Costa Rica has TONS of beaches large and small, and we've been able to visit a half dozen of the most popular so far. They all seem to me to be a little bit like people, with their own personalities and quirks. Depending on how YOU are, you'll probably like one type of beach more than another. Here's a little beach guide for some of our favorite locations.
Playas del Coco AKA "Easy Breezy Lemon Squeezy"
Personality: like a friend you've known for years
Best Features: easy to live there because you've got everything within one mile, tons of conveniences and services, 30 minutes from Liberia airport, 15 minutes from hospital, lots of nightlife, no riptide and calmer waters
Drawbacks: the beach itself isn't as nice as some others because of some litter and a sub-par sanitation department
Playa Hermosa (the northern one) AKA "Cottage Life"
Personality: the girl/boy next door that you've always liked
Best Features: there's an intimate "feel" to the beach, it's large enough to never feel crowded but busy enough to feel fun, very safe and comfortable for families, calmer waters, simple and on the quieter side, also very close to airport, hospital, etc. in Liberia area
Drawbacks: not a ton to do after dark
Jaco Beach AKA "Bright Lights Big City"
Personality: that super hot cheerleader everyone wants to date
Best Features: one of the most developed beaches, lots of shopping, restaurants, services, and nightlife, known for it's surfing and also has many places to live both short and long term, lots of young people from all over the world
Drawbacks: like many places in Costa Rica, Jaco turns into a very different place after 10pm, but it's especially noticeable in Jaco. It's not a dangerous place per se, but I wouldn't take my kids out after 8pm there. Waves can be very intense and some riptide--great for surfing but not always for swimming.
Playa Samara AKA "One Love"
Personality: your young, single aunt who you can tell anything to
Best Features: huge beach with whiter sand than many CR beaches, huge variety of places to stay and eat, variety of people, ages, and nationalities all seeking something laid back and happy. Great to learn surfing or boogie board for beginners
Drawbacks: a little further from the airport than some others-about a 2 hour drive from Liberia and 4 from San Jose, and it's more on the organic/granola side of things so if that's not your vibe you might not love it as much
Manuel Antonio AKA "Big Rock Candy Mountain"
Personality: that young entrepreneur whose blog you like reading
Best Features: easy to get to higher elevation which means fewer mosquitoes and cooler temps, lots of nooks and crannies to explore in the shops and restaurants on the hillsides, great surfing and a memorable national park
Drawbacks: we were more approached here to buy things than any other beach, and the beach is narrower and more crowded than the others we have been to
So what's your pleasure? For more pictures of Costa Rican beaches and our other adventures, click HERE for our album that we update regularly. Got questions? Post in the community section of the blog. Pura Vida!