The Best Things to Do in and Around Playa Flamingo

Pacific Northwest coast of Costa Rica
Pacific Northwest coast of Costa Rica | © ephemeralmuse / Flickr
Playa Flamingo is a lovely beach little town on the northwest Pacific coast. It is different from a lot of other towns in Costa Rica, as it does not have a town center and is rather more spread out. Playa Flamingo has long attracted international visitors, retired expats, and affluent Costa Ricans to its white-sand crescent moon beach. There is a lot to do and enjoy in and around Playa Flamingo, especially if you love spending time in and by the sea.

Coco Loco beach day

Playa Flamingo has a gorgeous soft-sand beach that is protected in a bay the shape of a crescent moon. It is an excellent swimming beach, as the bottom is all sand and the waves are rarely sizeable and powerful. In short, it is the perfect beach to spend the day on. Coco Loco is a beachfront restaurant and bar where you can enjoy frozen coconut concoctions, fresh seafood, and afternoon snacks while you are spending your day enjoying the sun and the sand.

Enjoy a day at the beach © Josh Hallett / Flickr

Sea sports

Flamingo Bay is typically very calm and ideal for stand-up paddle boarding and sea kayaking. The coastline here is beautiful, the water is often clear, and spotting marine wildlife is not uncommon. At certain times of the year, humpback whales and sea turtles are abundant. You can rent paddle boards and kayaks and set off on your own, or take a guided tour of the bay and the surrounding coastlines.

Catamaran sunset cruise

One of the most popular activities to do while you’re in Playa Flamingo is a sunset catamaran cruise. There are several different tour operators, but they all offer more or less the same tour. You will typically leave at midday from the marina in Playa Flamingo and set off on a cruise to a protected bay, where you will have some time to snorkel, swim in the sea, indulge in some adult beverages, and eat a delicious and locally inspired lunch, before sailing off to see one of Costa Rica’s famous sunsets and then returning to the shore.

Cruise to a hidden cove  © Sandra Vallaure / Flickr

Catch your dinner

The open ocean around Playa Flamingo is rich with fish. Sports fishing is another popular activity with those who want to spend the day at sea and come home with freshly caught fish for dinner. Mahi mahi, tuna, and snapper are common catches up in the northern Pacific region of Costa Rica. Make sure that you only catch what you are going to eat, to help keep this part of Costa Rica rich with fish. Spending the day way out in the ocean is also a great opportunity to spot humpback whales, pilot whales, dolphins, rays, and sea turtles.

Dive the Catalina Islands

The Catalina Islands are located just offshore of Playa Flamingo, and indeed, from certain vantage points, you can see them from the mainland. The Catalina Islands are one of the best places in Costa Rica to go scuba diving and snorkeling. There is an abundance of tropical fish around these islands, and whale sharks, other types of sharks, rays, and sea turtles are also common residents here. Spending the day diving these islands is a unique opportunity to observe some of Costa Rica’s fascinating marine life.

Dive with giants  © Tchami / Flickr

Full-day land adventure tour

Playa Flamingo is a great starting point to set off on an all-day adventure tour. There are several places, including Diamonte Eco Adventure Park and Pura Aventura, where you can go canopy zip lining, horseback riding, hiking, and ATVing. It is even possible to do multiple activities in one day. Diamonte Adventure Park also has hanging bridges, a botanical garden, and an animal rescue center.

Costa Rica Sailing Center

Located just up the road to the north, in Playa Potrero, is the Costa Rica Sailing Center. This is an amazing place to spend the day and one that the entire family will enjoy. The Costa Rica Sailing Center offers sailboat, kayak, and paddle board rentals, sailing lessons, and yoga classes. There is also a restaurant, bar, swimming pool, and volleyball net. Throughout the week there are community events like bingo, trivia, themed parties, sunset bonfires, and live music. It’s a one-stop shop for all-day fun!

Costa Rica Sailing Center © Costa Rica Sailing Center