Free 200+ Page eBook

Top 57 Places to Live & Invest in the Tropics

Quickly find out which country is right for you.
No-hype updates & resource guides. No Spam. Ever.
Limited offer. Instant Download.

Join More than 58,187 people who are breaking free

we value your privacy

Hot Real Estate Offer

Pavones, Costa Rica has been and always will be a haven for surfers from all across the globe.  But this destination, once considered the “end of the road” in Costa Rica, is literally riding a wave of promise in terms of investment potential and expat desirability.

pavones, costa rica


The Casual Appeal of Present-Day Pavones, Costa Rica

Life in Pavones de Golfito encompasses the best of rustic Costa Rica. This tropical beachside paradise on the south Pacific coast serves as the perfect backdrop for peaceful living accompanied by some of the world’s best surfing. Given its remote location in Golfo Dulce-Pavon Bay, close to the border with Panama, surfing aficionados will find a quiet beach community to unplug while surrounded by the nearby Conte Burica rainforest reservation.

Bonus: Check out thousands of Homes for Sale in Costa Rica

Built around a town center of just one square block, this is the perfect surfing town for those seeking a beachside escape. The beaches in Pavones are considered some of the most spectacular beaches in the country with their distinct black shoreline, green ocean water, unusual rock formations, and the lushness of the surrounding jungle vegetation.

With only a handful of local businesses including two small markets, a hardware store, several restaurants, one beachside bar, and three internet cafes, the town offers visitors the opportunity to relax and meditate while absorbing the pura vida lifestyle of tropical Costa Rica. It also offers a wealth of investment opportunities for those interested in the tourism sector.

There’s More to Do There Than Surf

You can’t talk about things to do in Pavones, Costa Rica without starting and ending with surfing.  It is, after all, the home of the second largest left break in the world, which forms a legendary wave that spans approximately two kilometers and allow surfers to ride for 2 to 3 minutes.

These astonishing swells attract surfers from around the world in March and April when surfing conditions are at their prime. Due to the size of the waves, however, this is not a recommended surfing site for beginners. For easier and less crowded options, surfers can also take their boards south of Pavones to Punta Banco or Punta Burica.

Other hobbies enjoyed by Pavones residents and expats include stand-up paddle boarding, kite surfing, as well as whale and dolphin watching.  You can take a horseback ride to the Indian reservation “La Hierba” or nearby Langostino Beach or go snorkeling in the Rio Coto.  Yoga is also a popular pastime with several yoga centers and retreat centers in town.

The slow growth in Pavones has most certainly, at least in part, been the result of the difficulties in accessing this beachside retreat.  But access to Pavones continues to improve. It’s a rather long (seven hours) drive from San Jose on mostly unpaved roads.  However, the area is seeing more and more pavement to help bridge that gap as the years go by.

A much faster option is to take the one-hour flight to Golfito from San Jose, followed by a two-hour bus or tax ride on to Pavones.  Such transportation is frequent and relatively affordable, making accessing Pavones from the rest of the country easier than ever.  It’s also more connected in terms of technology with high speed internet now available in most areas.

pavones, costa rica

J. Wolfe

The Landscape of Pavones, Costa Rica

While the road to Pavones may be long, it certainly isn’t lacking in natural beauty.  The roads are lined with tropical flora such as lilies, hibiscus, and birds of paradise.  These are set into a dense backdrop of tropical greenery which contrasts nicely with the town’s dark gray sand beaches.

During low tide, the receding waters uncover piles of rocks and shells that are great for climbing and exploring. Pavones is also a great place to see a number of species of birds, such as parrots, toucans, and scarlet macaws. Wild horses and turkeys (pavos) also abound in the area.

Pavones is a great destination year-round.  But its appeal is definitely different during each of the two main seasons. As the weather in Pavones makes it a bit two-sided. The peak of high season for the town is in March and April when the surfing is at its best.  These fall during the dry, sunny season (roughly December to April) where hardly a drop of rain may fall.

By contrast, the months of May through November are cooler with more rainfall, starting with the occasional afternoon shower and becoming what can turn into days or even weeks of constant downpours as the season progresses.

As a result, Pavones is perfect for the active, beach-loving expat for most of the year.  During the months of heavy rain, it’s a great place to relax, recharge, and connect with nature.

Pavones, Costa Rica

A. Roberts

The Future of Pavones, Costa Rica Real Estate

After decades of buzz from only surfing aficionados and tourists, signs are pointing to a renewed interest in Pavones real estate.  Within recent years, several large tracts of land have been purchased by investors and developers, which is a great indication of things to come.

Already a number of modern homes have been constructed.  Hotels have undergone renovations and upgrades.  As a result, their occupancy has increased.  And it’s generally true that when more and more visitors begin to frequent a destination, undoubtedly a growing number of them will decide to stay.

As a result of the renewed interest in Pavones, it has the potential to be a rather profitable venture for those wishing to live or invest in the area. While land prices are relatively low, savvy buyers can still score a great deal on prime real estate that they could later sell to a developer or develop themselves.

It’s also a great opportunity to buy tropical real estate to build your dream home in a few years from now, once the influx of tourists and residents to Pavones has resulted in even more improved infrastructure and amenities.

pavones, costa rica


The Wave Will Always Be There

One thing that’s true of Pavones, Costa Rica is that, while the attractions of other hotspots may ebb and flow in their popularity, the world-class surfing is here to stay.  No matter how fast or slow development moves along in Pavones, the wave that first attracted people to the area will continue to do so for years to come.

Map of Pavones, Costa Rica

Pavones, Costa Rica Fast Facts

  • Population: About 2,500 in the area
  • Typical temperature: 89 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Nearest airport with U.S. flights: San Jose, Costa Rica
  • Nearest U.S. consulate: San Jose, Costa Rica

Costa Rica has enchanted yogis for years with its natural beauty and peaceful serenity. In fact, many came and decided to establish professional yoga centers to bring world-class yoga to the secluded beach towns. It’s no wonder that today Costa Rica is home to some of the best yoga centers in the world offering inspiring, often life-changing retreats.

With a plethora of yoga centers in the country, how does one choose the best place in Costa Rica for a retreat? We’ve compiled a list of the most professional studios in some of the most peaceful, beautiful places in the country.


lululemon athletica


Nosara is undoubtedly the town that put Costa Rica on the map for yoga and wellness tourism. In fact the Nicoya Peninsula, where Nosara lies, is one of five places in the world considered a Blue Zone. Blue Zones are areas where people tend to live longer, past 100, more than anywhere else in the world. The town of Nosara is quiet and tranquil with a solid expat community, great surf, and stunningly beautiful sunsets. As the most popular place to practice yoga in Costa Rica, it hosts many yoga retreats throughout the year from a variety of centers. The two most reputable are Nosara Yoga Institute and Blue Spirit.

Nosara Yoga Institute

As one of the first yoga studios in Costa Rica, Nosara Yoga Institute paved the way for the many yoga centers throughout the country. High on a hill in the woods on the outskirts of Playa Guiones it is a very peaceful place to practice. The Nosara Yoga Institute is widely known for its exceptional yoga teacher trainings, which offer an interdisciplinary approach far beyond asana. They strive to deepen students’ inner voice and awareness and emphasize non-judgment and non-authority in their teaching to allow all students to explore their individual yogic path.

Those looking for non-teacher accredited retreats can find them at Nosara Yoga Institute, but they are offered by teachers from other institutions. The instruction and experience is consistently high quality.


Viva El Momento

Blue Spirit

Started by the same holistic physician who founded the Omega Institue in Rhinebeck, NY, Blue Spirit is one of the most famous places in the country to study yoga. The center overlooks the ocean on a long white sand beach that is a protected turtle refuge and has a lovely koi pond and salt water infinity pool. Yoga teacher trainings are done through the globally respected Yoga Works association which combines East and West philosophy in its curriculum.

They also host many retreats throughout the year covering a wide variety of topics and style including Yin and Vinyasa. The retreats are led by reputable instructors from all over the world. Teacher trainings and retreats include accommodation and three delicious vegetarian meals.

The Osa Peninsula

Those who have had the pleasure of visiting the wild Osa Peninsula understand why National Geographic called it the most biologically intense place on Earth. You immediately feel transported to another world, a world before modern development, when you enter the rainforest jungle of the Osa Peninsula. Scarlet macaws squawk over your head, monkeys swing from trees, and if you’re lucky you might see a jaguar or a tapir. Completely removed from the rest of the world, you can really disconnect from the modern world and connect deeper with yourself.

Blue Osa

With an onsite eco-resort, restaurant, and yoga studio, Blue Osa is a luxurious all-inclusive retreat center in the remote Osa Peninsula. They strive to run a completely sustainable facility with recycled waste and water, organic produce that comes directly from their own garden, environmentally friendly landscaping, and a completely self-sustaining micro grid for all of their power and sewage. In fact their center that comfortably accommodates 30 guests and 20 staff members uses the same amount of energy as a typical four-person home in the U.S.

They host teacher trainings as well as week-long retreats offering anything from shamanic journeys to life coaching in conjunction with incredible yoga offered by teachers and healers from all over the world. The founder’s intention in creating this center was to create a space that removes people from the distractions of life and awakens their innermost selves.


Mihaela Vorvoreanu


At the very southern Pacific tip of Costa Rica lies the small, authentic surf town of Pavones. The black sand beaches with volcanic rock stretch for miles and the surf is some of the best in the world. In an untouched remote part of Costa Rica, the town of Pavones is teeming with wildlife and offers a unique view of true Costa Rican culture. The town may be small but it hosts one of the top teacher training centers in the country, the Pavones Yoga Center.

Pavones Yoga Center

Built on top of the hill overlooking the Pacific ocean and the town of Pavones, the Pavones Yoga Center is a breathtaking place to practice asana. The founder and lead instructor Indira grew up on the South Pacific of Costa Rica as a child. After studying yoga across the globe she worked as a teacher training instructor at the famous Nosara Yoga Institute before opening her own center in Pavones. The center hosts several teacher trainings a year, from one week to one month, but also hosts retreats. Their surf and yoga retreat held annually combines yoga classes with private surf lessons.

Trainings and retreats include accommodation in their beautiful center along with healthy delicious meals. The onsite spa offers a wide variety of body work as well as body wraps, scrubs, and other skin treatments.

The Yoga Farm

The Yoga Farm offers a highly affordable alternative to typical retreats. It is situated up in the hills overlooking completely deserted beaches in Pavones. The farm is covered in fruit trees and grows much of the produce that the kitchen prepares for guests. With packages starting at $260 per week for daily yoga and vegetarian meals, the Yoga Farm is a great option for those on a budget. They also have a work trade and volunteer program for those who intend to stay long term.

The South Caribbean

A different world from the rest of Costa Rica, the South Caribbean is becoming a yoga destination in its own right. With abundant wildlife, live coral reef, golden sand beaches, sparkling turquoise water, and world-renowned surf, it is an incredibly beautiful place to deepen your yoga practice. Two of the country’s most beautiful national parks sit on the Caribbean: The Cahuita National Park and The Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge. The beaches here are nearly deserted and consistently listed as some of the most beautiful in the world.

Culturally the Caribbean has a diverse mix of indigenous people as well as Afro Caribbean descendants who bring Calypso and Reggae music and spicy coconut-flavored cuisine. There are also plenty of international transplants from all over the world.


The South Caribbean now hosts many yoga studios, but Samasati was the first to open and is one of the only studios offering retreats and teacher trainings. The center is high in the mountains on a secluded property with stunning views of the ocean. Samasati was built with the intention of creating a sustainable retreat center that contributes to the community. The space was built with minimal environmental impact and employs local residents exclusively. They aim to promote an alternative way of life through their practice of asana, serving local organic vegetarian meals, operating with energy efficiency, and giving back to the community.

Retreats offered cover a wide spectrum from yoga teacher trainings to wildlife adventures. Their yoga retreats are offered year round and include meditation, asana, pranayama, and daily shuttle service to the nearby Caribbean beaches of Puerto Viejo. Packages include accommodation and delicious vegetarian meals. They also offer tour packages to explore the wilderness and culture of the region.

Punta Mona

Deep in the Caribbean jungle in the Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge lies Punta Mona, or Monkey Point. Animals run wild, the beaches are deserted and gorgeous, and it’s not unusual to see dolphins swimming offshore. When the sea is calm it makes for incredible snorkeling. Entirely self-sustaining and isolated, the Punta Mona Center for Sustainable Living and Education is so remote it can only be accessed by foot, small boat, or horseback. The center is most famous for its permaculture design courses but it also offers tours for day-trippers as well as retreats and yoga teacher trainings.

Retreats consist of asana practice as well as guided meditations, underwater adventures, jungle explorations, medicinal plant ceremonies, natural mud baths, and many creative hands-on activities like cooking and arts and crafts. Lodging is included at the onside eco-center as well as three organic vegetarian meals a day sourced primarily from their own land. The Punta Mona Center is unique in that it also offers retreats for children of all ages led by Cirque de Soleil veterans. These retreats incorporate yoga, music, and dance and also teach children about permaculture and sustainability.

With hundreds of miles of pristine beach, Costa Rica is home to some of the most incredible beaches in the world. Here is our list of the best beaches in Costa Rica, which are not only some of the most beautiful, but also those with adventurous activities, wildlife, and often complete solitude.

Playa Cocles

Best Beaches in Costa Rica


The jungle beach town of Playa Cocles in the South Caribbean is easily one of the best places to live or visit in all of Costa Rica. The stunning jungle-backed beaches stretch for miles with barreling waves for surfers, incredible wildlife for nature lovers, and deserted patches for those seeking relaxation.

The neighborhood hosts a world class yoga studio, several spas, a Costa Rican chocolate café, and an incredible variety of international restaurants. The Caribbean flavor from nearby Puerto Viejo, a short two miles away, trickles in and it’s not uncommon to hear Reggae or eat coconut curry stew on the road.

Cocles will definitely rank as one of the best beaches in Costa Rica for those desiring true jungle immersion with a strong expat community focused on healthy living and those brave enough to surf the epic waves.

Manuel Antonio

Best Beaches in Costa Rica

Xiao Zhuli

Manuel Antonio may be the most popular beach in all of Costa Rica. It certainly has a reputation for being an American tourist destination, and the many expensive Americanized restaurants reflect that.

However the beautiful beaches in the national park are some of the most stunning in the country and teeming with wildlife. Spotting iguanas, coati, sloths, and all four species of monkeys is likely inside the park and often on the beach. During migration season you can see whales and dolphins offshore. Other outdoor adventures like parasailing, ziplining, and horseback riding are also available.

If you can’t stand the crowds, come during the very beginning or end of the dry season to enjoy sunny days and beautiful sunsets on relatively empty beaches.

Playa Samara

Best Beaches in Costa Rica

Daniel Stanberg

Playa Samara is one of the most beloved beaches in all of Costa Rica. Laid-back hotels and restaurants line the horseshoe bay, yet the shore remains empty, offering solitude and relaxation. The relatively flat sea is perfect for kayaking, fishing, paddleboarding, or learning to surf. Nearby wilderness beaches are perfect for exploration.

The town has an expat presence with sushi bars, Italian restaurants, and Canadian-owned hostels, but maintains its small town authenticity. Fishermen are everywhere selling their fresh catch on the shore. Delicious sodas (Costa Rican cafes) pile plates high with rice and beans and seared seasoned carne.

It is a great place for families, expats looking to invest in a business, vacationers, and backpackers.

Playa Guiones

Best Beaches in Costa Rica

Chris Gold

If you enjoy surfing and yoga, expect to arrive in Playa Guiones and never leave. The town, which is in the Nosara region of the Nicoya Peninsula, sits on a white sand horseshoe bay with excellent waves for beginner, intermediate, and advanced surfers. The many surf schools and board rentals make learning and practicing very accessible.

The Nosara Yoga Institute in Playa Guiones put Costa Rica on the yogi map and now several studios and yoga retreat centers reside in Playa Guiones and nearby beaches.

Beyond yoga and surf, there is plenty to do in Playa Guiones. The town has lovely cafes and restaurants and the expansive beach makes for great walks. Every evening at sunset the town gathers on the shore to watch the epic sunsets.

Nearby Playa Rosada and Punta Pelada are also beautiful and can be walked to from Playa Guiones.


best beaches in costa rica


The intimate beach coves hidden in the wildlife refuge of Manzanillo are some of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica, if not the world. Turquoise water crashes on the golden sand, dramatic cliffs offer stunning views, and the lush jungle filled with animals spans for miles. Take a nature hike, snorkel the reef, or simply relax.

For added adventure, take a tour through the jungle spotting howler monkeys and sloths, hike to the viewpoint for amazing views of the crashing waves and nearby beach coves, then climb into the coral caves where bats seek refuge.

The town is a small distinctly Caribbean fishing village with a few local Caribbean restaurants and cabinas. Popular Puerto Viejo Limon and the many beach towns near it offer options for other restaurants and lodging and are a bike or short bus ride away.


Best Beaches in Costa Rica

Arturo Sotillo

The black sand beaches in Pavones are some of the most dramatic on the Pacific Coast. Glowing frothy green sea kisses the dark shimmering black shore for an incredible contrast. The surrounding wilderness will make you feel like you’ve reached the end of the earth and the sunsets are positively spectacular.

Beyond its beauty, Pavones is famous for its long left point break. Grab a surfboard and ride the wave that put this town on the map. If you’re more of a swimmer, a cool, clear water river runs for miles from the hills down to the beach. Climb to the top and take inner tubes down, jump off the bridge with locals, or simply cool off and explore.

Restaurants and accommodations are inexpensive and locally owned and even with the influx of surfers the town maintains its Costa Rican charm.

Playa Barrigona

Best Beaches in Costa Rica


This beach is so beautiful, even Mel Gibson owns property here. Scenic country roads connect Playa Barrigona with nearby Samara making it an undiscovered but accessible place to visit. The sand is white with a pink hue and at low tide you can climb large stretches of sand dollar-covered rocks. Olive ridley turtles come from all over to lay their eggs on the shore during the rainy season, making it a very special place ecologically as well. The riptides are strong so take care with little ones and do not go out swimming.

San Juanillo

Best Beaches in Costa Rica

Enrique Balsevicius

A short drive from the popular surf beach Playa Guiones in Nosara, is the secret white sand beach of San Juanillo. Fishing boats rock on the turquoise sea and millions of shells wash up on the shore. Explore the massive rocks or float in the clear water. The town itself is quite small and authentically Costa Rican.

Playa Uvita’s “Whale Tale”

Best Beaches in Costa Rica


The area of Uvita is famous for its incredible marine life and frequent whale spottings, but few know about the secret “whale tale” beach. During high tide the shore is completely submerged, but as the tide recedes a beautiful sandy peninsula reveals itself for relaxation and exploration.

Playa Carrillo

Best Beaches in Costa Rica


The peaceful palm tree-lined horseshoe bay of Playa Carillo on the Nicoya Peninsula might be as close to paradise as it gets. The white sand beaches and calm water makes it a perfect beach for relaxation and sunbathing. Boating and fishing are also quite popular due to the calm sea. It is also possible to spot crocodiles in the nearby river. The town has restaurants and accommodations, but travelers will find a larger community in the nearby town of Samara, which is a pleasant hike or a short bus ride away.

Best Beaches in Costa Rica?

The answer really depends on you. Do you have a favorite beach that we’ve missed?