Playa Flamingo, Costa Rica

Ultimate Guide to Playa Flamingo, Guanacaste (2024)

By Jennifer LaCharite

With sparkling white sands and greenish-blue waters, Playa Flamingo Costa Rica is the perfect tropical beach vacation spot for foreigners and Costa Ricans alike. From stunning natural surroundings to high-class living, Flamingo Beach Costa Rica is the best of both worlds!

I have been visiting the quiet southern cove of this beach for years to swim in peace and relative seclusion. I recently visited the new Flamingo Marina and was quickly taken in by the beauty and luxury of this world-class place on Costa Rica’s Gold Coast. The brand-new development and fully restored Flamingo Marina make it a great place for both mariners and those who just want to check out the new shops.

Read on to find out what to do in Playa Flamingo Costa Rica, where to stay, where to eat, and more!

Playa Flamingo, Costa Rica
Photo credit: Jennifer LaCharite

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Playa Flamingo Costa Rica FAQs

Where is Playa Flamingo Costa Rica?

The small beach town of Playa Flamingo is located along the North Pacific Coast of Costa Rica’s Guanacaste province. It can be found nestled between the towns of Playa Potrero and Playa Brasilito.

What Airport Do You Fly Into For Playa Flamingo Costa Rica?

Playa Flamingo is located only a one-hour drive from the International Airport in Liberia. Once called the Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport (and still called this on Google Maps), the airport is now officially called the Guanacaste International Airport (LIR). Flaming Beach is 42 kilometers (26 miles) from the airport.

Can You Swim in Playa Flamingo Costa Rica?

Flamingo Beach Costa Rica is a great place for spending the day swimming and laying on the fine-grained white sand. There is shade in the form of trees close to the shore. Be advised, however, that this beach is known to have manchineel trees, which are poisonous apple trees that can cause blisters and rashes if you touch the sap from their leaves, bark, or fruit. There are also several canopies and chairs available to rent for the day.

Are There Flamingos at Playa Flamingo Costa Rica?

There are no actual flamingos on Flamingo Beach Costa Rica. The name is derived from the pinkish hue the white sand takes on at certain times of the day.

How to Get to Playa Flamingo Costa Rica

Playa Flamingo is very accessible, with paved roads in and around town. If you want to spend time at the beach, you can enter “Margaritaville Beach Resort Playa Flamingo” in Google Maps and park along the road all the way to Restaurante Coco Loco. There are usually parking attendants to watch your vehicle and help you to back in and out of the narrow spots. You can tip them 1,000 to 2,000 colones ($2 to $4 USD) when you leave. 

Flamingo Beach is only an hour’s drive from the Guanacaste International Airport near the city of Liberia. From here, you will take Routes 21, 155, and 180 to reach Playa Flamingo. You can also take Routes 21, 151, and 911 but this will take you on the Monkey Trail, which goes through a river and is not advisable unless you have 4×4.

From San Jose to Playa Flamingo, you will take the Interamericana Norte Highway (Route 1) until you reach Liberia. Then you follow the above instructions from there.

A photo of Flamingo Marina
Photo credit: Jennifer LaCharite

Things To Do in Playa Flamingo Costa Rica

  • Playa Flamingo is made for a day at the beach. It has fine white sand, clear blue waters, shady spots, lounge chairs, and two restaurants on the beach. But there are plenty of things to do other than lie on the beach all day.
  • Go Fishing. Some of the best sportfishing in the world can be found off the shores of Flamingo Beach. In fact, an international sailfish tournament is held here every July. Marlin, tuna, Mahi Mahi, roosterfish, swordfish, and snapper are found year-round. And the newly refurbished Flamingo Marina makes boarding your boat a breeze!
  • Snorkel and Scuba Dive. The nearby Catalinas Islands feature some of the best snorkeling and scuba diving in the country. Here you can find giant manta rays, reef sharks, angel fish, schools of jack, and sea turtles.
  • Explore Flamingo Marina. The new marina has shops, restaurants, and cafes to explore, not to mention some great spots for photo ops! I had a field day collecting fabulous photos for my Insta.
  • Head to nearby beaches. The beautiful beach of Conchal and the quaint fishing village of Brasilito Beach are a short 10-minute trip from Playa Flamingo. Conchal was recently named the most beautiful beach in the world, while Brasilito gives you a chance to visit an authentic Costa Rican beach town.

Tip: We recommend Gonzalez Sport Fishing Charters and Dream On Sport Fishing for charters. Both can pick up right in Flamingo! Be sure to mention Let’s Travel Costa Rica when booking!

Playa Flamingo Costa Rica Hotels

Many of the hotels and accommodations in Playa Flamingo Costa Rica are upscale, taking advantage of the beautiful view of the beach. There are a few more moderately priced hotels as well.

  • Margaritaville Beach Resort Playa Flamingo is located right on the beach. They have on-site restaurants, three swimming pools, a swim-up bar, tennis courts, and a spa. This all-inclusive (optional) resort makes for an easy vacation with everything you need within walking distance. Prices range from $200 to $600 per night for two adults.
  • 360 Splendor Del Pacifico Residences has 360-degree views of the beach and surrounding mountains from their rooftop terrace, which sits at the highest point of Flamingo. This luxury accommodation offers guests a saltwater infinity pool, shuttle services, and fully equipped one to three bedroom condos. Expect to pay between $200 and $1,000 per night for two adults.
  • Casas del Toro Playa Flamingo is found only 800 meters from the beach and offers mid-range prices starting at about $130 per night for a standard room. They also offer two-bedroom villas. There is a pool, barbecue area, and lovely gardens.
  • Hotel Guanacaste Lodge offers individual cabins for guests and is great for couples looking for a bit of privacy. This is also a more affordable option starting at $100 a night. These accommodations include a pool and a free breakfast. This property is only 300 meters from Flamingo Beach and has gardens and a sun terrace.
meal at a restaurant in Playa Flamingo, Costa Rica
Photo credit: Jennifer LaCharite

Playa Flamingo Costa Rica Restaurants

  • Coco Loco is located right on the beach and is a must-visit if you come to Playa Flamingo. Try their signature Coco Loco drink served in a coconut while you slip off your flip-flops, put your feet in the sand, and gaze out to the sea. My favorite dish is the yellowfin tuna tacos or the fresh parrot fish ceviche. 
  • Marina Flamingo has a few restaurants and cafes including Café Britt, featuring the infamous Britt coffee of Costa Rica. There is an upscale seafood and steak house open for evening dining called Hazel’s and an ice cream shop called Cremrica. A brand new restaurant called Matia’s serves up a tasty ceviche with a bit of a spicy kick which you can eat for lunch while overlooking the marina.
  • Angelina’s offers fine dining and artisan pizza on the second floor of Plaza Playa Flamingo. This large restaurant has regular live entertainment and has erupted into an impromptu dance party on more than one occasion I have visited. No matter what you eat you are sure to feel welcome and have a good time when you come here.
  • Surf Box is a great spot for breakfast or lunch located on the main road by Banco Nacional. They serve up American-style food such as pancakes, waffles, bagels, milkshakes, and hamburgers.  
  • A’lo Nico is another great lunch spot located along the main road. They serve fresh juices, smoothies, burritos, burgers, sandwiches, and a traditional Costa Rican breakfast. I can’t say I’ve tried much on the menu because I keep going back for the creamy chicken sandwich!

Things To Know Before You Visit Playa Flamingo

Thanks to a large mangrove, Playa Flamingo is not set up like most Costa Rican beach towns. It does not have a true town center around a soccer field, church, or park. The beach is backed by the mangrove, which is protected from development. Each end of the beach is built up with condos, hotels, restaurants, and shops. The main road is inland along Route 180, which is where you will find more shops, grocery stores, apartments, banks, and more restaurants.

Jennifer at Flamingo Marina
Photo credit: Jennifer LaCharite

Flamingo Beach Costa Rica Weather

Just like the rest of the coastal towns along Costa Rica’s northwest, the temperature at Flamingo Beach is hot all year. During the rainy months of June to December, the lowest temperature in Flamingo is roughly 24 degrees Celsius (75 F). During the hottest and driest months from January to May, the daily high hovers around 33 C (91 F).

With monsoon-style rains during the rainiest months of the year in September and October, the rains during the green season are usually short-lived and tend to take place at night or for a short time in the mornings. With these exceptions, the heat of the day quickly dries up the rain during most of the green season.

Other Nearby Beach Towns

  • Portero. North of Flamingo you will find the beach town of Potrero. This is a popular place amongst expats and has many restaurants, a sailing center, and a brewery.
  • Tamarindo. South of Flamingo is the popular surf town of Tamarindo which is known for its nightlife and for being the top place to learn how to surf.
  • Conchal. Playa Conchal was recently named “most beautiful beach in the world”. Spend a few hours here and decide for yourself!
  • Brasilito. Brasilito is a small beach town with an authentic feel. It is the perfect town to enjoy the Pura Vida lifestyle without breaking the bank.

Day Trips from Playa Flamingo Guanacaste

If you plan to spend some real time in Playa Flamingo you may want to venture out and see what else the area has to offer.

  • Take a surf lesson. Head to nearby Tamarindo to take a surfing lesson where the sand is soft and the waves are mellow. This is why Tamarindo Beach is one of the top places to learn how to surf in the world! There is a group or private surf lesson available every day of the week. The cost is around $50 for two hours and they will supply a rash guard and surfboard. Most surf schools will provide transportation from Flamingo if needed. Finish off your day with dinner at one of many restaurant choices, watch the sunset, and enjoy a little of Tamarindo’s nightlife scene.
  • Waterfall tour. One of the most beautiful waterfalls in Costa Rica is Rio Celeste. While you can’t swim in its surreal blue water, it is certainly a sight to behold. If swimming in a waterfall is on your list, however, the most stunning and swimmable waterfall in Guanacaste is less than two hours away from Flamingo Beach – Llanos de Cortez Waterfall. Make a day of it and see both waterfalls and visit a sloth sanctuary on this waterfall tour.
  • Visit an active volcano. Rincon de la Vieja is the largest and most active volcano in Guanacaste. During your hike, you will see bubbling mud pools and fumaroles before taking a refreshing dip in the Oropendola Waterfall. The volcanic mud bath and soak in the natural hot springs will make you feel like you are totally immersed in nature.
  • Bird watching. Palo Verde National Park is a bird watcher’s paradise. It’s home to over 200 types of birds, both migratory and endemic. You will see toucans, scarlet macaws, wood storks, and egrets, along with white face monkeys, lizards, and crocodiles during a safari tour along the Tempisque River. This tour is just over an hour’s drive from Playa Flamingo.
A photo of Playa Flamingo, Costa Rica
Photo Credit: Jennifer LaCharite

Is Playa Flamingo Costa Rica Worth Visiting?

Playa Flamingo is a beautiful white sand beach that has earned the coveted Bandera Azul (Blue Flag) recognition for its cleanliness and commitment to sustainability. This respect for the environment makes it a pleasant place to visit. Its luxury accommodations and upscale marina means it attracts affluent tourists and residents which means there are countless amenities to cater to that crowd. You can find anything from high-quality medical and beauty clinics to supplies for your yacht.

Playa Flamingo Costa Rica is a great place to visit whether you want to indulge in the luxury of the area or its stunning natural beauty.

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