April 6, 2021 Mariko_Admin

Beaches in the Nicoya Peninsula

Mariko Izumi in tambor Costa Rica

We have been living in Costa Rica, near Tambor on the Nicoya Peninsula, for a couple of months now. I’m here to say – it doesn’t matter where you live, life will throw you some challenges and obstacles. No matter if you’re in a city full of people, cozy at home in the mountains, or adventuring in a tropical paradise – challenges follow. The difference of course is what you are doing in between those challenges, and how you are maneuvering those challenges. But nonetheless real life is everywhere.

With that said, today’s blog post is going to focus on one of the major upsides to living in Costa Rica. That is to say, hopping from beach to beach in the Nicoya Peninsula and the benefits to each one.

Three beaches we love in the Nicoya Peninsula:

  • Playa Tambor , Tambor Bay
  • Playa Hermosa, Santa Teresa
  • Playa Tortuga, Tortuga Island

Playa Tambor, Tambor Bay:

The bay is our preferred and most regularly visited beach because the water is calm at all times of the day. The beach is vast, and slopes very gradually into the water so it is perfect for young kids. The sand is dark brown so you don’t get that picture-perfect Caribbean white sand look. However the kids don’t seem to know the difference when it comes to hours of fun with their sand toys.

My four year old can play on her own without me having to hold on to her for dear life for fear of a big undertow swooping her up. It is also is never too busy and as mentioned, there is so much flat beach area. It’s a really calm place to be for the day. The water is so still that sometimes my daughter and I will swim past the very small break in the waves, and just float for an hour. We float in the water taking in the view of the palm trees on the shoreline, the small fishing village across the bay, and sometimes the multi-million dollar yachts lounging in the bay. 

If you’re there in November, you can watch a volunteer group release baby turtles into their forever home (the ocean!). It is an absolutely adorable and memorable experience. Lastly, in addition to a fun and relaxed day, there are restaurants at the entrance of the beach. Tambor Tropical is a charming spot with a wide ranging menu of both American and Costa Rican food. We also love Henry’s which is good for some traditional pizza. Both spots are nice for a casual drink!

Playa Hermosa, Santa Teresa:

Santa Teresa is a surfer’s paradise, with people coming from all around the world to have a go at the powerful waves. The main strip also offers dozens of modern and trendy boutique-type restaurants and shops. Half a day at the beach and half a day eating and shopping would be my ideal day there.

Hermosa beach in particular is the northernmost part of Santa Teresa and is the least busy area of town. The sand is white and the sunsets are stunning (think pastel skies and Japan orange sun setting on the water’s horizon). You will find children and dogs alike running around wild and free. And those lucky kid-free adults lounging and surfers riding waves. Be prepared to move your belongings closer and closer away from the water as the tide moves in quite fast. See my previous blog on Santa Teresa for more info on the town.

Playa Tortuga, Tortuga Island:

Because Playa Tortuga is on an island, it is only accessible by boat. People are generally coming from either Tambor Bay, or from the Jaco side of the Peninsula. It is a small island with some dramatic rock cliffs on the one side with a nice flat shoreline hugging a corner of the island. Palm trees are set perfectly in line closing in the part of the beach that is accessible. Making it another picture-perfect place to be.

There is a small shop with souvenirs, some huts offering fresh oysters and scallops, coconut water from coconuts and lounge chairs for rental. If you want a buzzier atmosphere – go on the weekend. If you’re looking for a more private experience – go on a weekday. There are many companies that will take you there, but our go-to is Octavio from Tavo Tours.

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