Beaches

Southern Nicoya Peninsula Beach

The primary reason tourists come to Montezuma is for its beaches, and it would be pretty surprising if anyone who visits the area didn’t go to a beach at least once.

Montezuma’s beaches have been voted to be among the top ten most beautiful in Central America, which is definitely true, not because they have the whitest sand or the most transparent/turquoise water, but because the intersection of water, sand, rocks, jungle, streams, beach waterfalls, and sky, is so often tremendously beautiful here.

Beautiful beach at "La Cueva de Murcielago Refugio Nacional de Vida Silvestre"The wildlife ecosystem living near the area’s beaches is still mostly intact. You will see beaches with thousands of hermit crabs, scouring and cleaning anything they can find. Jungle animals such as coatimundi can be seen in the early morning, walking out to the water’s edge. Hundreds of species of birds can be found in the area, such as parrots, aracaris, pelicans, hawks, vultures and the occasional kingfisher. At the beginning of rainy season, millions of bright purple and orange jungle crabs migrate down to the beaches to spawn.

The area’s beaches abound with beach almond trees, and the area is native habitat to the spectacular scarlet macaw. Unfortunately they have been hunted to extinction in the area, although there are two programs to re-introduce them, at the Barcelo hotel in Tambor, and at Curu park. This very difficult and time-consuming effort is backed by The Ara Project and we all hope to see wild Macaws once again in Montezuma some day.

The most remarkable beach in the area is Playa Grande, not because of the beach itself, but because of the journey to get there. Along the way you’ll pass many other points of interest, such as many other small beaches and coves, a small waterfall and freshwater swimming hole at Piedra Colorada, and you’ll see the beachfront primary jungle of Romelia National Wildlife Refuge. The only way to get to Playa Grande is to walk, since there’s no roads and no development out there, except for one old house.

The following map shows most of the most notable beaches that tourists visiting Montezuma might want to go to. For a larger, more details map, click here: Southern Nicoya Beaches Large Map

If you’re interested in knowing more about one of these beaches, click here for the beaches category: Montezuma Beaches Category or you can search using the function on the right.

A map showing the best beaches in the Southern Nicoya Peninsula, including Montezuma, Cabuya, Malpais, Santa Teresa, Playa Hermosa, Manzanillo, and Tambor areas

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Beaches on the Montezuma side of the Peninsula

  • Playa Montezuma Perfect Sunset over Playa MontezumaPlaya Montezuma is what it’s all about here… the rugged glory and white sand have been bringing adventurous travelers to the Southern Nicoya Peninsula for decades. The beach start just outside of town, to the north, and is the recommended location for swimming and beach-loafing, because of the pollution potential in Montezuma Bay. This beach ...
  • Playa Cocolito Playa Cocolito north of Montezuma Playa Cocolito is probably the most deserted beach in the entire Montezuma/Malpais/Santa Teresa area. It’s inaccessible by car, and so the only way to get there is to hike in. Tourists come here for two reasons… first because it’s an amazingly beautiful hike and for those who want to go farther than Playa ...
  • Cabuya Island Cabuya Island of the southern Nicoya Peninsula Cabuya Island is one of those magical spots that most people see, but few people actually take the time to walk out to. It’s a place of fear, legend, rumor, and excitement, supposedly haunted by ghosts at night, due to the fact that it’s been a cemetery for as long as anyone can remember. ...
  • Playa Cabuya Kid-friendly beach in Cabuya In Cabuya is one of the best beaches on the Peninsula, despite the fact that many people who visit or live in the area think that Cabuya’s beaches aren’t all that great. While it’s true that much of Cabuya is dark sand, rocks, or even seems muddy, as you can see, this beach is ...
  • Playa Los Cedros beautiful-montezuma-beachOne of the most beautiful beaches in the area, Playa los Cedros is located south of the town of Montezuma, about halfway to Cabuya. Not only is it one of the best beaches to just hang out at, but it’s a great surf spot. A left-hand point break, “Cedros” is a beautiful wave, but only ...
  • Piedra Colorada Balanced rock garden at Piedra Colorado Twenty minutes hike north of Montezuma is a small beach, stream, and wasterfall called “Piedra Colorada” which is a fairly easy hike and a popular destination for both tourists and locals. Further past is Playa Grande, but many stop here because it’s so scenic, lots of people hang out here, and there’s more shade. A local artist ...
  • Playa Grande of Montezuma Playa Grande Montezuma Playa Grande of Montezuma, not to be confused with an even more famous beach in Costa Rica, Playa Grande near Tamarindo, is a 30-40 minute walk south from town. A common destination for tourists and locals who would like to get away from the crowds (not that Montezuma’s closer beaches are ever actually crowded) but Playa ...
  • Playa Las Rocas – A Secret Awesome Beach Experience in Montezuma Playa Las Rocas Montezuma 1 Amazing Playa Las Rocas is a short drive from Montezuma to the south, or perhaps 20-30 minutes by foot. It’s between the beaches of Playa los Cedros and Playa las Manchas. This beach has a lot to it… there are two sandy beaches, with few waves because the rocks prevent the surf from getting ...
  • Montezuma Bay and its Dirty Secret You Should Know Photo of Montezuma Bay on a calm day.Montezuma has the most beautiful little bay, which is part of what makes it such a beautiful little town. You can best appreciate it by sitting at the Hotel Montezuma restaurant on the corner, which overlooks it. The food isn’t the best, but the ambiance makes up for it. The fisherman, boat excursions, and ...
  • Playa Las Manchas – Costa Rica’s Cutest Beach playa-las-manchas-800pxPlaya las Manchas is named for the huge schools of fish that are found out in front of this picture-perfect beach. On a clear day you can find thirty or more species of fish, and often several dense and beautiful groups of silvery fish that you can swim with when you’re snorkeling. This is one ...

Beaches on the Santa Teresa side of the Peninsula

  • The Hidden Tidepools of Mar Azul Serafina Love McCabe loves the tidepools at Mar AzulAt Mar Azul you’ll see a huge rock known as Punta Barigona, and is one of Malpais’s most well-known landmarks. This area holds a secret that few people know about, which is that the rock flats just to the south of Mar Azul, hold a tremendous number of amazing tidepools. How to find it To find them, drive ...
  • La Lora Beach in Santa Teresa La Lora Santa Teresa - a beautiful white sand beach One of the most beautiful beaches around, and perhaps the reason that Forbes magazine voted the beaches of the Malpais/Santa Teresa among the Top 10 Most Breathtaking Beaches. This beach has soft white sand, with no rocks, so it’s a fairly safe beach. It’s named for the nightclub, called “La Lora Amarillo” (The Yellow Parrot) ...
  • Playa Carmen’s White Sand Beach Playa Carmen Playa Carmen is the first beach you’ll arrive at when you come down the hill from the mountains to the Santa Teresa / Malpais area of the southern Nicoya Peninsula. This is the center of the beach areas… to the south, everything is Mal Pais. To the north, you get to Santa Teresa, ...
  • Fishermen’s Beach and Market in Malpais A perfect day with calm water at Playa MalpaisOfficially, the beach where the fishermen in Malpais have their boats is called “Playa Malpais”, but you’ll very rarely see anyone swimming here. It’s most notable for the fishermen who have their boats and storage here. You can book a boat for a fishing trip, or find Malpais’s only sailboat. Malpais Fish Market Many people come here ...
  • Playa Los Suecos Yasmin Tobon at Playa los Suecos, Mal PaisPlaya Los Suecos is a place with many names. It’s also called “The Malpais Secret Beach” or Punta Murcielago. It’s one of the most beautiful spots on the Nicoya peninsula, and a favorite of visiting photographers because it’s so photogenic. Cick for Better Quality HD VIDEO: Playa los Suecos Malpais – HD Quality A White ...
  • Playa Hermosa, the Most Beautiful Beach of the Santa Teresa Area Horseback ride at Playa HermosaPlaya Hermosa is considered to be the most beautiful beach around the Santa Teresa area, and Hermosa (“beautiful beach” in Spanish). Older maps show this as the original name from as early as 1975 and possibly before. This beach is very long and the flattest beach around. At low tide it’s really huge, and ...
  • Hermosa Tidepool Huge tidepool near to Playa Hermosa, Costa RicaOne of the best secrets of the area, often overlooked by the surf-oriented travelers here, is the giant tidepool between Playa Hermosa and Playa Santa Teresa. It’s only exposed at low tide, and at that time, you will find a HUGE natural pool, larger than an olympic swimming pool. Filled with all kinds of interesting creatures, including ...
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