Heading north from Malpaís, you first hit Playa Carmen, a clean and attractive beach. Just beyond this is Santa Teresa, an up-and-coming area with more development and services than most places on the peninsula. Next comes Playa Hermosa, a beach that truly lives up to its name (hermosa means beautiful in Spanish)—here you'll find a mellow, grey-sand coastline nestled between two forested mountains. The final beach in the area is Manzanillo, a spot that has awesome tide pools, snorkeling and swimming.
Most travelers will spend a good deal of time on the beach. Using the profiles below to learn more about your options will make your time in the sun and on the sand all the more pleasant. And as always, don't hesitate to ask us if you have any questions.
The beach at Malpaís is a long, rocky stretch that's interspersed with sandy and shady areas. Just south of Santa Teresa, it's beautiful and relaxed and is regarded as one of the best Pacific Coast beaches. Add to this the fact that it has some of the best surfing in the country and you have the making for an awesome stretch of coastline. More.
Playa Carmen is essentially a surfing beach. Sandwiched between Malpaís and Santa Teresa, this beach is known for having a variety of breaks that offer ideal surf conditions throughout the year. The rip tides and beach breaks are less forceful than in other parts of Costa Rica, and as such it's well suited for beginners. Typically, Playa Carmen sees long rights and nice short lefts. This makes it popular with longboarders, although it's not uncommon to find shortboarders slashing through the crests of the waves. The waves also tend to get more intense — with faster breaks and steeper walls — as you head north towards Santa Teresa. More
In many ways, Santa Teresa is more upscale than Malpaís — the hotels are nicer and there are more services and facilities in town. The denizens are oftentimes more affluent than other areas on the peninsula, which makes for a vibe that's less hippie than yuppie. The surfing at Santa Teresa, however, tends to be better than most other places. There are superb swells year round with moderate to strong breaks. Due to this, the people at the beach are often energetic and athletic; the type that's more comfortable on the crest of a wave than in a five-star restaurant. More.
Everyone knows that Costa Rica has beautiful beaches; type the country's name into Google and you’ll be flooded with images of palm trees, white-sand stretches, and perfect turquoise water. It comes as little surprise then that several Playa Hermosas – which literally means "beautiful beach" in Spanish – are spread across the country. More.
The calm beach of Manzanillo is located to the north of Santa Teresa. Manzanillo has been eclipsed by the rapid development in Malpaís and Santa Teresa, and as such has retained a distinctly backwater vibe. The small village hosts a tiny sampling of bars and restaurants, but most visitors will find the seclusion of the beach to be the area’s biggest draw. More.
Chances are that if you’re traveling through the southern part of the Nicoya Peninsula you’ll be interested in visiting Montezuma. The town is a lively mishmash of national and international characters whose bohemian, open-minded attitude has helped to make the place famous. It’s composed of a few small streets that border a lengthy, wide section of beach. From Montezuma, walks can be made either north or south to scout out different sections of shoreline. More.
Links of Interest
›Hotels and Lodging In and Around Malpais