More than two million tourists flock to Costa Rica each year. While some just want to swim and sunbathe on a gorgeous white-sand beach, others have more action-packed plans in mind. Nature enthusiasts are sure to be dazzled by the region’s exotic flora and fauna, from crocodiles and sharks to eye-catching sea turtles and vibrant orchids. For adventure seekers, surfing, hiking, cliff diving and deep-sea fishing are just a few adrenalin-pumping activities to look forward to. Vacationers looking for a relaxing retreat can indulge in luxury spa resorts and golf courses. But no matter what type of vacation you have in mind, over 1,000 miles of coastline sprinkled with palm trees, rocky shorelines, and soft sand beaches are sure to keep you happy for at least a couple weeks.
Montezuma Beach is a jewel lying on the inner side of the Nicoya peninsula, and acts as a melting pot for locals and travelers. Beachgoers can expect to be accompanied by exotic wildlife like capuchin monkeys.The remarkable aspects of this beach are the three natural waterfalls, the most prominent one known as El Chorro, which spill into the PacificOcean. The most famous surfing spot is Playa Grande, which the locals say is haunted because it is the location of an ancient burial ground. Despite the spooky history, Montezuma Beach attracts a large number of tourists because of its nightlife, one of the prominent hubs being Chico’s Bar. However, this beach is difficult to visit during the rainy season, May to November, when the roads leading to the beach and much of the coastline itself turns into a thick mud.
Manuel Antonio National Park offers an array of tropical scenery intertwined with its beaches. It is made up of mangrove swamps, lush forests, and exotic lagoons. The park’s twelve isles are home to an extensive wildlife of dolphin and whale populations, gaining the park the international title as one of the most bio-diverse areas. The jewel-blue water compliments the fluorescent greens of the surroundings forests, with strips of white sand stretching across the four main beaches located in the park: Playita, Escondido, Manuel Antonio, and Espadilla. The many walking trails expose tourists to an array of wildlife in the forests, while scuba diving reveals the colorful coral reefs leading out to Caño Island. The many hotels around the park also provide nightlife and many options for fine dining. Ponce de León first discovered Manuel Antonio in 1519while he was searching for the fabled Fountain of Youth, and it is a spot where many tourists go for ultimate beach relaxation and rejuvenation today.
Tamarindo Beach is one of the most-visited beaches in Costa Rica, offering travelers first-class accommodations, dining, and nightlife. Surfers of every level can test their skill on the Playa Tamarindo’s waters. Many locals and sport fisherman have enjoyed record-breaking catches, with species of fish ranging from tuna to marlin and snappers. One of the primary residents of this beach is the giant leatherback turtle, which nests between October and March, and is a large attraction for visitors. Travelers looking to see more of what Costa Rica has to offer can enjoy the Tamarindo National Wildlife Refuge, which stretches across more than a thousand acres and boasts many hiking trails. Known locally as one of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica, those looking to indulge in the tropical sun only need to find a secluded hammock to enjoy the idyllic ocean views.
Samara Beach is the perfect location for tourists looking for a smaller, quieter, and more private beach experience. Situated in the center of Nicoya peninsula’s western coast, it is nestled between Tamarindo Beach and Playa Carrillo, but still offers the same attractions like surfing and hiking. The beach has a unique coral reef and deserted tree-covered island, Isla Chora. The beach also offers nightlife from bars to discos. Reflecting the traditions of Costa Rica, the beach is dotted with cowboys, fishing boats, fruit farmers, and cattle drivers. It is also a popular location for those looking to invest in Latin American beach real estate. Considered one of the more laidback beaches, Samara Beach provides tourists with a chance to explore any whim – boat tours, horseback riding, sport fishing, snorkeling, bike riding, yoga classes, and even Spanish lessons at the local Intercultura Samara Language School that overlooks the ocean.
Anna Patrick is a Communications major at Boston College and a frequent commuter between Boston and the Washington DC metropolitan area in Northern Virginia. A seasoned traveler, Patrick has lived in London and traveled extensively throughout Mexico, Canada, Austria, Germany, Italy, France, the Czech Republic, Greece, Scotland, England and Turkey.