If you want to visit a more local beach in Guanacaste, check out Playa Prieta. This small beautiful beach is very close to more popular beaches of Conchal, Flamingo and Las Catalinas so if you want to get away from the tourists, head over to Prieta. It’s an excellent beach to mingle with locals so we highly recommend it for a chill beach day. Here is our guide so you can find out how to visit.
Playa Prieta map
How to get there
Playa Prieta is off the main road going to Las Catalinas from Huacas. You won’t see any signs for it, but it is a steep turn to the left right when you see the sign for some villas. You can find Playa Prieta on Google Maps and Waze.
There is a large parking area under the trees by the beach.
Although the main road to this beach is paved, I would recommend it, especially in rainy season. The sign actually says something like 4×4 recommended and the turn off the main road is a steep drop onto a unpaved, not well maintained road so you can easily hit the front in a low car. It will be difficult to drive up the steep drop too.
All the cars in the parking lot the day we went were 4×4’s and we drove our Isuzu DMAX truck. We saw a Toyota Landcruiser try to drive out of the parking to the main road but he had to reverse and turn on the 4×4.
Can you swim at this beach?
Yes! When we visited in July, this beach had baby waves which broke close enough to shore that a lot of locals were skimboarding at one end. Normally the waves at this beach are fairly calm and we saw many people swimming.
Playa Prieta – the beach
This beach is not very big and you can walk from end to end in about 10 minutes or less. The tanish sand, shady trees and green water is absolutely beautiful and is a wonderful beach to visit with friends and family. It’s very popular with locals so on weekends, you’ll see lots of local families and kids having fun.
We took our two dogs here and they had a ton of fun playing in the waves, running around and saying hi to everyone.
We visited in July so the trees were so green and water was clear. We didn’t see anyone snorkeling but you could probably try on the north side of the beach where the rocks are.
If you keep driving up Las Catalinas, there is a spot where you get a nice view of Playa Prieta. This photo was taken in April so the trees were bare.
Here is an aerial photo we took of Sugar Beach and Prieta (the small beach in the middle). The far right is Playa Penca.
Other Things to Know
- No facilities so bring food, water, towels.
- Gets busy on weekends and holidays. Lots of locals like this beach.
- There are some villas for rent at this beach (Villa Estivals) if you want to stay here. If you want to stay at a nice hotel, check out Casa Chameleon Las Catalinas. It’s about a 5 minute drive to Prieta.
- The main road that goes to Las Catalinas doesn’t have a sidewalk and it’s a narrow curvy road. If you walk to this beach, be careful when walking.
- You can free camp here (didn’t see any signs that say no camping). There aren’t facilities so just make sure to keep up after yourselves and lock your doors.
Read about other beaches like this one!
Playa Hermosa (Puntarenas by Uvita)
Playa Linda (by Dominical)
Penca (by Playas del Coco)
Playa Calzon de Pobre (by Playas del Coco)
Playa Mina (by Conchal)
Puerto Viejo (by Conchal)
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