Carrillo Beach

A quiet haven near Samara

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Visiting Playa Carrillo Costa Rica

Guanacaste is known for its spectacular beaches and Playa Carrillo is one of those beaches that tops the list. Carrillo Beach is located on the Nicoya Peninsula just south of Samara Beach. It has great unique beauty and unlike its extroverted neighbor, it doesn’t attract huge hordes of crowds yet. You can take the usual tours like horseback riding, cycling ATV and even a motorbike tour, or you can just enjoy a picnic at this forgotten beauty.


Beach tours and activities

Carillo-Beach-Costa-Rica-SunsetWhile this beach is certainly not developed in the way other ones are, there are interesting and exciting activities to choose from as well as some interesting tours to do. Carrillo is a beautiful beach for swimming, scuba diving and snorkeling, seeing it has little waves or current. There is some quite spectacular coral reef found along this shore. Other sports such as jet skiing, water skiing, sport fishing and kayaking are popular sports to enjoy on Carrillo as well.

A quiet day-trip from Samara

Carrillo Beach SkyIf you are staying at Samara, Carrillo is the perfect, quiet getaway. There are picnic tables set up underneath the palm trees where you can relax and the beach itself is a wide open, crescent beauty. On the weekdays, you can still enjoy a very quiet time at this beach. Especially since it is so big and it is easy to find some time alone. Make sure to avoid the weekends, though. This is when the locals find their way to Playa Carrillo’s shores!

Explore the Nicoya Peninsula

Cabo Blanco Nature ReserveThe Nicoya Peninsula is a real treasure and one you will be happy to explore. As far as beaches go, other than Playa Samara and Playa Carrillo you can also visit Nosara. This dormant little beach town is famous for its surfing beaches as well as world class yoga retreats. Malpais is a little bit further south and one the more remote surfing areas for the advanced surfer.

The Nicoya Peninsula is also one of the Blue Zone areas of the world and so enjoys a lifestyle of beauty, purity and relaxation. Other than that, you can also explore the Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve and the Barra Honda National Park. Be prepared to spot coatis, peccaries, howler monkeys and Capucin monkeys, and many bird species.

Don’t forget about the famous Ostional Wildlife Refuge where you can see the Olive Ridley Turtles nesting and the eggs hatching.


Visit between January and March: Samara will welcome you during any time of the year, but during these months you are guaranteed amazing weather.

Explore other beaches in the area: No one beach is the same and it would be a shame to focus on one beach only. Playa Samara, Playa Garza, Playa Nosara, … Visit as many as you can! If you want to take a long walk along Samara beach, make sure you wear slippers or shoes. Near the town the beach consists of sand but the further you go, the more rocks and uneven ground you will encounter.

Explore the national Parks: You can explore the caves of Barra Honda or spot wildlife in the first nature reserve in the country, Cabo Blanco.

Rent a car: If you want to get the most out of your trip and explore other beaches as well as the Nicoya Peninsula or even the town of Nicoya, you should definitely consider renting a car to make it easier on yourself.

Getting there

Closest International Airport: Daniel Oduber International Airport

sansa airline airplanesPlaya Carrillo is quite close to Nosara so you can take advantage of the Nosara Domestic airport. Nosara Domestic airport is located at about 25 km from Carrillo. The airport only receives charter and domestic flights. Sansa offers daily flights from San Jose as well as Liberia. You can also rent a car from Liberia airport or arrange for private or shared transportation.


Gallo Pinto VegetarianIf you are staying in Playa Carrillo, you won’t have many dining options. You can either enjoy a meal at your hotel or bring a picnic lunch from Samara. In Samara you have many stellar dining options. For a wonderful meal at a beach front location, pay a visit to Sheriff Rustic. Make sure to try the amazing lemon pie! But if you prefer a vegetarian twist on some local and continental dishes, definitely pass by Paraiso Vegetarian Restaurant. This restaurant fully represents the Blue Zone atmosphere: fresh food, a zest for life and an open heart.

Where to stay

GuanamarThere aren’t many hotels to choose from in the area. Hotel Guanamar is one of the best and only hotels at Carillo. It’s perfect for a quiet getaway far away from the bustle of Samara town. You will be transported to a world of exuberant flora and fauna and exotic views. The lovely thatch roof of the bungalows, the garden trails, the attractive swimming pool and the bar/restaurant add to its comfort and natural beauty in a remarkable, tropical setting.

If you would rather visit Carrillo as a day trip and stay in Samara, you have some enchanting options. Hotel Sol Samara’s rustic charm is bound to leave its effect on you. This hotel is suited for families, couples as well as adventure seekers! If you favor a beach front resort, book a room at Hotel Villas Playa Samara. The fully equipped villas will give you some privacy as well as a gorgeous ocean view!

Carrillo Beach - Get Info

Carrillo Beach Map

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Carrillo Beach Vacation Packages

Caribbean Lowlands Birding Tour

Caribbean Lowlands Birding Tour

More than $2000 p.p.

Carrillo Beach Hotels

Nammbu Beachfront Bungalows

Nammbu Beachfront Bungalows

From: $200 - $300
Tapirus Lodge

Tapirus Lodge

From: $125 - $200
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