Lovely Playa Conchal is an idyllic strand of sugary sand sloping steeply into aquamarine water and lined with trees. As its Blue Flag attests, it's clean and invites safe swimming. Although it's dominated by the sprawling Westin Playa Conchal resort, you don't need to stay at that all-inclusive resort to enjoy Conchal, since it's a short beach walk south from Brasilito. Named for the bits of broken shells that cover its base of fine white sand (the Spanish word for shell is concha), the southern part of the beach is often deserted. The point that defines Conchal's northern end is hemmed by a lava-rock reef that is a popular snorkeling area—locals rent equipment on the beach. There are beach chairs and somewhat pushy vendors outside the Westin Resort; however, the $20 per hour massages are worth considering. Waves can be powerful at times, so keep an eye on little ones. Despite the availability of shell jewelry, remember that shell collecting is not officially permitted on Costa Rican beaches. Amenities: food and drink. Best for: snorkeling; swimming; walking.
Playa Conchal, Costa Rica