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Five Beaches in Guanacaste to Enjoy in Silence: Shady and Virgin Destinations in the Gulf of Papagayo

Discover the essence of the Gulf of Papagayo and the unknown beauties of five virgin beaches. Get to know Huevos, Guacamaya, Guacamayita, Calzón de Pobre, and Penca, the qualities of each spot, and the most exciting moments of a journey that begins the moment you get into your car. You will be surprised to discover the hidden side of such a highly wanted and spectacular destination.

Optimistic by nature, I imagined that getting up early wouldn’t be a problem this time. A four-hour and thirty-minute drive from San José to Guanacaste awaited me, with several stops along the way.

I needed to stop at the supermarket to buy orange juice, bread, and “natilla” (better known as sour cream) On my trips, I can do without many things… but not the “Natilla”.

It’s a ‘sin’ acquired since childhood when I traveled to the beach with my parents. No trip could go without bread and ‘natilla’ for breakfast and, why not, during coffee time as well?

As I grew up, I kept the tradition and to this day, it’s a little pleasure I always consider in my plans whenever I explore Guanacaste.

I checked my suitcase, brushed my teeth, and as usual, I was wrong in my assumption the day before: It was very hard to get up early!

The truth is, the early morning is another ‘necessary sin’ to enjoy a guaranteed pleasure.

Just like bread with sour cream, the road is savored slowly, without pressure. That’s why it’s so necessary to wake up early in Costa Rica.

Avoiding traffic clears the mind and focuses the senses on what matters. The journey offers beautiful landscapes, and the intense green of the trees embraces the road.

I left San José at 4:30 a.m. and arrived at Playa del Coco at 9 a.m. I parked my car and quickly moved to meet the captain of the small boat that would take me to the most incredible beaches of the Gulf of Papagayo.

The tour was scheduled to start at 9:30 a.m. and I couldn’t be late by a minute. Usually, these boat tours visit one or two beaches (the most popular ones), but I wanted to connect with some virgin and unknown spots.

The weather was good and favorable for the captain, who guaranteed me a smooth trip, although perhaps a bit choppy to reach two of the destinations I requested.

I wanted to visit an extensive list of beaches: Huevos, Nacascolito, Guacamaya, Guacamayita, Calzón de Pobre, and Penca.

Calzón de Pobre didn’t disappoint me months ago when I made a trip just to discover this spot with a curious name. However, this time my expectations were much higher.

The boat tour was scheduled to start at 9:30 and end around 3 p.m., as long as the weather and tides allowed. The truth is, I was very lucky from the start.

The boat began its journey to Playa Huevos, the first stop, and the only distractions were the islets I observed along the way and a small Olive Ridley turtle near the surface that I got to see up close.

Before showing you each destination, I know many of you will wonder where the Gulf of Papagayo is located on the map of Costa Rica, so I prepared this image for better orientation:

And yes, it’s time to show you each destination.



It’s the first beach of the tour and a must on any trip through the Gulf of Papagayo. It’s a beautiful destination with white sand and gentle waves. So don’t forget your snorkeling gear.

It’s a perfect spot to dive into the sea and relax for a while. This good-sized beach has another added attraction: on one side, you can find incredible caves that you can cross from side to side when the tide is low.

There are two caves, a small one where you can see the opposite side and the main one, which you walk through to reach the other side of the sea.

But why is it called Playa Huevos? I asked several locals from Guanacaste, and they explained that there are two supposed reasons for its name.

The first is that many years ago, Olive Ridley turtles arrived in large numbers to lay their eggs. The second reason is that on one side of the beach, there is a huge rock that looks like two eggs.

This destination also has good shade to spend the day and enjoy a good book.



The next destination was Playa Guacamaya. It’s a long spot where you can walk from side to side, and it has a completely clean and crystal-clear sea. It’s located in an area known as Bahía Culebra and is mostly deserted throughout the year.

In Guacamaya, the sand is grey, and the waves are very gentle. It has some trees that provide shade and are located on one side of the beach. This place is paradisiacal, although compared to the first beach, I must say they are very different.



Right next to Guacamaya is Guacamayita.

The main difference between the two spots is their size, as the first offers more space for walks.

In Guacamayita, the sand has a light grey tone, and the trees provide shade. The sea is so clean and calm that it becomes a perfect spot for snorkeling.

It’s a small, charming destination where there is little wind most of the year.

Calzón de Pobre


I made the journey by land, but I wanted to experience it by boat. So I asked the captain to take me back to Calzón de Pobre, this time by sea.

It’s a small spot but has everything necessary to relax: white sand, crystal-clear water, gentle waves, and a beautiful landscape surrounded by mountains.

It’s only 20 minutes from El Coco. The name of this beach is due to its peculiar shape, which from above resembles a bikini or ‘calzón.’



Finally, I visited Penca, the neighbor of Calzón de Pobre. They are very similar in many ways.

Both are beaches with white sand and are surrounded by crystal-clear water. What separates one spot from the other are large rocks.

Penca offers a beautiful landscape and is a great spot to spend the day with family.

Penca was the last destination of a magical, enveloping route that felt too short. Perhaps, the most recommended thing is to divide the trip into two days to get the most out of it.


How many beaches are there in the Gulf of Papagayo?

In this area, there are more than 15 beaches, spread throughout the Gulf. However, not all are easily accessible, and after reaching El Coco, you need to book a tour to visit all the destinations.

What is the most beautiful beach in Guanacaste?

This question is perhaps what every tourist asks when traveling to Guanacaste. In this province, there are more than 100 beaches spread across multiple cantons. No one has the absolute answer, but here is a list of beaches that I find extraordinary: Playa Naranjo (in Santa Rosa), Playa Avellanas (in Santa Cruz), Playa Nacascolo (in the Gulf of Papagayo), Playa Blanca (in Papagayo), and Playa Rajada (in La Cruz).

Which beaches are near Liberia?

Near Liberia, there is a very beautiful destination called Cabuyal. It’s a large beach with white sand and available parking. It belongs to an area known as Bahía Culebra. Just be careful with rip currents, as they can sometimes be dangerous for tourists who decide to swim.

How much does a boat tour in the Gulf of Papagayo cost?

The price varies according to the number of beaches you want to visit, the size of the boat, and the number of hours you want to spend at the beach. However, it ranges between $300 and $1,000 and usually includes fruits, water, and a snack.

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