Beaches in Limon, Costa Rica, for an Idyllic Escape

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Check out the best Limón, Costa Rica beaches. From places to surf to the best spot to soak up the sun, Limón has plenty of options.

Limon Costa Rica feature

If you are looking for an unforgettable, sun-filled holiday, look no further than Limón, Costa Rica beaches. Known for stunning scenery, epic surfing, and unique culture, this province is totally distinctive from the rest of the country.

Limon is the land of Afro-Costa Ricans. From as early as 1920, Black Costa Ricans flocked there to create a place to embrace and celebrate their culture and heritage. As a result, you’ll find interesting architecture influenced by Antilles and Jamaica and delicious foods like pati–a pastry filled with savory meats, spices, and peppers. 

In October, the province celebrates Carnival, a festival packed with Afro-Caribbean music, dancing, and great food.

Limón is one of seven provinces in Costa Rica and houses the entire 210 km (130 miles) Caribbean coastline. With so many beaches to choose from, you may feel overwhelmed with options. Don’t worry—we’ve got the perfect breakdown of which Limón beaches in Costa Rica are right for you.

Best Beaches near Limón, Costa Rica

Before you dive in, it’s important to note that Limón is both a town and a province in Costa Rica. While there are a few beaches near the town, several options are located further south. 

Ok, now you’re ready…

Punta Uva

Best beach for snorkelers who love wildlife.

Punta Uva beach near Limon, Costa Rica

Located 227 km (141 miles) southeast of San José and 69 km (43 miles) south of the town of Limón, Punta Uva is one of the best places to relax and soak up some sun.

This laid-back beach town is far enough away from the Limón to provide some peace and quiet but is perfect if you plan to swim, snorkel, and work on your tan.

Punta Uva is rated as one of the best beaches in Costa Rica and the best beach in Limón Province. You’ll understand why when you experience the crystal clear, calm water and beautiful coral reefs. In addition, the beach is a tranquil stretch of powder-soft sand backed by a lush forest, making this stunning locale an ideal place to swim or relax.

As an added bonus, Punta Uva is situated near the Gandoca-Manzanillo National Refuge—a great place to see wildlife like sloths, monkeys, and tons of birds.

Puerto Viejo 

Ideal for beach bums who like a good party.

Puerto Viejo Beach Limon Costa Rica

Puerto Viejo Beach is about 60 km (37 miles) south of Limón. It is the perfect place to base yourself if you plan to visit many different beaches.

It’s in a very central location along the southern end of Limón province, and it is easy to navigate to several different beaches from here.

Puerto Viejo Beach is small, yet it is one of the busiest beaches around. This is because there are plenty of hotels, restaurants, and bar options, unlike some remote areas. 

It is also absolutely gorgeous! Leaning palms sway over the turquoise waters, with plenty of people lounging in the shade or splashing around in the surf.

As one of the best beaches in Limón, Costa Rica, this spot is perfect for beach bums who appreciate a great vibe and plenty of amenities. 

Salsa Brava

Best for experienced surfers.

waves in costa rica beaches

Located close by is Salsa Brava, the most famous beach in Limón. Surfer enthusiasts flock to this beach to try their hand at catching some impressive waves.

This beach also offers plenty of yellow sand beach to lay out on. Still, the real draw is the crystal clear water and interesting coral formations just off the shore. 

Many surfers dream of visiting Salsa Brava and catching waves for themselves, but this area is best for experienced surfers. The waves here are fierce, and the currents can be strong, so it isn’t recommended for inexperienced swimmers or those new to surfing.

Salsa Brava and Puerto Viejo are the ultimate places to base yourself if you want to explore other beaches near Limón. 

Playa Cocles

Ideal for surfers who like to flex for Instagram.

a line of surfboards at Playa Cocles in Costa Rica

Another great Limón beach in Costa Rica is Playa Cocles, 64 km (39 miles) south of town or 220 km (136 miles) southeast of San José. 

Playa Cocles is one of the most popular spots for surfers in Costa Rica and is known for its excellent waves and beautiful beaches.

The beach here is about 2 km (1.2 miles) long and lined with regal palms. There is a long stretch of grass to lay your towel on if you prefer to be in the shade. The water is the perfect shade of cerulean, and when coupled with the cool rock formations a few meters offshore, you’ll have the opportunity for epic ocean photos.

Because of its popularity, Playa Cocles tends to get a bit crowded, but for good reason. Its picture-perfect location and the plethora of surfers make it one of the most Insta-worthy locations in the country. 

Playa Chiquita

Ideal for secluded beach seekers.

Stunning Playa Chiquita near Limon

Playa Chiquita may just be the most beautiful beach in Limón, Costa Rica.

Located about 67 km (41 miles) from Limón and just 5 km (3 miles) from Puerto Viejo, this beach has Instagram written all over it. 

Beautiful turquoise waters are lined by powder-soft, white sand, and it is completely untouched by development. This stunning locale is perfect for swimming and soaking up the sun, but it is also great for snorkeling right off the beach.

One consideration for visiting this remote beach is that you can only access it by trail—no roads lead directly into it. And there aren’t any facilities here, so you’ll have to take everything you need for a day at the beach.

Playa Blanca

Best beach for swimming and wildlife lovers.

coral underwater in Limon Costa Rica

One of Limón’s best-kept secrets, Playa Blanca is a local spot that isn’t often visited by tourists. It’s in Cahuita National Park, a terrestrial and marine reserve about an hour south of Limón. 

Playa Blanca has immaculate white sandy beaches and serene blue waters, giving you the perfect landscape to help you relax and enjoy your surroundings.

Additionally, this beach is the first marine park in Costa Rica and is home to a wide variety of coral.

You should visit Playa Blanca if you prefer to do as the locals do and enjoy visiting protected parks.

Playa Bonita

Best for a digital detox.

empty Playa Bonita in Costa Rica

Playa Bonita is for you if you want to rest and relax on holiday.

Located about 6 km (3.7 miles) north of Limon, this beautiful beach is secluded from the bustling towns nearby. It is the perfect place to set up a hammock and read. 

Playa Bonita has perfect, calm, clear waters to swim in and is also a great place to spot an abundance of wildlife. You can see howler monkeys and crabs while sunbathing and octopus, rays, plenty of colorful fish, and coral while enjoying the water. 

Playa Negra

Great for surfer newbies.

black sands of Playa Negra in Limon Costa Rica

Playa Negra is a black sand beach located about 10 km (6 miles) from Puerto Viejo. It isn’t as traditionally pretty as some white sand beaches. Still, its uniqueness gives Playa Negra a ton of character. 

This beach is a great place for beginning surfers as the waves are milder than Salsa Brava, but there can occasionally be dangerous tides here.

Playa Negra also has a fascinating coral platform just off the shores, which is an incredible place to snorkel and check out some marine life. 

The shoreline is lush forest backing the beach, and it’s a little slice of heaven. You can find excellent shady spots to lay out and enjoy watching the surfers if you aren’t ready to hang 10 yourself. 

Playa Cahuita

Best spot for snorkelers and sloth devotees.

beaches in Cahuita national park

Another popular beach in Limón is Playa Cahuita, located within the Cahuita National Park. 

This beach is abundant with wildlife and has gorgeous water to splash around in. You can spot white face monkeys, sloths, caiman, and plenty of beautiful birds enjoying the area with you. 

In addition, over 100 species of fish, crustaceans, sea turtles, and 35 species of coral make Playa Cahuita an excellent place to snorkel. 

No list of Costa Rican beaches would be complete without an opportunity for sloth spotting. This beach is close to the Sanctuary of Sloths of Costa Rica. You could easily visit the sloths in the morning and hit the beach in the afternoon!

Round Rock Beach

Best for swimmers who love a black sand beach.

black sand beach in Costa Rica

Round Rock Beach, also within Cahuita National Park, is another unique spot because the shores are black, unlike your traditionally beautiful white or yellow sand. That doesn’t make it any less beautiful, though!

Round Rock is a small, quaint beach with calm waters, making it the perfect spot to sunbathe and lay out. It is also surrounded by a lush palm forest, giving you the ideal backdrop for some stunning photos. 

Playa Manzanillo

Ideal for active beach lovers.

Manzanillo beach in Limon, Costa Rica

Playa Manzanillo is a remote, idyllic white sand beach with stunning cerulean waters that are calm and inviting.

It’s in southern Limón Province, within the Gandoca-Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge. Because of its location, Playa Manzanillo is also great for hiking, kayaking, and scuba diving. 

There is a vibrant Afro-Caribbean culture here, so it’s a perfect place to learn more about the local community.

Packing list essentials for Limon

fresh green coconuts on a table

Besides your usual clothing, it is a good idea to pack extra bathing suits, sunglasses, and reef-safe sunscreen for your trip to Limón.

Waterproof shoes can come in handy if you plan to hike or do some adventurous water sports. 

You should also bring some sort of anti-theft pack if you plan to visit the beach alone. While the beaches aren’t dangerous, petty crime and theft do occur, so it is always better to be safe than sorry.

Weather in Limon

curved golden beach in Costa Rica

The best time to visit the Limón, Costa Rica beaches is February-March and August-October. This is the best time to avoid the rain and have perfect weather throughout the day. Temperatures will consistently hover around 30℃ (85℉) and allow for wonderful days on the beach.

So, now you know the top beaches in Limón, Costa Rica. But if you’re unsure where else to go in Costa Rica, check out all the places Bookaway can take you!

FAQ

What is Limón, Costa Rica, known for?

Limón is known for its unique culture and picturesque beaches. Due to its location on the Caribbean coast, there is a lot of Afro-Caribbean influence throughout the province. The beaches are also spectacular. 

Can you swim in Limón?

The majority of beaches are safe to swim in. However, some beaches have strong currents, and others are blessed with massive waves—great for surfing, not so much for swimming. Check with local safety bulletins before swimming in an unknown area.

Posted October 10, 2022
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Samantha Bryant
Samantha has been wandering the globe since 2010, when she hopped on a plane for a gap year in order to wait out an age restriction for a job application. Twelve years, four continents, and countless experiences later she has decided that she is perfectly content embracing her wanderlust. Samantha works as an English and ELL teacher at an international school in South Africa, but her passion for writing has kept her busy in what spare time she can find. If she isn't working or writing, you can find Samantha exploring a new city in an off-the-beaten-path destination or relaxing on a beach somewhere.
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