Central Pacific Coast: Places to Explore


  • Atenas

    Known for its excellent climate—National Geographic once dubbed it the world's best—Atenas ("Athens" in Spanish) is a pleasant, friendly town surrounded by a hilly countryside of coffee and cane fields... Read more

  • Between Tárcoles and Playa Herradura

    Past Tárcoles, the first sizable beach town of the Central Pacific coast is Playa Herradura. In between, you'll pass two exclusive hotels, hidden from view at the end of long winding roads.... Read more

  • Cabo Blanco Absolute Nature Preserve

  • Carara National Park

  • Curú National Wildlife Refuge

  • Isla Tortuga

  • Jacó

    Its proximity to San José has made Jacó the most developed beach town in Costa Rica. Nature lovers and solitude seekers should skip this place, which is known mostly for its nightlife, surf scene, and prostitution... Read more

  • Malpaís and Santa Teresa

    This remote fishing area was once frequented only by die-hard surfers in search of some of the country's largest waves and by naturalists en route to the nearby Cabo Blanco Absolute Nature Preserve. But... Read more

  • Manuel Antonio

    You need merely reach the top of the forested ridge on which many of Manuel Antonio's hotels are perched to understand why it is one of Costa Rica's most popular destinations. That sweeping view of beaches... Read more

  • Montezuma

    Beautifully positioned on a sandy bay, Montezuma is hemmed in by a precipitous wooded shoreline that has prevented the overdevelopment that has affected so many other beach towns. Its small, funky town... Read more

  • Playa Bejuco

  • Playa Hermosa

    Beautiful Playa Hermosa, once a laid-back, fishing community, has grown like Topsy, with condominiums and villas covering the scrubby hills overlooking the wide, curved beach with its warm, swimmable water... Read more

  • Playa Herradura

  • Playa Tambor Area

    Known for massive, all-inclusive hotels and housing developments, Playa Tambor runs along the large half-moon Bahía Ballena, whose waters are more placid than those of other beaches on Nicoya's southern... Read more

  • Puntarenas

    A launching pad for ferries heading southeast to the coast of the Nicoya Peninsula, Puntarenas could easily be relegated to what you see from your car as you roll through town. Unless you're waiting to... Read more

  • Quepos

    This hot and dusty town serves as a gateway to Manuel Antonio, and also serves as the area's hub for banks, supermarkets, and other services. Because nearby Manuel Antonio is so much more attractive, there... Read more

  • Tárcoles

    Crocodile boat tours on the Río Tárcoles are this small town's claim to fame. In fact, you don't actually have to drive to Tárcoles to do the tour, because operators can pick you up in Herradura or Jacó... Read more