Beaches in Costa Rica San Jose are amazing if you are searching for the perfect beach to lay in the sun, this article will show you the best 5 strips of sand located less than 3 hour’s drive from the capital of the country, San José.
With more than 1.300 kilometers (800 miles) of coastline, you have plenty of beaches to choose from and I am sure you will spend memorable moments in this exotic paradise.
No matter if you are a beach lover or you like nature and adventures, Costa Rica has something for everybody: spectacular beaches, one of the richest biodiversity in the world, many activities to try, and stunning sceneries.
The first thing you have to do when planning your trip to Costa Rica is to decide how much time you want to spend in the car as some of the beaches might be a 5 or 6 hours drive from San Jose.
If you don’t have much time or you don’t want to spend your time driving, then San Jose beaches Costa Rica from this list are exactly what you are looking for: wild and stunning, no wonder why everybody calls them the best beaches near San Jose Costa Rica.
If you are in San Jose and trying to find the best beaches near me, then look no further as all these beaches are close to the capital of Costa Rica and offer amazing sceneries, beautiful sandy beaches, and turquoise waters.
Some of these best beaches in Costa Rica close to San Jose are great for swimming and playing in the water, while others are real surf spots famous worldwide.
Let’s discover the 5 best beaches in Costa Rica near San Jose together and see what you can do in the area and where to sleep.
Beaches in Costa Rica San Jose
The list of the best beaches near San Jose Costa Rica starts with Jaco, the closest beach to the capital city.
Jaco is the largest beach town located near San Jose, reachable by car in about one and a half hours.
The place is famous for its amazing beach, Playa Jaco, and also for its vibrant nightlife, breathtaking sceneries, and relaxing atmosphere.
The place is the ideal beach destination, especially if you visit Costa Rica for the first time as it is very easy to reach and offers many interesting options to spend your free time.
The beach is 3 kilometers ( 2 miles) long, covered with dark sand, and surrounded by deep blue waters on one side and the rainforest on the other.
What I like most about this place is that you feel in the middle of nature, with Scarlet Macaws flying over you and monkeys playing in the trees.
One of the most exotic San Jose beaches Costa Rica can be divided into two sections:
- The southern part is perfect for surf lessons and to practice your surf skills
- The northern part is more crowded and dedicated to those interested in perfecting their tan and relaxing in the sun.
Things to do around Jaco beach
Besides the beach, there are plenty of other interesting activities in the area, out of which I would name:
- Exploring the beautiful town of Jaco
- Book a stand up paddling lesson
- Take a tour of the waterfalls from the area
- Explore Carara National Park and Manuel Antonio National Park
- Party till morning in Jaco’s bars and clubs
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The resort itself and also the staff from Hotel Club Del Mar Oceanfront Jaco Costa Rica are great and I highly recommend this hotel for your stay in Jaco.
The resort is located in the southern part of Jaco beach, right between the ocean and the forest, and offers an amazing outdoor pool, a bar, and a restaurant where you can relax and try delicious Costa Rican food.
What guests say
Searph101 from US
Hotel is located right on the beach at the southern most point of the Jaco Beach which is ideal for smaller waves and learning to surf. We first checked into the main section of the hotel, which houses on suite rooms and decided to upgrade to one of the apartments that has a kitchen/living room attached which was very good.
Room 2 is right on the beach and I’d highly recommend with Room 4 being slightly behind it but also having good views of the beach. The only downside of the resort is that its just off the main highway and trucks can be a bit noisy but it didn’t disturb us very much.
Pool is very nice, breakfast had a nice selection and each day they had a special offer meal and cocktail. The biggest selling point is that the property is right on the beach and sounds of the sea, day and night is really relaxing.
I’d recommend staying here and if possible reserve Room 2 or a room on the beach.
Manuel Antonio beach
Located in the most famous natural park in the country, Manuel Antonio National Park, Playa Manuel Antonio is one of the most picturesque beaches in Costa Rica near San Jose.
The park is located a 2 and a half hours drive from San Jose and the beach is 30 minutes walk from the park entrance.
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This beautiful San Jose beach Costa Rica is covered with white sand and it is surrounded by a jungle full of incredible creatures and unique plants.
You will find here tidal pools full of marine creatures like small fish, sea urchins, and crabs and in the mangroves from the nearby area, there are many other interesting creatures.
Playa Manuel Antonio is a very popular place among tourists but still keeps the jungle’s relaxing and peaceful atmosphere.
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On your way to the beach, you might encounter sloths, frogs and playful monkeys so have your camera prepared for unique encounters.
Things to do around Playa Manuel Antonio
One of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica San Jose offers a lot of amazing attractions which you definitely have to try:
- Snorkeling in the waters around the beach full of coral reefs and marine life
- Surfing as this is one of the most popular spots for surfing in the country
- Explore Manuel Antonio National Park
- Pay a visit to the nearby beaches of Biesanz and Espadilla
- Explore Quepos town, the gateway to the park
Boosting its own private beach, Makanda By The Sea Hotel Manuel Antonio Costa Rica is definitely the best choice from the area with its outdoor pool and chic restaurant.
The suites have a large balcony overlooking the sea, a dining area, a refrigerator, and a microwave.
What guests say
Makanda was one of the most amazing hotels I’ve ever stayed out. From stunning ocean view infinity pools to gorgeous design details, I could not have asked for a more perfect experience.
The entire staff was kind, our room was stunning and the food was delicious. Split over multiple levels, each space at the hotel was equally unique. I would highly recommend staying at. Makanda
With its soft and white sand beach, Manzanillo beach is definitely one of the best beaches in Costa Rica near San Jose and a popular beach destination in this country.
The closest beach to San Jose Costa Rica from the Caribbean side is located in the southern part of the Caribbean coast, 3.5 hours drive from San Jose, including the ferry ride from Punta Arenas to San Lucas in the Limon Province.
One of the most scenic San Jose beach Costa Rica is located in the vicinity of Santa Teresa beach in the Nicoya Peninsula and it started as a small fishing village that has now become a hot spot for tourists from all over the world.
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Manzanillo has great weather all year round, a fascinating charm and a laid-back atmosphere, a perfect place for swimming, relaxing, and perfecting your tan, and is also a very popular spot for surfers located in Puerto Viejo area.
Things to do near Manzanillo Beach
Friendly locals, delicious food, and the unique Afro Caribbean culture are just some of the elements that make Manzillo beach one of the most popular San Jose Costa Rica beaches.
I drop you a small list of the main attractions from the area, just for you to know how to plan your holiday:
- Explore the protected area of Cabo Blanco
- Take a bath in the Montezuma waterfall
- Scuba diving in the sea to observe marine creatures
- Go off the beaten path and observe wildlife in their natural environment
- Follow the trails from Cahuita National Park to discover the fascinating world of animals and plants
The beautiful lodge Congo Bongo Ecovillage Manzanillo Costa Rica offers clean and large rooms overlooking the garden that comes with a fully equipped kitchenette terrace.
On-site you can find barbeque facilities where you can prepare a delicious meal after a relaxing day spent at the resort’s private beach.
What guests say
Andreas from US
Excellent location and beautiful surroundings. Stayed at the River House and enjoyed every minute! The house was very clean and surrounded by the privacy of the jungle. Masai was very helpful and she offered great advice and service.
We decided to extend our visit with one day and we’re lucky for it to be available. They also had a laundry service included, was nice to have fresh clothes back in a matter of hours!
My list of Costa Rica San Jose beaches continues with Playa Hermosa Guanacaste, one of the most incredible and wild beaches in the country.
One of the most beautiful beach destinations in Guanacaste province, on the south Pacific coast, and also one of the most popular beaches in Costa Rica San Jose is Playa Hermosa.
Playa Hermosa, the most interesting of all beaches in Costa Rica near San Jose is located 3 hours and 45 minutes away from Costa Rica’s capital by car and just 45 minutes by plane.
It stands out for its marine life being one of the best places in the country for snorkeling, scuba diving, and sportfishing.
The beach town is in the full process of transformation and development; the place is transforming and new restaurants, bars, and hotels appear from one year to another.
Another great plus for this beach is its closeness to San Jose and also to one of the most beautiful natural parks in Costa Rica.
Things to do near Playa Hermosa
Around the beach are there are several national parks and a lot of interesting activities, great places for creating new memories with your beloved ones like:
- scuba diving tour to explore the rich marine life from the ocean
- Catamaran sailing and snorkeling in the clear waters around Playa Hermosa
- Riverboat tour in Palo Verde
- Explore the volcano from Rincon de la Vieja National Park
- Go off the beaten path and explore Lomas Barbudal Biological Reserve
The beautiful boutique Hotel Bosque Del Mar Playa Hermosa Costa Rica is our top choice in the area as it has one of the best price-quality ratios in the whole area.
This hotel from Playa Hermosa, one of the most stunning Costa Rica beaches near San Jose, features an outdoor pool, a hot tub, a restaurant with traditional and international cuisine, as well as tropical gardens that surround the place.
It is perfectly located exactly where the ocean meets the jungle and the beach is within walking minutes from your room.
What guests say
Tango23ca from San Diego
Perfect place to end our vacation. Beautiful property, staff super friendly. We did not get to use the pool or go swimming at the beach but watched the sunset up in the bar area where we had drinks and snacks.
They let us order dinner to take back to our room so we can eat and pack since we had an early start. Would come back.
Playa Conchal beach
One of the most interesting beaches in Costa Rica near San Jose is definitely Playa Conchal, a beautiful place surrounded by turquoise waters and white sand.
It is located 60 kilometers (38 miles) away from Liberia airport which has direct flight connections with San Jose.
Like Flamingo Beach, another beautiful beach in the area, Playa Conchal might become quite busy during the weekend as it is a beach preferred by tourists and Costa Ricans.
The colors of the sand, water, and trees around are extremely beautiful and the atmosphere is relaxed and peaceful here on one of the best beaches in San Jose CR.
The waves are pretty strong, so the area is great for surfing and less ideal for families with small kids.
There are no shops or markets around the beach so you’d better bring with you everything you need for a day on the beach.
Things to do near Playa Conchal
There are many interesting activities to do and amazing places to visit in the area, out of which the most popular ones are:
- Snorkeling on the eastern part of the beach
- Rent a kayak or a stand-up paddleboard and go out on the sea
- Book a day trip to Flamingo beach, a great place for scuba diving and fishing
- Visit Rincon de la Vieja National park to observe wildlife
- Book a complete tour to Islas Santa Catalina
One of the most beautiful resorts from Playa Conchal is W Costa Rica Resort Conchal Costa Rica, a 5-star resort featuring two amazing outdoor pools, three restaurants, 2 bars, and an amazing fitness center.
The food, the services, and the rooms are amazing while the beach is within walking distance from your room.
What guests say
Bapt_dub from Montreal, Canada
What an AMAZING hotel, it is absolutely stunning, from the room to the restaurants, and the pool. The location is perfect to disconnect from the world for a bit. Your staff were so kind and always ready to help.
Special thank to Javier at front desk for being so kind, and to Leo at the restaurant for working hard to make our experience unique.
We’ll be back as soon as possible.
These are the best beaches in Costa Rica San Jose that you can reach by car or with a short domestic flight from San Jose, the country’s capital.
The best beaches close to San Jose Costa Rica are incredible and each of them is unique and has its own charm and atmosphere.
Some of them are wild and quite remote, while others have all the facilities you need for a day on the beach.
Pick the one you like most and hurry up and book your holiday as these places are among the most popular exotic destinations within a few hours by plane from the United States.
What is the closest beach to San Jose Costa Rica?
Located on the Central Pacific Coast, Jaco beach is the closest beach near San Jose Costa Rica, a place perfect for surfing and extremely popular among tourists and locals.
It is quite a big city beach with lots of bars, clubs, and restaurants, good infrastructure, and is easy to reach from the capital city of San Jose.
Which is San Jose Costa Rica closest Beach?
Jaco Beach is located on the Central Pacific Coast in Costa Rica. From Costa Rica San Jose to beach is a 1.5 hour drive by car.
Are there beaches in San Jose Costa Rica?
The capital city of San Jose is not on the ocean, so there are no beaches inside the city. The closest beaches are located within a short drive from the city center so it is more than reasonable to consider spending a day at the beach while in San Jose.
Which part of Costa Rica has the best beaches?
Costa Rica is itself a natural wonder and it has one of the best beaches in the area so everywhere you go you will find a beautiful beach.
Still, the northwestern part of the country and the southern Caribbean are famous for their amazing beaches.
Guanacaste, Nicoya Peninsula on the northwest, and Puerto Viejo and Cahuita on the Caribbean side are among the most beautiful.
Which is the safest beach town in Costa Rica?
Costa Rica is considered a safe country so you don’t have to worry about driving around the country.
Among the safest beach towns in the country, I would like to mention Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Jaco with one of the closest beaches near San Jose, Nosara, Playas del Coco, and Manuel Antonio.
How far is San Jose Costa Rica from the beach?
The closest beach from San Jose is located about a 45-minute drive from the city and is called Jaco.
This beautiful beach town is a vibrant city with bars, restaurants, and clubs, where you can party all day and night.
How far is the beach from San Jose Costa Rica?
Located at about a 45-minute drive from San Jose, Jaco Beach is the closest to San Jose and one of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica.
Logistical tips and tricks for your trip
Book your accommodation
We always use Booking.com as they have the best price-quality ratio and they offer a wide range of hotels, guesthouses, apartments, and villas to choose from.
You will find here all types of accommodations, from the cheapest ones to the most luxurious.
Don't forget travel insurance
We never leave home without HeyMondo Insurance or Safety Wings Insurance as they offer the best services and a good value for money, plus COVID coverage.
Travel insurance will always protect you against unexpected events and cost like illness, COVID, injury, theft, or travel cancellation.
We never go on any trip without travel insurance and there were many cases when we had to use it.
Renting a car
We like to explore a country on our own and a car gives us the mobility and freedom to do that.
We always rent our car from Discovercars as they have free cancellation 48 hours prior to starting date and a wide range of car rental companies and options to choose from all over the world.
Tours and attractions
When we are looking for some adventure or we simply want to break up the monotony and discover new places, we always use GetYourGuide.
We love it because we always find the most amazing experiences, with free cancellation and a large variety of activities and tours to choose from.
Airplane tickets and holiday packages
Expedia is our ally when searching for the best price for airplane tickets as it works as an aggregator for a huge number of airlines and we always find the best price for our flights.
Travel tip: use Expedia when you are searching for holiday packages as they have many last-minute offers and great discounts for hotels, flights, and even the whole holiday packages.