If you’ve ever researched about the beaches in Guanacaste, I’m sure you have heard of Playa Conchal, Playa Potrero, or Playa Flamingo when it comes to the most beautiful ones in this area. All these beaches are incredibly beautiful and are popular for a good reason: white sand, turquoise waters, stunning sunset views, tranquil atmosphere.
However, what’s special about Guanacaste is that there are so many beaches that you can discover a hidden beauty that barely anyone has ever heard of. You can take your car and explore for a day, stumbling upon places that are so off the map that not even the locals know the name of the place!
We randomly found Playa Mina one day as we were exploring Bahia de los Piratas. Bahia was beautiful but we were in the mood to keep exploring so we looked for another beach that a local had mentioned to us. He didn’t know the name and all he could tell us was to “go down the small path to the left.”
As we drove back, Yeison and I noticed an opening in the middle of the forest and guessed the entrance was here. We nearly went back because this road was so terrible that we actually got stuck on a rock and had to push the car off! Thank God it wasn’t raining that day or we would have been stranded for sure! Luckily we made it down and we weren’t disappointed, Playa Mina was breathtaking.
There’s nothing at Playa Mina, no facilities, no boats, not even a parking lot. This was truly a hidden beach in the jungle. Gorgeous bright blue water, soft sand and stunning scenery. The waves were a tad rougher but still swimmable. Playa Mina is an incredible secluded beach where you can relax in total peace.
*Update 2017: Playa Mina is a lot more busy now that it’s more known but still a very beautiful, quiet beach that if you go early on a weekday, you can still have all to yourself.* Here is our guide to visiting Playa Mina.
This isn’t the Playa Penca near Playa Flamingo. This beach is actually pretty close to Playas del Coco, just around the corner to the right. You can get here by kayaking, boating or you can drive to the entrance near the Cacique neighborhood and walk down.
I went to this beach for the first time a few weeks ago by walking (we normally kayak here) and absolutely fell in love all over again. The water is a brilliant blue with pillowy white sand, very Caribbean like.
Not all the beaches in Costa Rica are like this, it’s actually quite common to see dark or black sand with grey water but Penca was like a dream beach. Great snorkeling, soft waves and the water was so clear you can see your feet like you were looking through glass.
This is one of our favorite white sand beaches in Costa Rica.
You can also visit Playa Calzon de Pobre which is right next to Penca.
You can only reach Playa Junquillal by boat, there is no driving entrance or foot path and it’s located within the Gulf of Papagayo, about a 20 minute ride from Playas del Coco. We go to this beach whenever we go out boating in the Gulf of Papagayo and it is one beach that we have never seen anyone else there before.
What I love about Playa Junquilal is the color of the water, it’s so green! Beach characteristics change so much in Costa Rica, even if there are two just a few hundred meters from each other they can be completely opposite. It’s fascinating to see the differences! This beach has white sand and green water, still clear and great for snorkeling.
Playa Palmares is a stunning beach that has a nice spot for snorkeling.
It’s located within the Papagayo peninsula and is also only reachable by boat. I love the view of this beach, when you’re looking out at the water you see the Gulf of Papagayo all around you including the different beaches, rock formations and dazzling green scenery. In the past when we’ve boated here, we’ve seen manta rays jumping, dolphins, turtles and even whales once!
The waters are fairly calm and very clear so it’s fabulous for snorkeling, especially on the right hand side where there are lots of rocks. You can walk on these rocks when the tide is low to see little tide pools and the funny looking blue crabs scuttling around.
This beach you might have heard of. Playa Huevo is only reachable by boat and it is one of the most visited beaches if you hire someone to take you around the Gulf of Papagayo. Some of the locals know this beach and we’ve seen tourists stop at Playa Huevo during their boat tour but never more than 5 or 6 people at a time.
You can snorkel here but my favorite things about the beach are the cliff views and the caves. There’s a short path over near the caves where you can walk up the hill and come to an amazing cliff view. Be careful you don’t run up too fast or you might run right off!
The caves are another fascinating part of the beach. During low tide, you can walk all the way through the cave and climb on the rocks! They have been there for thousands of years and it’s a ton of fun to explore.
So there you have it, 5 fabulous beaches in Guanacaste that you can now add to your list of places to visit. All of these beaches are worth a visit if you want to experience a secluded beach all to yourself, away from everything and everyone.
Who doesn’t love having a beach all to themselves?
How to see these hidden beaches in Guanacaste
If you want to see some of these hidden beaches in Guanacaste, the best way is to go boating as some of them are reachable only by boat. Our friend Marcy has a boating company and can take you to all these spots and go snorkeling! Read more about the company and our experience going boating with him here.
100% agree with Playa Junquillal. We went snorkeling there and had the most amazing time.
Dwight Marsh says
We are headed to Playa Hermosa in about 2 weeks. We love to spend time at the beach, and were wondering if we could easily rent kayaks or standup paddleboards for a few days ?
We will be renting a vehicle so we will also be exploring inland for 2-3 days for waterfalls, ziplining, wildlife viewing, etc.
Our trip can only be a week, so any suggestions to maximize will be appreciated.
Hello! Yes you can rent kayaks (I’m not positive about SUP but probably) at Playa Hermosa. There is a place called Rock Beach Bar that does rentals (last time I checked with them was 2014 so not sure if they are still there but if they are they have rentals). HEre are our ideas for day trips out of the Coco/Hermosa area: day trips from Playas del Coco
Shachar | Going Out of Office says
Currently, I’m planning travel to Costa Rica, and indeed never heard about these beautiful beaches.
You’ve made it harder to pick the places to visit 🙂
We are staying at Cocomarindo Villa Hazel in Playa, is there a bus that goes to the entrance to Playa Penca?
No you’ll have to taxi it
Thanks for the reply, one week, I can’t wait
I am printing this off for my travel folder, we are coming in Feb for 10 days, just enough time to hit each of these. Again thanks for your blog, it’s been a great guide for planning my trip.
Hi Julie, great to hear it’s been helpful. Have a great trip and hope you visit all these beaches!
Thanks!! I will have to go and see it. I don’t remember any rocks in front but I was too young so maybe my mind is foggy 😉 thanks a lot!!
Enjoy Rachel and it seems that you are are Costa Rican that move somewhere and now you are coming back 🙂
Beautiful beaches!! I want to ask you about the No Name beach… Does it by any chance have tons of crushed shells on the bottom of the water? I’m looking for a gorgeous small beach I went to when I was a very young kid. That was the 90’s… We travel by boat about 30 to 40 min from Playas del Coco, it was a small secluded beach full of wild trees, some touching the water. There were no waves at all and the water was super clear, like you could see your feet even when you were inside. The man of the boat said it was Nacazcol, but my brother went there 6 years ago and said no way..this is not it, it was a complete different beach. Thanks in advance.
Hi Raquel! Hmm the no name beach could be it. From what I remember as we visited that beach a couple years ago, the water was pretty clear. In the far end of the photo, it is very rocky if that jogs your memory at all. I still don’t know the name of this beach but I don’t think it’s named Nacazcol though I am not positive!
Hi Vichhika! Our friend has a boat tour company that you can check out. Here is our post on it:Playas del Coco boat tour .
There is another option called Coco Water Taxi, you pay a set amount and the water taxi will take you to the beach, drop you off and come back and get you at a certain time. This one is a bit limited though, they don’t take you beach hopping like our friend’s boat tour company (or you have to pay extra I think) and they don’t provide waters, snorkel equipment or anything like that. It’s purely just a taxi to get from A to B.
Vichhika Taing says
Thanks so much for the information!!! We’re super excited. I found ou on Instagram. Your pics are amazing.
Hi Vichhika! Aw that’s so awesome thank you! So flattered 🙂 Hope you have a great time in Costa Rica!
Vichhika Taing says
Thanks for posting all these wonderful tips in CR. My family and I are visiting Guanacaste next week and stay on Playa del Coco. Your site has been a great help. Hopefully we will be able to visit one of these hidden beaches. What boat tour would you recommend to see some of these beaches?
Samantha wrote a post about whales here is the link: Humpback whales Costa Rica
Ron | Active Planet Travels says
Absolutely stunning beaches. I love Costa Rica. Between the beaches, culture, food, smoothies and, of course, beautiful off-the-beaten-path towns I can’t wait to go back! 🙂
It’s pretty amazing!
Heidi Wagoner says
I haven’t been to Costa Rica in almost 20 years, but still remember the wonderful beaches. I spent time on both coasts and loved them all.
Oh I would have loved to see Costa Rica back then, it must have been much more pristine!
Heidi Wagoner says
It was Sammi. I stayed at the one and only hostel in Playa Manzanillo (West) and it was an adventure trying to get there. Hiring locals and ferries that didn’t really exist. On the East coast, we stayed in, what was a tiny town, called Cahuita. The jungle and the monkey’s were incredible. We also hired a local to take us up river to tortuga national park and we did a homestay and watched turtles nesting. I am sure they are all big tours now, back then we had to make our own tour.
That actually sounds amazing… there are wayyy more tourists. I went with a friend to Manuel Antonio and she went about 5 years ago and couldn’t believe at how many more people there were! I haven’t been to Cahuita though I’ve heard it’s really nice. I know in some areas in Costa Rica they try not to make the roads too nice or accessible because they don’t want to overrun it with tourists. It’d be so interesting to visit back then and visit again now to see the differences!
“No name beach” –this is playa Nacascolito –it is at the very end and secondary (smaller) peninsula of the Four Season property (peninsula) We usually take a trip with Arroyo Adventures to this location or many times we have rented seadoos from them (Arroyo Adventures) and gone here.
Playa Penca, Nacascolito and Huevos and its cave are my favourite beaches.
Oooh thanks! Yes that is the one Arroyo Adventures always goes to. I’m glad to finally have someone who knows, granted it’s OK if that beach doesn’t have a name but I felt like since Arroyo goes there it must have some sort of name. I love the cliff view from Huevo, it’s spectacular!
Chris Boothman says
A beautiful collection of Costa Rican beaches that all look awesome! All of these hidden gems make it almost impossible to pick one above the rest but if you made me go for one, I would likely opt for Playa Huevo just because the scenery around looks so photogenic and a really relaxing spot in the heart of Guanacaste!
Thanks Chris! They’re all beautiful but Huevo has the special cliff view that the other ones don’t have. So amazing!
Playa Junquillal looks unreal. I haven’t taken very many beach vacations as of yet (just a handful here and there) but I am positive that when I do need to escape the dreadful Canadian winters, Costa Rica will be at the top of my list! Can’t wait to explore this country. Such endless options for beaches and adventures and all around relaxing and adventure activities!
I love Junquillal, not many people know of it so it’s one of my favorites. Hope you get to come explore one day !
Meg @ Mapping Megan says
You win! I had never heard of any of those beaches – I have been to CR a few times, so thought I could have at least taken in one, but not yet! Gotta love No Name!
Haha yep that’s the beauty of Costa Rica! I lived there for 2 years and Yeison all his life and we’re constantly finding new things like this all the time. I think I could live there for the rest of my life and still stumble upon hidden beaches!
Wow! They all look so gorgeous! And the fact that they are so hidden and free of crowds makes them even better. I would love to check them all out! I will have to make note of these for when we eventually get to explore Costa Rica!
Definitely try to find these! They’re fairly hidden in Guanacaste and not many tourists go at all. Ask a local (or us) on how to get there. It’s a bit of a walk to get to a few of them but totally worth it!
antonette - we12travel says
All of them look gorgeous but Playa Penca looks the best. I’d love to hang out there for a day … or two 🙂
Penca is absolutely stunning, when you walk onto it it’s like entering another world!
Raphael Alexander Zoren says
I remember Playa Penca! I was there not so long ago, I saw a dog kayaking! 😀
Haha yeah! Such a pretty beach right?
Kristen Bor (Bearfoot Theory) says
Such beautiful beaches. Man, I really gotta get myself to Costa Rica.
Get your butt here! 😛
Beautiful! I have a friend in south and central america right now- she totally fell in love with Costa Rica and is cutting her south america travels short to go back and visit before coming home to Canada- I can totally see why when it’s full of beaches like these!
Costa Rica is just full of little hidden surprises like this, that’s why I love it so much! I can see why people keep coming back!
Sarah Ebner says
Absolutely gorgeous!! Penca’s the one which I’d love to go to most – you sold it so well!
Penca is my absolute favorite!!
I am all about No Name beach- but they all look absolutely gorgeous.
No Name is pretty fun for snorkeling, you can see a bunch of fishies so close to shore!
Stunning, I would love to visit these some day, they are all so unique
Yes they are! I love how much the beaches change here, can be completely opposite characteristics right next to each other
Those are definitely some gorgeous beaches. It makes me want to come back to Costa Rica to see them.
They’re beautiful and the best part – usually super empty! You’ll have to come back and get a beach all to yourself again Jennifer! 🙂
Ashley @ A Southern Gypsy says
These are so gorgeous! I could definitely spend loads of time at any of them 🙂 Thanks for linking up to the #SundayTraveler!
I spent way too much time at Penca but we love it so much! Could never get tired of it
Elena@Elena's Travelgram says
I knew Costa Rica has amazing nature, yet the beaches go beyond my expectations. Just wow! And the best thing – there’s no one around! 🙂
That is my favorite thing about the beaches here, you never see one incredibly full or crowded!
Anna | slightly astray says
I haven’t been to Costa Rica yet, but I’m just dying to make it there one day. These beaches are so pretty! And even more amazing that they’re not overcrowded!
The beaches here are gorgeous! And you can find so many like these that are hidden and you can have it all to yourself!
These are the beaches my dreams are made of. So gorgeous with the white sand and stunningly blue waters. Gorgeous!
They are really beautiful!
Carmen @ CarmensTravelTips says
I’ve never heard of some of these beaches. I laughed when I saw they named a beach “Playa Huevo” – Egg Beach. We spend our time in Manuel Antonio when we went to Costa Rica. I’ll have to look into some of these other beaches on the next trip. Thanks for sharing..
Haha I know it’s such a funny name. I guess they call it that because the shore is shaped like an egg? haha. Manuel Antonio has a beautiful beach but it’s just way too touristic for my taste. I’ll take the ones where I can have all to myself 😀
Great finds, guys! All those beaches look gorgeous (from the photos & description, my favs are Mina & No Name). It’s great to know about those hidden gems, where you can escape when popular ones get too crowded.
Thanks! Yeah definitely, I love the popular ones too but the ones that are hidden with less people appeal to me more. I bet there are tons of wonderful secret beaches in Croatia, can’t wait to explore them !
What lovely beaches to discover! I would love to just drive around there and explore new place, new beaches, and they look rather deserted so you can enjoy them mostly to yourself. I bet there are tons of hidden treasures in Costa Rica waiting to be explored!
There are! So many hidden jewels here!
Phoebe @ Lou Messugo says
Oh my, oh my oh my! Costa Rica has been on my wish list for a while now but this has just moved it up a lot! Those beaches are soooo beautiful I feel like Corinne, I’m not sure I’d ever leave!
It’s hard not to leave! There’s soo many amazing hidden beaches here, it’s one of my favorite things about this country!
Hi visiting from Sunday Traveler. The closest I came to CR was Banana Bay where we re-fueled our racing yachts in transit from California to Panama. Are these beaches on the Pacific or Caribean side. I remember also the drum of ice-cream and buckets of beer the marina staff dished out. We had towed a yacht for a 1000 miles in 40 degrees celsius weather. They saved our lives. You are really lucky to live in such a beautiful place.
Enjoy the sun and your tanned feet.
All these beaches are in the North Pacific of the country, nicknamed the “golden coast” because of the beautiful beaches here. We love living here and discovering little gems like these, it’s pretty amazing!
Sammi, I don’t think I should ever go to any of these beaches….I would never leave! They are gorgeous! Great post.
Haha it is very hard to leave! Thanks Corinne!
So beautiful! The best beaches are always off the beaten tracks aren’t they? 🙂
Yes they are!
The name of the Beach is JICARA
Yes! Thank you Cindy 🙂
Margherita @The Crowded Planet says
This is making my already serious case of wanderlust much worse! I think I might quit my job today and hop on a plane to CR… those beaches are amazing. I seriously need to come!
Haha one day hopefully Margherita 🙂
I hadn’t heard of any of those beaches (even the famous ones you mentioned), but they look amazing. I’m such a beach bum, I think I’d be happy to settle down in Costa Rice for a bit 🙂
This would be the perfect place for us beach bums!
Gorgeous! Last time I was in Costa Rica, one of my annoyances was how busy the beaches are. I’ll definitely use this list next time I go! Thanks for the recommendations 🙂
If you go to any of the well known beaches, they are always lots of people which I don’t like. These ones never have more than 5 people!
Bianca @itsallbee says
I love each and everyone, why because it looks like I would have the place to myself! 😀
That’s why I love them! 🙂
Bob R says
An old friend (and college roommate) who’s lived in CR since the early 90s speaks highly of this area. I’m only sorry that I was sick most of the time that I visited him last year so I couldn’t make it. From these, No Name and Playa Huevo carry the most appeal. At least at the moment. 🙂
Hope you can make it next time, I love Guanacaste it’s amazing here! So many hidden beaches everywhere.
Brad Frankel says
I’ve wanted to go to Costa Rica for so long and now i have to go sooner than planned. Most things with ‘no name’ – are great. Its like no-name in Thailand, which are vegetable or chicken fritters, they’re sooo gooood. Beach’s in Europe are always crazy busy so nice to see secluded bays like this.
I heard the beaches in Europe are always crazy packed. I can’t imagine! It’s nice having it all to yourself 🙂
Huevo is a bad word in Russian, haha! 🙂 If only Costa Ricans knew…I choose the NO NAME BEACH, because of it’s name. But really, all these beaches look beautiful and inspiring to visit them. Thanks for a great post!
I tried to look it up but I couldn’t find it. I’m dying to know what it means haha. I’ll have to ask my Russian friend.
I would choose No name beach because of the manta rays and turtles, also it sounds more secluded and less touristy. But I wouldn´t mind being taken to any of the others :))
They’re all beautiful with barely any people !
Karen Warren says
They look a bit quieter than European beaches! Great if you want to get away from it all.
I heard beaches in Europe are absolutely packed! I couldn’t do that, I’m so used to having beaches all to myself 😛
Dave Cole says
I can’t think of any better way to reward some jungle hiking than one of these beaches at the end of the trail. I’m sure you guys were floored as soon as you got a glimpse of the white sand and shades of ocean blue when you saw these spots for the first time. Nice to know these place still exist in the world – thanks for sharing!
We definitely were! It’s a great reward when you go adventuring and find something totally unexpected!
Wow. One beach is more beautiful than the other. I will keep your now not so “secret” beaches in mind. After I read some of your Costa Rica posts I HAVE to Costa Rico to my bucket list.
Hope you make it here one day 🙂
Costa Rica looks amazing and it seems the world and its wife have been but I haven’t! Pictures are just sublime. Just out of interest can you do a self drive holiday there? Hire a car and drive around? Are there enough places to stay? I’d love to do a tour of Costa Rica but I don’t want to do a group tour. We prefer to explore by ourselves… 🙂
You can definitely rent a car and drive yourself around but a couple tips. First, there are no addresses (no street signs, no house numbers) so it’s super easy to get lost. Second, most of the roads here are not paved and can get anywhere from driving on gravel or a few potholes to crossing rivers that come up to your waist. Third, the driving here is quite insane. People walk and bike in the middle of the road wearing no reflectors at night, alot of streets don’t have street lights. If you’ve never driven in conditions like this before and want to explore off the main road, it’s advisable to hire a driver instead. There have been soo many tourists who get into car accidents here because they’ve never experienced this driving before
Patricia Rios says
thanks Sammy for sharing this images, these beaches are really beautiful.
Con Mucho gusto! 🙂
You are so right guys! I’ve never heard of any of these stunning beaches. I guess it’s because I never made it to Costa Rica, but that must change soon. Playa Junquillal took my breath away!
I love that beach too, the color of the water will never stop fascinating me!
Toni | Boulder Locavore says
It has been so fun to follow your posts about Costa Rica! We have been there three times, the last a few years ago to Guanacaste. I did three blog posts about the area, really centered on the food and some of our adventures. We went snorkeling at Playa Conchal, loved the little spots to stop for a drink and food in Brasilitas afterward. A favorite had to be the beach by Lola’s for the long (exciting in our case) walk and the food. Such a great spot! Glad to have moved from our Triberr connection to reading your blog! Here were our beaches: http://boulderlocavore.com/2011/08/costa-rican-ceviche-marinated-fresh-fish.html
Conchal is a really popular beach, it is gorgeous though! I prefer the less popular ones myself but haven’t been to a beach that I don’t like in Guanacaste so far (except maybe Playa Grande haha)
You were so right with the title of your blog post. Absolutely gorgeous beaches and I haven’t heard of them before 😉
Thanks! They are super beautiful !
Wow, those beaches are all so beautiful I don’t think I could pick a favorite! Although any beach that doesn’t have a name sounds like the perfect place to set up my towel 🙂
Haha totally agreed 🙂
Jen Seymour says
Awesome post on hidden beaches in Guanacaste!! They all look beautiful and gorgeous, maybe Greg & I will be able to check some out on our trip there next month. Thanks Samantha.
Thanks Jen! Yeaaa we can be your tour guide hehe 🙂
We are looking for a good place to stay that has whale watching tour that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg and someone that can take us to these 5 hidden beaches. also where are the good places to eat in this area?
Thanks sammi! Enjoyed your video of the whales. We’re trying to track down the Blue Whales & were informed that the Costa Rica Dome is the place to go to find them. Do you concur?
Also the Dome is probably the best place to see blue whales. They are tricky though, I haven’t met anyone who’s seen one, most of the time it is pilot whales or humpbacks.