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Costa Rica Beaches & Attractions / Central Pacific/ Beaches

Central Pacific Beaches - North to South

Punta Leona
Costa Rica: Punta Leona beachA private nature reserve and vacation resort with hotel rooms in different categories, located on a beautiful white sandy beach. Some of the rooms are up to a 20 minute walk away from the center complex, but there is the possibility of using a shuttle bus around the property.
Punta Leona is about 14 km north of Jacó and 10 km south of the Carara National Park.

Playa Herradura
The narrow, dark sanded bay of Herradura has been one of the favorite beaches for Costa Ricans and is suitable for swimming. Today, Plata Herradura is mainly characterized by the 5-star Mariott hotel “Los Sueños” and offers a private marina. Numerous new restaurants and souvenir shops have been built around the hotel. However, the small village is still worth a visit, in the beachfront restaurants delicious fish dishes can be enjoyed.

Playa Jacó
Playa Jacó beach, Costa RicaOne of the more developed coastal cities on the country with a well-developed infrastructure. The town is especially lively during the weekends and the high season and is located on a long bay with dark sandy beaches and the Fila Bustamante covered with woods as a backdrop. Due to the strong currents, swimming is only possible in few locations. We recommend accommodations at the northern end of the bay which offers a calmer and prettier environment.
Jacó is experiencing lots of construction works at the moment, close to the beach 7-storey condominiums are built.

Playa Hermosa
Playa Hermosa is located directly on the open Pacific waters. The up-and-coming surfer seaside village offers numerous hotels, bungalow complexes and holiday houses. The beach itself is about 3 km (1.9 miles) long and between 30 and 150 m (98 and 492 feet) wide – depending on the tides. It is a slightly sloping down beach with rip tides and not recommended for swimming but surfing!  

Playa Esterillos
Hardly ever overly crowded with good surfing conditions and lined with palm and almond trees, Playa Esterillos is a pretty beach with clear blue waters suitable for swimming. The beach stretches from Playa Esterillos Oeste in the west to Playa Esterillos Este in the east and offers plenty of accommodations.

Playa Bejuco
Playa Bejuco is located about 30 km (19 miles) south of Jacó, yet the atmosphere could not be more different from the bustling tourist village. A virgin sandy beach, immaculately clean and offering the “Blue Flag” award – Playa Bejuco is a popular nesting site for several types of birds and offers good surfing conditions as well. It is possible to spend an entire day without seeing another person.

Playa Palo Seco / Parrita
45 km (28 miles) south of Jacó, the small town of Parrita is located amidst the growing area of palm oil which provides the main income of the region. Thanks to low location, only 15 m (49 feet) above sea level, Parrita offers a very warm climate with very little winds. The Palo Seco beach is only 4 km (2.5 miles) from the center of the village and still offers lots of tranquility, privacy and relaxation on the narrow sandy beach of about 9 km (6 miles)

Manuel Antonio National Park
Costa Rica: Manuel Antonio National ParkDistance from San José: about 157 km (98 miles) / about 3 hours
Opening hours: Tuesday – Sunday 7:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., closed on Mondays.
Date of foundation: November 15, 1972
Size: 1,625 hectares (mainland) and 55,000 hectares (sea area)
Hiking trails:

  • In Quebrada la Catarata: from the entrance on the left side until reaching the beach of Manuel Antonio
  • In Punta Catedral: surrounds the island: 1.4 km (0.9 miles)
  • In Playas Gemelas and Puerto Escondido: 1.6 km (1 mile)
  • In Mirador Punta Serrucho: 1.3 km (0.8 miles)

7 kilometers (4.4 miles) south of the village of Quepos, Manuel Antonio National Park is located directly on a fine, white Pacific beach lined with palm trees. The area offers many possibilities for animal observation. Most of the hotels are located on the road between the town of Quepos and the park entrance. A public bus (about every 15 minutes) offers transportation on this route.

The Manuel Antonio National Park offers an area of about 7 km² (2.7 square miles) on the landside, including 12 small offshore islands. Due to the small size of the park, a large amount of animals can be observed – iguanas, Capuchin monkeys, sloths and more than 350 species of birds. Well maintained hiking trails of different lengths cross the park. Thanks to the seaside location, a visit to this national park offers a nice combination of nature and beach stay.

Amenities: Bathroom facilities, guides, hiking trails, viewpoints, swimming possible

>> Tours in and around Manuel Antonio National Park

Playa Manuel Antonio
Thanks to the white coral sand, Playa Manuel Antonio is one of the most popular beaches in Costa Rica. The Manuel Antonio National Park offers three more, very pretty beaches: Playa Espadilla Sur, Playa Escondido, Playa Playita.
The most famous one of all is of course Playa Manuel Antonio. It lies well protected from the waves and offers a small coral reef and a dreamlike beach.

Playa Espadilla Sur and Norte
A dreamlike white beach in the village of Manuel Antonio with turquoise water. Playa Espadilla Sur can only be accessed when entering the national park itself, Playa Espadilla Norte can be visited free of charge as it is located outside of the park.

Quepos with its numerous restaurants, bars, hotels and shops is located directly on the Pacific Ocean. In the past, this small harbor village mainly cultivated bananas; when this became impossible due to a disease attacking the plants, the community changed to the cultivation of oil palms. Its proximity to the Manuel Antonio National Park makes the village a convenient starting point for visits. Quepos also offers a small airfield (Quepos XQP).

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