From Dominical, heading south. All are signposted. More information on the Nacional Park at www.marinoballena.org :

  • Dominical; Parasailing, Playa Dominicalthe best surfing beach of the area. Numerous surf shops and a few offering lessons.  Has a reputation for rip currents notably where the river meets the ocean. Has a life guard for much of the year supported by local sales. It’s a long, open, sandy beach with few people even in the dry season. 
  • Playa Uvita:  Playa UvitaOur favorite beach, immediately south of the Uvita shops and left at the end of the road. Part of the Parque Nacional Pinuella Ballena which is a protected marine park.  An absolutely beautiful beach, flat and sandy bordered by coconut palms. Especially lovely and dramatic at low tide which exposes the “whale tail” spit of smooth sand leading to rocks that are the tail’s “flukes”.  Whale tail, aerial viewThe $6/person entry fee covers entry to all the beaches in the park. The water is generally very calm being protected by the offshore reef and rocks.  There are a few restaurants just outside the park entrance – we’d recommend Rest. Las Delicious; it’s clean and new and serves local fare and a cold beer after the heat of the beach.

  • Playa Colonia: Also in the park. Very long empty, sandy beach. Surfing possible, but smaller and lacks the bars/shops/lifeguard infrastructure of Dominical.  [photo]
  • Playa Ballena: Also in the park. Rocky and long, but far less attractive than the others.
  • Playa Pinuella:  The southern end of the Parque Nacional. It’s a smaller beach with an attractive curve with sand and rocks mixed together offering lovely views of the islands, and very few people. Parking is easy for a few cars just past the ranger station. 
  • Playa Ventanas: Close to the shops at Ojochal and outside the Parque.  A small beach in a dramatic cove. Playa Ventanas, low tideThere is a tunnel through the headland at the north end through which you can peer at low tide but that sends crashing waves through at high tide. Highly recommended to park at the private house for colones 350/hr - otherwise you park and hike up and over the spit if the owners aren't at home. 
  • Playa Tortuga: Immediately south of the turning to Ojochal village, but unmarked as you drive south (there is a sign if heading north), Tortuga is located where the River Balso meets the ocean.  Aptly named, for it’s where turtles lay their eggs each season, it’s quite wild and lacks infrastructure other than Gringo Mike’s Saturday evening buffet feast and we’d avoid swimming in both river and sea because of crocodiles.