Playa Negra, Costa Rica is an excellent beach to stay in Guanacaste for those looking to get away from the commercial beach towns. With sweet surfing waves, a laid back atmosphere and beautiful sunsets, visitors can’t go wrong with a few days at the underrated but incredible Playa Negra.
How to get to Playa Negra in Guanacaste
The best way to get to Playa Negra is to drive as no shared shuttles go there and there is not much around. The road once you exit Route 152 is unpaved with lots of pot holes and is recommended to have a high car.
From Liberia, you will drive towards Tamarindo and continue past towards Santa Cruz on Route 152. You’ll turn right at the road to Hacienda Pinilla and continue all the way past Avellanas. You’ll see signs for Los Pargos and Playa Negra.
There is one bus that goes from Santa Cruz to Ostional every day at noon and you can get off at Playa Negra.
There are areas to park, though not a secure parking lot. Make sure to lock your doors and don’t leave valuables visible in the car.
It is recommended to have a 4×4 for this area, especially if you plan to explore other beaches. This part of Guanacaste is more rural and doesn’t have paved roads everywhere.
Playa Negra is a surfing beach so if you want to swim, be careful. Waves can get big and it’s quite rocky.
Playa Negra, Costa Rica map
Playa Negra is in the Guanacaste province, 80 kilometers (50 miles) from Liberia International Airport and 246 kilometers (152 miles) from San Jose International Airport. The closest town to Playa Negra is Los Pargos, a very small community.
Negra in Spanish means black and Playa Negra is certainly a beautiful black sand beach. This beach is extremely rocky so be careful in low tide. It’s not the best for swimming but you can dip your toes in!
Since it has so many rocky reefs, in low tide you can walk around the tidepools.
Surfing Playa Negra
Playa Negra’s awesome surf break was featured in the Robert August Movie Endless Summer II. The beach has easy access for paddling out (though small take off zone) and very nice, hollow right hand barrels. If you go to surf, high tide is better as low tide exposes the vast rock bottom and is not recommended for anyone. Thanks to the consistent year round waves, pro surfers from all over the world come to surf at Playa Negra and it can get busy during swells.
This surf break is generally not the best for beginners. It is better to go to Tamarindo to take lessons for first timers or Avellanas or Grande for beginners. However, when waves are small and there aren’t any swells, it is possible for beginners and longboarders.
Something else to note is that Playa Negra has a very strong local vibe so make sure you follow all surfing etiquette. Don’t drop in, don’t snake, be respectful. Or else that may land you in a bit of trouble with the locals.
Playa Negra Hotels
There are not that many accommodation options in Negra but there are a couple of hotels. Hotel Playa Negra is the only beachfront hotel with bungalows, a restaurant, pool, yoga studio and a rancho. Some other hotels are the Cafe Playa Negra Hotel and Restaurant and Playa Negra Surf Lodge.
You’ll find plenty of vacation rentals with full kitchens on websites like Airbnb and VRBO.
Playa Negra Restaurants
Though there aren’t that many, the restaurants that are there are first class. Cafe Playa Negra (Peruvian), Jalepeno Taco Grill, La Ventana and the restaurant at Villa Daveena offer delicious and tasty eats. Kontiki is a great pizza/pasta place with a fun vibe.
Things to Do in Playa Negra, Costa Rica
Playa Negra is a great beach for a day trip or for a few days. Surfing is the main activity and you’ll see locals and tourists out there every day catching waves. If you’re not a surfer, unfortunately the beach is not the best for swimming but you can sunbathe, relax, have a drink on the beach and just soak up the sun.
Playa Negra is also close to many other beautiful underrated beaches such as Junquillal, Marbella, Callejones, and San Juanillo. Keep going down south and you can visit Ostional Wildlife Refuge and Nosara. Go up north and you’re so close to Marino Las Baulas National Park. Both Ostional and Marino Las Baulas are amazing places to see turtle nestings.
Even though Playa Negra feels like a worlds away, it’s still close to the developed beach towns up north so you have it all. Remote, quiet and beautiful beach but a short drive to tourist amenities and services.
Read about similar beaches below!
Playa Negra by Puerto Viejo: Black sand beach on the Caribbean coast
Grande: Surfing beach near Tamarindo, not that developed, few hotels and surf camps
Dominical: Small popular surfing beach town in the South Pacific
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