Enjoying the blue sunset in Tamarindo
Enjoying the blue sunset in Tamarindo

Costa Rica is known for being one of the most diverse place on the planet, and this extends far beyond just the eco systems. Costa Rica is diverse in its people, its culture, and its activities. While my home country is well ­known for having some of the world’s most renowned surfing, the beaches are for more than just surfing! For those that want to take it easy and hit the beach for some relaxation and to just kick back, there are plenty of places for that too! Costa Rica can boast two stunning coastlines, along both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, which means that there are dozens of white, tan, and black sand beaches that are perfect for any relaxing getaway. If you’re looking for shorelines that will leave you speechless and scenery that is picturesque, then I recommend that you head to Guanacaste. I've explored all of the hard to get to beaches in the Guanacaste province, and I can say without a doubt that this province is a beach ­lovers dream come true. Here are some of the beaches you can choose from in the Guanacaste province.

Tamarindo beach chairs waiting for you
Tamarindo beach chairs waiting for you

1. Tamarindo

Playa Tamarindo is often thought to be one of Costa Rica’s best beaches, and for good reason. The water is warm all year round, and the sands are a sparkling white. Not only that, but the beaches here are clean, and there is a big ongoing effort to keep them that way! If you are ready to dip your toes into some of Costa Rica’s warmest waters, you can reach Playa Tamarindo off of Route 152, south of Marino las Baulas National Park. What makes this area unique is that while it has had a recent tourist boom that has resulted in a lot of development, the locals have remained friendly and dedicated to being eco ­friendly, while still embodying that laid back attitude that is common among Ticos. Aside from swimming, the beaches at Playa Tamarindo offer the chance to scuba dive, snorkel, fish, view surfers and surfing competitions, or just watch the leatherback turtles lay their eggs. If you’re looking for the ultimate beach­front stay, Tamarindo should be a place that you settle into for at least a few days. With white sand beaches, pristine waters, and enough cafes and beach shops for all the tourists, you’re sure to consider this area one of your happy places.

Ocotal Beach, Costa Rica
Ocotal Beach, Costa Rica

2. Ocotal

While many of the popular beach towns in Guanacaste can get crowded with tourists, there are some beaches that can still offer you a quiet charm. One of those beaches is Ocotal, which is located just south of the popular beach town of Playas del Coco. This beach side community is nestled in a rocky cove, so the waves are always gentle enough for swimmers, and that laid back feeling transfers to the area’s general atmosphere too: it’s laid back and peaceful here, night and day. One thing you’ll notice about Ocotal right away is that the beach isn’t as long as some of the other spots in Costa Rica, but that doesn’t make it any less of a paradise. In this spot, what is lacking in coastline is made up for with the combination of tranquil ambiance and calm, warm water. This is one of my top spots for tourists for take a dip. Here, the sand is grey, similar to the beaches at Playas del Coco, but the waters here seem to have more blue in them. From your relaxing, quiet spot on the beach, you can look around you and see beautiful hills and cliffs in the landscape. You can choose to relax in the sun all day, reading your favorite book or chatting with your friends and family, or you can head in the water with some snorkeling gear.

Javi the Frog at Bahia del Sol, Potrero beach, Guanacaste
Javi the Frog at Bahia del Sol, Potrero beach, Guanacaste

3. Potrero

It’s really easy for me to throw out the word ‘paradise’ for almost any place that I describe in Costa Rica, but if you really want to get away from it all, head north from Tamarindo on Route 180 to the tiny seaside town of Potrero. Located just a little farther north than Playa Flamingo, the fishing town of Potrero is one of Guanacaste's best ­kept secrets, offering luxurious stretches of beach, tranquil surroundings and crystal­clear water. It truly is a little piece of paradise. Some favorite activities for this area include: bathing in the sun, reading in the shade of the palm tree, cooling off in the blue waters. The waves are gentle and warm, offering ideal conditions for swimming. Tourist traffic here is minimal which means that this gorgeous bay area stays pretty quiet. Visitors that can pull themselves away from the sand of the beaches can enjoy a day snorkeling, scuba diving, sport fishing, or even kayaking.

Relaxing at Playa Hermosa Guanacaste
Relaxing at Playa Hermosa Guanacaste

4. Playa Hermosa

Guanacaste’s Playa Hermosa rounds out my list, and it’s one of the best beaches on the province for swimming. A gray sand beach located in north Guanacaste just off Route 159, Hermosa is one of the most relaxing stretches of Costa Rica's Pacific Coast. After you've taken a swim in the azure waters, why not dry off and work on your tan? While you’re lying on the warm sand, look up and around you and you’ll notice two mountains within view. This scenery just adds to the laid back beach atmosphere in the area. Since this area is a favorite for swimmers, locals and tourists alike, there have been recent developments that have made the area more commercial, but it still retains its natural beauty. The developments are great for tourists as they mean more options for accommodations and places to eat. After a day of swimming and soaking up the sun, why not watch the sunset on the beach, while horseback riding? Visitors can also snorkel, sport fish, and scuba dive at Playa Hermosa. The natural beauty of the beach is only made more amazing by the region’s warm waters and near perfect year ­round weather. No matter which beach you visit on Guanacaste, you’ll find beauty, great weather, warm waters, and friendly locals.

Sunset at Playa Panama
Sunset at Playa Panama