Playa Conchal, Guanacaste

Playa Conchal, Costa Rica: A Bucket List Beach

Visit one of the most exotic beaches along the Costa Rican Gold Coast at Playa Conchal. This beach is on the northern end of the Guanacaste province along the North Pacific Coast.

Playa Conchal borders popular beaches like Playa Brasilito and Playa Flamingo. The popular beach town of Tamarindo is only 10 miles (16 kilometers) away, so it’s easy to visit multiple beaches during the same trip.

If you’re traveling from San José, the drive to Playa Conchal is 162 miles (262 kilometers), which is about a 4 to 5-hour drive. To minimize travel time, fly into Tamarindo Domestic Airport, which is a mere 30 minutes away by taxi. Alternatively, take a domestic flight to Guanacaste Airport (LIR), which is about an hour and a half away at 39 miles (63 kilometers) from the beach.

Once you’ve arrived, it’s time to kick back and take in the beauty of this incredible beach. Playa Conchal has the good fortune to be located in an area of Costa Rica that’s hot and sunny for most of the year. If you’re looking for the best time to visit, consider booking your vacation between December and April, when the North Pacific Coast gets over 10 hours of sunshine each day!

Conchal means shell in English, so you may also hear Playa Conchal called Shell Beach or simply Conchal Beach. The name comes from the white shells that can often be found along the coastline depending on the time of year. In fact, there’s a rocky headland called Punta Conchal that separates it from Playa Brasilito. The sand is made of millions of crushed shells which have been worn down over time.

Visiting Playa Conchal: Things to Do in Playa Conchal

The beach itself is the biggest attraction of the Playa Conchal area. Swim with tropical fish, work on your tan, and soak in the laid-back atmosphere. Other coastal activities include fishing and walking along the shore.

There’s no shortage of things to do in Playa Conchal, even once you’ve had your fill of the beach. Thrillseekers are sure to enjoy adventurous pursuits like tubing and ziplining. Local tours also include more relaxed options like sunset cruises and slow-paced hikes.

If you’re a wildlife enthusiast, consider visiting one of the many national parks and nature preserves nearby. These include Marino las Baulas National Park, famous for its sea turtles, and Santa Rosa National Park, the first national park founded in Costa Rica. For more marine life, visit the nearby estuary.

Playa Conchal is also surrounded by cattle ranches and campgrounds. Sleep under the stars, go horseback riding, or visit the golf course to play a few holes.

Ziplining, River Tubing, and Horseback Riding Trip

Adventurous vacationers are sure to enjoy the Ziplining, River Tubing, and Horseback Riding Trip. This tour combines three high-energy activities, plus a relaxing soak in thermal waters, into one 8-hour excursion. Each one offers a unique view of some of Liberia’s best natural features.

The tour features trips down the Rio Negro River and through the Rio Blanco Canyon, plus a visit to a natural hot spring. Lunch at Hacienda Guachipelin Restaurant is also included.

Palo Verde National Park Jungle River Cruise

Take a guided tour of an expansive wetland zone on the Palo Verde National Park Jungle River Cruise. This is a 6-hour trip through Palo Verde National Park that’s as educational as it is fun.

The Jungle River Cruise is one of the best activities for nature lovers, with plenty of opportunities to spot native species of monkeys, crocodiles, birds, and more. Learn about the animals that live in this diverse habitat from a knowledgeable tour guide, and snap a few wildlife photos to commemorate the trip.

Visit the Beautiful Beaches of Costa Rica

Playa Conchal is among the most stunning of Costa Rica’s beaches. Warm water meets golden sand, providing an idyllic atmosphere sure to please vacationers from all over the world.

Don’t just stop at one beach; why not visit other local favorites? Playa Flamingo and Playa Brasilito are the closest, with Playa Grande and Playa Mina nearby as well.

Golf at the Reserva Conchal Golf Course

You might not expect to find a golf course in Costa Rica, but the Reserva Conchal Golf Course is a unique 18-hole course that’s yet another way to relax and have fun near Playa Conchal.

This course, designed by the legendary Robert Trent Jones, spans over 7,000 yards. The green at Reserva Conchal Golf Course artfully incorporates the natural beauty of Costa Rica, crafting a one-of-a-kind experience.

Where to Stay in Playa Conchal

Playa Conchal doesn’t have an adjoining town, so there aren’t as many options for hotels as you might find in spots like Tamarindo. However, this also means that the hotels that do exist are right along the beach, so you’ll never be more than a few minutes from sun and sand.

The hotels and resorts around Playa Conchal are expansive and upscale. They rival the best beach hotels in Costa Rica in terms of comfort and quality amenities. There are also a few vacation rentals that aren’t too far from the Pacific Ocean.

Keep in mind that these hotels tend to be pricey. Still, if you don’t mind spending a little extra, you can enjoy unparalleled service and accommodations right on the beach!

Looking for something a little cheaper but still in the area? Consider staying closer to Playa Flamingo, which has more affordable options, or head back to Brasilito after a day at the beach. For more options, check out our picks for Costa Rica’s best budget-friendly hotels.

The Westin Reserva Conchal, an All-Inclusive Golf Resort & Spa

Have all your needs met at The Westin Reserva Conchal, an All-Inclusive Golf Resort & Spa. This family-friendly beach resort offers guests top-of-the-line amenities like fine dining, jungle tours, a private golf course, and spa treatments.

Explore 2,400 acres and stay right on the beach at this all-inclusive golf resort. The Westin Playa Conchal has a lagoon-style pool, tennis courts, a fitness center, and a Kids Club. There’s no shortage of activities both on the property and outdoors!

W Costa Rica - Reserva Conchal

W Costa Rica - Reserva Conchal is a Marriott hotel mere steps from Playa Conchal. Surrounded by a mangrove forest, this hotel is nothing short of an oasis that brings the charm and culture of Costa Rica right to your room.

Feel pampered as you enjoy a massage at the spa, swim in your own private plunge pool, and look out over the scenic view. Reserva Conchal even has an on-site golf course, making this a truly unique luxury experience for any guest.

Playa Conchal & Nearby Beaches

See what makes Playa Conchal so special, and how it compares to other Costa Rica beaches nearby!

Playa Conchal

Playa Conchal’s namesake beach winds 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) around a bay, which protects it from strong currents, waves and winds. The warm weather lends itself to sunbathing and other soothing activities like building sandcastles or even doing some beachside yoga.

In addition to the beach itself, the waters of Playa Conchal are warm and calm, making them perfect for swimming and snorkeling. Sailing, kayaking, and scuba diving are also popular. The ocean of the Gold Coast is exceptionally clear, so it’s a great spot to look for tropical fish, manta rays, and other marine life.

Playa Brasilito

Playa Brasilito lies between Playa Conchal and the town of Brasilito, right before the start of Playa Flamingo. This is a more laid-back beach that tends to get fewer visitors than either of its neighbors, which makes it an attractive getaway on more crowded days.

Brasilito is mostly a fishing village, so fishing is popular along the beach. The whole area has an authentic feel that appeals to those who want to live like the Ticos do.

Playa Flamingo

Known for its white sand and the variety of hotels and resorts nearby, Playa Flamingo is a beach town that’s second only to Tamarindo in the Guanacaste region. Breathe in the sea breeze at this beach, which borders a sheltered cove that keeps waves tranquil.

Just a few steps from the beach are condos, restaurants, and dozens of shops. This is the perfect spot to grab a souvenir or enjoy a picnic lunch on the sand.

Tips for Visiting Beautiful Playa Conchal

Plan your perfect beach day at Playa Conchal. Here are a few things to know before you go, ensuring you have a relaxing and stress-free time at the beach.

What is the Best Time of Year to Go to Playa Conchal?

The dry season for Playa Conchal lasts from December to April, which is also when this region of Costa Rica gets the most sun! You can also visit during the shoulder season for cheaper rates at nearby hotels, as there’s fairly little rain outside of the green season.

Know that there’s truly no bad time for a visit to anywhere in Costa Rica, including Playa Conchal. Just be sure to plan ahead so you know the best things to pack for your trip.

Check out our Costa Rica weather page for an in depth look at the country's weather broken down by month, location and much more!

Where are the Best Places to Park for a Visit to Playa Conchal?

Some local resorts offer shuttles to the beach. If you’re staying further away, park for cheap at a lot in Brasilito, right next to Playa Brasilito and a nearby soccer field. From the lot, it’s just a short walk down to the beach.

Guanacaste Escape Adventure Tour
7 Days / 6 Nights
Starting at $779 per person
Costa Rica Beach & National Park Tour
14 Days / 13 Nights
Starting at $2,091 per person

Where to Stay near Playa Conchal

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Dunama Hotel & Casino
Starting at $126 / night
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Tamarindo Dreams Hotel & Villas
Starting at $191 / night
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Occidental Tamarindo
Starting at $136 / night all inclusive
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El Mangroove, Marriott Autograph Collection
Starting at $218 / night
Featured Activity
Palo Verde Jungle Boat Tour with Lunch
Starting at $120 / person
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Libelula Lounge - Boutique Hotel
Starting at $128 / night
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JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa
Starting at $259 / night

Things to Do near Playa Conchal

Featured Activity
Palo Verde Jungle Boat Tour with Lunch
Starting at $120 / person
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Coyote Sportfishing Tamarindo
Starting at $475 / Day
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Del Mar Surf Camp - Nosara
Starting at $65 / person