The 7 Best Black Sand Beaches In Costa Rica

By Ruby

Costa Rica is famous for its many stunning sights, but none quite compare to the beauty that are Costa Rica’s black sand beaches. If you’re looking for the perfect Instagram worthy vacation or an escape from everyday reality, these beaches seem like they are from another world!

Black sand beaches are formed from volcanic remnants- hence their dark colour! At first, the thought of swapping gorgeous white sand for a more ominous black variety may seem odd, why would you want to sit in a something that looks like ash? Well, a black sand beach offers all of the luxuries that white sand beaches do but with added excitement. Black sand is also meant to be great for your skin- the mix of black volcanic sand and water supposedly creates an element that is rich in sulfur, calcium, magnesium and potassium. All of these minerals are the key to healthy, glowing skin.

So, if you want to venture to the wonders of the black sands, here are the seven best black sand beaches to visit.

Playa Hermosa

Photo by Jose Acevedo from Pexels

Playa Hermosa is said to be one of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica- the name literally means ‘beautiful beach in Spanish! The black sand beach offers visitors deep blue waters, clean sands and a tranquil atmosphere making it the perfect location for a relaxing day in the sun by the Pacific coast. Unlike many busy tourists beaches, Playa Hermosa is maintained incredibly well and is said to be one of the cleanest beaches in Costa Rica. The beach is a winner of the ‘Bandera Azul’- a prize given to locations of high environmental standard. Because of the clean conditions, the waters at Playa Hermosa are clear- perfect for snorkeling the west coast of Costa Ria.

This beach stretches 2 kilometers and is surrounded by stunning tropical rainforests and volcanic rock- you will feel like you are on your own treasure island! Playa Hermosa is a relaxing beach with great access to plenty of nearby restaurants and hotels. Despite the popular location, this beach is rarely crowded and the atmosphere is laid back all year round! If you feel like taking a day to explore the pacific coast, Playa Hermosa is just 7 kilometers from Playas de Coco- another beautiful beach located on the west coast of Costa Rica.

Playa Negra


Photo by Etienne Delorieux on Unsplash

Playa Negra is the perfect surfer’s paradise, known for its spectacular waves and breaks! These wild waters do not mean that the beach isn’t also perfect for those who want to relax and take in the Costa Rican sun. This beach sits along the northern pacific coast, in the northwestern region of Guanacaste. The location is picturesque and has been the backdrop to many jaw-dropping movie scenes, social media posts and photoshoots. The black sands here are faint but remnants of volcanic rock can still be noticed if you look closely. If surfing isn’t your thing, there is plenty more to do here at Playa Negra.

This black sand beach is located near the famous Marino Las Baulas National park which is the nesting site of leatherback turtles. If you are lucky, you may get to experience the wonders of newborn sea turtles making their way into the ocean for the very first time! Playa Negra is also a great spit for local cafes in which you can indulge in delicacies that are enjoyed by the locals. You will find many quaint cafes along the beachfront which are all welcoming of tourists and make for the perfect rest in between your activities. Whether you want to catch some waves, explore local cafes or wonder at the wildlife, Praya Negra is the perfect beach in Costa Rica.

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Tamarindo Beach


Photo by Joy Ernst on Unsplash

It would be difficult to write about the best black sand beaches in Costa Rica without mentioning Tamarindo Beach. Tamarindo is often compared to a tropical paradise and sits along the north pacific coast of Costa Rica. Surrounded by tropical plants and wildlife (including monkeys!), a visit to Tamarindo will allow you to completely forget about your life in the western world and escape into the stunning tropics. This beach is one of the easiest Guanacaste beaches to access- it’s roads are tourist-friendly so anyone can experience this beautiful location. Although Tamarindo beach is popular with tourists, you don’t have to worry about large crowds as the beach is very large and offers a variety of activities.

The crystal blue waters are one of the main attractions at Tamarindo beach. The water is perfect for swimming or, if you are feeling more adventurous, why not go scuba diving? The beach offers tourists the chance to rent scuba gear and explore the beautiful marine life that lives below the surface. Surfing is also a popular activity here in Tamarindo- the winds and wave are consistent making it a great spot for all levels of surfer. Another attraction that Tamarindo beach is known for is offshore sport fishing. At this beach, you have the chance of catching sailfish and marlin among the many other species of local fish that you may see. Tamarindo beach is the best location for getting a complete taste of the coast of Costa Rica.

Playa Conchal

The 7 Best Black Sand Beaches In Costa Rica
Photo by Nat Fernández on Unsplash

The stunning views of Playa Conchal could easily be mistaken for the Caribbean coast. Playa Conchal is easily one of the most exotic beaches on the gold coast of Costa Rica and is located very close to Playa Flamingo and Tamarindo beach- making it a great location for beach holiday lovers. The beach gets its name from a rocky headland which separates it from its neighboring beach, Playa Brasilito. The water here is great for snorkeling and surfing. The beautiful area around Playa Conchal also makes for the perfect day of exploring Costa Rica.

If you want to experience the best black sand beaches in Costa Rica, you should stay at The Westin Playa Conchal resort– a lively modern resort that is perfect for couples, families and solo travelers who want to stay at the heart of the pacific coast. This is Costa Rica’s best resort for beach holidays. This black sand beach is also near several national parks that are home to some exotic wildlife and plants. If you want to get a true taste of this beautiful part of the world, Playa Conchal is a must-see on your visit to Costa Rica.

Puerto Viejo

The 7 Best Black Sand Beaches In Costa Rica


Photo by Milada Vigerova on Unsplash

Located on the Caribbean coast, in the Limon province of Costa Rica, Puerto Viejo is a dream for anyone who loves soft sand, blue skies and crystal clear waters. At this black sand beach, you will find yourself surrounded by exotic flora and fauna which create a vibrant atmosphere and tropical paradise. This Caribbean town is one of Costa Rica’s best locations for surfing and is a hot spot for tourists. The waters here are known for ‘Salsa Brava’ waves- an experience of a lifetime for any keen surfer. Before becoming a must-see for tourists, Puerto Viejo was a quaint Costa Rican fishing village- this legacy still stands and gives the village a laidback atmosphere that makes for the perfect beach escape.

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There are many attractions near the black sands of Puerto Viejo including Cahuita National Park and Talamanca Indian Reserve. These are great locations for spotting some of Costa Rica’s world-famous wildlife and experiencing the country at its finest. The main beach at Puerto Viejo, Salsa Brava, is known for having strong rip currents which may be dangerous for a relaxing swim. However, there are many more golden beaches just a short walk away if you want a relaxing day in the sun.

Playa Pavones

The 7 Best Black Sand Beaches In Costa Rica


Photo by Nathan Farrish on Unsplash

Playa Pavones is a popular beach on the southern pacific coast of Costa Rica. This beautiful black sand beach is surrounded by rainforest and a diverse range of local wildlife- you are guaranteed to see some amazing sights on your visit to this beach! Known for surfing, these shores are known for the longest waves in the world and draw in many keen surfers every year from all around the globe. It is recommended that only experienced surfers test the waters in this part of the pacific coast as the floor is rocky and the waves break close to shore. However, there are plenty of other things to do for those who are not the best at surfing but still want to experience this sunny paradise.

The exquisite area around this stunning beach offers canopy tours and horseback riding. These are both great ways to see the sights around Playa Pavones and learn about the culture and history in this part of Costa Rica’s coast. The luscious weather and bright sun of Pavones also make it the best location for sunbathing or taking a long stroll around the area. The beach is also very close to the Golfito National Wildlife Refuge (only 60 kilometers away), which should be on everyone’s bucket list for their trip to Costa Rica. The refuge is home to a large variety of trees, many of them reach 140 feet into the air! Playa Pavones is by far one of the best black sand beaches in Costa Rica.

Playa Avellana

The 7 Best Black Sand Beaches In Costa Rica


Photo by Justin Scocchio on Unsplash

Playa Avellana is located along the gold coast of Costa Rica and is loved by all tourists who visit. The soft sands and huge waves are often compared to those found in Hawaii and attract surfers and sunbathers all year long. One of the most famous attractions at Playa Avellana is the local pig, Lola. Lola is a giant pig who ways 400 kilograms and is seen often wandering around the beach and bathing in the sands. Lola is in no way dangerous! The pig is welcomed by locals and is always popular with tourists. Although black sand can be found in Playa Avellana, much of the coast is golden-white sand, making it a picture-perfect beach lovers paradise.

Playa Avellana has an isolated atmosphere and will have you believing that you are on your own private island. It is the perfect spot for a quiet afternoon of reading, sunbathing or walking. The beach is also located very near to Las Baulas National Marine Park which means that you may be able to spot some baby sea turtles wandering into the waters when they hatch! This is a sight that should not be missed when you visit Costa Rica. Playa Avellana is the perfect location for anyone wanting to escape busy, tourist sites and spend an afternoon relaxing in the sun.


James Ardimento has spent the last 12 years journeying around the globe ! With its precious experiences and tips he gained around Asia, South America, Europe and the US he is a precious asset for this blog and for its readers