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.
But for those looking to visit a stunning beach without the hustle and bustle of a busy beach town, Flamingo offers everything one needs for a relaxing vacation getaway. In this Playa Flamingo guide, you will read about the town and beach to help you plan your visit.
This post has been updated May 19, 2020.
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, 1030 and 3 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.
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.
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 starting at $2,500 USD a month. Check Homeaway, VRBO or Airbnb.
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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