Playa Flamingo Area Guide

The white sand beaches of Playa Flamingo, Costa Rica makes this coastal community a natural paradise for those seeking fun in the sun. Let Tropical Homes help you plan the perfect trip.

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About the Area

Whether you’re looking for relaxation or excitement during your vacation in Costa Rica, Playa Flamingo and Playa Potrero have everything you’re looking for. With a natural harbor, heaps of activities, and the tranquility of the surrounding mountains and lush greenery, your dream vacation awaits.

A great place for families, groups of friends, honeymooners and solo travelers, you’ll always feel like you’ve come to the right place. Rent a beach house and spend your days combing the white sand beaches, or embark on a sunset sail with your newly-wed partner in a high seas adventure. The area is also a destination wedding dream-come-true. With tranquil turquoise waters and the stunning mountainviews as your backdrop, Playa Flamingo is a unique location for first-look photos and saying “I do” in style.

If you’re looking for activities while visiting, we’ve got you covered. Thrill-seekers can spend their days in nearby towns surfing, sport fishing, mountain-biking, zip-lining and cruising by on ATVs.  Relaxation gurus can book a massage, enjoy the many restaurants, take a dip in the clear blue sea or read in peace beneath a beach umbrella. Even a diverse group or family can find everything on the vacation wish-list here in our beautiful home.

Getting Here - Costa Rica

More about Playa Flamingo

Family Vacation / Other Target Demographics

The white sandy shores of Playa Flamingo are beckoning, and with so much to see and do in the area, you’ll find yourself coming back year after year to relax and enjoy the “pura vida” lifestyle. With new flights regularly added into Liberia’s airport, visiting the Gold Coast of Costa Rica has never been easier and more convenient. From low-key days of lounging at the beach or pool side to high energy activities like ziplining and horseback riding, we have plenty of things to do for people of all ages.

Fancy a week of romance? Perhaps even a destination wedding or a blissful tropical honeymoon is what you’re looking for? Pamper yourselves with a massage. Sip frozen cocktails as you watch the sun sink below the horizon. Indulge your taste buds at one of our many local restaurants or hire a private chef to whip up culinary delights in your vacation home.

Playa Flamingo is also a wonderful place for a family vacation. With a wide variety of activities for everyone from little kids to grandma and grandpa (and everyone in between), your visit here will be the talk of holidays and family get-togethers for years to come. Take a scenic boat tour down the Tempisque River into Palo Verde National Park to see monkeys, scarlet macaws and crocodiles. Spend the day relaxing poolside at the Sailing Center or renting out stand-up paddle boards and kayaks.

No matter how you choose to spend your time in the area, you’ll have the time of your life here in Playa Flamingo.

Things to Do in Playa Flamingo

Sunset Sailing Catamaran

To fully experience a Costa Rican vacation, you’ll want to book one of the full- or half-day cruises that leave out of Playa Flamingo and Tamarindo for a perfectly-timed sunset sail. These cruises sail out for at least 30 minutes, and when the sun begins to set, you’ll be sailing on a sea of jewels, with the pristine shoreline of Costa Rica in sight.


Spend the whole day on the cruise, checking out hard-to-reach beaches and secret snorkeling spots, or take it easy on the shore until an afternoon departure. Whichever you choose, a sturdy catamaran will sail you to the perfect location for basking in the glow of a breath-taking Costa Rican sunset.

Additional Info:

Duration: half to full day
Transport: available, but needs to be arranged
Best time to go: PM, sunset

Ziplining

For the thrill-seekers, ziplining is a treasured pastime and a must as part of your trip to Costa Rica, where we’ve been flying through the jungle since the 70s. Feel the breeze in your britches and race a macaw through the canopy as the greenery spreads out beneath you. Use your time gearing up on the platforms to witness nature in its purest state, with sloths, monkeys, and dozens of brilliantly-colored birds playing audience to your adventure.


This activity is not for those afraid of heights, but if you’re 48 inches or taller, your adrenaline rush awaits. You can find plenty of ziplining opportunities near your beach house in Playa Flamingo.

Additional Info:

Duration: half day
Transport: available, but needs to be arranged
Best time to go: AM

ATV

Why explore Costa Rica by foot when you can see more and have a ton of fun on an ATV? Most ATV tours are great for beginners, and the trained and certified tour guides take plenty of stops in the jungle for you to dip your feet in streams and examine exotic species of flora and fauna.


Rev your way to a swim by shimmering waterfalls, or stop for lunch on an otherwise inaccessible hidden beach. Start your journey in Playa Flamingo, and get ready for the muddiest, wildest, and most memorable adventure of a lifetime.

Additional Info:

Duration: half day
Transport: available, but needs to be arranged
Best time to go: AM or sunset

Palo Verde

For wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers, Palo Verde is the perfect destination for a day trip from Playa Flamingo. Only a 60-90 minute drive from your vacation rental, and with tropical birds putting on daily ad-lib air shows, Palo Verde National Park is a great place to take the family, a buddy, or just your trusty camera.


Spot some of the most beautiful birds we have, along with crocodiles, jaguarundis, coatis, monkeys, and armadillos from your vehicle, or join a boat tour and let the professionals take the lead. You can go by car or join a bus tour, but you’ll be sure to spot some species you won’t see from your beach house!

Additional Info:

Duration: full day
Transport: recommended, but needs to be arranged
Best time to go: early AM

White Water Rafting

If you’ve got at least one other person (aged 13 and up) to take along for this joy ride, then white water rafting in the Costa Rica’s Tenorio River is waiting for you. The tour begins with a pick-up from Playa Flamingo (or for the full adventure, drive yourself), with a scenic drive to the Tenorio Volcano and River, and before you know it, you’ll be zipping down 15 miles of this stunning river.


Plunge down waterfalls, feel the breeze cooling your face in the warm sun, and let the splashes of the rapids sizzle on your adrenaline-soaked skin. You’ll take a break on the riverbank to have a refreshing lunch and enjoy the scenery from shore, and then it’s another few miles to the end of this must-do activity.

Additional Info:

Duration: full day
Transport: available, but needs to be arranged
Best time to go: early AM

Diving/Snorkeling

Accessible all year, SCUBA in the Catalina Islands is some of the best diving in Costa Rica. You can catch a boat from Playa Flamingo, and you’ll be under the waves, spotting the Pacific Giant Mantas that live around the islands, along with plenty of other aquatic wildlife. Eels, schools of fish, and even sharks like to frequent the area.


If you’re not keen on diving but still want to see all that’s hidden beneath the surface, a snorkeling trip is a great choice, and the guides in the area can pinpoint the perfect places to see all kinds of sea life. Pair it with a sunset sail, and you’ll have a day filled with eye candy.

Additional Info:

Duration: half day
Transport: available, but needs to be arranged
Best time to go: AM

Must present dive certification prior to boarding the boat

Massage

If you’re in Costa Rica and ready to sit back, relax, and let the slower, pura vida lifestyle recuperate your mind and body, then a massage is exactly what you need. The professional massage therapists can come right to you, so you won’t even have to leave the comfort of your beach house. Hot Stone or Deep Tissue massages make great recovery from all your adventures in and around Playa Flamingo. Have a massage, then sip a home-made piña colada while you have a pedicure, or let the professionals exfoliate and rejuvenate your skin. 

Additional Info:

Duration: 60 minutes +
Transport: massage therapists can be scheduled to come to your rental home.

Fishing

If you’re coming to Costa Rica to fish, then Playa Flamingo is the place for you. From May to October, the coastline is teeming with all kinds of fish, including waves of bait fish swimming right up to shore. You can reach mahi and tuna on just a half-day charter, and full-day charters will get you to bigger catches, like wahoo, tuna, marlin and even sailfish.


From November to April, your trip will involve a little more travel to reach the good fishing spots, but hey, you’re on a boat–enjoy it! Best of all, you can bring your catch to many of the local restaurants or hire a private chef to prepare one of the best meals you’ll have here.

Additional Info:

Duration: half to full day
Transport: available, but needs to be arranged
Best time to go: early AM

Surfing/SUP

From your vacation rental in Playa Flamingo, surfing and surf SUP are just a quick trip down the road to the beaches of Playa Grande and Tamarindo, where surf shops have plenty of boards for you to rent. If you’re new to surfing and looking to give it a try, let one of the seasoned professionals guide you with lessons before you try your luck on the year-round swells.


If you’re not quite ready for the thrill of riding the waves, you can try your hand at flatwater SUP right outside of your beach house in Playa Flamingo. SUP is a challenging, full-body workout- perfect for keeping your beach-bod in shape while on vacation.

Additional Info:

Duration: 90 minutes – all day
Transport: available, but needs to be arranged
Best time to go: check with the local surf shop/guides for tides and swell conditions.

Mountain Biking

For a day among the gorgeous mountains of Playa Danta, all you need is a quick trip from your rental in Playa Flamingo, some energy, and a readiness to be wowed by the scenery and the views. There is a fully-stocked bike outfitter in Playa Danta that provides everything you need – including experienced and patient guides – or you can bring your own gear and explore on your own.


Though a solo adventure can be thrilling, the professional guides will show you hard-to-spot flowers, or name the colorful bird that sweeps through the path. From the vantage point of the mountains, you can even see schools of fish in the sea below, and a refreshing dip in the ocean is a perfect end to your biking adventure.

Additional Info:

Duration: half to full day
Transport: available, but needs to be arranged
Best time to go: AM

Day Pass to Sailing Center

For all kinds of watersports, the Costa Rica Sailing Center is conveniently located in Potrero Bay, just minutes from Playa Potrero and Playa Flamingo. This is a great place to bring a group or a family, and the Center offers rentals and lessons. Learn basic sailing, or for the already sea-worthy captains out there, rent a boat for the day, or, if you’re brave, embark on a three-hour tour (a three…hour….tour!) for up to six people. If you’re around for the summer, enroll your kids in a sailing camp or the ever popular Water Groms, where kids get to swim, snorkel, sail, kayak, and boogie board under expert supervision. Whatever water activities you’re looking for on your Costa Rica vacation, Costa Rica Sailing Center has all the equipment and know-how for the things you want to do.

Additional Info:

Duration: as long as you like
Transport: available, but needs to be arranged
Best time to go: any time!

Skydive Costa Rica

Skydive Costa Rica brings the ultimate thrill to Guanacaste! After a 20-minute scenic plane ride, you’ll exit the plane at 10,000 feet and free fall at 120 mph. The parachute will deploy, and then you’ll soar through the skies, getting a spectacular bird’s eye view of the oceans, mountains and jungle. Finally, you’ll land on a soft, wide beach. The entire experience should take between two to three hours, and originates and ends at Tikis in Brasilito. Skydive Costa Rica is a Foreign USPA affiliate and the winter home of Skydive Indianapolis, a USPA drop zone with one of the best safety records in the US. All of our tandem instructors are USPA-rated and highly experienced, with at least 1,000 tandem skydives each. Come jump with us!

Hatha Yoga

Hatha Yoga Schedule

Bahia del Sol Beachfront Hotel

Tues/Wed/Thurs/Sat

All Classes start at 8:30am

Mat/Blocks provided

Drop in $10

Local Places to Stay

Casa Symbiotica | Playa Flamingo

  • 4 Bedrooms
  • |3.5 Baths
  • |14 Sleeps

Casa Vista Magnifica | Playa Potrero

  • 5 Bedrooms
  • |5 Baths
  • |10 Sleeps

Casa El Paraiso

  • 4 Bedrooms
  • |3.5 Baths
  • |8 Sleeps

Casa Bella Catalina

  • 5 Bedrooms
  • |4 Baths
  • |10 Sleeps

Restaurants in Playa Flamingo

Coco Loco

Right on Flamingo beach, dining with the sand between your toes doesn’t get much better. Casually cool and relaxed, Coco Loco offers unrivaled sunset views sure to delight. The chef is French, trained by the best and it shows. The menu puts to good use the freshest of local ingredients- the coconut seafood curry is served quite boldly, in a coconut, and all but dares you not to find it divine.

La Cuchara Verde

La Cuchara Verde is a welcome addition to the list of Flamingo area eateries. Vegans and Vegetarians are catered towards here, but there is something to satisfy the taste-buds of most hungry travelers. Their food is all organic- their quiche of the day with salad won’t disappoint. Verging on the alternative side, they sell Kombucha in various flavors, as well as organic coconut oil, homemade yogurts and various super-food staples such as chia and quinoa.

  • Open: 9:00am to 4:00pm daily. Closed Sundays.
  • Price range: low to moderate
  • Payment accepted: cash and credit cards
  • Location: Just up the steep road beside Economy Car Rental, Flamingo. Next door to Super Automarket Flamingo. If you are coming from Brasilito area, find the Mariner Inn, take your next right and it’s 30 meters up the road on the right.
  • Contact info (506) 2573-0096

Tiki’s Seaside Grille

Just across from the beach in Brasilito, Tiki’s Seaside Grille has a great mix of the comforts of home and a wide selection of Central/South American dishes, as well as pasta and sushi. Nice spot for sunset- beach is across the road. Well-stocked bar with delicious cocktails and smoothies.

  • Open: Daily
  • Price range: Moderate
  • Payment accepted: Credit card, cash.
  • Location: Coming from Huacas direction, 100m after the Brasilito beach, on the right hand corner opposite the beach as you make the sharp right turn towards Flamingo.
  • Contact info: (506) 2654-9028

Marie’s Restaurant

Chicken sandwiches, fish tacos, margaritas tend to be the biggest hits here at the best price. Maries serves Mexican, American, Central American fare and the menu is diverse, with something for everyone. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner most days.

Mariner Inn

With typical bar food, mexican food, local Costa Rican cuisine, The Mariner Inn is a decent spot for a burger, chicken fajitas or a delicious breakfast. Cold beers, and sports on the TVs with terrace, open air tables- OK for a relaxed, casual meal for those not in a hurry to be anywhere.

  • Open: until late
  • Price range: moderate
  • Payment accepted: cash and credit cards
  • Location: If you are coming from Brasilito area, pass by CPI spanish school, go over the bridge and find the Mariner Inn straight ahead.
  • Contact info: (506) 2654-4081

Angelina’s

Owner and Executive Chef Joseph Mucaria and his brother dive for fresh fish each day, serving it up in globally-inspired locally-sourced dishes like spicy calamari paired with grilled baby octopus. The oven-fired pizzas and baked mariscada will leave you full and happy, and the Crème Brule is a guest favorite and a perfect finishing touch. With everything from gluten-free to vegetarian, there’s something for everyone at Angelina’s.

  • Open: Daily from 4:00pm to 10:00pm
  • Price range: moderate to high ($8-$35)
  • Payment accepted: cash, Visa and Mastercard accepted
  • Location: Angelina’s is located on the second floor of Centro Commercial shopping center in Playa Flamingo.
  • Contact info: (506) 2654-4839

Restaurante Pleamar

Serving up authentic Costa Rican cuisine, this ocean-front restaurant is the perfect place for a tasty lunch or an incredible sunset dinner. With local favorites such as rice and beans, ceviche and casados, you’ll get a great taste of Guanacaste’s traditional fares, or bring in your own catch of the day and they’ll cook it to perfection for you. If you didn’t have much luck in your fishing ventures, the whole grilled red snapper is a guest favorite, and the constant ocean breeze paired with your favorite drink will make this place unforgettable.

  • Open: Daily, 11:15am to 9:30pm
  • Price range: low
  • Payment accepted: cash
  • Location: You can find Restaurante Pleamar on the cross roads of Potrero and Flamingo Beach, at Banco Nacional Playa Flamingo 100mtrs Oeste, Playa Flamingo 506.
  • Contact info: (506) 2654-4521

Estero Azul

Restaurant Estero Azul is located near Flamingo on your way to Potrero, and it’s well worth finding. Serving up authentic Tico food every day, you’ll find such favorites as ceviche and grilled mahi mahi, either lightly breaded or served in lemon butter sauce. Many seafood dishes are available, but the staff is highly accommodating to vegans and vegetarians as well.

  • Open: Daily for breakfast until late
  • Price range: low
  • Payment accepted: cash
  • Location: Follow the road to Potrero out of Flamingo. As you come upon a sharp turn where the road leaves the beach, turn onto the beach instead. Walk about 100 meters and you’ll see a place called “Plaemar.” Turn onto the alley next to it and follow the lane to the right. You’ll find us at the end of the road!
  • Contact info: (506) 2654-4607

Limonada At Las Catalinas

Set on the beach at Playa Danta- a destination in itself, Limonada offers an extensive menu made with fresh local ingredients. The seating is comfortable, and diverse- choose from feet-in-the-sand comfort, terrace dining by the bar or head upstairs for a more peaceful spot to relax. Kid-friendly, dog-friendly. The ceviche options are delicious, the burgers are beefy and huge, the mussels in chipotle cream sauce are to-die-for.

  • Open: 7 days 7:00am to 8:00pm.
  • Price range: moderate to high
  • Payment accepted: cash, credit cards
  • Location: on the beach at Playa Danta, Las Catalinas.
  • Contact info: (506) 2654-6150 limonada@lascatalinascr.com

The Beach House

A cute little restored beach house, making you feel like you are on the water in Florida- The Beach House is a great spot to relax and enjoy the view. Sunset is special here, where you can watch the sailboats return to shore while sipping a fabulous cocktail or ice cold beer. Fresh local seafood and classic American foods make up a tantalizing menu to please everyone. The Tuna Tartare is sensational and the desserts too.

  • Open: 7 days 11:00am to 9:00pm Saturday and Sunday open for breakfast 9:00am.
  • Price range: moderate
  • Payment accepted: cash, credit cards
  • Location: as you head north towards Potrero from Flamingo, located on your left, 50 meters past where the boat launch is. Approximately 1km north from Banco Nacional Flamingo.
  • Contact info: (506) 2654-6203

Las Brisas

On the beach, at Playa Potrero, this is a real local’s spot. Fresh seafood, good local typical food, great for those wanting an authentic experience. Cheap beer, a full bar with cocktails and smoothies, this is a good spot to get away from the touristy zones. A party spot on Wednesday nights for their famous ‘Ladies Night Beach Party’.

  • Open: Lunch and dinner
  • Price range: low
  • Payment accepted: cash
  • Location: right on the beach at Playa Potrero. As you pass by the soccer field, take a sharp left toward the beach and you will find it there on the right.

Marco Polo Pizzeria

Hailed as having authentic thin-crust Italian pizza, made in wood-fired ovens, the Marco Polo Pizzeria is a must stop for pizza lovers. Good for families and large groups as well as couples, the open-air setting is relaxed, casual and welcoming.

  • Open: Dinner from 5:30pm
  • Price range: moderate
  • Payment accepted: cash, credit cards
  • Location: 500 meters east of the plaza Potrero, near Villagio condos.
  • Contact info: (506) 2654-4905

El Castillo

Famous for his cheesecake, Harlan makes El Castillo a must-stop. The Cashew Chicken gives those who appreciate an Asian-style meal a taste of the orient, while the meatball sub provides a dose of good old-fashioned comfort food. Ribs on a Friday night are not-to-miss and the bar is well stocked with every libation one could imagine. Family friendly, relaxed atmosphere with good vibes.

  • Open: 11:00am to 10:00pm daily. Closed Sundays.
  • Price range: moderate
  • Payment accepted: cash, credit cards
  • Location: as you head north towards Potrero from Flamingo, located on your right hand corner, opposite Costa Rica Sailing Club/ Bahia del Sol.
  • Contact info: (506) 2573-4233

La Locanda

La Locanda Pizzeria is known for its generous glasses wine and delicious wood-oven-fired pizzas, either for eat-in or take-out. With Italian appetizers, plenty of pastas, and tasty desserts on the menu, there’s plenty to choose from, including a bacon-wrapped filet mignon with mashed potatoes and veggies if you’re craving a taste of home.

  • Open: Closed Thursday, open Friday-Wednesday from 5:00pm to 10:00pm, OR 11:00am-10:00pm Monday-Saturday (TripAdvisor and Lonely Planet say different things, respectively)
  • Price range: low to moderate ($10-$40)
  • Payment accepted:
  • Location: Located on Route 180 from Brasilito and an easy drive from Flamingo Resort at the Arenas Commercial Center.
  • Contact info: (506) 2654-4085

The Shack

The Shack is a friendly place to have some good local food, hear great live music, and enjoy the sea breezes as the night cools off. With all the best of American and Costa Rican foods, you’ll find something to come back for: bagels, pizza, hummus, and even hot dogs. Try El Gran Vegetariano sandwich, or dive into the “Famoso ‘Fish and Chips’” with locally sourced fish.

  • Open: Tues-Sun., 8:00am to 9:30pm (kitchen only – bar is open late!)
  • Price range: low ($3-$12)
  • Payment accepted: Visa, American Express, Mastercard, cash
  • Location: 2009 Paseo Potrero, in Surfside Potrero, just 2 blocks from the beach.
  • Contact info: (506) 2654-6038

Casa Celeste Pizzeria

Casa Celeste Pizzeria is known for its massive, fresh, hand-tossed pizzas, but this is more than just a pizza shop! Stop in for the appetite-whetting Italian meat and cheese appetizer with fresh bread sticks, or try the seafood spaghetti. Specializing in Italian foods with locally sourced ingredients, you’ll find yourself back here time and again.

  • Open: Dinner from 5:00pm
  • Price range: moderate
  • Payment accepted: Credit cards and cash
  • Location: Contiguo Al Bar la Perla, Carretera a Potrero, Playa Potrero
  • Contact info: (506) 2654-4255

La Perla

You’ll be glad you came to Perla’s. For breakfast, the sticky cinnamon bun is a Perla’s favorite, or go hearty with some hash browns. Try the tuna tacos or mushroom burger for lunch, then come back for Wings Wednesday or a rib dinner with live music, karaoke, and dancing. Some other dinner delights include garlic shrimp, tropical grilled chicken, and of course, big juicy burgers. You’ll come hungry and leave happy after a night of good, simple food, and a great selection of drinks.

  • Open: Monday-Saturday, 6:00am-Midnight
  • Price range: Low to moderate
  • Payment accepted: Cash only
  • Location: Located on the corner of Route 911, beside Conchitas Bar and close by The Shack, with the Flamingo Potrero bus stop right out front!
  • Contact info: (506) 2654-4500

La Sodita Italiana

Wood-fired pizzas and pasta galore – what more could you want in an Italian Sodita? Don’t worry, there’s wine, too! Pair it with one of the hand-tossed pizzas or homemade pastas, and enjoy a taste of Italy here in Brasilito. Try the tiramisu for dessert…you’ll be back again after so much good food!

  • Open: Monday-Saturday, 5:00pm-10:00pm
  • Price range: moderate
  • Payment accepted: Mastercard, Visa, and cash
  • Location: 100 Meters Suroeste Antigua Gasolinera, Brasilito 5001
  • Contact info: (506) 2537-4547

Other beaches to Visit in the area

Playa Grande

Playa Tamarindo

Playa Conchal

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