Conchal beach, best known for its bright turquoise waters and sparkling shells offers visitors everything they could hope for in an exotic tropical beach vacation. With dreamy sunsets, crystal clear waters and soft sand, Conchal is perfect for either a one day visit or a longer stay.
For those spending more than 1 day and want to add some fun and excitement to their beach bum days, there are plenty of things to do in Playa Conchal and around. If you’re visiting for a day, here is our list of 5 fun things to do in Playa Conchal, right on the beach. If you’re staying at the Westin Playa Conchal, there is a list of day tours from Playa Conchal below.
5 Things to do in Playa Conchal
Feel the wind in your hair and spray of the ocean on your face as you jet around Brasilito Bay from Conchal. There are so many incredible beaches in the area that are ocean access only so hop on a jet ski to explore the golden coast of Costa Rica.
You can take a guided jet ski tour or rent them to go on your own, right on the beach. Guided tours are around 2 hours or you can rent by the hour and by the type of jet ski (single/double). They start around $60 USD per hour for a jet ski rental on Playa Conchal.
Massage on the Beach
What is more relaxing than getting a massage on the beach? Soothe your sore muscles to the calming sounds of the waves as you can find several massage stands run by locals.
They’re pretty cheap and not bad, you can get massages for as low as $25 USD an hour! It’s definitely not as nice as going to an actual spa and it is pretty hot, but it’s a cheap massage and you relax to the sounds of the waves.
Though the waves can get a bit rough at Conchal, there is a nice reef at the northern end of the beach that’s good for snorkeling. You can find snorkel sets for rent all along the beach so you can swim with colorful tropical fish in clear water.
The snorkeling isn’t the best at Conchal even though the water is clear. Since there are only a little bit of rocks on the north end, you may be able to see some colorful fish and if you’re lucky, some manta rays. For better snorkeling, you’ll need to go out into the ocean on a snorkeling trip.
When I visited in March (late afternoon), the locals charged me and my friend 10,000 CRC (~$18 USD) for umbrella, chairs, snorkel equipment and smoothie drink service. It was already 3 PM so we only had a couple hours at the beach so we declined. It may be more expensive during the day since you’ll be renting the equipment for more hours but 10,000 CRC for 2 people with all that is very reasonable for me!
Walk the Entire Beach to See the White Shells and the Estuary
Instead of sand, Conchal’s shore is made up of mostly sparkling pieces of white shells. The best place to see all these shells are at the east end of the beach. (Also just a note that Costa Rica does not encourage removing anything from nature, including shells. Take photos and leave footprints 🙂 ).
We also recommend to walk all the way down to the other side of Conchal beach as it is very different. There aren’t any shells down there but you’ll walk past an estuary and the color of the sand and water change a bit. It’s a good walk to get your steps in and then you can dip in the water to cool off. Locals call the other end of Conchal beach”Puerto Viejo” and it’s not very crowded since it doesn’t have shells.
Golf isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but if it’s yours, then you have to tee off at the golf course inside Reserva Conchal. This championship 71 par course offers not only an awesome golf experience but excellent views of the tropical dry forests.
Some of the 18 holes in this golf course run alongside the beautiful Conchal beach and through the forests, utilizing the stunning Costa Rica scenery and landscapes. It was designed by notable golf course architect Robert Trent Jones Jr so you know the course is one of a kind!
Day Tours from Playa Conchal and Excursions from Westin Conchal
For those of you who are staying at the Westin Playa Conchal, you’re probably looking for some excursions. Luckily Conchal is in a great location to visit national parks, natural attractions and beaches. Here are our favorite day trips from Westin Conchal.
Guachipelin Combo Tour
This is one of our favorite tours in Costa Rica, the Hacienda Guachipelin adventure tour. It’s a full day of fun on a large property at the foot of Rincon de la Vieja volcano that consists of ziplining, horseback riding, white water tubing, lunch, hot springs and mud baths.
Tours from Conchal start at around $140-160 USD per person and it’s an all day activity. If you have a car, you can drive yourself (1.5 hr one way) and the tour is around $98 USD per person.
Nicaragua one day tour
Conchal is only a couple hours from the Nicaraguan border so if you want to check out another Central American country, go on the Nicaragua one day tour to see the highlights of the country.
The tour takes you to Masaya Volcano National Park, Laguna de Apoyo, Granada and Masaya market. You’ll see lakes, volcanoes, a local market, the colonial town and go on a boat ride around Lake Nicaragua. You see the best of southern Nicaragua in one day!
Arenal one day tour
For the ultimate volcano and rain forest experience, head to Arenal. Conchal is in the Guanacaste province which has mostly dry forest so if you want to see rainforest, Arenal is an excellent place.
This lush area has primary and secondary rain forests, waterfalls, hot springs and impressive Arenal Volcano. This is the only volcano in the area that you can see a “cone” shape. Arenal is one of our favorite places and although we recommend staying a couple nights in the area, you can take a one day trip if you don’t have time.
One day tours usually consists of a walk through the national park/rain forest/hanging bridges, the La Fortuna waterfall and hot springs but you can personalize it with the tour company to how you want. It’s not a cheap one day tour but since it’s about a 4 hour drive from Conchal one way and everything is included, it’s worth it. Day trips to Arenal start at around $170 USD per person, minimum 3 people.
Diamante Eco Adventure Park
Looking for an all day adventure full of fun, adventure and nature only a 45 minute drive from Conchal? Head to Diamante Eco Adventure Park where they have something for everyone from babies to seniors all in one place.
They also have an animal sanctuary where you can see sloths, ATV tours, horseback riding trails, an ocean view canopy tour, a botanical garden, their own beach and a traditional house with cultural presentations. You get nature, wildlife, culture, food, adventure and beach all in one place!
Las Catalinas Scuba Diving
If you have your scuba diving certification, you can take a 1 or 2 tank dive out to the Las Catalinas islands, one of the best places in Guanacaste for scuba diving. You can see turtles, manta rays, large fish, sharks and lots more. If you aren’t certified, you can do a discovery dive! I did a discovery dive which was amazing and inspired me to get my PADI certification. Contact us if you’d like to go scuba diving in Conchal or Flamingo!
Palo Verde/El Viejo boat tour
If you want to see wildlife, the Palo Verde National Park is an excellent option. One of the biggest rivers, the Rio Tempisque runs through the national park and is home to dozens of migratory and non-migratory birds, monkeys, caimans, crocodiles, iguanas and much more. You go on a 2 hour boat ride down the river to see wildlife and explore one of the most important ecosystems in the country: the dry tropical forest.
You can go to Palo Verde National Park or to Hacienda El Viejo (get 7% off!) wetlands for a boat cruise. We like both of them but personally prefer El Viejo wetlands as it is not as crowded as Palo Verde. Hacienda El Viejo is a private property with its own wildlife reserve, cultural house and sugar cane plantation. The wildlife watching safari boat ride in Hacienda El Viejo goes down the exact same river as Palo Verde National Park. Their sugar cane plantation offers their own rum making experience. And their cultural house gives visitors the opportunity to learn about rural farming life in Guanacaste.
To really take advantage of your visit, if you have a car, we highly recommend Hacienda El Viejo. If you don’t have a car and need to book a tour, it will be easier to go to Palo Verde.
Deep Sea Fishing
You don’t have to go super far from Conchal for great fishing. Deep sea fishing is excellent from the Conchal area and you can catch fish such as wahoo, grouper, snapper, sailfish and others. There are quite a few fishing charters in the area such as ConchalFun but you can also book a charter from the bigger towns of Tamarindo and Flamingo and they’ll pick you up in Conchal. Some recommendations are Tamarindo Sport Fishing, Dream On Sport Fishing and Billfish Safaris.
Snorkeling and Sunset Sailing Tours
For a great day out in the ocean, book a snorkeling and sunset sailing tour. The popular ones are the open sailing catamaran tours that go out during sunset. They take you around the bay, let you snorkel for about an hour and then sail back under sunset. You can find sailing tours in Potrero and Tamarindo and as open tours, they can hold anywhere from 30-70 people at a time.
For an even more exclusive ocean experience, book a private boating tour. The best one we’ve been on is out of Flamingo. Their boat holds up to 8 people and they take you snorkeling, beach hopping and fishing with very personal service. Read more about the Flamingo snorkeling tour here (only 15 min drive from Conchal). One of the best family excursions from Westin Conchal.
Surf Lessons Tamarindo
Want to learn how to surf? You have to take a surf lesson at Tamarindo then! There are a ton of surf schools in Tamarindo and thanks to its excellent waves, there are usually always lessons going on.
I would reach out to the surf schools first because the best time to take a lesson does depend on the tide. Some recommended surf schools are Iguana, Mateos, Kelly’s, Neptunos and Blue Trailz. It is usually around $50 USD per person for a group of 1-5 or you can book a private 2 hour class.
White water rafting
Looking for some outdoor adventure? Go white water rafting at Rio Corobici or Rio Tenorio in the mountains of Guanacaste! Paddle through Class 3 rapids in the beautiful dry tropical forest landscapes. Rios Tropicales operates the Rio Corobici rafting tour and they also operate the Rio Pacuare white water rafting tour (the best white water rafting in Costa Rica) if you will be in San Jose, Puerto Viejo and La Fortuna.
There are many ATV tours from Conchal and I recommend booking the tour with a tour company beforehand. Swiss Travel offers ATV tours from the tour desk in the Westin and Diamante Eco Adventure Park also has their own ATV tours.
Scenic Helicopter Tour
Want a once in a lifetime experience? See Guanacaste from above in a scenic Costa Rica helicopter tour! Adventure Air offers beach, island, river and volcano tours. Get 10% off in the link above!