Playa Negra, Guanacaste

Known for its world-class waves and breaks, Playa Negra is a surfer's paradise.

Famous as the filming location for the cult classic, "Endless Summer II," this beach sits along the northwestern region of Guanacaste along the northern Pacific coast.

But this small beach community has more to offer than just its surfing breaks. From great hotels, resorts and budget lodges to renowned cafes and local delicacies, Playa Negra has a little something to offer every visitor. Enjoy the laid-back Tico lifestyle here while escaping the hustle of other surf-centric communities along the Pacific Coast.

Those staying here will also be just a short drive away from Marino Las Baulas National Park, which is a famous nesting ground for the leatherback turtles.

Tide Pools & Swimming

Anyone will enjoy the pristine conditions and remote landscape of Playa Negra. The black-sand shoreline is surrounded by rocky borders that make ideal conditions for small tide pools. Although much of the water isn't ideal for swimming, there are small protected areas to the south of the beach for swimming.

Surfing at Playa Negra

One of the greatest things about Playa Negra is that even though it is a great surfing location for experienced surfers, beginners can find a perfect break here to try their skills on a smaller day.

The waves here hit fast with a hollow, right-hand barrel. Since the surf rushes over a shallow, rocky bottom, the best time to catch a wave is during high-tide.

However, this beach's small take-off zone tends to get crowded, especially at high tide.

The consistent waves throughout the year attract pro surfers regularly, but it's best to avoid this area during low tide – no matter what your level of experience. When this happens, a short walk or drive to Playa Callejones or Playa Avellana may be a great alternative way to spend the day.

Where to Eat

Hungry? There is a spot to grab food and drinks right on the beach, or plenty of smaller, low-key places just one kilometer inland in the small village of Pargos.

This laid-back community boasts many lodging possibilities that range from affordable budget options to high-end hotels with gourmet cuisine. To boot, the locals are welcoming and friendly.

Marino Las Baulas National Park

Via Route 152, Playa Negra is just about 24 kilometers from Marino Las Baulas National Park.

Spanning 445 hectares, including the shoreline and 22,000 hectares of open water, Marino Las Baulas became a part of the national park system in May 1990.

The park consists of four beaches, Playa Ventanas, Playa Grande, Carbon and Playa Langosta, as well as the mangroves at the mouth of the Matapalo River and the San Francisco River Estuary.

The main attraction of this park is the shoreline where the leatherback turtles come for nesting, as it is one of the last remaining sites in the world.

Although there are restrictions on visitation here, with the help of a guide, travelers can venture along the shores between November and February.

Getting to Playa Negra

Travelers should take note of the tough terrain in this region of the country.

The only public transportation that comes through town is from Santa Cruz, and conversely, it can be a bit tricky with a regular vehicle.

Having access to a four-wheel drive automobile will make the trip much easier.

Those coming from San Jose will have to carve out 4-5 hours to get here.

It's also possible to take a domestic flight from the San Jose International Airport to the Tamarindo domestic airport, which is only about 35 minutes from Playa Negra.

The travel time from the international airport in Liberia is about one hour and 45 minutes.

Guanacaste Escape Adventure Tour
7 Days / 6 Nights
Starting at $932 per person
Costa Rica Beach & National Park Tour
14 Days / 13 Nights
Starting at $2,068 per person

Where to Stay near Playa Negra

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Andaz Costa Rica Resort at Peninsula Papagayo
Starting at $275 / night
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Hilton Garden Inn Guanacaste Airport
Starting at $102 / night
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The Westin Reserva Conchal, an All-Inclusive Golf Resort & Spa
Starting at $419 / night All-Inclusive
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Hotel Sugar Beach
Starting at $112 / night
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Capitán Suizo Beachfront Boutique Hotel
Starting at $250 / night
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W Costa Rica - Reserva Conchal
Starting at $360 / night
Featured Activity
Coyote Sportfishing Tamarindo
Starting at $475 / Day

Things to Do near Playa Negra

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