Cahuita National Park, El Caribe!

Cahuita National Park, El Caribe!

Costa Rica has a variety of stunning land ranging from volcanoes to rivers to rainforests. But it is certainly a major travel destination because of its stunning beaches and coastlines. I can’t claim these beaches are the “top 5” but there’s a little something for every type of traveler.

Playa Conchal

Playa Conchal

Playa Conchal

If you’re in Guanacaste, the province on the north Pacific coast, then Playa Conchal is a gorgeous beach for a day trip. It gets its name Conchal, the Spanish word for shell, because the white sand is made of shells. It’s family friendly especially near the entrance to the beach where the waves are more tranquilo (and there’s bathrooms!). I recommend bringing snacks and drinks, especially water, with you. There’s some gentlemen selling tasty pineapple drinks and pipas frias (cold coconuts) which are worth indulging in but there are no stores/bodegas on the beach besides a few vendors and a couple of upscale hotels. Visiting this beach was how Ray and I turned around a shit trip!

Manuel Antonio National Park

Photo via WanderWomxn sis Talya

About a 3 hour drive from San Jose, Manuel Antonio is Costa Rica’s most visited park especially because of its beaches. It boasts white sand beaches and depending on the time of year, tranquil and chill waters. Combined with the popular hiking trails, and it’s definitely the kind of park you could spend hours in. We definitely recommend having a car and going on your own unless you want a guide to show you the biodiversity of plants and animals who call the park home!

Cahuita National Park

Cahuita is a coastal town on the southern Caribbean coast which boasts a national park where you can go snorkeling, hiking, and animal watching. You can also lay on the beach and take it all in. About 1 km after the park entrance, the small stretch of beach starts. There are flags to tell you which areas are safest for swimming so pay attention and don’t play around with the red flags! The best time to visit is in the morning before it gets crowded because there is limited space and coastline. We arrived around 9am and scored a prime spot with a picnic table and some sturdy logs to sit on.

Also, be careful about bringing food and make sure you have bags that zip up. The monkeys are straight up THIEVES and will take/rip anything in a plastic bag. True story: I picked up some beach garbage and put it in an empty plastic ZIPLOC dried mango bag (the Trader Joe’s one!). I come back from my walk 15 minutes later and there’s a monkey on the table who grabbed it, took it up the tree, opened it and then threw it down because there was no food in it. You have been warned! 🙂

Samara

samara costa rica sunset travel

WanderWomxn Jax walking off into the Samara sunset

Samara is a chill beach town in the Nicoya Peninsula, a respite from some of the super touristy beach towns that Guanacaste is home to. Apparently it is more popular amongst locals and folks who are more interested in unplugging than doing it for the ‘Gram. It’s a roughly two hour drive from the Liberia international airport (LIR), and well worth an overnight or two. It’s a popular location for diving but also beachside horseback riding (my fav!). Also the Pacific Coast has some of the most stunning sunsets!

Cocles

View from one of my fav Cocles beach nooks

If you wanna see some fine Black surfers, this is the spot. Cocles is located in the Caribbean coast, about 15 kilometers south of Cahuita and 3 km south of Puerto Viejo. The beach is gorgeous and attracts a lot of young international travelers, families and local surfers. The waves are INSANE which makes it the perfect spot to take, or in my case watch, surf lessons. There’s also that Caribbean hippie “pura vida” vibe so on some nights at sunset, you’ll find ecstatic dance, fires and drumming, I also highly recommend some of the hidden beach nooks where you can find your own little place of peace.

Pro-tip: stop for road side patties and fresh juices to go at one of the food carts on the main road between Puerto Viejo and Cocles. Or hit up Reggae Chill for their 2 x 1 cocktails!

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