Whether newly arrived or a long-term resident of our region, you’re likely always on the lookout for new-to-you secluded beaches in Guanacaste – for the tiny coves and isolated strips of sand that promise privacy, solitude, and a little slice of paradise to call all your own, even if only for an afternoon.
It’s no secret that we love the beach. That’s why we’ve all chosen to live here, after all! But these beaches are a secret, at least to many. Whether they’re hard to access or just hard enough to access that they don’t get travel-guide glory, they fly enough under the radar that you’re likely to be one of only a few visitors – or, on a good day, the only visitor! – to these eight gorgeous, secluded beaches in Guanacaste.
Playa Minas (Playa Zapotillal)
GPS Coordinates: 10.397848142802125, -85.82941467794765
Can you keep a secret? Because Playa Minas is somewhat of a secret-within-a-secret – a beach called one thing (or two things) by locals, another by the maps, and very infrequently nothing at all in any guidebook.
And if all that reads as confusing, then you’re already at the heart of the secret in this secret beach: Playa Minas, sometimes also called Playa Mina, has long been labeled as Playa Zapotillal on maps (GPS is starting catching up, though!). And yet, despite its seclusion and almost desolate beauty, Playa Minas receives little fanfare.
In part, that’s because Playa Minas’ powder-soft sands are located at the very end of a long dirt road (4WD and/or high-clearance recommended), with almost nothing along the way and no signs to indicate what’s to come. Here, you have to know where you’re going but when you do, you know it involves the kind of tree-lined coasts, deep turquoise waters, and sun-kissed sands you’d brave a bumpy dirt road to reach.
Note: Playa Minas is home to rough waves and churning surf, so this is a strolling and sunning beach, not a swimming beach!
GPS Coordinates: 10.34163390650499, -85.85467816802708
Serving as a “window” (or ventana, in Spanish), the sandy crescent of Playa Ventanas and its caves (yes, caves!) open like windows onto the rocky and picturesque outcroppings that mark its extremes. There’s a reason why so many consider this to be one of the most scenic secluded beaches in Guanacaste…
At low tide, you can dip your toes into the pools, walk out onto the closest rocks, and even take a coastal stroll south to Playa Grande or north to Playa Carbón (an even smaller, more secluded beach, see below). But keep your eyes well peeled, for this special beach is also a a part of Las Baulas National Marine Park and, as such, acts as a nesting site for endangered sea turtles!
GPS Coordinates: 10.348742330721205, -85.86457558082694
If you think Costa Rica’s sands only come in three hues – white, cinnamon, and a hint of pink (as at Playa Conchal) – then let us introduce Playa Carbón, aka Charcoal Beach. One of the region’s most isolated beaches, you can only visit if you’re willing to take the short walking path from Playa Ventanas… and that, often, means you’ll have these sands all to yourself.
And oh, what sands! True to name – and in Costa Rica, beaches aren’t always; for example, Playa Negra is home to mostly white sands! – Playa Carbón is comprised almost wholly of dark black sands, which create a startling and beautiful contrast against the occasional streak or splotch of white sands.
The incredible effect comes courtesy of the beach’s volcanic origins, which draw on iron oxide deposits from ancient volcanoes. Then, as the ocean’s currents whirl, they pull these metallic deposits (they’re magnetic, by the way!) back onto the beach, resulting in one of Guanacaste’s most startling sights. Quick tip, though: Pack some good beach shoes, as black sand can get hot!
Bahía de los Piratas (Playa Real)
GPS Coordinates: 10.386495536708475, -85.83945398479881
If you’ve called Costa Rica home for a while, then you may have heard whispers about the “Pirates’ Bay” or Bahía de los Piratas: a little-known and, fingers crossed, oft-deserted stretch of sand home to cinnamon sands, sheltered waves, a scattering of islands, and rocky outcroppings perfect for a casual snorkel.
This is the promise of Playa Real – the beach’s “real” name, as its nickname comes courtesy of the hotel that fronts its sands – a mostly-locals beach and sea turtle nesting site that few know about (and that those who do, love!).
Because what seals the deal for so many of us is Playa Real’s ultra-calm swimming waters, courtesy of the bay, that create a safe place to swim. Revel in postcard-perfect views of the beach’s rocky off-islands, blue skies, and picturesque coastlines. If this isn’t paradise, then it’s close to it!
GPS Coordinates: 10.381008790481811, -85.84533795096172
There is something extra special about these hidden beaches off of secluded beaches in Guanacaste. And if you’re of the same mind as we are, then we’d love to introduce you to Playa Honda – the “deep beach” – that promises beauty and peace for those willing to venture off the beaten path.
To get here, you’ll first have to go there, when there means Playa Pedregosa, the pebbled beach. And to get to Playa Pedregosa, you’ll need a 4WD (absolutely required in rainy season, highly recommended in the dry season) and a willingness to take the road less traveled.
Once you do, though, you’ll travel a bit north to arrive at Playa Honda, home to powder-soft sands, clear ocean waters, and scenic rocky outcroppings. This the place to go, if you’re looking to be the only person on the beach and if you have an intrepid spirit. If you love to swim, you might just get lucky: The waves at Playa Honda are often calm enough for a dip, but be sure to always check the day’s conditions before heading in!
Playa Nombre de Jesús
GPS Coordinates: 10.394001147903994, -85.83546813542605
When your adventurous spirit encourages you onward, the Playa Ventanas-Playa Minas-Playa Nombre de Jesús is the coastline that keeps on giving. For here, at the end of a walking path from Playa Minas, you’ll find yourself at Playa Nombre de Jesús. Be sure to bring goo walking shoes, though, as the path is steep in sections!
The wonder begins before you even hit the sand: Your first sight of Playa Nombre de Jesús comes courtesy of a panoramic mirador, where you can view the gorgeous beach from your scenic perch above. It’s truly a sight, nearly perfect in its pristine beauty, which sweeps along sun-bleached sands, blue ocean, rocky outcropping, and lush, tree-lined coast.
If you’re looking for the hardest-to-reach of Costa Rica’s isolated beaches, this is probably it! Although, please do let us know if you discover your own hidden gems!
Playa Pan de Azúcar (Sugar Beach)
GPS Coordinates: 10.47583698883802, -85.7811966545896
Close your eyes and envision a heaping beachful of ultra-fine sugar; that’s almost what Playa Pan de Azúcar, or Sugar Beach, is like. Almost. Because, while we may not crave a stroll through sugar, we are always in the mood for this stretch of quiet sand!
While not completely isolated, Sugar Beach is one of our top choices for secluded beaches in Guanacaste, as it has somehow managed to avoid over-tourism and retain its tranquil charm. In large part, this is because the easiest way to get here is via the natural trails that connect Playa Prieta with Playa Pan de Azúcar. Along the way, you’ll be treated to the sights at Mirador Playa Prieta, a scenic overlook with gorgeous, panoramic views.
Playa Puerto Viejo
GPS Coordinates: 10.40114948802224, -85.81908580356682
Located just southwest of several bigger-name beaches, including Playa Conchal and Brasilito, Playa Puerto Viejo is sometimes referred to as Puerto Viejo de Conchal, due to its proximity. Here, you’ll find that perfect mix of beauty and relative seclusion, paired with soft sands that’ll beg you dig your toes in and enjoy the mostly gentle waters that invite an afternoon’s swim.
Playa Puerto Viejo is often secluded and nearly always tranquil, offering a blend of spectacular beauty and total relaxation. And we know you’ll love its cinnamon sands, which are kissed by just a hint of shimmering pink. Go ahead, dig your toes in! Take a stroll. Take time to explore and enjoy the beauty around you. And, when you’re ready, take a dip; Playa Puerto Viejo’s waters are calm enough for swimming.
Looking for More Secluded Beaches in Guanacaste?
You have questions, we have answers! Whether you already live here and have discovered your own favorite beaches or are still browsing the options of where you’ll call home, we’d love to help you explore the world of Guanacaste beaches.
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