Costa Rica | Top 5 beaches in Guanacaste – Costa Rica

Top 5 beaches in Guanacaste – Costa Rica

2024-05-30

Of all places in the world, Guanacaste is my favorite one. There is no place I would rather be than sunbathing on its white sand beaches or watching the sunset by the sea. When visiting ‘Guana’ as we locals name it, definitely Beach hopping from one paradise beach to another is my favorite sport.

Guanacaste lies on the pacific side of Costa Rica, and has more than fifty beaches to choose from. To be honest, all are worth the visit, but if you are short on time, I’ll share with you my favorite ones.

But first things first: How do you get there?

You have two ways of getting to Guanacaste: you can take a internal flight to Liberia airport, and then rent a car to start your journey or take a shuttle, or you can get there by car from San Jose, on a three and a half hours road trip, depending on where you’re staying.

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Puerto Viejo

 
Puerto Viejo | Costa Rica
 

After getting there, you can start exploring its rural towns and amazing beaches. If you arrive during the day, the first stop has to be Puerto Viejo.

Puerto Viejo is a not so well known beach in Guanacaste, and there lies its charm. It's a white sand beach, very windy but with gentle waves, ideal for families or people that travel with kids, located on the southern point of Playa Conchal, about an hour and a half drive from Liberia.

What I enjoy the most about Puerto Viejo is its calmness. I tend to go there when I want a small retreat from other crowded beaches in Guanacaste. I like to spend the day there, reading by the sea or just enjoying the wind and the sound of the ocean.

There is a restaurant near the shore, which is very atypical in Guanacaste, but also makes it ideal to relax and chill, or if you are a digital nomad, it makes it the ideal place to work by the beach.

Avellanas

 
Avellanas | Costa Rica
 

My second go-to beach in Guana is Playa Avellanas. ‘Avellanas’ as locals call it, is located an hour and a half from Liberia’s airport and about a 30 minutes drive from Tamarindo’s downtown. It’s very popular among surfers for its waves, and you can even get surf lessons there.

It’s a huge shore beach with restaurants and coffee shops. The most popular restaurant in Avellanas is Lola’s, a place whose name pays tribute to Lola the pig, a popular pig in Avellanas that used to sunbathe and spend the day by the sea. If you go to Lola’s, make sure to order a Ceviche with a cold local beer.

Since there is no town center at Avellanas, this beach attracts lots of visitors who are looking for a more ‘local’ experience. You’ll see people selling food, bracelets or drinks along the shore, especially during the weekends.

Tamarindo

 
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Another beach with a great vibe in Guanacaste is Tamarindo. I recommend it if you enjoy great sunsets, and an area with a great day and night life, coffee shops and restaurants, shops and things to do.

Tamarindo is about an hour and a half from Liberia, and is full of things to do, like jet ski rides, boat trips, paddle board, surf lessons, among others. It's definitely your place if you want to spend time doing activities and it's ideal for the most active visitors.

One of the things I love the most about Tamarindo is that it is close to everything. All the rest of the nice beaches in Guanacaste are near Tamarindo, and its town is full of great restaurants. My favorite place to eat is Rural, a restaurant that sells all kinds of typical foods, in small portions, so you can arrange your dish however you want. I visit Rural everytime I go to Tamarindo and I always order the same thing: Gallo Pinto, Eggs, Fried Cheese, Fried Plantains.

Playa Grande

 
Playa Grande | Costa Rica
 

After spending the day on either of those two beaches, you have to go and see the sunset on one of the best places to do so in Guanacaste: Playa Grande.

Playa Grande is this massive beach where you see surfers arrive just before the sunset to wait for the waves. It's beautiful and imposing, and you will certainly see the most beautiful sunsets of your life there.

One of my favorite plans -and I am sure that is the favorite plan of many- is to have a picnic at Playa Grande during the sunset with a good glass of wine and some snacks.

Make sure to arrive before 5:00 pm to get a good spot and enjoy the show, but also keep in mind that Playa Grande is almost a desert beach, so if you arrive earlier, it would be best to bring an umbrella or something to protect you from the sun.

Playa Pelada

 
Playa Pelada | Costa Rica
 

Another great spot to watch the sunset is Playa Pelada, located just minutes away from Playa Potrero. Pelada is mostly visited by locals, to watch either the sunrise or the sunset. It is a rather small beach, very calm and ideal for swimming.

This white, fine sand beach is very desertic, but it makes it ideal to relax and enjoy the sunset. Near Pelada there are tons of restaurants and, as Playa Potrero is nearby, there are also lots of places where you can grab a drink and enjoy while watching the sunset (best plan -ever-).

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