Costa Rica is a stunning country to visit that is covered with jungles, forests, mountains, waterfalls, rivers, and, of course, beautiful beaches. With a name like Costa Rica which means Rich Coasts, it’s hardly surprising that the country’s beaches are beautiful but it’s the black sand beaches in Costa Rica that are the real stars.
There is something about a black sand beach, they are just so different and the contrasts of colors between the jungle and the blue sea and the black sand are quite magical. While in Costa Rica, you’ve got to see some of its best black sand beaches, and they are dotted around the country so you’ll never be too far from one.
The first black sand beach in Costa Rica we are going to talk about is Playa Pavones. You’ll find Playa Pavones way down in southern Costa Rica in the district of Puntarenas, just close to the border with Panama.
Playa Pavones is about as beautiful as a beach can get as it’s lined with rich jungles on one side, the stunningly blue pacific ocean on the other, and the whole area is teeming with life.
A stroll down the beach might have you bumping into a nesting turtle or seeing tropical birds flying above, and if you like to surf, Pavones holds the longest warm water left-hand break in the world.
Getting to the black sand beach of Playa Pavones isn’t so easy and it does require quite a trek by land but you can fly to the nearby airport from San Jose.
Tamarindo Beach is one of the most easily accessible black sand beaches in Costa Rica as it sits right next to the quaint touristy town of Tamarindo. The roads are in good condition, there are bars and restaurants along with it, and there is loads to do.
While the Tamarindo area is quite busy you’ll always be able to find some peace and quiet along Tamarindo beach as it’s absolutely massive. The beach is perfect for swimming on, enjoying a long walk, having a delicious lunch, and lots more. It’s a very popular surf spot that is perfect for intermediate surfers and beginners and you can rent boards and get lessons if you like.
It’s also a great beach to go to if you want to go scuba diving and snorkeling, and there is a fleet of offshore fishing boats just waiting to take you deep sea fishing.
Playa Hermosa is another stunning black sand beach in Costa Rica and you’ll find it just north of Tamarindo Beach in the Guanacaste region. The vibe at Playa Hermosa is a lovely one as it’s backed onto by a very relaxed village full of both locals and ex-pats.
There aren’t too many people so you can enjoy the beach without any crowds but there is the added bonus of a few lovely restaurants and bars to hang out at too.
While walking along the black sand beach you can hardly see the village as there is a nice slice of jungle between the beach and the town, on either side are large headlands, and the swimming and surfing there is also lovely.
Puerto Viejo is another black sand beach in Costa Rica that should be visited if you have the chance. Unlike the other black sand beaches we have mentioned, this beach is on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica in the Limon province and it has quite a busy tourist vibe to it but it’s still very laidback.
If you’re a pro surfer you would have heard about Puerto Viejo as it holds the largest wave on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica, Salsa Brava. This wave can get very big and should not be attempted by anyone who isn’t a pro.
The beach itself is pretty but it’s not great for swimming as there are strong rip currents but don’t worry there are plenty of beaches close by where you can have a swim safely.
Just next door to Puerto Viejo is the black sand beach of Playa Negra, which literally means black beach and it’s absolutely beautiful. Playa Negra seems to just go on and on so if you love a good beach walk, this is a fantastic place for it.
Like most of the black sand beaches in Costa Rica, you have the jungle on one side, the sea on the other, and the great thing about this beach is that it’s great for swimming and surfers of all levels.
The village close by is very laidback and has a surf vibe to it. You’ll find great restaurants, bars, and everyone is very welcoming. Nearby you’ll find some amazing national parks including Cahuita National Park and Talamanca Indian Reserve where you can hike and see pretty much all the awesome wildlife Costa Rica has to offer.
Playa Conchal is another black sand beach in Costa Rica that everyone should see as it’s about as beautiful as it gets.
Tucked away behind a protective headland in the Guanacaste region just close by to Tamarindo, Playa Conchal is protected which gives rise to two things, clean waves, and clear waters and it’s one of the best beaches in Costa Rica for snorkeling.
Playa Conchal is long and perfect for long walks and the views of the jungle headlands and ocean are delightful. Plus it’s a great place to watch the sun set into the Pacific every morning.
The small town behind Playa Conchal is a little plastic fantastic for my tastes as it’s pretty much an ex-pat golf resort that lacks a lot of actual Costa Rican culture but it’s perfect for traveling with a family as there are loads to do from golf to tennis and more.
Playas del Coco is another wonderful black sand beach in Costa Rica that is also very close to Tamarindo and it’s very easily accessible from the international airport in Liberia. You can literally land in Costa Rica and be chilling on this beach within a few hours.
Playas del Coco is surrounded on either side by large jungle-covered headlands which protect the beach from strong winds and also add a lot to the views. The beach is long, the sea is clean and warm, and it’s a great place for swimming and surfing too.
You’ll find everything you need around Playas del Coco including lots of restaurants, cafes, bars, and places to stay. It’s a great place for couples, singles, and families to hang out and enjoy Costa Rica to the max.
Playa Panama is another of the great black sand beaches in the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica. This black sand beach is a little different from the others as it’s completely protected by a huge peninsula across the way. This makes the beach perfect for swimming and snorkeling as there are almost never any strong waves or strong currents.
Playa Panama beach extends in a kind of semi-circle around a stunning cove and is lined with lovely old trees and jungle. There isn’t much around the beach either with just a couple of restaurants and one resort, so it really is a peaceful slice of paradise worth investigating and perfect for sunbathing, swimming, and hanging out with kids.
Getting to Playa Panama black sand beach is very easy if you have your own car. It’s a simple drive up and down the dirt roads after which you’ll be blessed with a view of paradise.
Sitting a bit further south in the Guanacaste Region of Costa Rica is the stunning black sand beach of Santa Teresa. Santa Teresa is similar to a lot of the other black sand beaches in Costa Rica with the beautiful jungle to the east and the pacific ocean to the west.
You can swim and surf on Santa Teresa Beach and the beach just seems to go on and on forever, joining other beaches. The vibe around Santa Teresa is very surfy and there aren’t too many people there as it’s not so easy to get to.
You have to drive from San Jose via a ferry or around the Nico Peninsula to get there. There is also a little airport at Malpais which has a few flights a week from San Jose.
Playa Montezuma is probably one of the best black sand beaches in Costa Rica and you’ll find it on the southern end of Nicoya Penisula. The beach is stunning mainly because it’s extremely natural with very little development around it and it has never-ending views south into the Pacific with rich jungles behind it.
Just next to Playa Montezuma are the amazing hiking trails that lead to the Montezuma waterfalls where you can swim in the many plunge pools. Just to the west of Playa Montezuma, you’ll find the lovely national park of Cabo Blanco where you can find a lot more beaches that are completely uninhabited.
Roger is a little obsessed with travel. He has been to over 40 countries, broken 3 suitcases and owned over 10 backpacks in 12 months. What he doesn't know about travel, ain't worth knowing!