Costa Rica’s countless beaches are one of the country’s most irresistible features, so it can be hard to pick the right one for you. If you’re planning a Nicoya Peninsula vacation, make sure to read our reviews of Nicoya Peninsula’s best beaches in Costa Rica and our corresponding hotel recommendations.
Playa Santa Teresa (Santa Teresa/Mal Pais)
Surfers, this is your spot! Located remotely on the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula, this area is known for its waves, wellness, and laid back vibes. With just a handful of paved roads, travelers love the off-the-beaten path experience they get in Santa Teresa/Mal Pais. The long stretches of beach mean access to some of the best surf around, and while it’s popular among locals, you won’t have to fight for a spot in the lineup. Recently, Matt Damon chose Santa Teresa as the perfect place to paddle out. Accommodations vary, though most hotels are intimate boutique-style properties.
Playa Guiones (Nosara/Guiones)
There’s something for everyone here. We’ll be honest – the beach can be crowded, but not in a Spring Break: Cancun! sort of way. In fact, it’s a pretty low-key, family friendly place where happy babies play in the sand, couples walk hand in hand, and surfers of all skill levels catch one perfect wave after another. Just a short walk away is Playa Pelada, a rocky, photo-worthy beach where La Luna Restaurant serves up fresh seafood daily and entertains locals into the night. This is the land of yoga, dirt roads, and happiness. If you’re lucky you’ll spot a movie star or catch a surprise Sublime concert at a local bar.
Hotel the Experts Recommend: Harmony Hotel, just a 2 minute walk from the beach.
A short drive from Nosara, Playa Ostional attracts nature enthusiasts world-wide to the annual arribada or mass turtle nesting. It’s a wonder to many that thousands of olive-ridley sea turtles return year after year to the same strip of beach on Playa Ostional to bury their eggs in the black volcanic sand. The olive-ridley sea turtles are only one of two turtle species to orchestrate synchronized nesting. Consider yourself lucky if you are fortunate to see an arribada! The nestings are sporadic, but generally occur between July and December averaging about 4 to 10 times a year and lasting between 3 and 10 days.
Playa Junquillal (A Hidden Gem)
Few people know about this hidden secret! The undeveloped beach of Playa Junquillal is a secluded gem on the Nicoya Peninsula. The views here are stunning and the beach is nearly always deserted even in high season. If you’re looking to relax away from the crowds, this is the place! Additionally, Playa Junquillal flies the Blue Flag, an award given for clean waters and beaches. However, because of strong currents, swimming is not recommended.
Check out this video featuring one of the best beaches in Costa Rica: Playa Junquillal
Playa Avellanas & Playa Negra
Just north of Playa Junquillal sit Playa Negra and Playa Avellanas. These relatively undeveloped beaches are popular with the surfing community. The beaches here stretch from Playa Langosta in the north all the way down to Playa Negra in the south. For guests of the JW Marriott, Playa Avellanas is only a short walk or shuttle away. Be sure to visit Lola’s beach bar, a local hot spot right on the beach!
Fun Fact: Playa Negra is where surf flick Endless Summer 2 was filmed.
For more information on Nicoya, visit our Nicoya Peninsula destinations page.