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Wednesday, June 12, 2024

6 Beautiful Beach Towns in Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula

On July 25, 1824, the territory of Nicoya was incorporated as a part of Costa Rica. This day of historic significance is now celebrated as a national holiday. Cultural traditions and events take place in schools and communities all over the country to commemorate that occasion, that is locally known as Anexión del partido de Nicoya.

The peninsula of Nicoya stands out from the rest of Costa Rica as it is one of the only 5 Blue Zones in the world. The people from Blue Zones are known to live longer due to access to pure natural resources, healthier lifestyle and better quality of living.

So, to celebrate the beauty of Nicoya today, let us share with you 6 beautiful beach towns in Nicoya peninsula. Bookmark this article for planning your future Nicoya beach vacations.


A beach town with good facilities and infrastructure, Samara has the best road connections compared to the other beach towns of Nicoya peninsula. Although well developed, now even ready with wooden walkways to the beach, Samara still retains its charm.

Picture-perfect walks on the beach, kayaking to nearby islands, fiery sunset skies hanging over the ocean and buzzing culinary scene with cuisines from different parts of the world make Samara an easy choice for a relaxed beach vacation.

To get away from town and to explore more beaches, head to Playa Carrillo and Playa Barrigona, both of which offer sceneries that appear straight out of postcards.


Home to popular surfing beaches like Playa Guiones and Playa Pelada, Nosara is popular among tourists and expats alike. Find your pick of comfy stay from the constantly growing cluster of swanky houses, explore the popular restaurants in the area and enjoy the picturesque beaches.

To add some wildlife component to your beach vacation, visit the Nosara Biological Reserve or take a guided tour of Olive Ridley sea-turtle nesting at the nearby Ostional Wildlife Refuge.

For the best views of Nosara beaches, hike up to the clifftop and enjoy 360-degree views of Playa Guiones and Playa Pelada.


A pleasant beach town towards the south end of Nicoya peninsula, Montezuma is the perfect mix of nature and adventure. From the main beach of the town, Playa Montezuma to other lesser visited ones like Piedra Colarada and Playa Las Manchas, there are several lovely beaches to explore here.

For a little adrenaline mix to your beach days, go for a hike to Montezuma Waterfalls, a series of 3 waterfalls that require walking on steps and scrambling on rocks. In Montezuma, you can also sign up for canopy tours where you get to zip-line with views of ocean and tropical forests.

Apart from the beaches and waterfalls around Montezuma, explore the town center with restaurants, ice-cream parlors and souvenir shops. If you can squeeze in an extra day in your itinerary, go for a day tour to Isla Tortuga for island time on white sand beach and snorkeling in clear waters.

Santa Teresa

Another top surfing destination in Costa Rica, Santa Teresa is where rugged roads are dotted with interesting eateries, flocked by tourists and lined by beautiful beaches. The most visited ones among them are Playa Carmen, Playa Santa Teresa and Playa Hermosa.

Grab your surfboard and sign up for surfing lessons, stretch your muscles or simply enjoy a day of sun, sea and sand. But whichever way you choose to spend the day, do not miss the dramatic sunsets by the beach!

Surfers and yoga practitioners from around the world visit Santa Teresa as this beautiful beach town seems to be a perfect place to connect your mind, body and soul.


The quieter neighbor of Santa Teresa, Malpais is an old fishing village where life seems to move slower. If you prefer to stay away from hustle and bustle, choose Malpais as your base for exploring the area. Or if you seek some calm from pulsating Santa Teresa, go for a little getaway to Malpais.

Although there is not much to do in this little town, it is a delight for beach lovers who enjoy tranquility. Pristine beaches, sunsets as striking, and the feel of a mellow town shielded by lush vegetation are what you can expect in Malpais.

To add a little adventure, go till the end of the town to visit Playa Cuevas where you can find hideouts in cave like structures next to the breathtaking beach.


The last beach town of Nicoya, Cabuya does not usually feature on visitors’ common Costa Rica itineraries. Neither can this town claim to have the best beaches of Costa Rica. But Cabuya is a feel that can only be experienced and not necessarily be captured in pretty pictures. The best way to enjoy that is take a walk around town, chat up with the residents and hang out at the local bars where they do.

If you ever plan to visit Cabuya, go for a hike in the Cabo Blanco Absolute Nature Reserve, Costa Rica’s first ever protected reserve. Although there are shorter trails, if you can go for the longer 10 km hike, you will be rewarded with a secluded white sand and pebbles beach called Playa Cabo Blanco. Some of the other attractions in the city are an island cemetery, a wildlife rescue center and a decades old fig tree, ceremoniously displaying a board saying Welcome to Cabuya.

Author Bio:

Pubali Kanjilal is an Indian woman living and traveling in Costa Rica for more than 4 years. She enjoys exploring new destinations and embracing new cultures. Partnering with her husband, Pubali shares her best travel tips and recommendations on their travel blog Paradise Catchers. You can also find them on Instagram as @paradisecatchers.

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