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Grande Beach

An important part of the Marino Las Baulas National Park, the stunning beach of Playa Grande with its pristine shoreline and clear blue sea, is one of the best beaches on the Guanacaste coast. Lying in the North Pacific Coast in Guanacaste province, Playa Grande is home to the endangered Leatherback Sea Turtles that come ashore every year to lay their eggs on the beach.


Marino las Baulas National Park


Incorporated into the national park in 1990, Playa Grande is open top the general public only during the day during the ‘arribadas’ or turtle nesting season. At night the park’s police are on patrol to ensure that the turtles and their eggs are protected, especially from poachers and overzealous tourists who pose a considerable threat to these gentle giants as their eggs are considered to be aphrodisiacs and an eastern delicacy. The turtle hatching season here is from October to May and it is indeed a sight to see. If you are in the area around this time, it is definitely worth your while to see millions of turtles coming ashore under the cover of darkness to lay their eggs.

Another popular reason for visiting Playa Grande is for the excellent surfing found here on the main beach. Playa Grande is much more quiet than say Playa Tamarindo, but the surf here is equally good. In fact according to some expert surfers the breaks and swells are consistent enough for it to be rated as among the overall best surf spots in the country. Further north of the beach is excellent for swimming if you are not a surf fan.

Since this beach is part of a protective enclosure, no hotels have any rooms facing the beach. However, there are a handful of hotels on Playa Grande that are both affordable and economical. By law no one is allowed to roam the beach at night especially during the nesting season and no lights are allowed on the shore. The reason for this is because the lights scare away the turtles. There is only one hotel next to the beach, the Hotel Las Tortugas that was built before the Marino Las Baulas National Park was established. Run by Louis Wilson, who played a key role in the setting up of this park, the hotel is a wonderful place to enjoy the area’s superb natural beauty as well as rent surfboards, kayaks, snorkeling equipment and horses.

Possibly the only drawback of Playa Grande is that it is not the most easily accessible beach. Tamarindo is the closest beach, and is a couple of kilometers south of Playa Grande. With no direct road you can also reach Playa Grande by crossing the estuary between the beach and Playa Tamarindo. The shortest way to get to this beach is to arrive at the Liberia International Airport and take it from there.