Playa Avellana, Guanacaste

Visiting Playa Avellana

Like many other spots along Guanacaste, Costa Rica’s North Pacific Coast, Playa Avellana is known for its beautiful white sand beaches and great surf conditions. Unlike many of its neighbors, such as the bustling Tamarindo, Playa Avellana has a more laid-back atmosphere that may be more appealing if you’re seeking rest and rejuvenation.

The relaxed vibe and incredible waves have given Playa Avellana a reputation as a surfer’s paradise, but there’s a great deal more for visitors to do in this beach town! Take a boat tour, explore the forest, and unwind in a totally stress-free environment.

Best Hotels in Playa Avellana

Playa Avellana Costa Rica also offers plenty of opportunities to get in touch with nature. Take a trip to see a rare baby leatherback turtle, or simply keep your eyes peeled for a local celebrity known as Lola. The 400-kilogram pig can often be found wandering along the beach to nap and bathe in the sand.

Whether you’re in search of a beach break or just an escape from your day job, you’re sure to find peace and tranquility in the Guanacaste province at Playa Avellana.

Explore the Area and Enjoy the Star Attractions

Playa Avellana is best known as a beach town, and it’s not hard to see why. With great opportunities for surfing and other beachside activities, it has more than earned its reputation, but that’s far from all there is to do.

Other experiences well-suited to any trip itinerary include visiting Las Baulas National Marine Park, taking a day trip to Tamarindo, and even enjoying a few landlocked activities like horseback riding and golf in Hacienda Pinilla.

Playa Avallana Surfer
Playa Avallana Surfer

Surfing and Other Activities in Playa Avellana

The turbulent waters and strong currents of Playa Avellana mean the area isn’t well-suited for swimming, but there are plenty of other ways to enjoy the waves. Enjoy a relaxing Palo Verde Boat Tour, or take a Sportfishing trip, setting out from nearby Playas del Coco.

Any surfer looking for the ideal surfing vacation should look no further than Playa Avellana. Catching a wave is the main draw thanks to the especially favorable conditions. The two kilometer long beach boasts a grand total of eight different breaks, including both left and right breaks, and swells from both hemispheres as well.

The surfing here is some of the best of the Pacific side of Costa Rica, with great year-round swells. Popular spots include La Purruja, a left-hand reef break; El Palo, left and right little barrels; and the legendary El Estero de Avellanas. There’s even a break dubbed Little Hawaii where the waves reach as high as 5.5 meters, a world class wave location that may be an intimidating challenge for less experienced adventures and best left to seasoned surfers.

Be sure to check out the surf shop if you need to rent a board. If you’re a beginner, consider signing up for a surfing lesson at a nearby surf camp, where you can take surf lessons with minimal risk of wiping out.

Other Activities in Playa Avellana, Guanacaste

If you’re not much of a surfer, there’s lots to do on land instead! Sunbathe on the white sand beach, and catch an amazing view of the sunset from the comfort of a beachside bar. The isolated nature of the beach also makes it a quiet spot to enjoy a good book or a peaceful afternoon nap.

Many families bring picnic lunches to the beach to refuel in between trips out to the waves. Just make sure to keep your food well-guarded from Lola!

If you’re looking for something a little more adventurous, try your hand at horseback riding on the beach. You can also check out the 18-hole championship golf course at the nearby JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa inside Hacienda Pinilla if you’re interested in golfing.

Las Baulas National Marine Park

The Las Baulas National Marine Park is about 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) from Playa Avellana, but it’s worth the trip. There you can see a truly amazing sight - the world’s largest colony of leatherback sea turtles, also known as las baulas in Spanish.

Sea turtles flock to Playa Grande in Las Baulas National Marine Park every year during nesting season, which spans from November through April. Over 800 female turtles lay their eggs, and from April to September, the baby turtles hatch and return to the sea.

The Las Baulas National Marine Park offers evening turtle tours through the Playa Grande ranger station.


Playa Avellana is great for a more relaxed vacation, but if you want something a little more lively, head to the nearby surf town of Tamarindo. At just 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) away you’ll find magnificent restaurants, boutique shops, spas, bakeries and an array of lodging accommodations.

Tamarindo is especially popular during spring break, when it becomes a hub for beach parties, clubgoers, and long nights at the bar. It’s common to hear Latin music as you walk down the street at night.

During the daylight hours, Tamarindo features activities such as surfing, scuba diving, snorkeling, and horseback riding.

Nearby Hotels and Activities in Playa Avellana, Guanacaste

Playa Avellana is all about relaxation, so the stresses of travel should be the last thing on anyone’s mind. Skip the frustration of long drives to the beach, and instead stay in a cozy lodge or suite near the beach.

Many of the nearby hotels provide attractions and experiences of their own, including opportunities for sunbathing, drinking, dancing, and getting up-close and personal with native wildlife.

The Best Places to Stay in Playa Avellana

If you want to ensure you have the best possible spot on the beach, you’ll want to arrive early! The most convenient way to do so is to stay nearby in one of Playa Avellana’s many exceptional hotels.

Cabinas Las Olas

Located just a brief walk from the shore, Cabinas Las Olas is one of the most popular choices for families as well as solo travelers looking to surf in Playa Avellana. Enjoy a complimentary continental breakfast, hit the beach bright and early, then return to the hotel to take advantage of their built-in restaurant and bar.

The natural, rustic aesthetic and beautiful surrounding forest embody the lodge’s commitment to living in harmony with Costa Rica’s native plants and wildlife. The mangrove reserve is a habitat for many different species, making this hotel the perfect choice for nature lovers.

Blue Zone Resort

The Blue Zone Resort’s Drift Away Eco Lodge is another hotel that aims to make its guests feel immersed in nature! It’s a great spot to relax and explore Costa Rica’s natural beauty, and offers easy access to a secluded beach while still being just a short drive away from Tamarindo.

Amenities at this lodge include a garden, patio, and outdoor swimming pool. Rooms and villas are tastefully decorated with locally-sourced furniture, are air-conditioned and have dining tables as well as in-suite bathrooms.


SoulShine Hotel is within walking distance of Playa Avellana’s best stretches of coastline, making it an ideal choice for those who love the beach. It’s also conveniently located near the heart of the city, so you can trade travel time for rest and relaxation.

The SoulShine’s suites offer picturesque views of the garden alongside all the comforts of home, including Wi-Fi, air conditioning, and a mini bar. Rooms are pet-friendly, and guests can make use of the hotel pool and enjoy authentic cuisine at the on-site dining locations.

Mikado Natural Lodge

If you’re looking to visit a wide variety of beaches, the Mikado Natural Lodge is the perfect place to stay. Not only is the hotel just a short trip away from Playa Avellana, but it’s also only 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) from Tamarindo.

Rooms at the Mikado Natural Lodge are bungalow-style, which makes them well-suited to family vacations and intimate getaways alike. Larger groups can even rent out all six rooms of the resort, including the infinity swimming pool and the surrounding jungle, while also enjoying local entertainment and dining.

Learning the Lay of the Land

Whether you’re a first-time visitor to Guanacaste or it’s practically a second home, it’s important to familiarize yourself with a general overview of the location.

Getting to Playa Avellana

Access to Playa Avellana is pretty easy but it is not as well-known as other surf breaks or beach towns within a short drive such as Tamarindo, Playa Langosta or Playa Negra.

If you are coming by bus, the easiest way to reach Playa Avellana from the San José International Airport or the Guanacaste Airport is to first catch a bus to Tamarindo, and then take a taxi to the beach. Most buses have space for gear like surfboards, but it’s a good idea to check beforehand. Otherwise, you can use a shared van shuttle service, or just rent a surfboard once you’re at the beach.

Alternatively, you can access Playa Avellana from Santa Cruz or Villareal via route 155. Simply turn right about 400 meters past Escuela Villareal, then follow the unmarked road for the remaining 9 kilometers (about 6 miles) until you reach the shore.

Playa Avellana Reef
Playa Avellana Reef

Explore the Sights

The jungles surrounding Playa Avellana’s coast appeal to nature lovers of all ages. Taking a hike or horseback ride through the forest is a great way to experience all of Costa Rica’s natural beauty, and to feel more connected to Guanacaste during your stay.

Like much of Costa Rica, Playa Avellana and the surrounding area remains in touch with its historic routes. One of the best ways to get to know the cultural history of the area is to head to nearby Nicoya and take the Rancho Perlita Chorotega Tour through the cultural center.

On the tour, you’ll get to learn about the lives of the locals and their ancestors while learning how to cook authentic Costa Rican, or Tico food!

Tips and Tricks for Enjoying Your Stay

Make the most of your trip to Playa Avellana’s gorgeous shores with these tips, which will help you navigate the area like a local.

Playa Avellana’s Biggest Fans

While just about anyone can enjoy their time at Playa Avellana, surfers, nature enthusiasts, and those seeking a quiet retreat will get the most out of it. Partygoers should consider staying in nearby Tamarindo instead.

Beauty & the Beach at Playa Avellana
Beauty & the Beach at Playa Avellana

Make Use of Tours

If you want to see as much as possible in a short time, tours are your best bet!

Expert tour guides will ensure you don’t miss out on anything, whether you’re hiking, diving, or exploring the waterways by boat.

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 Avellana

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Seis Playas Hotel
Starting at $100 / night
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Hotel Luna Llena
Starting at $130 / night
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Occidental Tamarindo
Starting at $136 / night all inclusive
Featured Transportation
Guanacaste Airport Transfers
Starting at $49 / person
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Nacazcol Hotel & Villas
Starting at $100 / night
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The Grateful Hotel
Starting at $80 / night
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Hotel Mangaby
Starting at $85 / night
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Los Altos de Eros Boutique Hotel & Spa
Starting at $358 / night

Things to Do near Playa Avellana

Featured Activity
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