There are few countries that “have it all” when it comes to vacations, but it could be said that Costa Rica falls into this category.

Whether it is beaches, surfing, history, forests, volcanoes or anything else – this is a country which is well and truly taking full advantage of tourism.

As the title may have already given away, today’s guide is going to concentrate on the country’s beaches. This is quite often which grabs the headlines.

Bearing this in mind, let’s take a look at four of the best beaches that this country has to offer.

Manuel Antonio

Manuel Antonio

Let’s start with the pick of the bunch, Manuel Antonio. Few would disagree that it is the most popular in the country, and it’s for very good reason. On Costa Rica’s central Pacific coast, Manuel Antonio encompasses rugged rainforest, white-sand beaches and coral reefs.

The beach itself is out of this world, even if it does attract a lot of people nowadays. The thing that makes this beach unique is its proximity to the Manuel Antonio National Park though. This is a coastal rainforest, and will take just half an hour to get to from the beach itself. All forms of wildlife are aplenty, monkeys especially.

If we return to the beach area, there’s an amazing coral seascape and snorkeling is one of the prime activities in the region.

Santa Teresa

Santa Teresa

A broad strip of forest frames the beach of Santa Teresa and an absence of high-rise buildings maintains the pristine image of the coastline with its long sweep of white sand beach washed by the Pacific surf and backed by jungle covered hills.

Behind the beach forest lies Santa Teresa’s main drag which runs parallel to the coast on a potholed and dusty dirt road.

Quite a tourist who had just been on a surf vacation in Costa Rica decided to make Santa Teresa his home. The multicultural new residents have created a panoply of restaurants, venues, and hotels in Santa Teresa, with lodging options from low-key surf hostels to some of the most luxurious hotels in Costa Rica.

In and amongst the soft, white beaches are plenty of rock pools – meaning that this is one beach that really can appeal to the entire family.

Nacascolo Beach

Papagayo Peninsula

The previous couple of suggestions have focussed on beaches that really do open themselves up to the tourism market nowadays. This is by no means a bad thing – it means that you will always have amenities on offer. However, if you’re looking for something a little quieter and secluded, it’s time to take a trip to Papagayo Peninsula.

One of the main reasons that Playa Nacascolo is not on the radar if many is because of it’s location. When we say secluded, we really mean this.  To reach the beach, you need to head the Four Seasons Costa Rica resort. 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. 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.

Costa Ballena

Uvita

Many a visitor passes on Costa Ballena, reading that the area is difficult to access and offers little to travelers. That was a few years back. Fast forward and you’ll discover that this is no longer the case. Located an hour south of Manuel Antonio, the Costa Ballena (Whale Coast) is slowly becoming famous for its pristine beaches and rolling green mountains that teem with wildlife.

 

The Costa Ballena is a 35 km (22 miles) stretch of coastline in Costa Rica’s south Pacific. It is made up of three major towns: Dominical to the north, Ojochal to the south, and Uvita in between.

The zone is delimited as the coastal range from ‘Rio Barú’, in Dominical, all along the coast, including Uvita and Ojochal, with the river mouth of the ‘Rio Grande de Térraba‘, at the height of Coronado. Costa Ballena is a unique tropical destination where lush mountains meet pebbled beaches. It’s most unique feature, the community!