Ocotal is one of Guanacaste’s better kept secrets

This small beach town maintains itself as a perfect destination for those seeking a quiet and peaceful environment in one of Costa Rica’s most virgin beaches. 

Entrenched in a secluded dry tropical forest on the path from Playas del Coco towards Papagayo, Ocotal is a quiet and intimate beach far removed from the hassle of many of Guanacaste’s most touristic spots. Its main draw comes from the relatively sparse development, in addition to the beach’s stunning natural beauty, as tends to be the case in Costa Rica’s Northern province. 

As the coastline encloses the Pacific clear blue waters, Ocotal’s gentle tides and soothing breeze portray an immediate sense of arrival, an escape to a genuine atmosphere of peace and relaxation. Its dark sand beach extends to just a couple kilometers, as the surrounding hills and cliffs provide a natural border. With only a small handful of beachfront businesses, Ocotal’s chilled vibe is constant throughout. 

These characteristics make the destination a particularly good fit for those wanting a more private beach experience, or those who favor a family friendly destination. After all, since the Ocotal’s natural topography creates a small bay, the waves are quite small and subtle, mirroring a giant saltwater pool perfect for just floating around and letting oneself be fully immersed in the calming, tropical soundscapes. 

By this same virtue, Playa Ocotal has slowly become one of Guanacaste’s best spots for scuba diving and snorkeling, attracting a vast diversity of marine life due to its cleanliness and calm waters. Such is the case of Ocotal’s pristine image, that the beach has been awarded a “Bandera Azul” banner, recognizing it as one of the better conserved beaches in the whole country. 

Since the town hasn’t been developed as a tourist destination, it also gives the beach experience a more local dimension, being able to share with Costarican families in a more authentic setting. 

Be it as a perfect hideaway in one of Guanacaste’s better kept secrets, or as a homebase to explore the myriad of possibilities inherent to this wonderful province, Ocotal boasts a strategic location, merely a 5 minute drive from the touristic Playas del Coco, 35 minutes from the International Airport in Liberia, and a 20 minute boat ride from the world-renowned Islas Catalina. 

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