The magic of Costa Rica is most apparent in how you can find completely different worlds even within a 20 km radius. Just 1 hour South of Tamarindo, you will find the tranquil Playa Junquillal. Tamarindo is well known as one of Costa Rica’s most visited and most densely populated beaches. Playa Junquillal, on the other hand, is one of the most remote and pristine beaches of Guanacaste. It is perfectly possible to find yourself wandering the beach alone for most of the day. Known for its intense waves, Junquillal is a real gem for the passionate surfer. But it is also has environmental value as a nesting beach for the leatherback turtle. However, the real magic of Playa Junquillal lies in how it can make you feel like you are completely alone in paradise. A great day trip! Perhaps even combined with a great activity such as horseback riding or spotting wildlife such as howler monkeys.
Paradise for the solo surfer
Guanacaste has beaches and sea that pleases every type of surfer. Tamarindo is the best beach for the beginner. Playa Grande and Playa Nosara are the beaches you visit when you feel confident but can still use some fun and practice around fellow surfers. Playa Junquillal as well some nearby beaches are for those wanting to step it up a notch. Make sure to visit Playa Negra and Playa Avellanas for the best surfing experience with advanced waves!
Snorkeling at Playa Blanca
A little while north of Playa Junquillal is the hidden cove of Playa Blanca. Unlike its southern neighbor, this beach is perfectly suited for snorkeling along the rocky landscapes. You can even enjoy a swim in the sparkling, turquoise waters and relax in the soft, white sands.
Nesting beach for the Leatherback Turtle
Costa Rica’s Pacific Coastline has several nesting areas for the Leatherback and Olive Riley Sea Turtles. Ostional Wildlife Refuge and Playa Grande are without a doubt the most famous ones. The wildlife refuge can secure you the spotting of hundreds of turtles nesting while Playa Grande is famous for Las Baulas.
But it might surprise you to learn that Playa Junquillal also has some annual visitors. Unlike Ostional and Playa Grande, Junquillal is no conservation area. This means the eggs laid by the gentle giants are vulnerable to poachers. Luckily, the locals are taking action in order to protect these eggs and sometimes even patrol the beach. If you visit during the rainy season (July – November), you might get lucky and see some baby turtles struggling out of the sands at the Hatching Station.
To further your experience of isolation in paradise, you can combine the charming Playa Junquillal with a kayaking tour. Rio Nandamojo has received conservationist attention from US based NGO Watershed. Its mission to restore the waters and lands and educate the locals, has created a certain level of awareness in the communities. Visit this river not just for the tranquility of the waters and the beauty of flora and fauna. But also for the experience of an empowered community striving for sustainability.
Visit between December and May: If you are a surfer, Paya Junquillal is best visited during dry season. During the rainy seasons, the waves can get really rough.
Visit nearby beaches: There are plenty of nearby gems to visit. Playa Negra, Playa Blanca and Playa Avellanas Pass by for snorkeling and surfing. But don’t forget the famous giants like Tamarindo!
Rent a car: Playa Junquillal is pretty remote. The best way to explore this area is with private transportation.
Experience local communities: One of the perks of a remote beach, is the lack of tourist traps. This gives you the opportunity to experience a “real Costa Rica”.
There are many convenient ways to get to Playa Junquillal. From San Jose you can rent a car, take a shuttle or private transfer. Keep in mind that it is about a 4 hour drive. You can also take a domestic flight to Tamarindo. It costs around $70 and takes approximately 30 minutes. From there, you need about another hour by car to get to Playa Junquillal. If you fly into Liberia, you will be able to arrive in about 2 hours by rental car, shuttle or private transfer.
Despite its reputation as a remote paradise, Playa Junquillal has some amazing dining options. Visit Mundo Milo for a varied menu of local and international flavors. Restaurante Lochito’s is a great option for lovers of seafood. Both restaurants offer delicious vegetarian dishes as well.
Where to stay
Located at the nearby Playa Langosta, is the charming Boutique Cala Luna Hotel. Here you can experience the charm and ambiance of Tamarindo, with the added bonus of peace and serenity. Cala Luna also has a large array of activities to offer!
Playa Junquillal - Get Info
Playa Junquillal Map
Playa Junquillal is located just South of Tamarindo. As part of the Guanacaste province, Liberia’s international airport (LIR) is only 1.5 hours away.