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Electric sunsets | © Kaitlyn Shea Photography
Electric sunsets | © Kaitlyn Shea Photography

Awe-Inspiring Places in Costa Rica to Watch the Sunset

Picture of Jenn Parker
Updated: 24 April 2017

Watching the sunset on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica is like a rite of passage. Locals and visitors alike flock west to catch the sun kissing the horizon, decorating the sky with a vibrant display of colors and textures. The moments following the final glimpse of the sun are often the most magnificent, especially in the green season months. While there are countless sunset spots in Costa Rica, here are a few that are quite extraordinary.

Playa Tamarindo

There is something very special about sunsets in Tamarindo. The long stretch of beach, surfer silhouettes in the ocean, clusters of friends and families, the mountainous backdrop to the north and sporadic palm trees are just a few of the things that make the beach such an ideal sunset spot. However, it is Mother Nature that really lights up the show here. The colors that explode from the sunsets here are outrageously beautiful. A few sunsets in Tamarindo and you will become an expert at identifying them in photographs and postcards. They are that unique.

Even chocolate labs love sunsets here | © Jenn Parker

Even chocolate labs love sunsets here | © Jenn Parker

Playa Potrero

If you want icy beers and half priced rum, delicious Costa Rican-inspired food, comfortable chairs, a swimming pool, live music, and a bonfire to be part of your sunset experience, then the Costa Rica Sailing Center in Playa Potrero is the ultimate sunset spot. The bay looks out onto tranquil waters and the Catalina Islands. Dogs, children, and sometimes even cows play on the black-sand beach here. The calm waters become a mirror reflection of the dramatic sky and the effect is quite spectacular. If you find yourself sunsetting here, you will definitely be initiated into the local sunset tribe!

Idyllic skies at dusk| © Kaitlyn Shea Photography

Idyllic skies at dusk | © Kaitlyn Shea Photography

Playa Junquillal

Playa Junquillal is further south than the two beaches above and is slightly more secluded. Its ruggedness make it an awe-inspiring place to watch the sunset and it’s likely you will be able to find a peaceful slice of beach all to yourself here. There is even an easily accessible bluff at the north end—a magical platform to say goodbye to the day. Tall grasses, tangled beach trees, white sand, and ancient rock formations add to Playa Junquillal’s unique charm.

Rugged and remote | © James Anderson/Tartan Group

Rugged and remote | © James Anderson/Tartan Group

Santa Teresa Area

Santa Teresa has quite a few different sunset-viewing options. Vistas las Olas (actually in Mal Pais) is an elevated spot with views of Mal Pais, Playa Carmen, Playa Santa Teresa, and Playa Hermosa. There is a U$16 charge (UK£13) for the infinity pool, or you could spend the $16 on drinks or appetizers. If you want to be beach front, Banana Beach is a totally relaxing place to grab a drink and pick your seat (bed, hammock, chair, or swing). Or just find your own little niche on this expansive coastline and put up your own hammock. The sunsets here are incredible, regardless of where you choose to view them.

Not a bad choice| © James Anderson/Tartan Group

Not a bad choice | © James Anderson/Tartan Group

Sunset from the sea

A sunset sailing excursion is a popular activity up and down the coast of Costa Rica. Most developed beach towns offer some sort of catamaran or monohull all-exclusive half-day sailing trip, which ends with watching the sunset out at sea. This is an affordable, family-friendly activity that often includes snacks, drinks, lunch, snorkeling, and a high chance of seeing dolphins, whales, turtles, and string rays. Watching the sunset in the middle of the ocean is a divine experience.

Sea perspective| © Carive Productions

Sea perspective| © Carive Productions

Infinity views

The adult-only, high end luxury boutique Kura Design Villas in Uvita has the most perfect infinity pool location for watching the sunset. The elevation gives guests an expansive view of the Marino Ballena National Park where whale sightings are very common, especially between the months of December and April. Creatively crafted cocktails, a pleasantly warm pool, a salty breeze running up from the sea, and a front row VIP view of the setting sun puts this spot in a league of its own.

Endless bliss| © James Anderson/Tartan Group

Endless bliss | © James Anderson/Tartan Group

Inland mountain views

When most people think of the perfect sunset spot, the beach is typically what comes to mind. However, viewing the sunset from the Central Valley offers a completely different perspective. With its vast valleys, mountains, volcanoes, small towns, and lush forests, Central Valley is stunning, add to the sky some sunset color and you’ve got an unbeatable view. The Central Valley is often much cooler than the coastal parts of Costa Rica, giving the sunsets a cozy feeling.

Mountain sunsets are mystical| © James Anderson/Tartan Group

Mountain sunsets are mystical | © James Anderson/Tartan Group