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10 Greatest Seaside Cities in Costa Rica

Journey + Leisure’s 2024 vacation spot of the 12 months is paradise for nature lovers with a number of the most lush, biodiverse landscapes on the planet. Whereas most of the finest issues to do in Costa Rica are centered round its rain forests, cloud forests, chocolate farms, volcanos, and mineral-rich sizzling springs, it’s onerous to ascertain a trip to the Central American nation that doesn’t embrace time on the seaside. Costa Rica is house to beautiful stretches of Caribbean and Pacific shoreline. Most of the cities which have cropped up round its biggest sand and surf property have develop into sought-after trip locations with stunning seaside resorts, award-winning resorts, nice eating places, and heaps of out of doors actions, from surf classes and yoga to ziplining and stand-up paddleboarding. 

Able to trip some waves or simply unwind on the golden shoreline? Scroll on for the ten finest seaside cities in Costa Rica, in accordance with native specialists.

Santa Teresa

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Even earlier than the primary highway was paved, the waves lured surfers to Santa Teresa. Over time, phrase of its palm-fringed seashores, lush jungle, and candy-colored sunsets started to unfold. Immediately, the off-the-beaten-path city on Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula attracts a chill, in-the-know crowd who trip waves, swim within the heat water, apply downward dealing with canine with an ocean view, crack open a beer at sunset, and eat on the many informal worldwide eateries. We spent a month in Santa Teresa to have fun my son’s first birthday, and we felt it actually epitomizes the pura vida life-style.


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“Centered on wellness and eco-tourism, Nosara, on Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula — one of many world’s Blue Zones — appeals to vacationers searching for a holistic expertise centered round Pacific seashores, yoga retreats, surf faculties, and unspoiled nature,” explains Emilio Zuniga, CEO of il Viaggio Journey. To trip the year-round constant waves, head to Playa Guiones, an extended seaside break inside a protected wildlife refuge. Wildlife lovers may even spot olive ridley sea turtles from July to December. After a day of sea and swells, unwind with cocktails (or mocktails) on the eco-oriented Sendero Lodge.


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Positioned in Guanacaste on Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast, Tamarindo is favored for its seashores and browsing. “If you wish to come to Costa Rica and learn to surf, I like to recommend doing a lesson at Playa Tamarindo. The mild waves are perfect for newbies,” says Esteban Guillén, head of communications on the Federación de Surf de Costa Rica. Past boarding, the buzzy resort city presents spectacular sunsets, full of life nightlife, and plenty of alternatives to commune with nature. Leatherback turtles nest on Playa Grande, whereas howler monkeys and crocodiles name Tamarindo Wildlife Refuge house.


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Located close to the mouth of the Barú River and steeped in pure splendor, Dominical provides glorious waves, eco-adventures, and a relaxed tempo. Energetic vacationers can go online, kayaking, snorkeling, mountaineering via the rain forest, horseback using, and off-roading. For those who’d quite put up up on Playa Dominical and seize a chew at one of many native sodas, that’s completely advantageous, too. A favourite of backpackers and finances vacationers, it’s additionally an incredible bang-for-your-buck vacation spot with inexpensive eats and fairly priced lodging.

Puerto Viejo

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“Acknowledged for its Afro-Caribbean tradition, Playa Puerto Viejo has a full of life ambiance, waves, and numerous wildlife, making it a vibrant and attention-grabbing vacation spot,” explains Zuniga. The Jaguar Rescue Middle rescues, rehabilitates, and rewilds animals and offers guests the prospect to get an up-close view of untamed cats, monkeys, sloths, snakes, and anteaters via guided excursions. Superior surfers head to Salsa Brava, the place highly effective waves break onerous over the reef. Not up for such a gnarly problem? Vacationers can go swimming within the calm waters and catch some rays on the black sands of Playa Negra.  


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Its distant location on the sparsely populated southernmost tip of Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula retains the city of Matapalo a well-guarded secret. Vacationers who do not thoughts an extended, bumpy drive will discover a pristine slice of paradise with near-empty seashores and rain forests. Apart from the great thing about the shoreline, it’s the swells that stand out. “For one thing extra adventurous, you’ll be able to go for the problem of the right-hand wave,” says Guillén. “Costa Rican skilled surfer Brisa Hennessy realized to board at Pan Dulce Seaside in Matapalo.”

Isla Uvita

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Isla Uvita (“Little Grape Island” in Spanish) is a small uninhabited speck of reef-flanked land that lies offshore of Limón on the Caribbean aspect of Costa Rica.  Undeveloped, unhurried, and accessible by boat from the mainland, it’s a stress-free day journey that’s tremendous chill by any and all trip requirements. The wave situations draw comparisons to the Aloha State: “It’s the closest you may discover to Hawaii in our nation,” notes Guillén. Apart from browsing, Isla Uvita has fairly seashores, colourful wildlife, and the historic declare to fame that Christopher Columbus landed right here for boat repairs in 1502.


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In response to Guillén, the central Pacific area is undoubtedly the most-visited space on account of its proximity to the capital. It’s on this area that you’re going to discover Jacó, situated simply 90 minutes from Juan Santamaría Worldwide Airport (SJO) and regarded the surf capital of Central America. One among Costa Rica’s extra developed seaside cities, it boasts a important drag that’s dotted with outlets, eating places, and bars. The seashores buzz throughout the day, and ATV excursions and catamaran cruises are widespread actions. Nightlife takes middle stage when the solar goes down. 


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A bohemian and inventive group perched on the southern coast of the Nicoya Peninsula, Montezuma advantages from its harder-to-reach location that retains the crowds at bay. If it have been extra accessible, there’s little question droves of vacationers would pack into this under-the-radar gem of a city to sprawl out on its white-sand seaside, hike to the idyllic waterfalls, and peep wildlife comparable to sea turtles, butterflies, and monkeys. In fact, loads of vacationers do make the trek, and that contributes to its vibrant nightlife and world restaurant scene. 

Manuel Antonio

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A resort city that sits simply past the borders of the nationwide park of the identical title, Manuel Antonio is the best base camp for exploring rain forests teeming with white-faced capuchin monkeys and seemingly untouched stretches of shoreline. As a vacation spot, it’s a hub of eco-adventure, with every little thing from snorkeling to cover excursions, and it additionally has a laid-back ambiance that invitations lazing on the white-sand seaside and cooling off within the turquoise water. It definitely does not harm that it’s one of the vital inexpensive tropical locations to go to

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