Things to Do in Costa Rica’s Pacific Side

Costa Rica is famous for its beaches, surf, and aquatic activities. Both nationals and foreign tourists enjoy Costa Rica’s Pacific coast. 

Many visitors find it easy to spend their entire vacation exploring the Pacific Coast beaches, national parks, dense rainforests, and stunning wildlife.

Here are some of the things you can do while visiting Costa Rica’s Northwest Pacific side:

Discover the natural beauty of Guanacaste

Guanacaste is a popular region with many excellent scuba diving sites where you can spot diverse marine life and enjoy exciting dive experiences.

Besides diving, Guanacaste also offers guided visits to Palo Verde and Rincon de la Vieja National Parks.

Palo Verde National Park is a protected wetland area home to various wildlife and hundreds of bird species. On the other hand, Rincon de la Vieja National Park is a volcanic park with diverse wildlife.

Experience Corcovado National Park

This national park in Costa Rica is the last remaining lowland tropical rainforest in the South Pacific area. Here, you can explore rainforest trails in search of sloths, howler monkeys, spider monkeys, white-faced monkeys, tapirs, and more. During your hike, you may even discover a hidden waterfall!

Explore Manuel Antonio National Park

According to Forbes, Manuel Antonio is one of the most picturesque parks in the world. With 109 species of mammals and 184 species of birds, it is Costa Rica’s most visited national park. 

The park’s wide beaches, along with the monkey troops that frequent the area, attract over 160,000 visitors every year.

Let us take you on a private guided tour of Manuel Antonio National Park. After the tour, you can relax on the beaches of Manuel Antonio National Park, which are bordered by the clear waters of the Pacific Ocean. 

Take a Trip to Nauyaca Waterfalls

In the Costa Rican rainforest, two tiers of waterfalls make up the Nauyaca Waterfalls. Suited to nature lovers and adventure seekers, you can walk, swim, jump, take pictures, and enjoy a wonderful day in one of the most stunning locations in the Pacific south of Costa Rica. 

Located in a canyon about 80 meters wide, there is a large swimming pool at the base of the lower fall, which is about 200 feet tall. In addition to the main pool of water, visitors can swim in several smaller pools. 

Surf at Dominical Beach

Dominical is Costa Rica’s most consistent beach town, with waves rarely dropping below waist level. Several quality lefts, rights, and barrels in this area make it the focal point for experienced surfers in Costa Rica.

Hanging bridges Costa Rica
Costa Rica River Pool
Costa Rica River Pool
Hanging bridges Costa Rica

Best Places to Visit on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica

There are many beautiful places on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. The Pacific Coast offers breathtaking beaches, lush rainforests, and a variety of wildlife. The destination you choose depends on whether you’d like to enjoy Costa Rica’s best beaches or visit a national park.

If you’re looking for the best beaches, here are some of our favorites:

  • Jacó: A bustling beach town with excellent surfing, nightlife, and restaurants.
  • Montezuma: A bohemian beach town that is known for its beautiful waterfalls, lively arts scene, and laid-back vibe.
  • Tamarindo – Avellanas: A popular surf town with great beaches, bars, and restaurants. Among the activities available here are scuba diving through underwater pinnacles, snorkeling, catamaran tours, rafting, and much more!
  • Drake Bay: A small coastal village that serves as a gateway to Corcovado National Park and offers excellent snorkeling and diving opportunities.
  • El Coco – Hermosa: Its warm water and a variety of fun things to do make Playa Hermosa and del Coco in Costa Rica two of the country’s most sought-after beach locations. Visitors can embark on white water rafting tours, hiking tours, scuba diving, snorkeling, catamaran tours, or relaxing in hot springs.
  • Las Catalinas: Explore oceans, beaches, and trails in the village of Las Catalinas, Costa Rica. This stunning stretch of sand is perfect for relaxing and refueling amidst the pristine splendor of nature. Las Catalinas offers everything from adrenaline-pumping activities to relaxing ones, including rafting, hiking, hot springs, and much more.
  • Dreams – El Jobo: Beach El Jobo, Costa Rica, is where you must go if you want a holiday full of adventure and excitement. Nearby, you can go on hiking adventures at Rincon de la Vieja or Miravalles or go on ATV tours, horseback riding tours, and fishing. With so many activities and amenities, you’ll surely make the most of your stay.
  • Malpais – Santa Teresa: These locations are well-known for their breathtaking sunsets, verdant tropical forests, and unspoiled shores. These beaches are perfect for anyone, whether you want to surf, chill out, or go on an adventure.
  • Flamingo-Conchal: Located in the Guanacaste Province and nestled on the southern coast of Costa Rica, these two stunning beaches offer a paradise for travelers seeking a tropical escape. From luxurious and relaxing honeymoon resorts to adventurous locations, you can find it all here! 
  • Nosara – Ostional: This refuge on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica has 238 hectares of protected land, including 15 kilometers of beach where numerous thousands of turtles lay their eggs. 
  • Samara – Carrillo: Sámara, a small but developed beach town on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast, is a popular destination for families looking for a relaxing vacation. Carrillo is a laid-back beach town full of palm trees, located 3 km south of Samara.
  • Papagayo Peninsula: With its best pacific coast beaches, sunshine, and luxury hotels, the Papagayo Peninsula is famous worldwide. Papagayo Gulf is a popular tourist destination for its stunning scenery and convenience. It’s also famous for featuring Miravalles, the Yellowstone of Costa Rica, where you can hike and take in scenic views.

Costa Rica is also home to some of the world’s most beautiful and biodiverse national parks. Visiting these national parks will allow you to experience the natural beauty and rich biodiversity of Costa Rica.

If you’d like to explore them, here’s a list of the most renowned ones: 

  • Marino Ballena National Park: Famous for its unique whale tail formation, Marino Ballena is the perfect spot for whale-watching tours. As a visitor, you’ll have the opportunity to spot humpback whales and go snorkeling or diving.
  • Carara National Park: Located between the tropical rainforest and the Pacific coast, this park is home to approximately 48% of Costa Rica’s bird species. Here you can appreciate colorful species of flora and fauna, including the scarlet macaw, monkeys, sloths, and other wildlife. 
  • Santa Rosa National Park: A dry tropical forest with several beaches, hiking trails, and wildlife, including howler monkeys, white-tailed deer, and sea turtles.
  • Rincón de la Vieja: Rincón de la Vieja is Guanacaste, Costa Rica’s largest and most active volcano. Hiking the Las Pailas trail in Rincón de la Vieja National Park takes you 2.5 miles (3.5 km) through an exotic tropical dry forest to see incredible nature, volcanic activity, and wildlife. Located near Liberia, this is a perfect place to see both nature and the city.

Let Us Help You Plan the Perfect Trip to Costa Rica

From north to south, Costa Rica has a lot to offer. The Pacific Coast is known for its stunning beaches, surf breaks, and national parks. Overall, the country is known for its beautiful landscapes, a wide variety of wildlife, and many outdoor activities. 

Whether you’re looking to explore a national park or the central Pacific coast, rely on us to guide you and make this experience unforgettable. A Costa Rica tour led by our local insiders will be the perfect way to explore the country. Contact us today to indulge in Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast!

Talk to our local guides!


1. Can you swim on the Pacific side of Costa Rica?

Yes, you can swim on the Pacific side of Costa Rica. Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast is home to many beautiful beaches with clear waters, making it an excellent destination for swimming, surfing, and other water activities.

2. When is the best time to visit the pacific side of Costa Rica?

The best time to visit Costa Rica’s Pacific coast is during the dry season, which typically runs from December to April. During this time, the weather is generally sunny and dry, making it the perfect time to explore Costa Rica’s beaches, go hiking in a national park, or participate in various outdoor activities.

3. Is the Pacific Ocean of Costa Rica Safe?

Yes, the Pacific Ocean off Costa Rica is generally considered safe for swimming and other water activities. However, as with any ocean, there are certain safety considerations to keep in mind.

It’s always a good idea to check the local conditions and talk to locals or beach patrol officers in Costa Rica about the safety of the water before going in.

For more details, please get in touch with us at Find My Costa Rica