One of the things you absolutely have to do when visiting Costa Rica is to explore.
Much of Costa Rica is still unexplored since a lot of land is protected but it’s amazing what you find when you go off the main road. You won’t believe the things we’ve discovered – rivers, waterfalls, wildlife, and so much more!
As you might know, the province of Guanacaste is full of amazing beaches and many people cherish and pride themselves in knowing the secret hidden beaches that are far from the eyes of tourists.
During our first months living in Playas del Coco, we took our car and explored the area, stumbling upon what would become one of our favorite beaches, Playa Buena.
And that is the reason why you just have to explore when you’re in Costa Rica. I guarantee you will find something beautiful and charming that you fall in love with!
Playa Buena in Costa Rica
That day we were heading to the Hotel Occidental Grand Papagayo beach (Playa Bonita), we decided to drive a little bit further. It was about 1 km NW on a pretty crappy road and when we got to the end, we saw a security guard with run down buildings behind him.
We asked him what this property was and he told us it used to be a hotel and that there was actually a beach down at the bottom of the cliff. He gave us permission to go and off we went, not knowing what to expect. We learned that this property used to be a hotel named Costa Blanca but they demolished it when it went out of business.
On the way down to the beach, we saw nothing but trees and glimpses of the water and heard nothing but birds and the ocean. This is what I really like about this beach. There is nothing around besides trees, cliffs, the sound of the ocean and wildlife.
After passing this viewpoint (150 meters), you will find a path to your right side. Walk down the hill and you will find yourself stumbling onto a gorgeous beach. Also, at the entrance of the path you can walk out over the cliff and get a breathtaking panoramic view of the ocean.
As soon as you step in the white sand, you can tell that not many people go there. Your feet sinks in the sand a little bit but it’s so soft it just hugs your feet. You will find a lot of hermit crabs and howler monkeys around and the view is spectacular.
The water is very clear and if you go a little deeper you will be able to see sting rays, octopus and different kind of fish. We met a man who was harpoon fishing and he caught 3 octopuses and a bunch of huge lobsters. He told us this is one of the best spots to hunt for these animals.
This beach is not very big and the waves are cal, it basically feels like a huge pool with warm water. It’s perfect for bathing and snorkeling and the bottom is not rocky at all.
One problem we noticed was that there was some garbage since there are no trash cans. So if you come to this beach, make sure to bring an extra bag to clean up your garbage, it is such a pristine beach that it is a huge shame to see it littered with trash.
There are lots of trees around so it’s perfect to lay down a towel and take a nap, sunbathe or read a book. If you want to come really prepared, you can bring a hammock and just swing to the sounds of nature.
During low tide, you can walk to the neighboring beach on the rocks and swim in the tide pools.
How to Get There
We discovered that there are two ways to get to the entrance of the beach but I don’t suggest taking the road when you see the first sign for Playa Arenilla, Buena and Panama. It was obviously built before the main road since it goes through the mountains and is very dangerous (tons of curves) especially when it rains.
Instead, take the left when you see the second sign for Playa Arenilla, Bonita and Panama. This is usually the first beach we take our family and friends to and is one of our favorites when we don’t want to be around a lot of people at the beach.
We haven’t seen any tourists there so far, just locals and their families so it still seems to be a nice little secret among those in area.
Even some of the locals have never heard about it and the ones who have, don’t know the real name of it. We have asked many locals what the name of this beach is and each time we get a different name.
Some people still call it Penca, some call it Cacique. We actually discovered the real Playa Penca a year and a half later and it’s also become one of our favorite hidden beahes!
Since it is kind of hidden, there are no facilities and it can be a bit difficult to walk down. Many tourists don’t come here as they prefer to go to Hermosa or Panama since they are more well equipped beaches, but we love coming here because it is quiet, tranquil and tucked away in this little part of the jungle.
**We were recently informed that somebody bought this property and is starting to rebuild another hotel. All beaches are public in Costa Rica so this should not prevent you from visiting this lovely beach!**
Read about more beaches in Costa Rica here!
Pin this for later!