Avoid Crowds At This Secluded Beach With Picturesque Views In Costa Rica

A natural, undeveloped beach is a rarity these days, especially one with soft golden sands, turquoise surf, and plenty of space to stroll or lounge. But that's exactly what you'll find at Playa Mina, Costa Rica. This gem is located in the Guanacaste Province on the country's Pacific side, a couple of hours outside of Liberia. Much beloved by locals, this secluded beach doubles as Playa Zapotillal on Google Maps and the road to get there is unmarked. It's one of those "if you know, you know" types of places.

To add to the secrecy, this hidden beach is only accessible by high-clearance vehicles. But if you can stand the bumpy, five-mile dirt road to get there, what awaits is paradise. Save for a few scattered fishermen here and there, or the occasional ATV tour, you'll likely have the whole beach to yourself. It's no wonder this region of the world is known as a "Blue Zone" by researchers, where people tend to live the longest, happiest lives.

Things to do at Playa Mina

Playa Mina is ideal for sun-loungers who plan to stay awhile. There are no vendors on the beach, so you'll have to bring all your own equipment, including chairs, volleyballs, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, and the like. On clear days, when the water is calm, there's 10 to 15 feet of visibility below the surface, making it a fun spot for snorkeling. It's not uncommon for locals to bring BBQ grills and tents for overnight stays. With so few people, you might even notice some folks going au natural in the sun.

The whole of the Playa Mina takes 15 minutes to walk from end to end. On the right, there's a secret coastal trail that can take you up to Punta Sabana. From there, you'll have sweeping views of Playa Conchal, one of the more popular beaches in town. When you're ready for some R&R, head back to shore and string up a hammock. If you visit after the rainy season (May through November), the tree leaves will be at their lushest, providing ample shade from the midday heat.

Wildlife spotters, you're in luck. Olive Ridley sea turtles love to frequent this area from September to April. To see these beautiful creatures and their eggs up close, book an evening tour with Sloth Tamarindo Tours or Flamingo Adventures. For $59 to $75 per person, a trained guide will take you around Playa Mina and use a non-disruptive light to illuminate the nesting grounds.

What to know before you go

There's a small price to pay for an undisturbed beach, namely that your usual conveniences won't be available, like bathrooms, changing areas, outdoor showers, or clean drinking water. The closest town Matapalo is about 5 miles away, so bring everything you'll need for the day, like food, water, and equipment. Of course, to deter wildlife, take extra care to pack up what you bring in. While the chances of spotting one are low, occasionally the area does see crocodiles after a rainstorm. Plus, you don't want nesting sea turtles to get into your trash.

The only way to get to this beach is in a car with four-wheel drive. There's parking available under the trees near the entrance. Be sure to remove valuables from your car, roll up the windows, and lock the doors to deter petty theft. If there's a lot attendant on site, it's customary to leave them a small tip. For the fewest people, head to Playa Mina on a weekday. The busiest times are weekends and holidays, especially Holy Week around Easter and Christmas through the New Year. Regardless of when you decide to visit, Playa Mina will be worth it. It's got everything you need for a laid back vacation experience in paradise.