Two Of Costa Rica's Best Resorts For A Relaxing Trip With A Secluded Beach

Most beaches in Costa Rica are public, meaning that you can access them whenever you like, depending on their hours. However, there is one lovely private beach in the area that you can only access by boat — that is, if you're not staying at one of two resorts that were built next to each other. This spot sits between the beach towns of Manuel Antonio and Dominical, and it's the perfect place to relax, surf, or go horseback riding. Or you could just observe the local fauna like capuchin monkeys, leatherback turtles (which nest there), frogs, lizards, toucans, and even the Internet's favorite animal, sloths. 

This sandy paradise is Playa Matapalo, and the two all-inclusive neighboring resorts are RIU Guanacaste and RIU Palace Costa Rica (which you can see above). There is even a waterpark accessible from both places. The spot is only about 30 minutes from the Daniel Oduber International Airport — right on Costa Rica's Gold Coast, near the little village of Matapalo. Let's take a look at RIU Guanacaste and RIU Palace Costa Rica, find out what you can do there, and learn about the private beach these resorts share.

RIU Guanacaste and RIU Palace Costa Rica

As we said, you can either take a boat to Playa Matapalo or stay in RIU Guanacaste or RIU Palace Costa Rica. You can see them both in the picture above. (RIU Guanacaste has the red roof.) They both sit a bit back from the beach with huge grounds to roam. At the time of this writing, there was a $122 per person per night deal. You're getting a gym, sauna, Jacuzzi, a freshwater pool, a spa, free Wi-Fi, several pools, and access to the Splash Water World park that the resorts share. It's got a giant slide, a free fall slide, and even a closed slide that takes you right down to the pool. There are themed restaurants and a buffet restaurant, as well as table tennis, beach volleyball, a tennis court, windsurfing, themed parties, and fishing available for guests. 

RIU Palace Costa Rica has many of the same facilities, and both of them were awarded a GOLD certification for the Travelife Sustainability System. The Palace also has themed parties, the shared water park, several restaurants and a buffet (these are all included), a spa, free Wi-Fi, a sauna, a Jacuzzi, a gym, and four pools — including one with a swim-up bar. At the time of this writing, there was a $174 per person per night deal for a Junior suite, but check the website for current pricing for both resorts. 

What to do on Playa Matapalo Beach

The first thing to know if you're looking for the beach is that this is not Cabo Matapalo, which is a different place well known for its surfing. Playa Matapalo is a great place for beginning surfers to try hanging ten for the first time with its relatively small waves. If you want something a little less intense, you can get a horseback riding tour on the beach. There is darker sand than you may be used to here because it's volcanic — and of course, sparkling blue water

Kayaking and paddle boarding are popular here, as is snorkeling, and you can do that through the hotel. You can also book a sunset cruise that leaves from the beach (which is also an additional fee). If you stay at one of the resorts (as opposed to taking a boat in), you'll find quite a number of amenities. Massages are available, as well as jet skis, though you do have to pay extra for those. Lounge chairs are free, and there is a dive shop right outside the hotels. PADI 5 Star Dive and Water Sports Center and ScubaCaribe are on the premises to help you set up scuba and snorkeling trips as well.