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June 1, 2023

Costa Rica Southern Zone Beach Guide

Beach Guide Costa Rica

Whether you enjoy surfing the picturesque waves of Playa Dominical, navigating a kayak through the majestic caves of Playa Ventanas or splashing around in the calm waters of Marino Ballena National Park, there’s something for everyone to savor in this part of our ocean-rich country. Here’s a handy beach guide to some of the most popular beaches southwestern Costa Rica has to offer, all of which are located within driving distance of your YouGetHere luxury vacation villa:

Playa Dominical

Playa Dominical Costa Rica

Considered the most consistent surfing spot in the nation, Dominical beach starts on the south side of the Baru River and stretches for more than a mile. Typically surfed at medium-to-high tides, the waves in Dominical are both powerful and thrilling. In addition to water sports, there are several restaurants and ample shopping opportunities close to the sand. When shopping at local vendors—they offer everything from jewelry to dresses to beach gear—it never hurts to bargain to get more bang for your buck. This is the most popular beach in the area.

Playa Dominicalito:

Three kilometers south of Dominical lies Dominicalito, a quiet fishing village that offers much smaller waves than its neighbor to the north. The waves here can be very kid friendly, but it’s always a good idea to watch out for rocks when entering and exiting the ocean, particularly at lower tides. Dominicalito is also a great place to purchase fresh fish when local boats arrive during the afternoons. Furthermore, there’s a small waterfall located approximately 500 meters east of the highway. Ask a local and they’ll point you in the proper direction.

Playa Hermosa

A long stretch of sand 10 minutes south of Playa Dominicalito, Playa Hermosa is good for surfing and bodyboarding, although the waves are typically smaller than in Dominical. There is a lifeguard on duty almost every day at Playa Hermosa, which makes for a safe beach experience. At the north end of Playa Hermosa is a stunning, protected cove called “Achiote.” Playa Hermosa is a fantastic place to purchase ceviche from area vendors and mingle with locals on the weekends.

Marino Ballena National Park:

Bella Vita Uvita Costa Rica Walk to Whales Tail

Home to the famous “Whale’s Tail,” a large, kilometer-long sandbar that can be accessed on foot at low tide, Marino Ballena National Park in Uvita is an ocean-lovers paradise. Several of our stunning vacation rental villas feature ocean views of the Whale’s Tail, while Bella Vita is just a 15 minute stroll from this amazing beach. From October through March, humpback whales and their kin can be spotted close to the coast. Dolphins swim in abundance in these calm waters as well. There’s an assortment of fishing, diving and snorkel tour packages available for purchase just outside the gates of the park. Expect to pay about $10 per person to enter the grounds.

Playa Colonia:

A marvelous, untapped beach located at the south end of Marino Ballena National Park. Tour this coastline at low tide and discover Playa Arco. The waters here are generally calm for swimming and snorkeling.

Playa Arco:

isn’t accessible from the coastal highway—you can only walk here at low tide from Playa Colonia—Playa Arco offers stunning jungle and cliff scenery surrounding the beach. There’s also a waterfall nearby.

Playa Pinuela:

This beach is home to a tranquil bay and calm waves. Playa Pinuela is almost always devoid of other people. No beach guide would be complete without including this gem, it will feel like your own private paradise.

Playa Ventanas:


A favorite among locals, Playa Ventanas, located near the town of Ojochal, is a palm-tree laden cove that features a pair of distinct caves that can only be explored on a low tide. There’s a secure, paid parking lot directly in front of the beach and several top-end restaurants located close to town. The sunsets here are second to none. The luxurious Vista Encanto features views over Ventanas. It’s a great place for a family trip.

Playa Tortuga:

Named after the tiny turtles that sometimes grace its shores, Playa Tortuga is just south of Ojochal and sits on the banks of an active rivermouth.

Did you discover an amazing beach while vacationing with YouGetHere that deserves a spot in our beach guide? Let us know in the comments!

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