Stunning Beaches in Costa Rica That Locals Wish Were Kept Secret

Hundreds of hidden beaches © Katja Schulz/Flickr
Hundreds of hidden beaches © Katja Schulz/Flickr
Photo of Jenn Parker
11 August 2017

Between two coastlines, the Pacific and the Caribbean, Costa Rica has around 300 named beaches, with plenty of others unnamed or hidden. There are numerous beaches that are inaccessible by motorized vehicle or only accessible via boat or hiking. For all the well-known beaches such as Playa Tamarindo, Playa Guiones and Playa Santa Teresa, there are a relatively equal number of “secret” or lesser-known beaches. Here’s our pick of the best.

Playa Junquillal

Tucked in between Playa Negra and Playa Marbella is Playa Junquillal. Junquillal is a very small and quiet beach town on Costa Rica’s Gold Coast (Guanacaste). The area is dotted with beach houses and condos, lined with dirt roads, host to a few restaurants, and filled with a peaceful solitude. There are several beaches that make up this area and they are all often uncrowded. The seafront landscape is rugged and dramatically beautiful – a magnificent spot to watch the sunset.

Local's secret sunset spot | © Ocean and Oak

Playa el Hachal

Playa el Hachal is the secluded beach on the most northern boundary of the Santa Rosa National Park in northern Guanacaste. You can only access this pristine beach by hiking in from the Murcialago ranger station. It is likely that you will be the only one on this beach, especially if you are visiting outside of the high season. The Santa Rosa National Park is home to an astonishing variety of land and marine animals.

Beautiful hike to a beautiful beach | © Marissa Steniste/Flickr

Playa Bejuca

Playa Bejuca is located around 35 kilometers north of Manuel Antonio and 30 kilometers south of Jaco. Situated between two very popular coastal destinations, Playa Bejuca offers visitors a true escape from the crowds. Playa Bejuca is such a pristine beach that is has been awarded the Blue Flag. This beautiful beach is also favored by a variety of birds as their preferred nesting site.

Beautiful Bejuca | © Steve Linder/Flickr

Playa Carate

Playa Carte is a stunning secluded beach located on the most southern tip of the Osa Peninsula. It backs right up to the Corcovado National Park, which has been described as one of the most biologically-rich national parks. The remote location keeps this slice of heaven unpopulated. It is here that you will likely see and hear scarlet macaws, howler monkeys and spider monkeys, on top of other coastal and rainforest creatures.

Enjoy the local wildlife | © Christian Haugen/Flickr

Playa Cocalito

Playa Cocalito is a tiny hidden beach, just 61 meters/200 feet long. While is it in close proximity to a few small hotels, there is rarely anyone present on this immaculate slice of sand. To access Playa Cocalito, you must walk around 30 minutes from Drake Bay and cross a suspension bridge over the Aguitas River. Playa Cocalito is the reward at the end of your lovely hike.

Playa Rio Claro

Playa Rio Claro is home to the world-famous and second longest left point break. Playa Rio Claro is also known as Pavones and is perfectly positioned on the Burica Peninsula. This area was put on the map by surfers. During a big swell, this area can get a bit busy, but outside of that you can find plenty of space all to yourself. There are a few little bars and restaurants to accompany the awe-inspiring beauty of this special beach.


Cahuita is located on the Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica and is well known for its super laid back vibe. This vibrant little beach town is in the middle of Playa Negra and Playa Blanca. It is here that you can find your own private slice of beach. To the far north, there is a natural pool that was formed by a collapsed lava tube many years ago. This perfect little pool is made for two and a great place to cook off and relax as you watch the Caribbean Sea ebb and flow.

Llego el fin de semana 👌🏼 📍Cahuita, Limón 📷@ami_oneill . #descubrecostarica #descubrecr #costarica

A post shared by Descubre COSTA RICA 🇨🇷 (@descubrecostarica) on

Punta Uva

Punta Uva is a peaceful beach in Puerto Viejo on the Caribbean coast. The waters here are super calm and crystal clear. The outside reef protects this area and makes it an ideal spot for swimming. This white sand beach is definitely postcard worthy. This is a place where you can relax for the entire day without seeing too many other people.

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