There are 25 beaches scattered across Guanacaste province, and each one has its unique charm.
While some sandy hotspots will have you living it up like a royal, others are more bring-your-own-everything.
To help you find the perfect seaside spot for your travel mood, let’s dive into Guanacaste’s best beaches and talk about why we love ‘em.
Before We Start
Tucked away on the shores of the Pacific Ocean, the tropical wonderland of Guanacaste awaits.
This northwestern province of Costa Rica is world famous for its endless sun-soaked coastline, lush tropical forests, and dazzling biodiversity.
And, if you’re on the hunt for the best beaches in Guanacaste, prepare to be spoiled for choice.
What to Expect? Whether you are a would-be photographer looking for the rocky shores of wild beaches or you want to splash out at a luxury resort, add Guanacaste to your list of must-see places in Costa Rica.
Where Is There Good Snorkelling in Guanacaste?
Did you know that this tiny Central American travel mecca has a whopping six percent of all of the world’s biodiversity?
With nearly half a million unique species, Costa Rica is amongst the most biodiverse countries on the planet.
Even if you’re not a regular diver or snorkeler, it’s well worth exploring beneath the surface here.
As soon as you arrive in Costa Rica, you’ll see advertisements for snorkeling tours everywhere.
Are you looking for a place to stay in Guanacaste province? Here are the best-rated hotels on booking.com
While it’s hard to pick the very best snorkeling spot in Guanacaste, there are a few stand-out gems.
One of our favorite excursion routes brings you to a couple of dozen rocky islets just beyond Flamingo Beach.
You can set sail from Tamarindo, Conchal, Potrero, or Puerto Viejo to reach this magical place. It’s accessible and well worth the trip.
The Gulf of Papagayo is another area famous for its rich sea life. Calzon de Pobre and Playa Penca, in particular, are ideal for beginner snorkelers.
If you’re more experienced in the sea, look at:
- Playa Buena
- Playa Ocotal
- Playas del Coco
- and Playa Hermosa
Very Best Beach in Guanacaste for Snorkelling: San Juanillo
If you can go to only one beach in Guanacaste to snorkel, make it San Juanillo.
This little seaside fishing village will take you away from the tourists and give you a glimpse into traditional life here.
Under the sea, snorkeling is fantastic just off the shoreline, so there is no need to plan an expedition.
Where Is The Best Place to Surf in Guanacaste?
The best beaches in Guanacaste also happen to have some of the world’s top waves.
As one of the top surfing destinations in Latin America, you’ll find countless surf beaches all over Costa Rica.
In the town of Nosara, you’ll discover Guanacaste’s most popular surf beach: Playa Guiones. This seven-kilometre-long beach offers consistent waves and stunning sunsets.
While you’ll see impressive experts riding the waves, it’s a beginner-friendly surf beach with plenty of surf shops and sandy sea floors.
Meanwhile, Playa Negra is a great pick for advanced surfers, and the popular Playa Grande offers surfing for every skill level.
Very Best Beach in Guanacaste for Surfing: Tamarindo
While the best surf beach in Guanacaste depends on your experience level, Tamarindo is an all-around winner.
Not only does it have consistent waves and sandy floors, but it’s also perfect for the whole crew.
There are countless bars, restaurants, and cafes nearby, so you can make a day of it (without boring the non-surfers!).
Best Beaches in Guanacaste for Families
Playa Tamarindo is one of the most popular destinations in Guanacaste for families as well as couples and solo travelers.
Young and old alike flock to Tamarindo for everything from Spanish classes to surf lessons to doing absolutely nothing.
When it comes to accommodation, Tamarindo is an ideal base because you’ve got activities all day and night, along with a plethora of world-class beaches within 30 minutes.
For a quieter pick? Flamingo Marina is a dream destination to get away from it all and unwind. Likewise, Avellana and Negra beaches offer flawless shores off the beaten path.
Very Best Beach in Guanacaste for Families: Playa Pelada
The town of Nosara is home to the picture-perfect Playa Pelada and everything else an active family might want:
- For little ones, there is a calm wave pool and plenty of shady areas.
- For adventurous ones, you’ll find ATV tours, water sports, and tours of the local Ostional Wildlife Refuge.
Best Beaches in Guanacaste for a Romantic Escape
The Gulf of Papagayo was made for honeymoons.
You can name your adventure here and live it up in a luxe resort or have the beach completely to yourselves.
There are half-tour tours along the Peninsula Papagayo that will bring you to a hidden beach for a private picnic for the ultimate escape.
For an active day out, you can opt for a sunny afternoon on the shore of Playa Hermosa, a stunning public beach, the beach town of Playa Del Coco, or tucked away Playa Ocotal and Playa Panama.
Most Romantic Beach in Guanacaste: Four Seasons Private Beach
For a truly epic romance, head to the Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo.
While staying overnight might just break the bank, the day passes from the Four Seasons (and other nearby luxury hotels) are quite reasonable.
Prices vary by season to check before you go — and be sure to read the fine print!
When you buy a day pass from Four Seasons or other luxury hotels, they will typically offer 50% of that cost back in the form of credits to use at the resort.
All-Around Best Beach in Guanacaste: Playa Conchal
Playa Conchal is one of the best beaches in Guanacaste for a relaxing day out.
It is the only pink sand beach in Costa Rica and a dreamy place to snap pics.
There are horseback tours down on Playa Conchal and Brasilito, and you’ll find tours from there that’ll bring you through the rainforests and hot springs.
Insider Tip – There are two entrances to Playa Conchal. If you’re coming in on the southern side from Tamarindo, you can park and go directly to the beach. If you’re coming from the northern side, you’ll walk down Playa Brasilito for about 20 minutes before reaching Playa Conchal.
A lot of tourists plop down on the first bit of sand they see, but be aware that you’re not at Conchal yet and keep on going. Trust me, it’s worth the walk!
Alright, travelers, which of the best beaches in Guanacaste caught your eye?
Save this list for your Costa Rican escape and see how many you can check off your bucket list!
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