Forming part of Las Baulas de Guanacaste Marine National Park, Playa Grande is a palm-lined beach on Costa Rica’s Pacific coastline. It is an important nesting site for leatherback sea turtles and a popular surfing destination while it’s also on the doorstep of a Ramsar-listed estuary.
Things to do in Playa Grande
Want to learn to surf? There are several surf schools in Playa Grande offering lessons and board rentals, as well as gentle waves for practising your skills. More experienced surfers can tackle the rocky conditions at Casitas or ride the left and right barrels at Main Grande. At the end of your session, you can refuel at one of Playa Grande’s laid-back cafes.
Playa Grande lies within the boundaries of Las Baulas de Guanacaste Marine National Park, which is home to the largest nesting colony of leatherback sea turtles on the Pacific coast. Between October and May, the turtles lumber onto the shore to lay their eggs before new hatchlings can be seen scuttling into the water. If you’re a keen birdwatcher, you should head to Tamarindo Estuary, which has been designated as a Ramsar Site.
If you walk north from Playa Grande, you’ll arrive at Dante’s Rock, which divides the beach from neighbouring Playa Ventanas. This stunning crescent of sand is ideal for strolling and dotted with impressive rock formations. You can continue walking to the lookout at its northern end, then on to the black sands of Playa Carbon.
Getting around Playa Grande
Playa Grande is around 40 minutes’ drive from Tamarindo and 30 minutes from Tamarindo Airport, which has regular flights to San Jose. By road, the Costa Rican capital is five hours away. Playa Grande can be accessed from Tamarindo by boat in around five minutes. The village is small enough to explore on foot.