Costa Rica boasts hundreds of beaches across more than 800 miles of coastline. For a year, Carlos Alpízar and José Pablo Alfaro set out to explore them.
To determine the country’s best beaches, they toured Guanacaste, Puntarenas and Limón. They visited areas that were only accessible via all-wheel-drive, and others that they couldn’t reach with a car at all.
Alfaro and Alpízar found the cleanest beaches in Costa Rica, and others where they lamented the accumulated of garbage. They found virgin beaches — and often the reason they had been left unexplored.
And the friends are sharing those findings with the public.
“We believe that every beach represents a community,” Alfaro said. “Each time a tourist visits a beach, he or she collaborates with this region — from going to the grocery store and buying a bottle of water to having lunch in the village soda or staying in some cabins and living a local experience. It’s about finding new places and helping the growth of beach communities.”
Using the GOPlaya site
GOPlaya is available in both English and Spanish, and it looks great whether you’re on a computer, tablet or cell phone. The site can even use geolocation, helping you find the beaches closest to you.
Its home page mimics that of popular search engines: Just input the name of a specific beach or province, and the site will return a list of destinations. Or you can get specific, telling GOPlaya exactly what kind of beach you’re looking for and how far you’re willing to travel.
With categories such as “white sand,” “unspoiled,” and “lookout point,” GOPlaya locates beaches with your ideal landscape. It can also help you find beaches with activities (such as snorkeling, surfing and nightlife) and wildlife (turtles, whales and dolphins).
“On each beach, we give information about the access route, sand color, road conditions, waves, etc.,” Alfaro said. “We also delve into turtles, conservation areas, whales and dolphins and surfing, so that tourists receive complete information on these niches so important for Costa Rica.”
Users can get immediate directions to each beach through Google Maps or Waze. GOPlaya details amenities offered (such as parking or showers), hours of service, nearby lodging and attractions. And the site offers information about local customs, tradition and cuisine to enjoy the beach as a local.
GOPlaya also has a “Create Your Route” page in which users can input several beach characteristics and receive step-by-step directions to multiple matching locations. The user can open the route directly in Google Maps or Waze, or get the itinerary delivered via e-mail.
Finally, GOPlaya features a blog run by Alpízar and Alfaro in which they recommend places or routes based on their extensive experience. It’s a great read for locals, but they also give tips targeted to visitors — because as tourists learn, several beaches across Costa Rica share identical names.
In a recent blog, GOPlaya explores the best snorkeling destinations in Costa Rica. In another, it introduces readers to five hidden beaches on the Nicoya Peninsula.
“In the end, it is about living a complete experience, and we hope that every time a person visits GOPlaya, it’s because they dare to explore this unique country,” Alfaro said.
Getting there (and staying there)
Have a beach in mind, but not sure how to get there? Booking your rental car through GOPlaya makes the journey simple.
GOPlaya has partnered with Adobe Rent-a-Car to offer a series of benefits to its users. If you book through GOPlaya, you will receive a discounted price, a cooler to keep drinks cold at the beach, and the “GOPlaya Advisory” — personalized recommendations to help find the perfect destination for you.
Click here to go directly to their English-language car-rental portal.
It happens to the best of us: Sometimes, you fall in love with a beach and you just don’t want to leave. If you need to spend an extra night (or two) at a new favorite destination, GOPlaya helps you find nearby hotels.
Rather than booking a hotel in Costa Rica and then learning what attractions are nearby, GOPlaya helps you first find the perfect beach and then choose the lodging that best suits your needs.
GOPlaya recommends three great beaches
You don’t need to be an expert to know Costa Rica has wonderful beaches. But you can rely on the experts to identify three of the country’s best.
Here are Alfaro and Alpízar’s picks:
3) San Josecito
This beach is part of the Piedras Blancas National Park in the Golfito area. The turquoise ocean and the peaceful atmosphere are at the essence of this remote, unspoiled beach. Read more and get directions on GOPlaya.
2) Calzon de Pobre
Don’t be dissuaded by the name, which translates to “Poor Man’s Underwear.” This beach has all the necessities for a stress-free, relaxing day: white sand, crystal-clear water, and calm, gentle waves. Read more and get directions on GOPlaya.
The water is so clear and waves so calm that you can see to the ocean floor. Quesera is one of Costa Rica’s most unspoiled places, where you can enjoy dozens of palm trees that give shade and decorate the landscape. You get a view of the Tortugas Islands and amazing sunsets. Read more and get directions on GOPlaya.
This story was sponsored by GOPlaya. To sponsor your website or event, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.