If you’re staying in Tamarindo, Playa Grande or Flamingo and want to explore some local beaches, then you must put Playa Minas on your list. This secluded beach in Guanacaste has soft tan sand, stunningly clear water and it’s one of the most beautiful local beaches in the area, perfect for a week day secluded beach trip.
We discovered this beach back in 2010 on one of our random Guanacaste adventures and it’s one of our favorites. It’s no longer much of a local secret but it’s still spectacular!
Here is our guide to visiting Playa Minsa, one of our favorite local beaches in Guanacaste. (Also on Google Maps at Playa Mina or Playa Zapotillal).
Location and Directions to Playa Minas (Zapotillal)
On the Maps, Playa Minas is also called Playa Zapotillal but they are the same (Mina is the local name).
You can find Playa Minas on Waze and Playa Zapotillal and Playa Mina on Google Maps. Playa Minas is a 30 minute drive from Tamarindo.
The only way to get to Playa Minas is by car.
Yes and no. The road to Playa Minas is much better than before now and in the dry season months such as January through April, you can get there in a high clearance car with no problem. These are cars like a 4×2 SUV like a Hyundai Creta, Hyundai Venue or Geely Gx3. Although they are 4×4, it has high clearance. You should also be able to get there in a high clearance car in May, June, July and August as well if it hasn’t been storming for consecutive days straight.
Then in rainiest months such as September, October and November and also December as it’s the tail end of rainy season, we recommend a 4 x4 for tourists. We do not recommend going to Playa Minas in a sedan, even in dry season for tourists as the road still has dips, pot holes and is narrow.
If you visit during rainy season, be aware that this road turns into a slippery mess in the rainiest months of October and November if it has been raining a lot. Get our Costa Rica car rental discount here and read more renting a car in Costa Rica and driving in Costa Rica tips.
The parking at Playa Minas is not very big and on long weekends and holidays, it is packed to the point where cars are parking outside down the street as many city Costa Ricans like this beach, particularly to camp. There is a designated parking area, and you may have to double park if you go on a weekend or holiday.
There is sometimes a car “watch” guy (like a guy in a yellow/orange vest) who will offer to watch your car while you park. You can give him a small tip when you leave if you wish.
You can no longer park along the length of the beach, they have closed it off to a small section.
None. No bathroom, showers, changing rooms, drinking water, etc. So bring drinks, food, umbrella, chairs, everything for a fun beach day under the hot sun! And please take your garbage with you.
Kolbi (the telecommunications provider) doesn’t work in Playa Minas so if you have their SIM card, there will be no service here.
Once you reach the beach, you’re greeted with bright blue water and tan sand. In dry season, the trees are bare and the hills are yellow but once rainy season rolls around, vibrant green surrounds the entire beach. This beach some of the brightest blue waters we’ve seen in Guanacaste!
Playa Minas is not that big and you can walk from end to end in less than 15 minutes or so. Snorkeling isn’t that great here but if you go early in the morning, you may be able to see some fish on the north end of the beach. We saw a couple of locals fishing from shore, don’t know if they caught anything but if they were fishing, it must be because they’ve caught something there before!
There isn’t anything at Playa Minas except an old run down building. It looked like someone wanted to build a house or hotel but abandoned it which happens fairly often in Costa Rica.
Behind the beach, there is an estuary.
Playa Minas doesn’t have bathrooms, tables, nothing. And that’s what makes it one of our favorite beaches: it’s not developed, crowded, or commercial. Just a beautiful beach and that’s it.
Waves can get strong at Playa Minas so please be careful. If you’re coming with little ones, make sure to keep an eye on them. Don’t swim if the waves look too strong!
There is some shade under the trees and if you have a hammock, definitely bring it. There are plenty of places to tie up a hammock which in our opinion, is the best beach accessory.
ATV tours used to visit Playa Minas but now that they’ve blocked the full acesss to the beach, they can no longer drive on the beach (yay because it’s a turtle nesting beach so that’s a good thing).
Our First Visit to Playa Minas
When we visited Playa Minas in April on a Sunday back in 2012, there were barely 10 people there. There was 1 family and a few couples. It’s so empty and under the radar, that I saw one guy tanning completely naked on the south end of the beach.
Unfortunately it’s not as empty as it used to be, especially on weekends and holidays. Due to the pandemic, many city Costa Ricans visit for the weekends, particularly to camp. More tourists and local foreigners in the area like to visit this beach on weekends too. But if you go early on a weekday, you can definitely still have this beach to yourself.
Even though it may seem like there are a lot of people because the parking lot is small, it won’t really feel like that at the beach since everyone is spread out.
So if you’re looking for a very under the radar beautiful beach in Guanacaste, Playa Minas is it. Especially if you’re staying in Tamarindo/Flamingo area and want to get away from all the crowds! You can enjoy pura vida at the beach just for you.
What Else to Know About Visiting Playa Minas
Sometimes turtles nest at Playa Minas around December to March, so please take your garbage. It’s not super common so if you want to see turtles, we recommend Ostional Wildlife Refuge instead. Some locals may run tours to Playa Minas to see turtles at nigh but as it’s not guaranteed to see them, this isn’t a commonly offered tour and it’s only during a certain time of year.
Car theft can occur. Do not leave ANY valuables in your car!
Locals like to camp at this beach. If you camp, just be careful, lock up your belongings and take your garbage. There are no services though (no showers, bathrooms, drinking water, benches, etc.).
Discover more beautiful local beaches in Guanacaste like Minas!
Below are our guides to other beaches in Costa Rica.
San Juanillo: White sand beach that is made of up two beaches coming together.
Pelada: Crescent shaped white sand beach in Nosara
Buena: Small white sand beach between Playa Panama and Hermosa
Junquillal: Surfing beach 30 minutes south of Tamarindo. Small town.
Cabuyal: White sand beach in Papagayo Gulf
Rajada: Beautiful white sand beach up in La Cruz/Salinas Bay
Penca: White sand beach near Playas del Coco
Lagartillo: Hidden beach near Avellanas
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