GUANACASTE BEACHES - NEIGHBORHOODS

Conchal Beach

Conchal Beach is one of the most attractive beaches in Costa Rica. The beach is made up of crushed shells and the water is exceptionally clear. All-terrain vehicles and horses can be rented on the beach to explore the area or walk into Brasilito where you can rent a car or get a taxi. Behind the beach is a long thin dirt road used by 4x4 cars and ATVs, it makes for a great shaded nature walk where you can see monkeys, crabs, and other wildlife.

At the North end, you can rent snorkeling gear and the snorkeling is exceptional. The bay is very sheltered and safe which makes swimming ideal if you have young children. There are many activities available. You can rent a small catamaran and sail out on the water; rent a jet ski; ride horses up and down the beach; join an ATV tour, or just relax in the shade of the mangrove trees on the beachfront to work on your tan.

Flamingo Beach

Flamingo Beach is situated on the Guanacaste in Punta Salinas, northwest of Brasilito Bay, 47 miles southwest of Liberia in between the beaches of Potrero and Brasilito. With its dazzling white sand, pristine beaches and clear blue waters, Flamingo Beach offers visitors some of the best deep-sea fishing in the world. Marlin, tuna, swordfish and snapper can be found off the coast all year around. Every July, this alluring beach also plays host to an international sailfish tournament sponsored by the Costa Rican Amateur Fishermen`s Club.

Besides deep sea fishing, Flamingo Beach also offers an abundance of water sports along with its close proximity to the inspiring Santa Rosa National Park and the Palo Verde natural reserve. Nearby for the golfer is also an 18-hole championship golf course which Robert Trent Jones Jr. designed. Scuba diving is accessible here all year round, allowing tourists to participate in the thrill of swimming with white-fin sharks and an array of other captivating tropical fish and marine life. Sailing and diving expeditions can also be arranged to the island of Plata located nearby.

Gulf of Papagayo

Papagayo Gulf is the home to many of Costa Rica`s all-inclusive exclusive resorts. Located on the northern Pacific Coast just north of Panama Beach, the Papagayo Gulf is untamed and very scenic. If you want to get away from people and experience the nature of Costa Rica at its fullest, this is a great area to explore.

Gulf of Papagayo, with fascinating ocean views and intimate settings and activities, as well as abundant tropical greenery at every turn. If you enjoy the sunshine, this is your spot. Here you can find large resorts, as well as small intimate hotels and close proximity to many national parks such as Santa Rosa and Rincon de la Vieja. Commonly known as a paradise for bird watchers and nature lovers, Papagayo is also an alluring experience for those interested in relaxation and enjoyment.

Potrero Beach

Resting next to Flamingo Beach in the quiet fishing village of Potrero which is tranquil and serene. This beach is located along the northwest Pacific coast of Guanacaste, surrounded by rolling hills, tropical vegetation, and diverse wildlife. Visitors look out onto the beautiful turquoise waters that stretch over the white sand beaches of the bay area. This beach destination is ideal for watching the sunset in all its glory. Travelers who want to get away from all the hustle and bustle of modern life will find Potrero Beach to be the perfect destination.

As a historic sportfishing community, Potrero Beach has earned its claim to fame from avid anglers that cast a line in the waters just offshore each year. After all, the region is known as the sailfish capital of the world. Fisherman reel in record-sized fish in nearly every category, so it`s no surprise that sportfishing is the No. 1 activity in the area. Travelers can head out on a half or full-day excursion on the open sea with local charters. There are several top diving spots located just off the shore of Potrero, including the chain known as the Catalinas. These small islands were formed by volcanic pinnacles, and have, over time, become one of the best locations from which to view marine life. Divers can find eagle rays, whale sharks, black tip sharks, humpbacks and manta rays underneath the waters depending on the season. As a former cowboy region, Potrero Beach abounds with equestrian activities led by experienced instructors. Whether you want to ride down the shoreline of the beach during low tide or pass through the mountains, horseback riding is a great way to see the lay of the land. Horseback riding is ideal for beginners and experienced riders. There are several tour companies to choose from in Potrero and neighboring towns.

Hacienda Pinilla

Located close to the beach resort town of Tamarindo, where the surfing is superb and the beaches are beautiful lies the tiny village of San Jose de Pinilla. Sitting in the north of Guanacaste province, this town has recently come into the spotlight due to the presence of the fantastic development project of the Hacienda Pinilla, one of the best golf resorts in Central America with houses, villas, vacation rentals and hotels. This development also has its own private beaches.

Designed by renowned architect Mike Young, this 7500-yard 72 par world class golf course is a pleasure to play on for the avid golfer. Considered by many to be one of the most beautiful and well-maintained courses in the region, the Hacienda Pinilla is a must visit for the avid golfer. Some other activities that you can also enjoy in the area are hiking, bird watching, sport fishing, surfing, snorkeling, horseback riding, mountain biking and a good game of beach volleyball. If you are fortunate to stay at the Hacienda Pinilla resort one has the option of staying in stunning ocean-view home, quaint cottages and luxury condos that dot the area.

Hermosa Beach

Located just a ten minute's drive away from the beach town of Jaco, Hermosa Beach offers surfers some of the best and most consistent surf breaks in the world. However, it is important to mention here that the currents in Hermosa Beach are very strong and are not ideal for swimming. While Jaco offers waves for both beginners and experienced surfers to enjoy, Hermosa Beach is an expert surfer`s beach with waves reaching as high as 13 feet. There are a number of inexpensive surfboard rental shops on the beach as well that stow gear and rent out surfboards. Hermosa Beach also holds the International Quicksilver Surf Championships every year in August that brings hundreds of expert surfers from all over the world. The best time to surf in Hermosa Beach is from April to November when the tide is high and rising.

An important point that tourists must be aware of is that there are two beaches named Hermosa Beaches in Costa Rica. One lies in the province of Puntarenas, while the other Hermosa Beach is located in Guanacaste. The Hermosa Beach in Puntarenas is situated just five km south of Jaco and is one of the best surfing beaches in Costa Rica for professionals both national and international alike.

Langosta Beach

Sitting just south of Tamarindo, the small beachside community of Langosta Beach is an exotic locale with excellent surfing conditions. The sprawling beach at Langosta is much quieter than its neighbor and is one of the best places in this region to let your hair down and relax. One of the most common reasons for visiting Langosta Beach is its surf. At the southern end of the shoreline, the mouth of an estuary has an excellent surf break that often attracts boarders who prefer to hit the waves in a low key, quiet area. The river mouth waves are short and fast, and are ideal for experienced surfers. Surfers should keep an eye out for rocks and coral here. Most of the coral head is exposed during low tide and sits just below the surface during high tide.

Langosta Beach sits right next to Marino Las Baulas National Park. Created in 1990 in an effort to save the leatherback turtles that nest along the shores of Grande Beach, Marino Las Baulas is one of the most biodiverse parks in the region. Featuring mangrove wetlands along the coast, lush forest, and stunning white-sand beaches, Marino Las Baulas is home to a diverse array of flora and fauna. The park spans 1,100 acres of mangrove and 54,000 acres of forest. Bird watching is very popular in this park, as there are roughly 174 species of birds that reside here. The face of Marino Las Baulas is a species that doesn`t technically live here. Each year, leatherback turtles, the largest turtle in the world, make their way to the shorelines to lay their eggs from October to May. These massive creatures can weigh up to 2000 pounds, but they are quite endangered. Because of this, the beaches are closed at night, but travelers can watch the turtles with the help of a tour guide.

Matapalo Beach

Matapalo is a small, easygoing beach town located at the tip of the Osa Peninsula in southern Puntarenas, filled with small cabins and bungalows that inspire guests to enjoy a comprehensive experience with nature. This community is dedicated to eco-friendly habitats, and the majority of lodges depend on solar energy. Matapalo has recently earned the Blue Ecological Flag for its dedication to conservation and preserving the environment - it`s the perfect place to visit without leaving a carbon footprint behind.

Lapa Rios is an exemplary eco-friendly resort which sits on 1000 acres of green forest next to Corcovado National Park. It has been awarded the highest sustainable tourism certification. This lodge is a great option for those who want to get a hands-on experience with the local culture, as well as the natural amenities of the region. This lodge serves locally harvested food and features bamboo furniture crafted locally. Another suitable eco lodge is Ojo del Mar which offers its guests a secluded retreat within the rainforest of Matapalo. This wellness retreat includes homemade and local foods and an on-site library. This small resort is an `off-the-grid` locale that embraces its surrounding nature.

Experienced surfers may want to visit Pan Dulce Beach where world-class surf breaks are a regular feature. However, surfers must be aware of the dangerous rocks lining the bottom of the water. Backwash sits next to Pan Dulce and features a slow right at low tide that breaks over a reef in the middle of the bay. Travelers looking for a place to swim may want to travel to Carbonera Beach, known for its little pools formed during low tide. Matapalo Beach is one of the most hidden shorelines in the entire country and is the southernmost of all the beaches here. This quiet shoreline is a perfect location for anyone looking to escape dense tourism. Since very few travelers that visit Matapalo, the beaches are immaculate and the water is perfect for swimming. Other aquatic activities like diving are available here, as well as horseback riding down the brown-sand shoreline that stretches about two km. Fishermen may want to make a trip to the Portalon River, a great spot to cast a line. If you are looking for a bit more adventure - tree climbing, waterfall rappelling, and hiking are also available.

Salinas Bay

Located in the northwest corner of the province of Guanacaste, Salinas Bay is a remote city situated near Costa Rica`s border with Nicaragua. This popular tourist destination is known for the tremendous wind it often receives as well as the breathtaking views of the bay and the beautiful undeveloped beaches. Those who simply care to relax and take in Costa Rica`s natural beauty will feel at home in the community, while more adventurous travelers can take advantage of the exciting surfing and kite-boarding opportunities at the beach.

Winds are constantly funneling through Salinas Bay, with the strongest gusts typically occurring between November and March. The combination of the regular wind pattern and the beautiful sandy beaches of the bay make it a perfect place for children and teenagers to take surfing and windsurfing lessons while parents look on from the shore. In addition to these recreational opportunities, other popular activities at Bahía Salinas include sunset boat tours, mountain biking, kayaking, and fishing. In addition, because of its proximity to the Nicaraguan border, travelers will find Salinas Bay to be an excellent gateway destination for day tours of the neighboring Central American country.

For travelers who enjoy birdwatching, Salinas Bay is just a boat ride away from Bolanos Isle, which sits in the middle of the bay and is a national wildlife refuge. This island is home to the brown pelican, American oystercatcher and a number of other birds. The island, which is one of the driest areas in Costa Rica, does not permit visitation between December and March. During other months, visitation permission needs to be obtained from the Park Service in San Jose or Santa Rosa. Santa Rosa National Park, which is also situated close to Salinas Bay, is home to an impressive 250 different bird species. The entire park covers nearly 500 square km and is also home to three species of monkey, the white-nosed coatis and a number of sea and land turtles.

Tamarindo Bay

Picture a tropical paradise and you are likely thinking of something like Tamarindo Bay which is situated in Costa Rica along the north Pacific Coast. While some of Costa Rica`s beautiful beaches might be difficult to access, Tamarindo has made its roads tourist-friendly, so that all visitors can experience the beauty of this Guanacaste beach town. This destination is popular with tourists because of its modern development, like paved roads, but don`t worry about it being too crowded or too commercial. There are so many activities for all types of people, that you won`t see everyone heading to one place and causing overcrowding. Of course, beaches can sometimes be crowded in Costa Rica, but you`ll be too busy soaking in the bright sunshine and splashing around in the stunning turquoise water to care about sharing the beach with other happy visitors and laid-back Ticos.

Water is obviously the main feature of many coastal locations in Costa Rica, and in Tamarindo, it certainly takes center stage. Whether you are looking to get into the water, or just skim the top of it, there is something for all types of aquatic lovers. Those looking to dive in the water can just head to the beach with a towel and have a day filled with fun swimming. Those that are more adventurous can rent scuba gear and spend the day exploring what is underneath the surface of the pristine water. Costa Rica is known for its diverse animal life so be prepared to see some amazing creatures. If you`re not looking to get down in the water, there is always surfing, kayaking, sailing, and sport fishing fun to be had. Surfing is very popular on the shores of Tamarindo, and you can either get in on the fun or just watch from the beach. This area is a good place for even novice surfers – the waves and the wind are known to be consistent and aren`t too harsh, so those with only some experience should still be able to navigate the waters. If you aren`t experienced, you can always just sign up for some surf lessons. Tamarindo would be an unforgettable spot to learn the basics of surfing. If you are more experienced, you can sign up to take a surf trip that is customized for you.

There are always lots of sailing and kayaking tours available for tourists too. Those looking to get on a boat to fish are in luck as well. The offshore sportfishing in Tamarindo is known for its big pulls. The area is a hot spot for marlin, sailfish and many others. In Tamarindo, visitors have their choice of activity, from horseback riding, bicycling and rafting, to hiking and golfing. One of the most popular outdoor experiences in Tamarindo is the Marino Las Baulas National Park. Costa Rica is a country that believes in preserving the natural beauty of the land and protecting endangered animals, and this park does just that. This National Park is a protected area that serves as a safe place for the leatherback sea turtle population. They are able to use this area as a nesting site, without fear of being captured or having their eggs stolen. You can also see many other animals in the park, including over 150 species of birds.Golfers have a different definition of paradise than some other travelers might, but Tamarindo can meet the expectations of golfers too. There are courses in this area that of course offer fairways that will stun, but also let golfers experience the local views and wildlife. That isn`t something that most golf courses can offer.