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 hours drive from the capital of the country, San Jose.
With more than 1.300 kilometres (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.
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All these beaches are close to the capital of the country and offer amazing sceneries, beautiful sandy beaches and turquoise waters. Some of these beaches are perfect for swimming and playing in the water, while others are real surf spots famous all over the world.
Let’s discover together which are the 5 best beaches in Costa Rica near San Jose and see what you can do in the area and where to sleep.
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 itself is 3 kilometres ( 2 miles) long and is covered with dark sand and surrounded by deep blue waters on one side and the rainforest on the other side.
What I like most about this place is that you have the feeling that you are 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, 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 on Jaco’s bars and clubs
The resort itself and also the staff from Hotel Club del Mar Oceanfront is 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.
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 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 it still keeps the relaxing and peaceful atmosphere of the jungle.
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 out of which you definitely have to try:
- Snorkelling 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 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.
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 from this country.
It 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 now it becomes 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 the 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 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.
One of the most beautiful beach destinations from 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 snorkelling, 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 the closeness to San Jose and also to one of the most beautiful natural parks from 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 snorkelling 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 is our top choice from the area as it has one of the best price-quality ratios from the whole area.
The hotel 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.
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 kilometres (38 miles) away from Liberia airport that has direct flight connections with San Jose.
Like Flamingo Beach, another beautiful beach from the area, Playa Conchal might become quite busy during the weekend as it is a beach preferred not just by tourists but also by Costa Ricans.
The colours of the sand, water and trees around are extremely beautiful and the atmosphere is relaxed and peaceful.
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:
- Snorkelling 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 the area is W Costa Rica Resort, a 5-star resort featuring two amazing outdoor pools, three restaurants, 2 bars and an amazing fitness centre.
The food, the services and the rooms are amazing while the beach is within walking distance from your room.
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 capital of the country.
All these beaches 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.