Costa Rica is a wonderful place to visit for many reasons. It has pretty beaches, great surfing conditions, and a gorgeous landscape full of rainforests, mountains, beaches, and more.
The climate is enticing, the turquoise blue waters are appealing and overall Costa Rica is a highly sought-after place to visit. With all the amazing places you can visit, how do you know where the prettiest beaches in Costa Rica are?
The most unique thing about Costa Rica is the fact that it has the Caribbean Sea on its right and the Pacific Ocean on its left. The county is characterized by the long coastline that covers the entire east and west sides of the country. The coastline on both sides is pristine and great for surfing or just swimming and relaxing in the sand.
People flock to Costa Rica for tons of reasons. It’s a great country to live in for ex-pats, it has an expansive landscape and of course for its beaches.
The white, powdery beaches in Costa Rica are some of the most beautiful in the world, not to mention some incredible black sand beaches.
What’s also great about the beaches in this country is that they’re not all backed by larger resorts towns. You can also find quaint villages and even many untouched beaches. Whatever your style is, there is a beach waiting for you in Costa Rica.
With so many beaches to choose from as well as having to make the decision between the Caribbean coast and the Pacific coast, we’ll help you narrow it down.
Below you’ll find a list of the prettiest beaches in Costa Rica. Of course, there are tons of beautiful beaches that didn’t make it on the list but this is a good starting point when choosing a pretty beach to visit in Costa Rica.
Keep reading to find out more about each pretty beach and its accompanying beach town.
11 Prettiest Beaches in Costa Rica
Costa Rica has so many beautiful beaches. It was hard to narrow down but here’s a list of some of the prettiest throughout the country.
1. Manuel Antonio Beach
Located in Manuel Antonio National Park in the Puntarenas province on the pacific coast side, this beach is a very popular destination.
The national park is a coastal rainforest with a ton of wildlife and has been well preserved. The best part about this beach is its privacy. Manuel Antonio is full of things to do.
To access this beach you’ll hike 30 minutes from the entrance of the park. During the way, you’ll get to enjoy amazing views of the rainforest and definitely see animals like monkeys, sloths, and iguanas.
You can swim at this beach and enjoy offshore snorkeling to spot spectacular sea life. The water is very calm here so it’s great for families as well. This beach is truly beautiful and very quiet which can be super appealing.
2. Uvita Beach
Located in Uvita in the province of Puntarenas on the Pacific Coast, Uvita Beach is surely unique. It’s located next to the Marino Ballena National Park and is along the Costa Ballena which is also known as the whale coast.
The phenomenon is that this coast actually looks like a whale’s tail and also happens to be a great place to spot whales.
What a coincidence! The national park protects over 9 miles of coastline and thousands of acres of ocean, making this beach the perfect place for whale and dolphin spotting, swimming, and exploring.
During low tide, you can walk the two miles from Uvita Beach out onto the “whale tail” for amazing ocean views.
On top of relaxing on the beach and enjoying the views, you can also snorkel, explore the national park, swim, and go on tours. These are just a few of the amazing things to do here.
It’s a great beach to spend your time at!
3. Punta Uva Beach
On the Caribbean coast of the country in the province of Limon, is Punta Uva Beach. It’s located in the small fishing village of Punta Uva next to the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge.
Punta Uva beach is separated by Red Cliff which creates two separate pretty beaches. There is a coral reef right in front of the beach which allows for amazing off-shore snorkeling and scuba diving.
Palm trees cover the coast, the sand is pristine and powdery white, and the beach is surrounded by nature. Relax at Punta Uva Beach and spend some time exploring the wildlife refuge for the perfect beach day.
4. Flamingo Beach
In the province of Guanacaste on the Pacific side of Costa Rica is Flamingo beach. The beach town is small but it’s mighty.
Since it’s not a large tourist location, the beach isn’t usually overpacked. It’s also lined by trees with nearby mountains so while you’re sitting there relaxing you can also enjoy the amazing views.
It’s also a spectacularly white beach and during different points of the year, the sand turns very light pink, hence the name Flamingo.
If you can visit during this occurrence it’s absolutely gorgeous! Enjoy the laid-back environment and the colorful Flamingo Beach.
5. Cocles Beach
On the Caribbean side of Costa Rica, Cocles Beach is off the beaten path and absolutely beautiful.
Palm trees line the shore of this sandy mile-long beach. It’s a few miles from the main downtown of Puerto Viejo so it’s ideal if you want to get away from the crowds and find a good place to relax and listen to the sound of the ocean.
6. Blanca Beach
In Cahuita National Park in the province of Limon, you’ll find Playa Blanca. Cahuita is located on the Caribbean coast near the border of Panama. Right off Playa Blanca is one of the largest coral reefs in Costa Rica so it’s the perfect place for off-shore snorkeling to see some amazing marine life. It is also one of the best spots to scuba dive in Costa Rica.
The beach is also pretty vacant so you don’t have to worry about huge crowds which is a plus. You may even see animals in the trees just off the beach like monkeys, iguanas, or sloths! Pretty cool. Once you’ve relaxed on the beach you can even hike and explore the national park.
7. Tamarindo Beach
Tamarindo Beach is located in the Guanacaste province on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica along the Nicoya Peninsula.
Tamarindo Beach is one of the most popular surf locations in the country because the waves are consistent year-round.
Tamarindo not only makes the list for the prettiest beaches in Costa Rica, but also one of the best surf towns.
Surfers of all levels will enjoy the beaches in Tamarindo. The town is laidback and is the perfect place to spend a vacation lounging on Tamarindo Beach. This beach is also known for having one of the best sunsets in the country. Sit back and relax on the beautiful Tamarindo Beach.
8. Chiquita Beach
In the province of Limon on the Caribbean coast is Chiquita Beach. It’s located in a small village so there won’t be tons of establishments waiting for you but if you’re looking for an authentic Costa Rican location you’ve found your place.
The beach is perfect for relaxing or adventuring. It has great off-shore snorkeling and you can even go horseback riding on the beach! It also must be mentioned that because it’s in a secluded area and off the main tourist path you may find people unclothed basking in the sun. Fair warning!
9. Nacascolo Beach
You’ve probably never heard of this beach and that’s because it’s a hidden gem on the Papagayo Peninsula in Guanacaste.
You may even be the only person on this beach if you choose to visit it. The water here is calm and it’s the ideal secluded place to relax. To get to this beach you’ll drive to the designated parking lot and then a shuttle will take you right to the boardwalk.
This hidden off-the-beaten-path beach is serene and even has a ton of wildlife.
10. Esterillos Beach
Another lesser-known yet gorgeous beach is Esterillos Beach. Esterillos is a small town in North Puntarenas that is known by locals and surfers but often overlooked by tourists.
The town is surrounded by fields and rainforests and only has a few restaurants and stores as well as some accommodations.
The brown sandy beach is lined by palm trees and coconut trees and experienced surfers love the waves off the coast. This pretty beach is worth the visit.
🏨 Stay Here When Traveling To Esterillos
11. Tortuguero Beach
There might be a ton of beaches within national parks on this list but it’s all for good reason. They’re clean, well preserved, and breathtakingly pretty.
Playa Tortugeuro is no exception to that. Tortuguero means “turtle region” and this beach is located within Tortuguero National Park in the province of Limon on the Caribbean Coast.
It’s not much of a beach you’d lay down and relax on but more of a beach for spotting turtle nests and seeing baby sea turtles make their way to the coast. Turtle lovers will absolutely adore this beach. If you want to see baby turtles make their way to the ocean you should visit from February to April.
Pacific Coast Vs the Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica
Which side of Costa Rica has better beaches? That’s up to you! If you prefer a beach town that has great accommodations and tons of bars, restaurants, and shops then you’ll most likely want to stay on the Pacific coast which is more developed.
The Caribbean Sea side of Costa Rica tends to be more sparsely developed with smaller villages and towns and more undeveloped land. The beaches on both sides are equally gorgeous it just depends on what type of experience you’re looking to have during your visit. Both sides of the country are beautiful in their own way and the choice is up to you.
On the pacific coast, the best beaches are arguably in the northwest part of the country. On the Caribbean seaside, the best beaches are on the southern border. Pick either or both and enjoy a great vacation!
Costa Rica has so many pretty beaches worth exploring. You should take a trip along the coast and stop at various beaches along the way. They’re all beautiful and worth the visit.
If you can visit both the Pacific Coast and Caribbean side of Costa Rica you should do this also! They’re beautiful in different ways. Going on the beach vacation of your dreams is certainly possible in Costa Rica.
So that’s it. We hope you enjoyed this article on the prettiest beaches in Costa Rica! Hopefully, you found a beach on this list that really sparked your interest. Go and have the beach vacation of your dreams!
Do you have a favorite pretty beach in Costa Rica that wasn’t mentioned on this list? Say so in the comments below.