Considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica, Flamingo boasts the classic characteristics of a tropical beach paradise with pillowy soft white sand and clear blue waters. This crescent shaped beach houses the country’s largest marina and is a favorite among tourists.
In this Playa Flamingo guide, you will read about the town and beach to help you plan your visit.
Playa Flamingo, Costa Rica Location
Flamingo beach is in the Guanacaste province, 41 kilometers (27 miles) and about a 1 hour drive from Liberia Airport. Flamingo beach is 273 kilometers (170 miles) and a 4.5 hour drive from San Jose.
How to get to Playa Flamingo
From Liberia Airport, it is about a 1 hour drive. You can find the route on Waze and make sure it is the route through Huacas via Route 21 and Route 155 so you take the fully paved road. Sometimes Waze will try to take you through Route 911 which is an unpaved, narrow and curvy road so if you aren’t renting a high car, do not go on that route. Huacas and Belen are all on well paved roads and the difference in time is really not much at all.
There is a bus every day from Liberia to Flamingo at 430, 6, 8, 11 and 6 PM with Transportes La Pampa from the main bus station in the city. This is about 2.5 hours. From San Jose, there is a bus every day at 8 AM, 1045 AM and 4 PM with Empresa Tralapa on Calle 20, Ave 1-3. This takes 6 hours.
You can take shared and private shuttles to Flamingo. From Liberia Airport to Flamingo, a private shuttle is around $80-90 USD for 1-4 passengers one way and a shared is $59 USD per adult from San Jose with Interbus.
Getting Around Flamingo
To get around Flamingo, you can walk since it’s a small beach town. But to go to other beaches and towns, you will need to rent a car because it is difficult to get around this part of Guanacaste without one. There are taxis to nearby towns but those will add up greatly since some beaches are far away. It will also depend on where you are staying in Flamingo because there are vacation rentals outside of town in the mountains and hotels right on the beach.
The Beach and Town
Although Flamingo is a well known beach, it still feels like you’re in your own paradise. There are plenty of trees to lay in the shade, the waves are soft enough for swimming and the scenery is beautiful. If you’re looking for a white sand beach in Costa Rica, this is one of the best!
Flamingo doesn’t have a dedicated downtown perse but there is one main road that runs along the beach that has restaurants and hotels. It also has a small plaza with banks, convenience stores and other small businesses.
Due to Flamingo’s excellent location and natural beauty, many wealthy foreigners and Costa Ricans choose this area to develop their projects or build their dream retirement home. Because of this, you will find only mansions, luxury condos and high end hotels in Flamingo.
You may wonder where this beach got its name from. During some times of the year in the right weather conditions, the sand turns a very light pink like in the picture above. This is why it’s called Flamingo!
Things to do in Flamingo Beach, Costa Rica
Since Flamingo is close to many other beaches/beach towns, you can easily enjoy the activities in the area.
Here are some fun things to do in Flamingo.
Flamingo is known for excellent fishing and will become even more known when the new marina is finished. You can take a deep sea fishing trip to catch marlin, rooster fish, sail fish, grouper and other big fish. You can also do in shore fishing trips to catch snapper, tuna, jacks and wahoo.
Snorkeling is a MUST do in Flamingo! There are some great snorkel spots nearby and the best way is to take a sailing or boating trip as the snorkeling spots are not on shore. For the best experience, a private snorkeling tour in Flamingo is a must, especially for families and friend groups who want an exclusive boating experience to see hidden white sand beaches and do excellent snorkeling!
Flamingo is also well known for incredible scuba diving since the Catalinas Islands are nearby. There are several dive shops in and around Flamingo like Pacific Coast Dive Center where you can go on discovery dives (no certification required) or get your certification. I did a discovery dive and got my PADI open water with Pacific Coast Dive at the Catalinas Islands! If you want to go diving or want more information, please contact us.
Go on a sunset cruise from Playa Potrero to see beautiful views of the coastline and snorkel. Companies like Serendipity and Panache offer really nice sunset catamaran cruises.
Take an ATV to go around Flamingo and nearby beaches. Most tours go up to an awesome view point of Brasilito and Flamingo.
Visit Other Beaches
Flamingo is close to some of the nicest beaches in Costa Rica and it’s worth venturing to one or two.
Some great beach towns and beaches are Brasilito, Potrero, Mina, Danta, Penca, Las Catalinas and Conchal. You can also drive 30 minutes to Tamarindo for a surf lesson!
Flamingo Beach Day Trips
You can also take day trips from Flamingo since it’s an excellent home base in Guanacaste. Do the Guachipelin adventure tour in Rincon de la Vieja to go ziplining, horseback riding and white water rafting, learn to surf at Tamarindo, see turtles at Ostional Wildlife Refuge or go ziplining and see sloths at Diamante Eco Adventure Park. If you like hiking, visit Rincon de la Vieja National Park or Rio Celeste. All these day trips are a 1-2.5 hour drive one way from Flamingo.
If you want to visit some less touristy beaches in the area, check out Punta de Pelencho, Puerto Viejo Conchal, Playa Mina, Playa Lagartillo and Playa Prieta.
Flamingo Beach, Costa Rica Hotels
Since Playa Flamingo is a high end beach town, you will find mostly luxury condos, apartments, hotels and house rentals. For those on a budget, you will need to stay in Potrero or Brasilito since there are more budget friendly options there.
Luxury homes are very common in this area. If you’re looking for long term rentals, you can find a gorgeous 3 bedroom villa with ocean views. Check Homeaway, VRBO or Airbnb. 360 Splendor del Pacifico is a very nice condo complex with full services like concierge, a pool, housekeeping, etc. with beautiful views.
For hotels, check out Margaritaville, Flamingo Marina Resort, and Paradise Flamingo Hotel.
Playa Flamingo Restaurants
Flamingo has a few very nice restaurants. A popular place is Surf Box with burgers, smoothies, breakfast and coffee. A favorite!
Another good place is A’lo Nico, a small cafeteria like place with local and international food.
Coco Loco is a bar-restaurant on the beach, great spot for happy hour drinks and sunset. Also good seafood.
Angelina’s Restaurant is a good choice for a nice dinner with gourmet Italian and local food.
Gracia Mar Vista is in the Mar Vista community and they have a really nice infinity pool guests can also use. More of a fancy place, not cheap but you get a gorgeous view of the beach and sunset.
Flamingo, Costa Rica Weather
Flamingo is in northern Guanacaste, one of the hottest places in Costa Rica. This area experiences longer dry seasons and average temperatures do not really vary throughout the year. Dry season is from beginning of December to beginning of May and rainy season is from mid May to end of November. The rainiest months are September and October.
Highest temperatures in Flamingo are 90s to 100s F in dry season (32 to 38 C) during March and April. Make sure to bring plenty of sunscreen, mosquito repellent as well as a hat and sunglasses!
Read About Other Beautiful Beach Destinations in Costa Rica Below!
Gulf of Papagayo: Also in Guanacaste and a luxury destination, about 30 minutes from Liberia International Airport.
Puerto Viejo: Laid back, small beach town in the South Caribbean.
Jaco: Surfing beach town only 1.5 hours from San Jose
Manuel Antonio: Small beach town in the Central Pacific famous for the national park and beautiful white sand beaches
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We have an old Rough Guides book that refers to Playa Flamingo as a “gringo ghetto” which leads to believe that it might not have much of a CR feel to it. Is this still the case?
I’d say it’s more like gringo Beverly HIlls – Playa Flamingo is now known for luxury houses and a more upscale community, especially now that they have just completed a brand new fancy marina with condos/shopping/etc.
Christina W says
is there a place near Playa Flamingo to rent kayaks, paddleboards, windsurfing gear or Small 1-2 person sailboats? Looking for something to keep my very active family engaged while at the beach. Thanks
Check out the Costa Rica Sailing Center in Potrero
Elmer Fuentes says
You guys should do a post about car wash there is literally no info about that anywhere
They are called lavacar or sometimes carwash
You can check out Tamarindo Costa Rica, Playas del Coco, Samara, Costa Rica and this one, Flamingo. Those are the bigger beach towns in Guanacaste.
We are thinking about traveling to Costa Rica in January and looking to stay more on the West or Northern side to ensure we get hot weather and sunshine.
We were wondering if there are any locations on the beach that you could walk out from your accomodations on the beach and travel down the beach visiting different restaurants, bars and/or shops?
What are the bugs like around Playa Flamingo in March/April?
Always mosquitoes in Costa Rica all year round due to the tropical climate.
Jack Ehmer says
In your directions to get to Playa Flamingo, you state:
“From Liberia Airport, it is about a 1 hour and 15 minute drive. You can find the route on Waze and make sure it is the route through Huacas and Santa Cruz.”
You don’t actually mean to go through Santa Cruz, do you since it is out of the way? On Google maps, it looks like I should go west on 155 at Belen.
Hi Jack, yes that is my mistake I meant Belen and Huacas, Santa Cruz is all on the other side! Sorry about that.
First week of May my two friends and I are planning to do the Guachipelin Adventure tour and we know the pick up is around the Tamarindo, Playa Flamingo, Playa Hermosa areas. Do you recommend one of these areas? My friends want to stay close to the beach, low yet flexible budget if reasonable and definitely want a more local vibe!
Those are all nice places, between the three I’d stay at Playa Hermosa if you want more local vibe since Flamingo and Tamarindo are pretty touristy and there are more tourists than locals. You’d need to go outside of those areas to find more local spots.
stu sambell says
We are hoping to visit Flamingo “area” in May with our 3 sons for our 25th Anniversary. We have been to Tamarindo and didnt really like it – a little to commercialized. We were smitten by Santa Teresa and Samara, however as we only have 7 days, we want to try Guanacaste. Is there an area that has a little more beach bars and restaurants that is similar to our favorites, with beaches like Flamingo? Happy for recommendations on Hotels or villas also.
Hi Stu, you can check out Nosara. Nosara is a small beach town and has some beautiful beaches (Guiones, Pelada, nice surf and fun beach town. I can’t really think of other places other than Nosara. The beaches up north are dark sand and not as nice as Flamingo but it has a low key vibe (Hermosa/Ocotal/Panama) and some restaurants bars. Anything else is more rural and remote and doesn’t have much, like if you go to Junquilla or up to Salinas Bay.
sue stein says
stay away from flamingo…. it it a dead town
Are you kidding?
What is dead?
I am there every year and always enjoy the stay.
Don Blocker says
FYI. The Flamingo Beach Resort was bought by Jimmy Buffet and is now the Margaritaville Beach Resort. Great spot right on the beach. You can walk to Coco Loco, Marie’s, Camparino Pizzaria Italiana and Angelina’s.
I heard from my daughter who is down in Playa Flamingo that Coco Loco burnt down several weeks ago. So sad…was an awesome little restaurant.
Coco Loco was rebuilt… put it back on the list of great little beach bar / restaurant
Hello, you can read this post regarding vaccines: Vaccinations for Costa Rica.
If you are flying into LIR Airport, here is our list of hotels near Liberia airport: Best hotels near LIR airport. If you’re flying from SJO Airport, here is our list of hotels near San Jose airport: hotels near San Jose Airport
It’s a bit hard to get around that area without a car, the most you can do is stay around Flamingo. If you want to go to Brasilito or Conchal, you’d have to walk a bit or you can taxi.
Going to Playa Flamingo in early February, did not rent a car. is it easy to get around without a ca. Resort is picking us up at airport. also need a hotel etc. for our last night in Costa Rica 2/11-2/12 if you could go somewhere for one night where would that be in that area? also any vaccines we need coming from midwest USA?
Lucy Winterhalder says
Hi! We’re going to Playa Flamingo after Christmas through New Years. What should we do for New Years eve?! Any good ideas? I see that Playa Flamingo doesn’t have much nightlife but Tamarindo does? Is it worth taking a taxi or bus for NYE?
I would definitely go to Tamarindo – a lot younger crowd, more parties, more people. If you’re looking for something really crazy I know Tamarindo has like pool and bar crawls, and there like concerts and things like that going on at the beach.
Coming in August and booked at Tamarindo Diria. Hotel looks perfect but beach looks dark and surf high. We are used to Carribean and think maybe Playa Flamingo would be a better beach with whiter sand. Want to be right on beach which Diria has for us. We also like nightlife. Suggestions? Comments?
Hi Katie, Flamingo has whiter sand, Tamarindo is more like tan so if you want a white sand beach, then Flamingo is the better choice. There isn’t much nightlife in Flamingo since it’s a much smaller town than Tamarindo.
We like Flamingo. Everything changed inTamarindo once they paved the road and built the supermarket. That said, if you’re really into nightlife you should opt for Tamarindo. We don’t like to drive at night and Flamingo offers little in the way of nighttime entertainment. It has been a while since we stayed at the Diria but the breakfasts there were fabulous and the pools very nice and the tiki bar!
Many people fish with hand lines and rods on Brasilito beach which is the next beach south from Flamingo. I’ve seen people fish in Flamingo, but have only seen people “catch” on Brasilito!
We have been to Costa Rica many times in the past, but never to the Flamingo area. Can you hand fish/ surf fish on the shoreline of Playa Flamingo or Playa Potrero?
Hi Savanna, I know Flamingo is good for offshore fishing, I am not sure about shore fishing.
Hi my husband and I are going to be in costa rica at the end of february and were deciding between staying in tamarindo for one night and then staying in playa conchal or playa flamingo for one night. Or just staying two nights in the same place. Any advice ?
Tamarindo, Conchal and Flamingo are all super close to each other so you could stay one night in a different place if you want to see different beaches.
We are going to Playa Conchal first week March, any sharks to be worried about while playing in the water?
No, there are no sharks that come to shore.
Hi Kristi! A favorite is a sunset sailing tour. There is a good one in Tamarindo called Marlin del Rey and then there are some awesome adventure tours up north that has horseback riding, ziplining and white water tubing. It’s super fun. I
We are a family of 5 coming in early July. What are some good family excursions we can book ahead of time. My girls are 7-11-15.
We will be there the first week of December, 2016. I’m hoping to get in a day of deep sea fishing. Can you tell me if that’s a good time for game fish?
I honestly have no idea as we don’t do fishing so it’s better to ask a fishing company. Sorry!
Hi Charlotte thank you for reading your blog, raining is not that bad usually it rains maybe 2 or 3 days a week for maybe 1 hour in the afternoon
Charlotte Sisson says
We (2 couples)will be staying at the Flamingo Beach Resort from 5/16-5/21. I know this is the beginning of the rainy season but how much rain does this area get at this time of the year? Does it rain all the time or hit and miss rain? We are from Florida and aware of the daily rain in the afternoon. Wee enjoyed your video of driving to the volcano and we will be doing that trip. Should we zipline there or around the beaches?
Lily La says
You have so many beautiful beaches in Costa Rica, and it’s so easy for you to get there! Rather jealous. Lovely photos to 🙂
Yes we are very lucky and you are more than welcome to come and enjoy them 🙂 Happy travels