Costa Rica Shines in Traveler’s Choice Beaches Awards

Costa Rica Closeup Tamarindo BeachTripAdvisor announced the winners of its inaugural 2011 Traveler’s Choice Beaches Awards last week. The winners were determined based on the rankings and ratings of beach destinations by travelers in TripAdvisor reviews. The awards were divided into the following categories: Top Overall, United States, Europe, Canada, South Pacific, Caribbean & Mexico, and Central & South America.

Costa Rica’s beaches certainly held their own, with Santa Teresa making the Top Ten Overall list. Santa Teresa shares the limelight in the category with such well-known stretches of sand as Providenciales in Turks and Caicos, Nigril in Jamaica, Tulum in Mexico, and Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic.

Costa Rica stole the show in the Central & South America category, with five of the top ten places named found in the land of the Ticos. Here are the Costa Rican beaches that excelled in the category:

Santa Teresa: Located on the Nicoya Peninsula, this once remote fishing village is quickly gaining fame as a prime beach destination. This laidback town was discovered by surfers and budget travelers, but now all types of vacationers are drawn to its golden sandy shores. Check out “Suck Rock”, one of the most famous surf spots in the country, or take a surf lesson at “La Lora”, a mellower break just down the beach.

Manuel Antonio National Park: Manuel Antonio, although small, is known for its incredible biodiversity. The undeveloped beaches of this national park are another important attraction here. Three beaches within the park can be reached by hikes of varying lengths. Tide pools teem with life, the snorkeling is great, and unless you guard your backpack you mind find a monkey eating your snacks.

Puerto Viejo: Located on the Caribbean side of the country, Puerto Viejo offers a different atmosphere than the Pacific Cost. Home to “Salsa Brava”, the biggest wave in Costa Rica, Puerto Viejo is another spot first frequented by surfers that eventually drew in other travelers. With the turquoise waters and the white sand of the Caribbean, the beaches of this area are stunning.

Tamarindo: Located in the province of Guanacaste, Tamarindo has boomed in recent years. The area offers accommodations, restaurants, and nightlife for all budgets, ages, and interests. The long, wide beach is still the main draw. The area is known both for its surf and the giant leatherback turtles.

Playa Sámara: Ticos have long enjoyed Playa Sámara for weekend escapes from San Jose. The waters here are calmer than many nearby areas because the incoming waves are blocked by an off-shore island before they make it into the u-shaped bay. Vacationers enjoy Sámara for the weekend nightlife, the mellow swimming, snorkeling, and horseback riding on the beach.

Image credit: Flicker Creative Commons

Becky Youman is a senior writer for the TLV Blog Network. She travels frequently to Mexico and Central America. She is the author of Liquid Mexico: Festive Spirits, Tequila Culture, & the Infamous Worm.



Filed Under: BeachesFeaturedManuel AntonioSanta Teresa


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