Costa Rica has no shortage of beautiful beaches. With the powerful Pacific Ocean running along its West side, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to picturesque bays. The Guancaste area on the North Pacific coast is a good place to start your beach search, with its array of relaxed seaside towns which capture the essence of ‘pura vida’ perfectly.
What’s pura vida? Literally translated as ‘pure life’, it is Costa Rica’s very own catch phrase and motto. It can also be used as a friendly greeting or a way to give someone your best wishes. And you’ll hear it all over Costa Rica, from taxi drivers bidding you goodbye to that random person you strike up a conversation with at the beach bar.
If you’re flying into Liberia Airport, nestled in the North West corner of the country, and can’t wait to get out onto the beach, then you could try heading to one of these three stunning beaches. They are all within an easy 1-hour drive away from the airport and each has its own unique atmosphere.
What better way to soak up some pura vida vibes than at a laid-back surf beach? The large, sandy bay of Tamarindo Beach is lapped by rolling waves from both reef and sand breaks, and can be a good spot for experienced surfers as well as beginners, depending on conditions. You can hire a surf board from the small strip of shops. Or you could opt to take it easy and explore the colourful juice carts and beach cafes as you lounge on a hammock and watch the world go by.
Playa del Coco
The town that hugs Coco Beach is the most commercial in the area, with shopping and watersports by day and lively nightlife after sunset. The beach itself has soft, dark sand and it’s a good base to book yourself onto a scuba/snorkelling tour or a boat tour to a nearby island. It’s a great place to pick up souvenirs too, with shops selling everything from pura vida-inscribed keyrings to traditional hammocks crafted from colourful threads. A selection of restaurants and buzzing bars come to life as darkness falls.
Hermosa Beach is the most secluded and natural of the three destinations listed here. Backed by wild palm trees and forestry filled with monkeys and other creatures hiding in the branches, the long bay stretches for 2km. Golden sand and plenty of space makes for dreamy scenery, with the silhouettes of small islands in the distance. The water can be a little choppy at times so be careful when swimming. After a day at the beach, the scattering of hotel bars provide the happy hour piña coladas to sip on while the sunset casts its coral glow over the beach.
There are also lots of other beaches in and around the three listed here, from small coves to sweeping bays. But these should help to give you a taster of what you’ll find on the sensational shorelines of Costa Rica’s North Pacific coast.
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