5 Awesome beaches in Costa Ballena, Costa Rica

| Dec 17, 2022 | Dominical - Uvita, Travel Costa Rica

5 Awesome beaches in Costa Ballena, Costa Rica



Costa Ballena in Costa Rica offers an enormous amount of great beaches to visit. Maybe too many; which should you choose? We want to help you with making this decision. We made a selection of 5 magnificent beaches that are worthwhile visiting when staying in Costa Ballena, Costa Rica.

Costa Ballena in Costa Rica is the area surrounding the villages of Uvita and Dominical in the province of Puntarenas, Costa Rica. It covers the area from Matapalo to Ojochal. 

#1 Playa Dominical

Playa Dominical is a small laid back village right at the coastline. An ideal place for surfers who want to walk from the hotel to the surf. You can rent a surfboard in Playa Dominical and walk to the beach. Not a surfer? Enjoy the surfers showing-off their skills in the water while you relax on the beach. Sunbathing is best on the south side of the beach, since the north side towards the river is very rocky. Playa Dominical is the perfect place if you are looking for a beach where you can also get food & drinks, since there are several mini markets and bar restaurants in Playa Dominical. Another fun activity is strolling by the many souvenir stands along the beach road. Playa Dominical is very easy accessible from the main coastal highway #34; just follow the signs; you can’t miss it.

best beaches costa ballena costa rica

Playa Dominical from above

dominical resort

Eco-Hotel Resort

Playa Dominical, Costa Rica

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#2 Playa Dominicalito

The little brother of Playa Dominical, Playa Dominicalito, lies 3.5 km (2.2 mi) south of Dominical. It is a small beach and nicely set in a bay, which makes it excellent for swimming. It is also a good beach for your first surf lessons. Thinking of having some fresh fish for dinner that evening? You might be able to buy some, straight from the local fishermen who have their little boats on the south side of Playa Dominicalito. It is better to bring your food & drinks for day itself, although lately some simple food shacks opened up on this beach. Also Playa Dominicalito is directly accessible from the main coastal highway #34.

#3 Playa Uvita

Playa Uvita is part of the Marino Ballena National Park, which is known for its dolphins & whale watching tours. However, Playa Uvita is also great for just having a beach day. The beach is gorgeous and during low tide you can walk all the way to end of the famous ‘whales tale’ (a process called sedimentation created a sand bridge between the Uvita bay and the mainland which together looks like a giant whales tale). It is a safe place to swim and snorkel; on a ‘clear water day’ you might spot some colorful fish. There is even some coral around. Since you will enter a national park you will have to pay an entrance fee; it is USD 6,78 per adult (nationals pay CRC 1130.00), children under 11 years old are free, parking will cost about USD 5,- a day. The park is closed on Tuesday, all other days it is open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. To go to Playa Uvita you will have to drive to the main entrance of Marino Ballena National Park which is located in Uvita; just follow the signs to the national park. More information

We have mapped the beaches on this map

Click on the red markers to see the name of the beach.

Playa Dominical

Playa Dominicalito

Playa Uvita

Playa Ventanas

Playa Matapalo

Hotel Villas Rio Mar

#4 Playa Ventanas

The little beach of Playa Ventanas is a magical place. It is set in a small scenic bay surrounded by tropical jungle where wildlife is still abundant. You might spot monkeys and scarlet macaws. It is an excellent place to swim. The beach got his name – ventanas means windows – from the caves that you will find on the beach and which you can access during low tide. During high tide the caves burst out water spectacularly! There is sign at the entrance on the main coastal highway #34. The entrance is 1 km (0.62 mi) from the gas station (ocean side). You will need to pay a fee for parking. Bring your food & drinks because there are no stores or restaurants at Playa Ventanas.

#5 Playa Matapalo

The last beach in our selection is for those who want the ‘being stranded on a deserted tropical island experience’. The huge stretched-out beach of Matapalo is gorgeous and you can walk for miles and miles without seeing another soul. It is an unspoiled beach where capuchin monkeys and both types of sloths are easily to spot. It is perfectly suited for sunbathing and when it gets too hot, you can just hang your hammock between the palm trees. Playa Matapalo has a mini-market and a bar restaurant on walking distance of the beach. Matapalo is easily accessible; just drive to Matapalo (the one in between Quepos and Dominical) and follow the signs to Playa Matapalo to go the beachside of Matapalo. Insiders tip! If you want to be completely by yourself: drive the beach road west for a while and stop somewhere you like it!

Playa Dominicalito

The Whales Tale of Playa Uvita

The ‘ventana’ at Playa Ventanas

No crowds at Playa Matapalo

Contact us in case you have more questions. Eco Hotel Villas Rio Mar is centrally located in the Costa Ballena of Costa Rica and all of these beaches are very easy to visit from Villas Rio Mar. You can reach Playa Dominical even by foot from our Hotel-Resort (10 to 15 min. walk).

Please note!

  • Like along the whole pacific coast; you have to watch out for riptides. If you find yourself caught in a riptide DON’T PANIC, but start swimming parallel to the beach; when you notice the strong current is gone you can swim back to the beach. Don’t try swimming against the current because it will only make you exhausted. If you are too tired already, let yourself be taking by the riptide, it will bend off and stop after the breakers (waves). Ones you regained energy, start swimming back to the beach
  • Like almost everywhere in the world; don’t leave valuables unattended on the beach and don’t leave valuables in the car when visiting a beach.


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