Playa Chiquita, Costa Rica: A Perfect Secret Hideaway

Playa Chiquita, Costa Rica, is one of the most idyllic spots along the Caribbean Sea. Known for its calm, crystal clear waters and stunning pebble beaches, this area is one of the most beautiful in Limón province. In fact, this beach has been awarded the Bandera Azul (Blue Flag), assuring visitors it is one of the cleanest and healthiest beaches in all of Costa Rica!

Best things to do in Playa Chiquita

Playa Chiquita, Limón, Costa Rica, is known for its beach. It’s the number one thing to do during your visit. However, there are a few other great activities to help round out your time in the area.

Visit Playa Chiquita 

Best for people who like peace and quiet and want to relax.

Playa Chiquita Costa Rica

This beach is the definition of serenity and tranquility. 

There is no road access to the beach, so visitors tend to skip over Playa Chiquita in favor of Puerto Viejo or Playa Cocles. Don’t make that mistake! The dazzling cerulean waters are set against an insanely photogenic backdrop of swaying palms.

Plenty of natural bays make it the perfect spot to swim in the calm, cool waters. These little bays also make the beach feel much more private, as you can set yourself up away from other people and still enjoy the sea.  

Running parallel to the shoreline, you’ll find a short trail—perfect for taking a stroll under the palm trees. You may even see some horses along the way!

Other beaches nearby, like Playa Cocles and Punta Uva, tend to get very crowded during the high season on the weekends. What makes Playa Chiquita great is that it remains quiet most of the year. This beach truly is the perfect place to relax for a couple of days.

Pro tip: Head to the beach at sunset. You’ll be blown away by the colors that fill the sky. Be sure to have your camera ready!

Snorkel off the shores

girl snorkeling

You can’t come to Playa Chiquita, Costa Rica, without your snorkeling gear! Because the water is so calm and clear, you’ll be able to see a variety of fish and marine life right off the beach. Lookout for zebrafish, blue parrot fish, sea urchins, and beautiful anemones.

If you’re an avid snorkeler or scuba diver, you can also head into Manzanillo National Park, which has some of the best-preserved coral reefs on the entire Caribbean coast! From here, you’ll also be able to see dolphins, manatees, and sea turtles. 

Visit the Jaguar Rescue Center 

baby sloth rescued at Jaguar Rescue Center in Costa Rica

The Jaguar Rescue Center is one of the best rescue and rehabilitation centers in Costa Rica. 

This is the perfect place to spend a morning if you love animals and want to learn about the local fauna. They typically help rehabilitate various birds, snakes, monkeys, sloths, and jaguars. Basically, any animal that comes their way.  

Go for a horseback ride along the beach

girl on horseback on the beach

The Prancing Pony Horseback center is right on the beach at Playa Chiquita. 

Why not spend an afternoon riding through the surf and taking in the gorgeous scenery? There are plenty of options ranging from never-been-on-a-horse to jockey-level expert, so there is something for everyone if you’re keen! 

Hike to Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge

canopy walk in Costa Rica

If you’re an adventure and nature lover, lace up your hiking boots and head to the nearby Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge, located within Manzanillo National Park. 

You can set off directly from Playa Chiquita. Once you arrive, you’ll be treated to a 740-acre-forest full of animal and plant life. You can hike along the forest floor or take a canopy tour to get a birds-eye view of the park. 

Keep your eyes peeled for toucans, eagles, tapirs, crocodiles, and plenty more. 

Head to Puerto Viejo 

Best for beach bums who need a bit more atmosphere.

Puerto Viejo signs in Costa Rica

Because it is so close, Puerto Viejo, a cool Rastafarian town, is the perfect place to soak up some atmosphere and stock up on amenities. You’re only a 6.4 km (~4 miles) drive away!

There are more shops and grocery stores, restaurants, and nightlife here, so if you are tired of the peace and quiet of Chiquita, you can inject a little more liveliness into your day in town. 

Where to stay in Playa Chiquita

two cottages in the jungle

There are a surprising number of hotels and lodges near Playa Chiquita, some even right on the beach! Many of the accommodation options have direct beach access, comfortable rooms, and either a restaurant, pool or both.

Playa Chiquita, Costa Rica, weather

Playa Chiquita in Costa Rica

Playa Chiquita, Costa Rica weather is unique due to its location along the Caribbean Sea. 

This area doesn’t experience the same standard rainy and dry patterns as the country’s west coast. In fact, this area doesn’t have strict dry and rainy seasons at all. 

Instead, you can expect Playa Chiquita to be humid all year long. 

September and October tend to be the sunniest months, while June and November see the most rain. You should be prepared for evening and afternoon showers no matter when you choose to go, though. 

This region’s weather is unpredictable, but you are bound to have sunny days to enjoy the beach.

Packing list essentials for Playa Chiquita

couple walks on Chiquita Beach in Costa Rica

While preparing for your perfect beach getaway in Playa Chiquita, be sure to pack the following: 

  • Several bathing suits
  • Beach hat
  • A good pair of sunglasses
  • Plenty of sunscreen
  • Hiking boots
  • Snorkel gear
  • Water shoes to protect your feet on the rocks
  • Camera/GoPro
  • Waterproof bag

How to get to Playa Chiquita, Costa Rica

Aerial view of Playa Chiquita

You’ll find this must-see paradise nestled along the Caribbean coast of southern Costa Rica. It’s not far from the border of Panama. 

Playa Chiquita beach, Costa Rica, is about 65 km (~40 miles) south of the major city of Limón. The easiest way to get there is to grab a seat on a shared shuttle from Limón to Puerto Viejo. And from there, it is a quick 6 km (3.7 miles) taxi ride to your accommodation. Or you can hop on another shuttle from Puerto Viejo to Playa Chiquita.

It is also possible to take a taxi all the way from Limón, but this will be a much pricier option. The ride will only take an hour and fifteen minutes, though, so you will save some time avoiding taxi ranks and changing cars. 

There is a daily bus from San José to Puerto Viejo as well. The journey takes five and a half hours, and just like the other routes, you will have to hop in a taxi or shuttle to complete the trip. 

No matter how you choose to get to Playa Chiquita, you’ll be glad you made the trip!

FAQ

What is the closest airport to Playa Chiquita?

Limón is the closest international airport. 

What is the closest town to Playa Chiquita?

Puerto Viejo is only 6 km (3.7 miles) west of Playa Chiquita.

Can you swim at Playa Chiquita?

Yes–the waves are pretty calm, so swimming is possible. Just be aware of the reef and numerous rocks surrounding the beach.

Is Playa Chiquita safe?

Yes! It is one of the cleanest and safest beaches around. You should, as always, exercise caution if you are an inexperienced swimmer. And avoid leaving your belongings unattended. 

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