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Great Beach Day trips from Tamarindo Heading North

Great Beach Day trips from Tamarindo Heading North

Great Beach Day trips from Tamarindo

Heading North

So you have found Tamarindo Beach and its a wonderful escape especially if you were expecting a Miami Beach kind of vibe then you were surely pleasantly surprised. But if that was a pleasant surprise you are really in for a treat. Travelling in both directions from Tamarindo offers numerous small beach towns and hideaways and these are just the main beach towns described here. We will be travelling north in this post from the subject of this website, Tamarindo, Costa Ricas most popular tourist destination.If you really jump off the beaten path there are many hidden coves and jewels which I will eventually get to but even these known beach towns retain a sleepy laid back vibe each with their own character and something to satisfy every taste. I will explore some of the truly offbeat places in another post but these will definitely require an intrepid soul and a good 4 wheel drive vehicle. If you can swing it my best suggestion for a vehicle in Costa Rica was a mid 90’s Range Rover And even in that beast a few rivers and soft beach sand  occasionally got the best of me. (Picture a heavy duty tow truck backing up 2 miles outside of Tamarindo on a tiny jungle back road one day with my buddy Andre who said zig left when I should have zagged right. Anyway we got free paid the driver a fortune and then I  took him and Andre to El Vaquero for sushi and many many beers. All in all a great day. Range Rovers are the perfect vehicle for sure but lets get this party started. The first beach north of Tamarindo is Playa Grande but its actual name is Playa Zapotal but the slang moniker has won precedence over the years.

Playa Grande(Zapotal)

Playa Grande beach is miles long of fine, pale sand; perfect for those who enjoy a leisurely beach stroll and a warm ocean breeze. It is important to note that the entire beach coast is protected and belongs to Las Baulas National Park, meaning you must take care with the soft upper part of the beach as it may contain delicate turtle eggs waiting to hatch. Additionally, the beach is off limits from 6pm to 6am October through March to avoid disturbing the unique rhythm of sea turtle lying; the only exception for night time visitors includes a park guide and turtle watching tours.


Playa Grande is packed with tour options and things to do! Explore the 1,500-acre estuary with a kayak and see the variety to mangroves and exotic animals, including aquatic birds and crocodiles that thrive there. Travel to the northern end of Playa Grande to Playa Ventanas and jump into beautiful snorkeling waters. Take care swimming in Playa Grande open sea, as the sea floor does drop steeply and rip currents can be strong.

Playa Conchal

Playa Conchal is one of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica and in a country loaded with beautiful beaches that is saying a lot. Playa Conchal is also the source of one of my giant pet peeves. I lived in neighboring Brasilito beach for years and Playa Conchal was open to 4 wheel drive vehicles and many Brasilito locals plied their wares sold food, beers, tours and even hand made crafts but the owners of Conchal have closed it in recent years making it the exclusive playground for the rich mostly foreigners and basically  screw the locals. Money versus the people who were born there and money won making it a decidedly less interesting place to spend a Saturday afternoon drinking beers and eating ceviche supporting my many Brasilito friends. In case its not clear this pisses me off and only Conchals big bucks pulled this off. You can still walk down there or come in through the resort but prepare to drop some bucks.

Known as one of the most exotic of the Gold Coast’s beaches in Costa Rica. Playa Conchal sees some of the best weather all year round. Unlike other beaches along the Pacific Coast, Playa Conchal is not a sand beach, but rather a beach that consists of millions of tiny crushed shells. The beach is no longer accessible by car, so if you want to spend a day enjoying its beautiful shores, plan to park at Playa Brasilito and walk for about 1km to reach the beautiful Playa Conchal! Playa Conchal is home to Reserva Conchal, a luxury 5 Start Marriott Resort Hotel that offers private access to Playa Conchal. 

Playa Brasilito

Playa Brasilito is where I first arrived after my 11 day drive from Boston where I spent several weeks looking for a place. Brasilito is where all the employees of the big Conchal resort live and have small businesses and like many areas just outside of a resort its where the service employyes come to unwind after work. Brasilito features a number of hole in the wall bars where the natives congregate and the party is occasionally raucous and always runs late sometime supported with man made jet fuel (If you know what I mean) anyway its lively and fun and the Brasilitenos embraced me once I showed my desire to master the local dialect. The Ticos would not correct my bad Spanish ( they consider it bad manners unless of course you entreat them to do so which I did with a lot of Pilsen beers and a genuine desire to turn my college French into passable Spanish. An admitted head start.) Once convinced of my sincerity and eagerness to learn I had many willing friends to help. This was not in any way a cultural exercise. I simply wanted to be able to talk to girls. HA!

Playa Flamingo

Close to the town of Tamarindo, Playa Flamingo is the epitome of bliss. The beach truly deserves a spot on the best beaches in Guanacaste. Lying on Costa Rica’s popular Gold Coast (which makes up the trio of beaches that include Flamingo, Conchal and Brasilito beaches) Flamingo’s white sands and crystal clear waters sees most of its visitors during December and Easter holiday. 

If you’re looking for an incredible sunset, Flamingo can provide you with the most serene, fiery sunsets on the Gold Coast. Those who love sportfishing will fall in love with Playa Flamingo. Every July, Flamingo hosts an annual sailfish tournament where you’ll find tuna, snapper, sailfish and more!

For those who partake in aquatic activities, Playa Flamingo can provide a variety of ocean excursions for you to enjoy. Scuba diving is offered year-round where the shores are packed with marine life – starfish, coral reef, eels and reef sharks galore. For those who partake in aquatic activities, Playa Flamingo can provide a variety of ocean excursions for you to enjoy. Scuba diving is offered year-round where the shores are packed with marine life – starfish, coral reef, eels and reef sharks galore.

For the nature lovers, check out Santa Rosa National Park, the country’s first national park and home to 115 mammal species, 100 amphibian and reptiles, and 250 bird species.

You won’t find many amenities near Playa Flamingo as it has no village center. So those wanting a variety of restaurants and nightlife should check out the nearby town of Brasilito. 



Playa Potrero

Potrero is a hidden jewel in the north-west of Guanacaste, named after the eponymous beach. This rural town embraces the old Costa Rican coast village style and is a tranquil spot away from other touristy places.

The main feature of this town is its inherent and simple beauty. The road remains unpaved because the locals choose it to stay that way; on Sundays you can still see children playing soccer in ‘la plaza’ and the locals going to church. Hotels or massive developments didn’t find their way to the coast line yet, and you can see people lying in a hammock on their own land, just few steps away from the sea– like it used to be in every Guanacaste coast village many years ago.

Although there are several small hotels and villas around with their own facilities, there are only few supermarkets and local restaurants to go to in town.  This is the place for people seeking quiet and relaxing time away from all the maddening rush of the city.

Nightlife goers can find a lot of  great bars and clubs in Playa Tamarindo on the south, and Playas del Coco on the north. Both are within hour or less drive away from Potrero.Unless one considers ladies night at theLas Brisas beachfront bar at the end of Potrero beach

Enjoy swimming, snorkeling or kayaking in three local beaches: Prieta, la Penca and Potrero, perfect for people seeking calm beach activities. Bring your own equipment, as you will not find equipment stores and renting services can be sporadic in the area.

Potrero can be reached both by public bus and by car. It’s a 45 min drive from Liberia, Guanacaste’s main hub, or  four to five hours drive from San José, but the trip is worthwhile. It can also be a nice place to start exploring the Papagayo Bay and traveling to other famous beaches like Playa Flamingo and Playa Conchal, or visiting Santa Rosa National Park and Palo Verde Natural Reserve that are close by.

 


Services & Infrastructure in Potrero Beach

Public transportation: Yes, there are round-trip buses from Liberia several times a day
Public amenities: No public restrooms
Shopping: Yes, there are several shops
ATMs: Yes
Gas stations: No
WiFi or Internet cafés: Yes, restaurants & bar offer WiFi service
Cell Phone Reception: Reliable
Restaurants: Several ‘Tico’  restaurants; those seeking a little more nightlife have Tamarindo and Playa Brasilito just a few minutes away.
Nearest medical facilities: The closest medical facility is Tamarindo.

Playa Danta (Las Catalinas)

Playa Ocotal

3 km (1.85 miles) south of Playa del Coco lies Playa Ocotal, which is known to be one of the cleanest and quietest of Guanacaste beaches.What’s special about Ocotal is the misty air which has been said to be rich in negative ions, which in turn have positive benefits on the people, animals and plants.

If you’re looking for a great snorkelling location, Playa Ocotal is it. Because of cleanliness of the beach and the crystal clear waters, Ocotal offers great swimming and snorkelling. Here you will most likely be able to spot schools of fish, giant manta rays, turtles and even sharks.Close by you can explore the Catalina Islands which offer amazing scuba diving sites for the avid diver.

Playa del Coco

Playa Papagayo (Lanzarote)

In the south of Lanzarote is one of the most popular beaches of the island, Papagayo, a cove of white sand, reduced size and great beauty. In the shape of a bay or shell (some locals prefer to call it the latter), Papagayo wins you over with its crystal clear, emerald green water which remains still all day long just like in a swimming pool. It’s perfect for taking up snorkeling and for enjoying the beauty of its depths or for letting the children splash about without having to worry.

Enjoy the Natural Monument of Los Ajaches

Situated in a hollow, which you can get to in just a few minutes by going along a track, it is in almost untamed surroundings but is well sheltered from the wind. In spite of where it is located, in the Natural Monument of Los Ajaches, there is a small beach bar on the hillside where you can buy drinks or have something to eat. The best time to enjoy it is evening time. It should be said that access to the area for vehicles is not free of charge and there is a car park and camping area nearby.

Playa Hermosa

Playa Hermosa is one of the more popular beaches in the North of Guanacaste. This is the type of beach to escape to if all you want to do is get some much needed R&R.Hermosa means ‘beautiful’ in Spanish, which is a no-brainer to describe the beauty of this aquatic gem. Although located between Playa del Coco and Playa Panama, Hermosa doesn’t see as many crowds as its close neighbours. Stretching 2 km (1.25 miles) wide, Hermosa boasts plenty of trees for optimal shade.Hermosa means ‘beautiful’ in Spanish, which is a no-brainer to describe the beauty of this aquatic gem. Although located between Playa del Coco and Playa Panama, Hermosa doesn’t see as many crowds as its close neighbours. Stretching 2 km (1.25 miles) wide, Hermosa boasts plenty of trees for optimal shade.

When it comes to sustainability, Playa Hermosa demonstrates high environmental standards and excellent safety facilities, making it a winner of the Bandera Azul or Blue Flag award.

Hermosa has a small selection of dining options for you to choose from, which tend to do be on the higher end in comparison to other spots in Costa Rica.

When it comes to sustainability, Playa Hermosa demonstrates high environmental standards and excellent safety facilities, making it a winner of the Bandera Azul or Blue Flag award.

Hermosa has a small selection of dining options for you to choose from, which tend to do be on the higher end in comparison to other spots in Costa Rica.

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