Girl surfing in Costa Rica

Crystal waters, coral reefs in the Caribbean

The Caribbean coast of Costa Rica has a very different atmosphere and because there is more rainfall here it is much less visited than the Pacific coast. This brings its own advantages: long, empty beaches where the rainforest meets the coast and a typical chilled out Caribbean atmosphere.

The distinctly Caribbean feel of Puerto Viejo means that you’re never too far from an intoxicating reggae beat or a tropical cocktail. There’s some fantastic surfing and swimming locations along the coast which are easily accessible by bike or car, or if you fancy a bit of local culture you could head to a working tropical farm where you can sample the local produce. Of course, you could just lay back and relax on the beach…

palm trees in samara

Relaxing on the Pacific's endless beaches

The Pacific coast of Costa Rica is full of beaches, sun and sand, and Samara village has plenty of each! With a long stretch of white sand and calm waters, this beach stay is a great option for those who enjoy open water swimming and also families. The days on this trip are left free to relax and do as much, or as little as you wish.

The national park in Manuel Antonio is a place where sandy beaches and rainforest go hand in hand. You might spot three different species of monkey, but be sure to keep your belongings close by as they certainly live up to being cheeky! This is the only national park in Costa Rica where you can have your binoculars out one minute and be snorkelling the next.

Spot dolphins

The combination of deserted beaches and plenty of options for day trips make Costa Ballena one of our favourite beach destinations. Along the hilly coastline you’ll find vast deserted beaches where pelicans fly in circles above the mangroves and landscaped lodges speckle the shore. Tortuga is a great starting point for dolphin boat trips, snorkelling in the Ballena National Marine Park and exploring hidden beaches and waterfalls.

The waters off the Drake Bay coastline are home to a variety of marine life, including 25 species of dolphin and whale that pass through each year. Nearby Isla del Caño has one of the best coral reefs in the country and it’s well worth a snorkelling trip with your guide. You won’t find many amenities on the beaches here, but if you’ve always wanted to experience desert island life, you’ll find this and more on Drake Bay.

Featured trip

Reefs & Reggae of the Caribbean

Duration:4 days / 3 nights
Location:Puerto Viejo
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Dolphins & Bays of the Pacific Coast

Duration:4 days / 3 nights
Location:Ojochal/Costa Ballena
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Pura Vida en Familia

Duration:13 days / 12 nights
Itinerary:San Jose - Tortuguero - Puerto Viejo - La Fortuna - Monteverde - San Jose
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red eyed frog

Featured itinerary

A Taste of Costa Rica

Duration:13 days / 12 nights
Itinerary:San Jose - Puerto Viejo - La Fortuna - Monteverde - Manuel Antonio - San Jose
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Man looking out over La Fortuna view

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Best snorkelling spots in Costa Rica

18th May 2016 by Blanca

Discover Costa Rica's marine ecosystem with our roundup of best snorkelling spots across the Caribbean and Pacific coastlines.

5 min read

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