Fodor's Expert Review Playa Conchal
Named for the bits of broken shells that cover its base of fine white sand (the Spanish word for shell is concha), lovely Playa Conchal is an idyllic strand 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, you don't need to stay at that all-inclusive resort to enjoy Conchal, since it's a short beach walk (or drive at low tide in a four-wheel-drive vehicle) south from Brasilito. 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. 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.