Best Swimming Beaches in Costa Rica

playa conchal water

Today we’ll explore the best swimming beaches in Costa Rica and discover the unique charm each one has to offer.   This is based on my over 23 years of time in Costa Rica, and as a Costa Rica expert, this is the list of places I have personally swam and enjoyed.

Let’s dive in head first and get into the list!

Key Takeaways

  • Experience paradise at Manuel Antonio, a swimmer’s haven with stunning beaches and incredible wildlife sightings.
  • Explore the unique Caribbean Coast gem of Punta Uva for family-friendly activities and attractions.
  • Enjoy an array of unforgettable experiences from whale watching to surfing at Costa Rica’s beautiful beaches while keeping safe with beach safety tips.

Manuel Antonio: A Swimmer’s Paradise

Nestled along Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast, Manuel Antonio is renowned for its stunning beaches and incredible wildlife sightings. The crown jewel of the area is Manuel Antonio National Park, which offers invigorating hiking trails, allowing you to discover nearby beaches and immerse yourself in nature.

Playa Manuel Antonio, also known as Manuel Antonio Beach, is a picturesque white sand beach surrounded by lush palm trees, making it one of Costa Rica’s best beaches for swimming and snorkeling. Nearby beaches such as Malpais, Carmen Beach, and Santa Teresa offer breathtaking coastlines, secluded snorkeling spots, and a wide array of activities like horseback riding, ATV tours, and catamaran cruises. Additionally, Playa Hermosa is another stunning option to explore in the area, particularly Playa Hermosa Guanacaste.

With a range of accommodations available, you’ll find everything from luxurious villas to mid-range hotels. Some highly recommended places to stay include Parador, Tulemar, and Arenas del Mar. Manuel Antonio beautifully blends natural beauty, adventure, and relaxation, making it a true paradise for swimmers.

Punta Uva: Caribbean Coast Gem

Punta Uva, located on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast, is a family-friendly destination with tranquil waters, a magnificent coral reef for snorkeling, and a protected area teeming with wildlife. Playa Punta Uva boasts crystal-clear waters with gentle waves, a slender strip of soft sand surrounded by lush palm trees, and an inviting warm ocean.

Wildlife enthusiasts will be delighted by the abundance of monkeys, sloths, and beautiful bird species that call Punta Uva home. The area also offers exciting attractions such as the stunning Playa Blanca and Playa Vargas in Cahuita National Park, the picturesque Playa Cocles, and the incredible Ara Project in Manzanillo.

Punta Uva, with its array of accommodations and restaurants, serves as an enchanting Caribbean beach destination in Costa Rica. Immerse yourself in the natural beauty, enjoy the calm waters and discover the vibrant underwater world that awaits you at this Caribbean Coast gem.

Samara Beach: A Safe Haven for Swimmers

Located on the Nicoya Peninsula, Samara Beach is a safe and family-friendly beach renowned for its gentle waves, coral reefs, and lush forests that create a stunning backdrop. The beautiful white sand beach and crystal-clear waters make it an ideal spot for swimming and relaxing with loved ones.

Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy a wide array of activities at Playa Samara, such as:

  • Horseback riding
  • Kayaking
  • Stand up paddling
  • Thrilling canopy tours with zip lines

The nearby Carrillo Beach offers an even more secluded beach experience, perfect for relaxation and enjoying the natural beauty of Costa Rica, making it one of Costa Rica’s best beaches and a perfect Costa Rica beach destination.

For a serene beachfront experience with stunning scenery and a family-friendly atmosphere, consider a comfortable stay at the highly recommended Nammbu Beach Front Bungalows Samara Costa Rica. Discover the safe haven of Samara Beach and make unforgettable memories with your loved ones.

Tamarindo Beach: Surf and Swim

Tamarindo Beach, situated on Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast, is a lively destination offering great surf options and stunning sunsets. With its soft sand and crystal-clear waters, Tamarindo Beach is suitable for both surfing enthusiasts and confident swimmers.

If you’re looking for a more tranquil experience, the nearby Langosta Beach offers a natural and wild atmosphere, soft golden sand, and an advanced surf break. The vibrant town of Tamarindo is full of life and energy, attracting travelers from all over the world and offering a lively atmosphere for visitors to enjoy.

The Cala Luna Boutique Hotel Tamarindo, recommended for its comfort, is a great accommodation option near Tamarindo Beach. Whether you’re a seasoned surfer or just looking to dip your toes in the water, Tamarindo Beach offers an exciting and unforgettable beach experience.

Playa Conchal: Shell-studded Shoreline

A unique beach experience awaits you at Playa Conchal, renowned for its stunningly colorful seashells and crystal-clear waters. The beach’s shoreline is composed of millions of dazzling little pieces of white shells, making it an ideal spot for snorkeling and swimming.

The luxurious all-inclusive Westin Playa Conchal Resort backs up to Conchal Beach, offering a comfortable stay and easy access to the beach’s wonders. A plethora of beautiful coral and fascinating underwater finds can be discovered in the clear waters of Conchal Beach.

Playa Conchal, situated near Brasilito Beach, provides a unique and captivating beach experience for its visitors. Enjoy the shell-studded shoreline, take a dip in the clear waters, and explore the vibrant underwater world that lies beneath the surface.

Flamingo Beach: Pinkish Sands and Calm Waters

Flamingo Beach, located to the north of Conchal Beach, is a beautiful white sand beach with a delightful pinkish hue, perfect for swimming and relaxing without the crowds. The beach offers stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and nearby cliffside hotels that overlook the breathtaking bays and inlets.

Sport fishing, scuba diving and snorkeling are all great ways to enjoy the waters at Flamingo Beach. They offer an unforgettable experience in nature! The sand’s beautiful pink undertones and calm waves make it an ideal spot for swimming and enjoying the serene atmosphere.

Flamingo Beach, a beautiful beach with white sand beaches, usually peaceful and not too crowded, is an idyllic destination for those craving a serene beach experience amidst natural beauty. Sink your toes into the pinkish sands and let the calm waters wash your worries away.

Uvita Beach: Whale Watching and Family Fun

Located in Marino Ballena National Park, Uvita Beach is known for its whale watching tours, soft dark sand, and beautiful sunsets. The beach’s shallow waters and family-friendly atmosphere make it an ideal destination for a fun-filled beach vacation.

From August through October and December through April, visitors have the chance to witness majestic humpback whales breaching near Uvita Beach. In addition to whale watching, the beach offers a variety of activities such as snorkeling, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding rentals for endless family fun.

For a comfortable and unforgettable experience near Uvita Beach, consider staying at the luxurious Rancho Pacifico. Discover the wonders of the Pacific Ocean, explore the soft dark sands of Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast, and create unforgettable memories with your loved ones at Uvita Beach.

Playa Carrillo: Undiscovered Treasure

Just a stone’s throw away from the popular Samara Beach, Playa Carrillo is a quiet, undeveloped beach perfect for a peaceful and undiscovered getaway. The beach boasts stunning wide sands, inviting warm waters, and tranquil calm waves, making it an ideal spot for relaxation.

Access to Playa Carrillo is convenient, with easy parking and only a short distance to carry your beach gear from the road behind the beach. With no loud music from nearby establishments and no development, Playa Carrillo offers a serene escape from the vibrant Costa Rican sun.

Playa Carrillo, with its gentle waves and horse ban, provides an ideal family-friendly atmosphere. Discover the undiscovered treasure of Playa Carrillo and enjoy the peaceful surroundings as you relax on the pristine sands.

Montezuma Beach: Tidal Pools and Wildlife Encounters

Situated on the Nicoya Peninsula, Montezuma Beach is renowned for its picturesque and remarkable coastlines. The beach offers striking tide pools, miles of beautiful beaches, and unforgettable wildlife encounters, such as baby sea turtles and playful monkeys.

Although swimming conditions at Montezuma Beach may not be ideal, the beach’s natural beauty and surroundings make it worth a visit. During low tide, fascinating tide pools filled with vibrant fish and beautiful sea anemones can be discovered, adding to the beach’s allure.

Consider the highly recommended Ylang Ylang Resort for a comfortable beachfront stay in Montezuma. Immerse yourself in the captivating coastal landscape, explore the tide pools, and encounter the fascinating wildlife that Montezuma Beach has to offer.

Beach Safety Tips

Safety is paramount while relishing the beauty of Costa Rica’s beaches. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Always swim with a buddy and keep an eye on children.
  • If caught in a rip current, stay calm and swim at a 45-degree angle towards the beach.
  • The safest time to swim is two hours before and two hours after low tide.

Additionally, remember to:

  • Use sun protection
  • Respect local wildlife
  • Take advantage of public services like showers, bathrooms, and changing rooms available at many beaches in Costa Rica

With these essential safety tips in mind, you can fully enjoy the wonders of Costa Rica’s beaches and create lasting memories.


Costa Rica’s beaches offer a diverse array of experiences, from pristine white sand and pinkish hues to seashell-studded shorelines and striking tide pools. Each beach has its unique charm, making it an ideal destination for travelers seeking adventure, relaxation, or a mix of both. With this guide to the best swimming beaches in Costa Rica, you’re well on your way to discovering the perfect beach getaway for you and your loved ones. Pura Vida!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you swim in the beaches of Costa Rica?

Yes, you can swim in the beaches of Costa Rica, however you do so at your own risk as few beaches offer lifeguard stands and those that do are often left unattended.

What beach in Costa Rica has the calmest water?

For tranquil ocean waters, Playa Mantas is the perfect spot. Located north of Jaco along the central Pacific coast of Costa Rica, this cove offers turquoise waters and a lush jungle backdrop. The beach is ideal for swimming, snorkeling, and kayaking. The calm waters make it a great spot for families with young children. The beach

What is the best time of year to witness humpback whales breaching near Uvita Beach?

Witnessing humpback whales breaching near Uvita Beach is best from August to October and December to April, making this the perfect time of year to plan a visit.

What are some popular water activities at Costa Rica’s beaches?

Experience the beauty of Costa Rica’s beaches with swimming, snorkeling, surfing, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding – all popular water activities to enjoy!

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