The 5 Best Beaches Within 30 Minutes of Tamarindo


The best beach within 30 minutes of Tamarindo is, of course, Tamarindo!  We’re not saying this because we’re biased Tamarindo residents or anything, we’re saying this because it’s empirically true.  You’ll see.  Why is Tamarindo Beach the most awesome beach in Guanacaste?  Here are 5 reasons:

  1. It’s sandy. Big deal?  Yes.  A rocky beach is a lot less fun to walk or sunbathe on.  It’s a lot trickier to swim at a rocky beach, and meetings with rocks do not make for great surf lessons.  For a laid back beach vacation, you definitely want a sandy beach like Tamarindo.
  2. It’s in the back of a bay. This means a normal day in Tamarindo has gentle or no ocean currents and small to medium sized waves.  If you’re a solid surfer looking for barrels, you may find them here or you may have to pick one of our other 5 faves.  But no matter,  we think Tamarindo still wins because the rest of your family / travel group will be able to have a great, safe day doing what they do while you’re off tearing it up.
  3. It’s gorgeous. It just is.  The mountains, the bay, the boats at anchor, the lava rock outcroppings, the royal palms and the quaint little restaurants along the beach…  Come on.  It’s the best.

  1. Everyone can surf. Yes, even you.  The Tamarindo surf has something for everyone.  If you’re a beginner, it’s the ideal place to learn.  If you are an experienced surfer, paddle out at the main beach or at the estuary within 2 or 3 hours of the high tide and you’ll catch hours of fun rides.
  2. It’s Activity Central. You don’t have to bring the kitchen sink to the beach with you in Tamarindo.  You can buy beverages and food, the sunscreen you forgot, flip flops when the tide comes in and makes off with yours, you can go for a meal, get a massage, or even decide it’s time to head for the shade but still enjoy sitting on the beach in Tamarindo, because, as you can see, TAMARINDO HAS IT ALL.

But, venture out during your stay in Tamarindo and be amazed by beautiful beaches, gorgeous wildlife and more. Make sure you pack you beach bag before leaving your Tamarindo vacation rental and get ready for a day of adventure and relaxation.  There are other amazing beaches to see nearby, and you can enjoy Tamarindo when you come back from exploring.


#1 Top Pick:  Playa Conchal

Playa Conchal is our number one favorite beach after Tamarindo.  You will never find another beach like it in Costa Rica, maybe not in the world.  The word “concha” in Spanish means “shell,” and as its name suggests, Playa Conchal entirely covered in seashells.  As in, there’s no sand–just shells.

We’re not exaggerating, but you might have to see it to believe it.  In fact, we suggest that you do.  Years ago, Playa Conchal was covered with shells of all shapes and sizes, but today, due to its popularity, it is mostly covered with pieces of shells.  Thank you very much, Everybody In The World, for helping yourselves to what belongs in Costa Rica.  It’s still an amazing beach to visit, still completely unique, and is still a great place to snorkel.  You can’t surf at Conchal, but you can explore the tidepools, stroll, swim, and hunt for pretty shells.  But do the beach a favor and put them back please.  Playa Conchal needs its shells.  It doesn’t know what to be without them.


#2 Top Pick:  Playa Brasilito

Brasilito is the cool little fishing village that you have to go through to get to Playa Conchal.  For some reason, whereas many of Guanacaste’s beach towns have become modern meccas of luxury, Brasilito remains a quaint fishing village of a traditional Costa Rican style.  We love it!

Enjoy a Costa Rican meal for a Costa Rican price.  Wander around through the little streets past souvenir shops, simple homes, small groceries, and on to the sandy beach.  Brasilito is safe for swimming, a relaxing spot to bask in the sun, and if you’re lucky you might even catch a surfable wave.  Most visitors combine a visit to Conchal with a visit to Brasilito since one is on the way to the other.  For as close to each other as they are, the vibe, the scenery and the beach itself is so completely different that they could just as well be 100 miles apart.  Go check it out.


#3 Top Pick:  Playa Langosta

Langosta Beach is a must-see, especially if your starting point is Tamarindo.  Langosta is our sister beach to the south and you can get there without actually leaving town.

Langosta Beach

Just like Brasilito and Conchal are radically different, you won’t believe how different Langosta is from Tamarindo. Langosta’s geography is much more open to the deep water, so the waves in Langosta are significantly bigger and stronger than Tamarindo’s waves.  Surfers love this, of course, but Langosta isn’t only for surfers.  Langosta beach at low tide is a beautiful place for beach-walking, shell-hunting (admire and put back, please), tide pool-snorkeling and for watching the spectacular tropical sunsets.


#4 Top Pick:  Playa Avellanas

Avellanas is a spectacular beach, and deserving of a day of your vacation.  You can walk for miles along Playa Avellanas and the series of small sandy beaches it connects to as you go north from the spot you’ll park.

Avellanas is a great beach for surfing, with waves that are generally bigger than Tamarindo’s waves, but is not rocky like Langosta, so non-surfers will have a better time swimming or finding a spot to sunbathe or relax.  The popular Lola’s Restaurant by the parking area in Avellanas is a great place to have a cool drink in the shade, or get lunch.  Playa Avellanas has a fabulous laid-back vibe and is by far one of the most beautiful beaches you will find in Costa Rica.  Take it from the locals who have seen a lot of Costa Rica’s beaches!


#5 Top Pick:  Playa Grande

If you’re a die-hard surfer, you might shuffle Playa Grande to the number one spot.  Playa Grande, as its name suggests, is a very big beach, and there are lots of breaks along the sand it spans.  Playa Grande is our next-door neighbor, beginning on the other side of the Las Baulas estuary, and stretching for miles.

The Las Baulas National Park, dedicated to the preservation of the nesting grounds of giant Baula sea turtles, encompasses all of Playa Grande, meaning that the coast line is almost completely untouched.  This is a huge plus if you are a sea turtle, a surfer, a fish, a bird, a mangrove tree or a lover of long solitary beach runs.  It’s not such a huge plus if you like the easy life with beach chairs, umbrella-decorated drinks, and nearby sources of water, or shade.  You can get to Playa Grande by taking a boat across from Tamarindo across the estuary, or you can drive there.  The drive will set you down in a small collection of hotels, restaurants and grocery stores, so don’t think we mean you will be completely removed from civilization in Playa Grande.  The one thing you don’t want to do is attempt to walk, swim or paddle across the estuary to Playa Grande from Tamarindo.

Large volumes of water move through the channel and it is not walkable.  Large crocodiles also reside there, making a swimming or paddling a bad idea if you like your spot at the top of the food chain.  Boats are cheap and run all day.  Take one.

Ready to hit the beach now?  Get your passport, get a hat, and get down here.  Our Concierge can answer any further questions you have about what to do during your Tamarindo vacation, and help you get set up.  Contact us today and we will assist you in booking your next trip and planning all your adventures!

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