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Do you want to go to the beach, but don’t have much time? GOPlaya is giving you six beach destinations that are close to San José.

I love Guanacaste. It is probably my favorite place in Costa Rica. I dream of appreciating the sunsets, while I walk along the beach, with my sandals in hand. How sweet is to dream!. Although I know it depends on what you like, some people prefer Puerto Viejo in the Caribbean, others prefer The Nicoya Peninsula.

The point is that there’s not always time to drive for five hours. Even if I love ‘Guana’, there are also other beach destinations that are perfect for a day trip. So for those who dream about going to the beach but have little time, don’t worry.

GOPlaya gives you six beach destinations that are close to San José. You only need two to three hours of travel to visit these spots.

If you are willing to go further, at the end of this article we recommend other places where you can find crystal clear natural pools, white sand beaches, incredible trails. There’s something for everyone.

Blanca Beach in Punta Morales, Puntarenas.

Blanca beach, Puntarenas, Costa Rica. Photo: GOPlaya.cr

This white sand beach located near the area of Punta Morales, Puntarenas. It has a gentle swell and very little rocks on the beach, which makes it an ideal place for bathers. In Blanca beach you can also practice snorkelling.

There’s places to park right in front of the sea. And there are hotels, hostels, villas and rental houses a few kilometers from the beach.

Duration from San José: 2: 21 minutes

Mantas beach

Mantas beach, Punta Leona, Puntarenas. Photo: GOPlaya

Mantas beach in Punta Leona, Puntarenas, is a place of grey sand, with a gentle swell and trees that will allow you to enjoy the shade while resting and relaxing. It is located right next to Blanca beach in Punta Leona.

On this site there are usually yachts and jets skis that can be seen along the coast. It is a popular destination, especially by costarican tourists, since it is less than three hours from the capital, San Jose. You can park near the beach, but be careful not to do it on a yellow line.

Duration from San José: 1:48 minutes

‘Peñón de Guacalillo’

‘Peñón de Guacalillo’, Puntarenas, Costa Rica. Photo: GOPlaya.cr

The main attraction of this destination is the viewpoint known as ‘Peñón de Guacalillo’. It is a place of great beauty where you can see the entire beach. Just before reaching this place, you must turn right and climb a slope that is in very bad condition. However, if you go carefully you can arrive by car, mainly in the summer.

El ‘Peñón de Guacalillo’ has become a familiar place, which national tourists visit to enjoy the sunset and the beautiful landscape, especially when the tide rises. The cars are parked right on the edge of the rock to enjoy the landscape and the giant and ancient stones, which give it a special touch.

Duration from San José: 1: 39 minutes

The caves of Bajamar

Bajamar, Puntarenas, Costa Rica. Photo: GOPlaya.cr

An unusual ride took us to a place as diverse as it is unique: Here is a giant rock overlooking the sea (something similar to the Peñón of Guacalillo), two hidden spots for surfing, a lagoon, a mangrove and the main course we wanted to enjoy: The caves of Bajamar.

It turns out that when the tide goes down, you can cross from side to side along the beach until you reach an estuary and reach incredible caves. The surprise is inevitable; they are giant rocks, ancient in plain sight and in the middle of the sea.

That is why when the tide rises it is impossible to reach the caves. You have to plan the trip well to arrive at the right time. But there’s no use in telling you what will be there, without telling you what awaits you along the way.

Bajamar is a hidden spot, but nothing far from San José. Just an hour and a half from the capital, in the town of Garabito and near Guacalillo, you will find Buenos Aires beach with strong waves and intense vegetation.
In many sections the road is narrow and in most there are holes and branches that you will have to overcome until you reach Bajamar.

In the summer you can reach this destination by car, but in winter I suggest you visit it in a 4×4, because as you get closer to the rock, road conditions get worse, which makes access difficult.

Duration time: 1: 36 minutes

Biesanz beach in Manuel Antonio, Puntarenas.

Biesanz beach, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica. Photo: GOPlaya.cr

Biesanz is a white sand beach, with soft swells and little rocks. It is located a few kilometers from Manuel Antonio National Park. After crossing a path, you will arrive at this incredible place of crystal clear water and enormous beauty. In Biensanz you can take a dip, snorkel or just rest.

Biesanz is in the Manuel Antonio area, where you will find a wide range of hotels and restaurants. It is not easy to reach the beach, because you must park in front of the main street and cross a path surrounded by trees. However, it is worth the effort, because it is a magical place.

Duration from San José: 3: 39 minutes

Esterillos Oeste beach, Puntarenas

Esterillos, Puntarenas, Costa Rica. Photo: GOPlaya.cr

Beach of light grey sand and little rocks that presents a strong swell, suitable for surfers. Esterillos Oeste is known as La Sirena ( the mermaid) sector. In the small streams that form on the sides, natural ponds are usually created, to which several types of birds approach. It is a good size beach where you can sunbathe or go for a walk. Here you will have no trouble finding where to stay.

On this beach there is a safety tower. Also a wide range of cabins and hotels, as well as restaurants and kiosks. In Esterillos West there is a camping area and different tours, mainly fishing. This beach is in Parrita, between Jacó and Quepos.

Duration from San José: 2 hours