Visiting the Central Pacific Beaches
The Central Pacific Costa Rica beaches are a short drive away from the capital city of San Jose and the country’s metropolitan Central Valley. In fact, these Central Pacific destinations tend to attract a large number of visitors.
Jaco is a popular party and Herradura has its marina. Manuel Antonio Beach too is famous for being the most beautiful beach in Central America while Punta Leona is a paradise for bird spotters. Most famously, the Central Pacific is known for its surfer beaches like Jaco, Dominical and Hermosa (not to be confused with the Playa Hermosa in Guanacaste!).
As part of the Puntarenas province, this beach is not to be confused with the other Playas Hermosa in Costa Rica since there are 4 of them! In Spanish, Hermosa means beautiful, and there is not much about Costa Rica that isn’t beautiful. Located close to the other famous beach destination of Jaco, Playa Hermosa is the perfect beach for the surfer who wants to escape the bustling Jaco right next door.
Jaco is the most developed beach town in the Central Pacific and the most popular for party goers. Surfers also enjoy frequenting this area and it is known to have some of the spectacular sunsets. Other than the nightlife and the surf, you can stop by the Tarcoles river when you can see hundreds of crocodiles just below the bridge.
Calling all bird watchers! There are a large number of birds to spot in this area like Toucans, Hummingbirds, Quetzals, and Macaws in Punta Leona. Punta Leona is among Costa Rica’s most important nature reserves and protects nearly 800 acres of pristine forest. It divides the dry forests of the north and the rainforests of the south. This means there are a wider variety of wildlife to be spotted in this little area.
The Marina at Los Suenos Marriott has helped transform Playa Herradura into a mecca for world-class sports fishing. The Marina boasts the largest number of fishing captains and fully equipped boats in Costa Rica and hosts sports fishing competitions every year. Herradura is famous for the record number of Dorado and Tuna caught in the nearby waters. Another town with world-renowned marina, is Quepos.
Not sure which beach to visit during your Costa Rica vacation? How about the one that has been called the most beautiful one in the whole country? Manuel Antonio beach has that reputation as well as a glorious national park tied to it. Go for a hike and spot birds, sloths, monkeys, coatis and many more. Take a canopy tour and admire the flora and fauna in this region of Costa Rica. At the beach, you can relax and take in the scenery or surf, go scuba diving or snorkeling, horseback riding take a catamaran tour or even go parasailing.
Dominical is a quiet little fishing village that has slowly transformed itself over the years into a surfing, expat community. You’ll find about 700 residents, hotels, restaurants and resorts, several different surfing schools and waves for beginner-advanced surfers. Dominical isn’t only for surfers, either. Come to Dominical to explore the lush rainforests surrounding the small village, go scuba diving off the coast, horseback riding to the Nauyaca Waterfalls and take a day trip to Caño Island.
Visit between December and March: This is the Costa Rica dry season and your best chance for the long, sunny days Costa Rica is known for.
Explore the Central Pacific area: The Central Pacific is known for its surfer beaches like Jaco, Hermosa and Dominical, but it also houses the stunning Manuel Antonio. Make sure to pay a visit to Kids Saving the Rainforest!
Watch out for riptides: You have to be careful for riptides. It is a good beach for surfing but not for swimming. Should you get caught in a riptide, make sure you swim parallel to the beach until you can free yourself.
Local as well as international flavors can be savored all along the Central Pacific. For a real cultural experience, visit a soda and try a Casado for lunch or Gallo Pinto for breakfast. If you favor more international cuisine, you will find plenty of restaurants that cater to each pallet, including vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options. Especially in Manuel Antonio, Quepos and Jaco!