There are few places on earth where you can find such a large variety of beaches: black sand beaches in Costa Rica, pink strips of sand and even white sand beaches, all packed together in a single country.
From secluded beaches to Blue Flag awarded strips of sand, on more than 1.300 kilometres (800 miles) of coastline Costa Rica is home to a large number of amazing beaches.
Although a small country, Costa Rica is home to more than 5% of the world biodiversity, not to mention a large number of national parks and protected areas that can be found all over the country.
Besides the wild creatures and the impressive jungle, Costa Rica black sand beaches are very popular among locals and tourists from all over the world.
The dark colour of the sand gives the place a mystical atmosphere and remembers us about the days when here, on the places volcanoes dominate the land.
So, yes, as a general rule, the dark colour of the sand is given by the volcanic remnants and some of these places have healing properties over your body as the dark sand mixed with sea waters produce elements that are rich in magnesium, calcium, potassium and Sulphur.
Let’s discover the most amazing black sand beaches from Costa Rica that are not just beautiful but also have healing properties.
Black sand beaches in Costa Rica
1. Puerto Viejo
Puerto Viejo is one of the most beautiful Costa Rica black sand beaches, a very popular place among locals and tourists located in Limon Province, on the Caribbean coast.
This exotic black sand beach Costa Rica is surrounded by turquoise waters on one side and green and vibrant rainforest on the other side.
Because of its shape and location, Puerto Viejo has perfect waves and currents for surfing, being a famous surf spot from this part of the world.
During the long and hot summer, the temperatures of the black sand is quite high so wear sandals when you enter the beach to avoid feet burns.
The beach is located quite close to the beach town of Cahuita where the reggae vibe reminds tourists to slow down and enjoy the beauty of life as locals do.
Before being a tourist attraction, Puerto Viejo was a small fishermen village with beautiful scenery and a relaxing vibe.
Among the most beautiful places to visit in the area, I would name Cahuita National Park and Talamanca Indian Reserve, two amazing places where you can spot wildlife in their natural environment.
This area is extremely beautiful and it hides many protected areas and beautiful beaches, out of which you will definitely have to see Santa Teresa beach, Montezuma Beach and Manzanillo beach.
Best accommodation for Puerto Viejo: the luxury Le Cameleon Boutique Hotel Puertoviejo Costa Rica located right on the beach, with an outdoor swimming pool and a wonderful spa.
2. Playa Pavones
Located on the southern part of the Pacific Ocean coast, one of the most exotic black sand beaches in Costa Rica, Playa Pavones is surrounded by green rainforest and crystal clear waters.
This is another popular surf location from Costa Rica famous for its long waves and perfect currents that act like magnets among surfers from all over the world.
As the currents are quite strong and the shores rocky, this place is suitable for experienced surfers and we really recommend you to be careful when surfing in the area.
A very popular costa Rican activity and a romantic way to end a wonderful day on the beach is to get a horseback ride tour on the beach and admire the sun setting into the sea.
This black sand beach Costa Rica is perfect for sunbathing so bring a towel with you and perfect your tan after practising some new surf techniques in the ocean waves.
Best accommodation for Playa Pavones: the beautiful holiday home Pavones Point Costa Rica featuring 2 bedrooms and a fully equipped kitchen is everything you could wish for a home away from home.
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3. Playa Hermosa
One of the most beautiful beaches Playa Hermosa is a 2 kilometres strip of black sand beach in Costa Rica surrounded by palm trees and lush forest and volcanic rock that make you feel like in Seychelles.
The beach is ranked among the cleanest and best maintained black sand beach in Costa Rica and was awarded Bandera Azul (Blue Flag), an important prize given to beaches that have really high environmental standards.
The beach is extremely clean and not very crowded with a peaceful atmosphere and a really positive vibe.
Playa Hermosa is considered to be one of the best snorkelling beaches on the western coast of the country because of its clear blue waters and interesting coral reefs.
While in the Guanacaste province, we strongly recommend you to pay a visit to Playas del Coco, a beautiful beach located just 7 kilometres away.
It might not have the same beautiful black sand beach there but it is definitely an incredible beach with turquoise waters and lush vegetation around.
Best accommodation for Playa Hermosa: located right on the beach, Hotel Bosque Del Mar Playa Hermosa Costa Rica offers spacious suites nestled in tropical gardens and a gourmet restaurant.
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4. Playa Negra
One of the most photographed Costa Rica black sand beaches, Playa Negra is one of the best surfing beaches from the northwestern part of the country, in the province of Guanacaste.
The beach become more popular after the movie “Endless Summer II” that was filmed here and is a very famous movie among surfers community from all over the world.
This popular beach is located right near the renowned marine park Marino Las Baulas National Park that is among the most important nesting areas for leatherback sea turtles.
If you are lucky you might be witness to the amazing moment when the turtles lay their eggs or why not when the little sea turtles hatch, appear under the sand and find their way to the ocean.
Playa Negra is another perfect beach for surfing because of its incredible waves and great currents so take your surfboard with you and ride the waves till the sun sets in the sea.
If you are not the kind of person who likes watersports, no worries as this place are perfect for sunbathing and relaxing, too.
There are plenty of cafes in the area around the beach where you can sip a drink and grab a snack from Costa Rican cuisine.
The beach is located on the Pacific side in the Guanacaste province right near the town of Los Pargos, a popular place among tourists for its natural beauty and proximity to high-class resorts.
Best accommodation for Playa Negra: Latica Alternative Resort Playanegra Costa Rica with its beautiful outdoor pool and bohemian atmosphere.
5. Playa Conchal
Closely located between Tamarindo Beach and Playa Flamingo, Playa Conchal is one of the most picturesque black sand beaches in Costa Rica, a popular place among tourists from all over the world.
The place is perfect for swimming, snorkelling and surfing is the ideal place to spend a full holiday on the beautiful Caribbean coast.
Playa Conchal is conveniently located near some of the most beautiful national parks from Costa Rica.
It is true that Manuel Antonio National Park is quite far from this beach, but there are still plenty of protected areas around where you can spot wildlife in their natural environment.
Best accommodation for Playa Conchal: with two amazing outdoor pools, a fitness centre and top-notch services, W Costa Rica Resort Conchal Costa Rica is the best choice in the area.
Bonus: Tamarindo beach
Located on the northern part of the Pacific coast, Tamarindo beach is one of the most famous Costa Rica black sand beaches, a beach that resembles perfectly a tropical paradise.
Tamarindo is the most developed beach town from the Nicoya Peninsula, a real gem for surfers and beach lovers from all over the world.
The beach is surrounded by green forests and wildlife and is one of the best places to visit if you are looking to reconnect with nature.
The best thing about Playa Tamarindo and the nearby beach town of Tamarindo is that it is very easy to reach with roads in good conditions and many signs pointing you in the right direction so that anyone can reach this amazing place.
Playa Tamarindo is a great place for scuba diving (you can rent equipment from the nearby shop), for swimming and also for practising surfing as the wind and the waves are perfect for this sport.
Best accommodation for Playa Tamarindo: Cala Luna Boutique Hotel Tamarindo with its unique design and high-quality services is among the best options from the area.
Where are the black sand beaches in Costa Rica?
Black sand beaches are spread all across Costa Rica but the most representative one is definitely Playa Negra located on the Caribbean side right in Limon province. On this beach, the sand is indeed black and during the summer season it can reach high temperatures, that is why wearing sandals is advisable when visiting this beach.
What side of Costa Rica has the best beaches?
Without any doubt, the most beautiful beaches from Costa Rica can be found in the Guanacaste region in the Nicoya Peninsula and also in the southern part of the Caribbean side, more exactly Playa Cahuita and Puerto Viejo.
Here you will find soft sand, warm and turquoise waters and great waves for surfing as well as many surf schools where to learn new techniques and perfect your skills.
Does Costa Rica have blue water?
Most photos taken from Costa Rica shows turquoise waters, white sandy beaches and beautiful jungles on one side of the beach, but in reality, things are not like that.
Tint blue-green is the most common color of the water and clear waters can be seen in most of Costa Rican beaches if some natural conditions and the currents are perfect.
Black sand beaches Costa Rica are wild, beautiful and breathtaking and offer the best sceneries in Latin America.
No matter if you are an active type of person or the one who likes to stay on the beach and perfect his tan, Costa Rica beaches are suitable for both types of people.
I was fascinated by the colour of the water, the green forests and the beautiful creatures from the canopy.
I invite you to share with us your own Costa Rican experience and tell us which part of the country and what beach you like most.
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.