One of the greatest attractions Costa Rica has is the large variety of beautiful beaches with white sand and crystal clear waters. Many of these are visited by thousands of people each year who are looking for a place to find fun and recreation. Its coasts offer a place to enjoy the sun and waves, to relax and to escape from stress of everyday life. (Important note: Not all the beaches have white sand and crystal clear waters.
The Caribbean stands out for its variety of aquatic ecosystems and its sand beaches, of both black and white. They are ideal for activities focused on nature and sea such as sport fishing and diving in clear waters, as well as enjoying the sun and walking on the water’s edge on the beach.
The Pacific coast concentrates big tourist centers and its beaches are preferred for surfing.
Geographically, the Caribbean coastline of the country is 212 kilometers long going from Punta Castilla in the mouth of the San Juan River (on the northern border) to the mouth of the Sixaola River (on the southern border). The Pacific Coastline runs 1,016 kilometers from Mojones (on the northern border) to the Burica Milestone (on the southern border).
Along those 1,228 kilometers of coastline, one can find some of the most splendid coral formations and anemones found in Central America while being in close contact with the ever dominant presence of the nearby jungle.
There are three divisions that Costa Ricans fairly strictly apply to their beaches on the Pacific: North Pacific, Central Pacific and South Pacific.
The landscape starts on the northern end of the country on the Pacific side, with the sight of a semicircular bay called Bahía de Salinas. This bay opens up into extensive beaches covered in pearl grey sands. This area is one of the best known places for sport fishing.
From this point southward, one can find over 100 beaches along the coastline that vary in shape, color, type of sand, water temperature and landscapes, making them the best in Central America.
It must be highlighted that the beaches on Pacific Coast of Costa Rica offers to the tourist the greatest number hotels and infrastructure that, without being necessarily right on the beach like in other parts of the world, are found within minutes of the beach to maintain its wild and untouched character. Comfortable hotels and give the tourist sunny beaches often bordered by mangroves and rivers of incredible beauty including some that are true sanctuaries for tropical flora and fauna of the area.
Guanacaste is famous for its spectacular beaches along 200 kilometers of coastline. The beaches in Guanacaste are blessed with a good wheather and crystal clear waters. Fishing, swimming, diving, surfing or just sun bathing are some of the many things that tourists can do. Visitors can also eat some of what the sea to offer recently has caught by local fishermen to be enjoyed under a starlit sky or simply for lunch with a comforting breeze as a backdrop.
The beaches in Guanacaste are ideal for surfing. Furthermore, they are one of the five best known surf sites in the world. Sport fishing in the high seas is also excellent and there are yearly sport fishing contests here. Most of the beaches in Guanacaste have white sand and dense vegetation. Some of the beaches are ancestral turtle spawning sites. It is said that Guanacaste has so many beaches that one could be surprised by so many.
An important tourist attraction that has moved both national and international tourists is the city of Puntarenas. It still maintains its attraction for tourists: the Old Puntarenas is still the largest port on the Pacific side and from there the tourist can get many rides to the most pleasant and remote beaches that lie within the large Nicoya Gulf.
Puntarenas is a city dedicated to tourism and fishing. Most of the coastal infrastructure for tourists is located here. Geographically and from the air, it appears to be an extended finger that deepens the sea and the estuary that surrounds it from the north.
It should be highlighted that in the Central Pacific Manuel Antonio area it is not clear if the beach dominates the jungle or vice versa. It is located near Quepos Port in the so-called coastal strip of the South Pacific.
The jungle here literally hangs over the sandy beaches and the tourist is astonished to find very large groups of Squirrel monkeys scurrying across the lower branches. These are some of the most attractive monkeys of the monkey family.
Many foreigners have visited here and some have been so attracted to it that they have decided to stay forever in this paradise.
For those who want to venture to less traditional places, the country offers them unique opportunities to find the perfect landscape.
These are all coastal lands in the Southern Pacific. From Carate to Pavones the neighboring forests and some geographical landforms lend themselves to produce abundant alluvial gold.
For hundreds of years gold prospectors combed every millimeter of these areas looking for the prized gold nuggets. Legend has it that there were some people who hit it big.
Is this coast you will find at Pavones beach, one of the longest lefts in the world, great for surfers.
Costa Rica also has beaches on its Atlantic Coast that are very beautiful such as Cahuita, south of Limón. Cahuita is further known for being the place from which the corral reef extends itself southward along the rest of the Caribbean coast of Central America.
For those who love to dive, the floor of the coral reef is ideal. Its transparent waters allow one to grasp in one glance a myriad of anemones, kelp forests and schools of fish with incredible colors, all sorts of shapes and all the known species found in the Caribbean waters.
With the typical scene of the sunken ships from the seventeenth century deep in its waters, not only then reef dominates the area, but also the deep thick green jungle on the Atlantic side that covers the coastlines of Parismina, Matina, Pacuare and Tortuguero in the northern Caribbean.
To go to the beaches of this wild rainforest coastline area, one must go by boats that leave from Puerto Limón. Cruise ships often use the artificial canals, lakes, rivers and estuaries along the 112 kilometers of waterways that connect Limon (the main port on the Atlantic side) with the outlying town known as “Barra del Colorado”, found in the northeastern part of the country.