Costa Rica is a beautiful country centered in Latin America, with beaches on both the Pacific coastline and the Caribbean Sea. No matter what kind of family you have, one of the two sides will appeal to you with its mix of relaxation and adventure. Costa Rica claims too many beautiful beaches to compile in s single list so we focused primarily on the amazing beaches in the Guanacaste region on the north Pacific side of Costa Rica.
Keep reading to learn more about the best family-friendly beaches in all of Costa Rica.
1. Playa Samara
The Guanacaste Province of Costa Rica along the northern Pacific coast has drawn the attention of many tourists recently which has, in turn, developed the area significantly while maintaining the natural beauty of the surrounding area.
The downtown area sits on the edge of the beach meaning that lively restaurants with delicious food are just a short walk away from your spot in the sand, no need to pack a huge bag of food for an all-day beach lounging session!
The beach or “playa” of Samara itself is just one example of a perfect getaway for families. Gentle waves lap the silky sand that stretches across the cove while palm trees dance in the breeze. The low surf makes it ideal for small children that aren’t experienced swimmers. Meanwhile, grown-ups can try their hand at surfing with lessons from the locals.
2. Playa Hermosa
Playa Hermosa, translated as “beautiful beach”, feels more secluded than some of the other beaches on this list, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything to do! Aside from your usual beach activities, the area boasts a variety of family-friendly options to keep the kids happy and engaged.
Zip lines, horseback riding, and wildlife rehabilitation sanctuaries are just a few of the more exciting things to try for the first time. Excursions to local waterfalls and hot springs are also popular with those that want to admire more bodies of water than just the Pacific Ocean.
Some lovely hotels and restaurants in the small town have a surprising amount of amenities so you never feel like you are lacking something. There isn’t much nightlife around so you can rest assured knowing that your family can get a good night’s sleep but if you are looking to party while the kids sleep, Playas del Coco is a short car trip away
3. Playa Conchal
Beautiful turquoise-blue water and the vast number of seashells incorporated into the light tan sand make many consider playa Conchal one of the most exotic beaches in Guanacaste.
The beach is part of the trio of beaches known as Costa Rica’s “Gold Coast” and is more remote than others since it is about two kilometers (or about a brisk 10-minute walk) from Brasilito, another beach town on the Gold Coast.
There are some accommodations like the Westin hotel and resort that will put you right on the water but prepare accordingly if you don’t stay in one of these locales.
Snorkeling is a major attraction of this beach, especially along the northern end where a rainbow of fish can be seen along with other marine wildlife. Some people have reported seeing pufferfish, eels, as well as crustaceans like crabs in the rocky crags of the northern waters. When the tide goes out, you might be able to explore some tide pools for a fun learning experience with the kids!
4. Playa Espailla (Manuel Antonio)
There is plenty of adventure for the whole family to be had in and around the town of Manuel Antonio. The main attraction is, of course, the beach Espadilla which is suitable for children to be wading in despite the occasional rip tide in Espadilla’s waters.
If you get bored of sunbathing in the sand, a dense, tropical rainforest full of wildlife borders the area and is just waiting to reveal some of its secrets. Hiking tours will keep you and the family safe on the exciting a safari of flora and fauna.
Here are just some of the animals you might encounter:
- Three species of monkeys
- Various macaws
5. Playa Biesanz (Manuel Antonio)
Tucked away in the corner between the Quepos and Manuel Antonio National Park, Playa Biesanz’s lazy waves are great for all kinds of water activities and swimmers of all abilities.
A trail leading to the beach can be found close to the Hotel Parador and following it for just 10 minutes on foot will land you right at this paradise in the sand! If you want to get away while on your getaway, this might be the place for you.
Want to stay in the water but not on the beach? Look for opportunities to go whitewater rafting or rappelling alongside breathtaking waterfalls.
One of the more populated beach towns along the central Pacific coast, Jaco has a bit of a reputation for its nightlife. When people aren’t staying out late to have a good time, there are plenty of other fun activities for individuals and families.
Because the area does have a higher amount of traffic, both from domestic and foreign tourists, the beach has been run down slightly so it is less picturesque than most of the other beaches listed here. As a result, recommendations for how to spend your time off the beach are many, like painting classes, ATV excursions, and river tours for spotting crocodiles.
No matter what you choose to do with your time in Jaco you’ll need enough cash to experience the plethora of choices.
7. Playa Potrero
Potrero Beach is another hidden gem, mostly separated from other destinations like Playa Hermosa by the tropical jungle. This makes for a calmer local community that isn’t affected by the big draw of international visitors and tourists.
Potrero Bay’s baked golden-brown sand is a joy to lounge in, especially for enjoying the hues of a sunset.
During the day, people can be seen swimming, stand-up paddleboarding, or even sailing out on small vessels rented by companies in the small town. The Catalina Islands off in the distance across the Pacific are accessible from Potrero for a scuba diving family adventure.