I’ve been to a LOT of beaches in Costa Rica, and I love to get off the beaten path. So I was surprised to learn, on our most recent visit to Playas del Coco, about the hidden gem that is Playa Nacascolo in Costa Rica. Nacascolo Beach is a perfect day or morning trip from Liberia or any of the nearby beaches such as Playa Ocotal. Between breathtaking views on the drive to the beach, crystal clear warm water, monkeys playing near the entrance, and a completely serene environment, Playa Nacascolo is a must visit beach on your next trip to Costa Rica. Here’s why:
Playa Nacascolo Beach Location
One of the main reasons that Playa Nacascolo was not on my radar is because of it’s location. To reach the beach, you need to head the Four Seasons Costa Rica resort (just follow the signs along the main highway), which is located on the Gulf of Papagayo. Instead of entering the Four Seasons at the roundabout, keep going to the left until you see a sign that says public beach access. You will arrive at a parking lot- park there and head to the ranger station. Every 15 or so minutes a shuttle will take you through the Four Seasons property (the views of the ocean, the gulf, and the private residences are to die for!) and drop you at Playa Nacascolo, or three other beaches along the property (we only visited Playa Nacascolo on this trip).
Arrival at Nacascolo Beach
When you arrive at Nacascolo beach, you will be let off at a small ranger station that has drinking fountains, picnic tables, nice bathrooms and four outdoor showers. You will walk about 100 meters down a nice boardwalk before arriving at the far end of he beach. To find your spot for the day, you can walk along the beach or through the trees on a nice path lined with trash cans. Be prepared to pack in everything that you need to eat, drink, and enjoy the beach- there are not vendors at this beach. We went just before Christmas, at the height of summer vacation, and there were groups of tico locals who had packed in coolers full of beer, grills, meat, canopy tents and even music- it was awesome. Please be sure to protect the beach environment by packing out or throwing trash in the provided trash cans.
What You Will See
The coolest part of the Nacascolo Beach experience is the wildlife. Right when we arrived at the beach there was a large family of white-faced monkeys to greet us. There are so many places for them to frolic and play, and they love to be watched. (A note of caution- the monkeys are used to being fed by tourists, and can get very aggressive around young children. It is best to keep a safe distance. They will also attempt to get food if it is not sealed, so I stored all of our food and drinks in sealed Ziploc bags.) There were also coatis walking around everywhere- my girls loved to see them.We saw a Quetzal in the trees, and I highly recommend taking binoculars for bird watching (affiliate)- and potentially whale and dolphin watching too! (I didn’t get to use my binoculars- I took them out of the case and the lenses had fallen out.)
What to bring
Plan to bring everything you will need for the time that you are at the beach. We took a small cooler with drinks and ice, tons of snacks, sand toys, and a lot of sunscreen (affiliate). We also took some foldable lawn chairs, which were awesome. The area by the water is not shady, but we put our things in the shade and took shade breaks every so often so as not to get sunburned. The beach is quite long, and if you enjoy walking along the water, an umbrella for shade would be perfect (affiliate). The water and waves are very calm at Playa Nacascolo, and several of the locals had inflatable inner tubes (affiliate)for floating in the water- I thought that was a great idea. The water is crystal clear, and snorkel equipment would be awesome here too.
The bottom line
Playa Nacascolo is one of Costa Rica’s best kept secrets. It is perfect for families with young children as there is no rip tide, lots of wildlife for viewing, and there is lots of shade. We went at the peak of high season, and there were only about 30 other people on the whole beach. It is remote, so be prepared to bring all of the items that you will need. We spent a morning there as a perfect day trip from Playas del Coco, and made it back in time for afternoon nap. I would highly recommend Playa Nacascolo Beach as a must-see if you are in the northern Guanacaste region of Costa Rica.
Do you have a favorite beach in Costa Rica? Tell us about it in the comments below!
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