One of the best things about Costa Rica’s Gold Coast is the ease and ability to travel amongst the beaches in the area. Each has something unique to offer depending on the mood of the day, or your desired beach activity.
Tamarindo has long been hailed as a surfer’s haven. With several breaks of various difficulty levels, Tamarindo beach itself is great for beginners to take surf lessons and for more advanced wave masters to show off their skills. And as the focal point of a surf vacation, you can also easily check out other beaches in the area while you are in town.
More advanced surfers can take a water taxi for example, just across the Tamarindo estuary to Playa Grande. These experienced surfers have the chance to spread out and catch less crowded waves. The waves here are often a next level up from the waves in Tamarindo. Home to Las Baulas National Marine Park, Playa Grande is also an expansive beach that’s great for relaxing and sometimes spotting wildlife, including the sea turtles that nest here.
Just south of Tamarindo, about a 20-minute drive, you will also find the famed Playa Avellanas. Again, here you have a beach better suited for more advanced surfers with nice consistent breaks. If you have some members of your group who just want to relax and watch, this is a great spot because it’s also home to the famous beach bar and restaurant Lola’s. You can chill under the shade of the palm trees, listen to the howler monkeys and waves crashing in the background. Or if you just want to watch the surfers, you can grab a table and a snack, or relax with a great book and a cocktail in one of their hammocks right on the beach.
Playa Langosta is reachable by foot from Playa Tamarindo. Simply walk the beach south at low tide, walk around the ledge that comes out over the water and you’ve found it. This is a more rustic, less-populated beach. You could find a spot under a shade tree and not see another person all day along the beach. If you walk all the way south, you run into another estuary, and at it’s mouth you’ll see surfers dotting the rolling waves. This is a break not for the faint of heart—if you want to check out some impressive surf skills, this is a great spot.
For a day of pure relaxation, and maybe some swimming or snorkeling, Playa Conchal is another area favorite. Almost 30 minutes north of Tamarindo, famous for its sand made of crushed shells, with clear water, a white bottom and a beautiful contrast of aquamarine as far as the eye can see.
In the same area, you could also explore the lesser known, lesser developed Playa Minas or Playa Pirates. Both are more rustic and quiet than the others and you can enjoy being at the beach, but feel enveloped by the jungle.
These are just a few of the area’s most notable beach spots. As a “home base” for a vacation, Tamarindo will provide you ample opportunity to explore all of these and more. Whether you’re coming to surf or relax, or a bit of both, you can pick a different beach every day of the week and cater to whatever it is you fancy.