Explore Costa Rica’s Beaches
Costa Rica is filled with beaches just waiting for you to relax and unwind on. In Costa Rica, all beaches are public and there are a lot of resorts and bars lining the sand in Jaco, so beaches here can get busy. Don’t despair though, a little know-how is all that’s needed to ensure you find the beach of your dreams.
Best All Around Beach
Playa Jaco is a sloping, expansive beach on the southern end; a gorgeous place, and one of the only beaches in town without the backdrop of a towering hotel. It’s a great spot for playing in the waves and boogie boarding – though heed the water condition flags, the undertow can be especially strong here. Popular with both locals and visitors, Playa Jaco has amenities that most beaches are missing in Costa Rica: rows of free thatch-roofed palapas, public restrooms, even a playground and life guards. It also is one of the only beaches with a car park and a public bus stop. If you need a mid-day break from sand and surf, Costa Rica’s most visited archaeological.
Best Quiet Beach
Families enjoy the shallow waters of Playa Esterillos and Playa Jaco. The former is in what is known as the ‘hotel zone’ and has bathrooms and showers, as well as lots of restaurants and bars to enjoy during your time there. The latter is a little further away from the hotels and bars and has pretty views of Isla Tortuga.
Playa Tortuga has a protected lagoon within its calm waters, as well as sun loungers to rent and a low-key restaurant to grab a bite in. Spring breakers and party people flock to Mandala beach, where live DJs provide the tunes that get the vibe going for an afternoon filled with music, tapas, chilled cocktails, and lots of dancing.
Playa Jaco is a hidden gem on a small bay. Locals come here for the calm turquoise waters and laid back vibe – sand castle-making is the most action you’ll find here. Amenities are scarce, so be sure to bring your beach blanket, umbrella and plenty of water and snacks. You’ll probably want a good book or gossip mag too. Minimal signage keeps the spot gloriously off the radar; to find it, look for the public access path across from the supersized Mexican flag on the north end of the main drag.
Best Party Beach
Playa Jaco is a curving stretch of white sand beach. This is literally where people come to get their groove on – most of Costa Rica’s famous nightclubs open directly on or near this section of sand. By day, beach clubs do their best to recreate the nighttime scene, with DJs and pumping music, scantily clad folks and bottles galore the hot-spot here with pool parties and Jacuzzi mixers, beach beds and VIP beach access. Public access to the beach itself is just south of the club – a good way to soak up the party vibe without having to shell out for admission.