Playa Zancudo, South Puntarenas

Black Vulture flyin over Playa Zancudo
Black Vulture flyin over Playa Zancudo

Considered by many to be one of the best beaches in Costa Rica, Playa Zancudo is a gorgeous black sand beach located around 20 km south of Golfito in the Puntarenas province. The perfect location for a relaxing holiday, Playa Zancudo offers backpackers, surfers and families, alike a fantastic getaway to an area that is far from the hustle and bustle of Costa Rica’s other beaches. With unspoiled sceneries and totally natural surroundings, this beach is a haven for those who want a tranquil vacation.

Best Hotels in Playa Zancudo

A relatively quiet beach, Playa Zancudo is thought to have some of the best swimming on Costa Rica’s southern Pacific coast. However, what people do not realize is that this beach is an excellent surfing and sport fishing destination as well. Lying on the southern bank of the Rio Coto Colorado, Playa Zancudo also lies near a mangrove swamp with great opportunities to view much of the local wildlife. Watch out for the many birds, monkeys and crocodiles that live in the area.

With a 6-km long beach that is mostly flat, the crystal clear blue waters of the Pacific calmly roll onto the shores of Zancudo beach to create gentle surf that is ideal for all to relax and enjoy. While the northern end of the beach is mostly calm, the far south has waves that are intense enough to surf. For those who enjoy boogie boarding or body surfing, the central beach area of Playa Zancudo is just right.

With spectacular sunsets, this beach turns into a magical realm on a starry night, as small phosphorescent marine life light up the waters of the beach to present a scene like no other. During the day, this beach has wonderful views across the Golfo Dulce into the bay. A popular backpacker retreat because of the excellent surfing, Playa Zancudo has cheap accommodations, great food, a number of bars, restaurants and discos, and a casual atmosphere with friendly locals making it the ultimate holiday escape.

Here, the Pacific Ocean is your playground where you can indulge in a variety of water sports including: scuba diving, sport fishing, snorkeling, water-skiing, horseback riding, kayaking, or tours of the nearby Rio Coto Colorado. For land lovers, you can visit the Casa Orquideas Botanical Gardens or hike trails close to the river.

You can either reach Playa Zancudo by bus from Golfito or you can take a water taxi from the docks. If you opt for a boat ride, be sure to take a camera as you will have plenty of fabulous photo opportunities along the magnificent coast.

Costa Rica Eco-Adventure Tour
12 Days / 11 Nights or 10 Days / 9 Nights
Starting at $2,352 per person
Eco Experience: A Costa Rican Adventure
11 Days / 10 Nights
Starting at $3,874 per person

Where to Stay near Playa Zancudo

Featured Hotel
Playa Cativo Lodge
Starting at $165 / night
Featured Hotel
Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge
Starting at $440 / night (meals included)
Featured Hotel
Tiskita Jungle Lodge
Starting at $75 / night
Featured Hotel
Esquinas Rainforest Lodge
Starting at $310 / person
Featured Hotel
Vista Drake Lodge
Starting at $55 / night
Featured Hotel
Oxygen Jungle Villas
Starting at $260 / night
Featured Hotel
Poor Man's Paradise
Starting at $127 / night
Featured Hotel
Hotel Lookout at Playa Tortuga
Starting at $119 / night