my opinion, Playa Blanca is one of the absolute best-hidden gems of a white-sand beach in Costa Rica, and it is definitely worth a visit if you are going to be on the 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 beaches are required to have public access in Costa Rica, Punta Leona has to provide public access to Playa Blanca, but they don’t make it easy.

Playa Blanca, Costa Rica 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 the Uvita area.

This guide to Playa Blanca will help you experience one of the finest beaches in Costa Rica- just minutes from Jaco. Given that there aren’t too many white-sand beaches in Costa Rica, this guide should help you find one of my family’s favorite beaches.

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Location – Getting There And Away From Playa Blanca Costa Rica

Driving Directions

Playa Blanca is located next to the public beach of Playa Mantas, which is another favorite beach of ours.

Both beaches are located just about 15 minutes north of Jaco Beach, and the turnoff is just north of the hotel entrance to Punta Leona Resort and Hotel.

You’ll drive on the main Highway 34 (also known as La Costanera) 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. You will pass a small grocery store and an inc cream shop before you pass the official entrance to Punta Leona. There are a ton of big hidden speed bumps along here, so peel your eyes. This is a pretty muddy road in the rainy season, but we have always made it with a sedan, so you shouldn’t need a big car to get here. Just drive slowly.

After passing Punta Leona, keep driving to the Playa Mantas parking lot, where you can park. You must park at Playa Mantas to access Playa Blanca on foot. Hotel Punta Leona only allows guests of the hotel to use the paved road access to the beach. So you will have to hike the rest of the way!

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Hiking To Playa Blanca Costa Rica

Once you’ve parked at the Playa Mantas lot, head to the beach. You’ll then walk along the beach 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.

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.

This beach is not wheelchair accessible unless you stay at Punta Leona Resort and drive over to the beach.

But- Playa Blanca Costa Rica is worth the hike- the white sand and turquoise water will take your breath away.

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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 the beach is near Playa Mantas.

There are lifeguards on duty on the South end of Playa Blanca Costa Rica.

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You can stay at the 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.

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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 To Playa Blanca Costa Rica

  • your own food and drink
  • Sunscreen
  • mosquito repellent
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Towels
  • 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 of Playa Blanca.

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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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  1. Hi Christa,

    We are traveling to Costa Rica for Christmas next year and flying into San Jose on Christmas Eve. We have the second half of our trip booked staying in Dominical and we are looking for a shorter drive beach to stay in for Christmas Eve, Christmas, and the next day. Would you suggest staying in Jaco, Playa Hermosa next to Jaco, or booking the Punta Leona Hotel for Playa Blanca. (with out all inclusive, it would be a waste of money on us) We are traveling with a 1 year old and 5 year old and don’t drink or party. Reviews are mixed on the hotel. Any help traveling with little kiddos to Costa Rica would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!

    1. If you don’t need the all-inclusive, I would definitely book Punta Leon. Actually, even if you did want the all-inclusive I’d still book, but you can get meals only as a package and I think it would be so much fun for you all- especially since there are playgrounds and a kiddie pool right on property, and Playa Mantas is super calm.

  2. Hi there I thoroughly have enjoyed reading all of your comments and good advice I would love to have an opportunity to chitchat with you for a little bit I’m gonna be staying dominical for 10 days October 19 through the 31st and would love to get any advice I’m so excited to visit your country my telephone number is 509-995-3109 and my email address is Amy please reach out to me I don’t have Instagram