The untouched tropical paradise of Playa Carrillo

Relax under the palm trees at Playa Carrillo
Relax under the palm trees at Playa Carrillo

Located on the Nicoya Peninsula in the province of Guanacaste, Playa Carrillo offers visitors to Costa Rica a chance to experience one of the country's most pristine beaches.

Untouched Carrillo

Playa Carrillo's biggest selling point is its lack of development. The stretch of crystal sand does not have any buildings, meaning that visitors are better able to enjoy its tranquil scenery. Many travelers who head to Playa Carrillo enjoy simply lounging on the beach as they take in the towering cliffs, the quiet lapping of the surf and the gentle waving of the swaying palm trees. Perhaps the strongest indication of Playa Carrillo's special status is its popularity among native Costa Ricans, as the beach is often full of Ticos during holidays and weekends.


Beachgoers interested in doing more than sunbathing are able to enjoy a wide range of exciting activities at Playa Carrillo. The destination is a popular place for kayaking, windsurfing and jet skiing, and the relatively calm water makes it perfect for families hoping to enjoy a day of swimming. The beach is protected from larger waves by a reef, which is one of the best spots on Costa Rica's Pacific coast for snorkeling and scuba diving.

At the southern end of Playa Carrillo is a small fishing and farming village, where visitors can enjoy several fun adventure sports. Some travelers use the hamlet as a base for sport fishing expeditions, while others go to nearby farms to watch Costa Rican cowboys bring their herds in on cattle drives. At the end of the day, locals and tourists alike gather on the sandy beach to watch the sun glimmer as it sets over the Pacific.

Getting There

The easiest way for travelers to reach Playa Carrillo is by car on Road 150, a well-paved path between the coastal hotspot and the nearby town of Nicoya. Tourists who do not have access to a car can get to Playa Carrillo by bus, which run each day to and from Nicoya and San Jose. Additionally, Playa Carrillo is served by a small airstrip. Travelers looking to fly to Carrillo can get there on a flight from San Jose or Liberia, although many of these trips make brief stopovers at the nearby Nosara Airport before reaching their final destination.

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