- Summary: Pink sand beaches and turquoise sea; ocean adventure sports; championship golf course and luxury accommodations.
- Landscape: Beaches, Tropical Dry Forest
- Attractions: All-Inclusive Resorts, Catalina Islands, Gold Coast Beaches
- Activities: Golfing, Scuba Diving, Snorkeling, Swimming
- Caters to: Couples/Honeymooners, Luxury Travelers
- Quick Facts: 43 miles from Liberia; 8 miles north of Tamarindo ; Sea level ; Hot and dry during the day, cool in the evenings ; 72-95 F
Playa Conchal Snapshot
Named for the millions of crushed seashells that wash upon its shores, Playa Conchal is a shimmering beauty of pink sand and turquoise sea. The idyllic stretch of beach is set in a curved bay overlooking the Catalina Islands, one of the north Pacific’s hottest snorkeling and diving spots. Visitors can purchase local handicrafts, jewelry and sarongs at an open-air market that fronts the beach.read more close
Playa Conchal features one of the country's most eminent all-inclusive resorts, and accommodations are nothing short of opulent. With plenty of things to do, visitors often find little reason to leave the perfectly manicured grounds of their hotel. Pedal boats, kayaks, bicycles, and snorkeling equipment are available to all guests. Tennis courts, swimming pools, gourmet restaurants and a full-service spa can also be found on the premises. Social diversions range from yoga and dance lessons to cooking classes and wine tastings – there's even an on-site discotheque as well as a driving range.
Conchal is also home to the championship, 18-hole Garra de Leon golf course, designed by Robert Trent Jones II. Golfers commonly cross paths with iguanas, howler monkeys and coatimundis as they traverse the immaculate fairways and lush greens. With so many luxurious amenities, it comes as no surprise that a Conchal vacation comes with a hefty price tag. Travelers looking for mid-range accommodations should make their headquarters in the adjacent town of Brasilito, just 1.5 miles north. It is often the destination of choice for budget travelers due to its economical lodging and proximity to Conchal.
A rocky outcropping divides the two bays, and Brasilito can be reached in ten minutes on foot. While its gray sands are not as alluring as Conchal’s, jet skiing, boogie boarding, and swimming are popular activities – along with unforgettable sunset horseback tours. Brasilito is a great place to rent an ATV – the rugged back roads surrounding the area lead to a number of concealed beaches up and down the coast. The town has a few hotels, bars and restaurants as well as an internet cafe, and is very popular among vacationing Costa Ricans on the weekends.
Sample taxi fares to nearby destinations:
Playa Conchal/Brasilito to Huacas: $5
Playa Conchal/Brasilito to Tamarindo: $25
Playa Conchal/Brasilito to Playa Grande: $25
Air: Local carriers Nature Air and SANSA operate daily 45-minute flights to and from Tamarindo, a 20 minute drive from Playa Conchal. Flights depart from Nature Air's airport in Pavas (halfway between San Jose and Alajuela) or from SANSA's in Alajuela, next to the international airport.
Alternatively, visitors can fly into the Daniel Oduber International Airport in Liberia, roughly a two-hour drive from Conchal and Brasilito.
Bus: From San Jose to Brasilito and Conchal:
8:00 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 3:00 p.m.
From Brasilito and Conchal to San Jose:
2:45 a.m., 9:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m.
Cost: $8.25 one-way, 6-hour trip
Tralapa Bus Tel. 2221-7202, 2680-0392
Car: Depending on road conditions and traffic, travel time from San Jose to Conchal and Brasilito takes roughly four and a half to five hours. From San Jose: Take Highway 1 North (the Autopista) and follow signs to the airport. Continue north on Highway 1 toward the Nicoya Peninsula, and follow signs for the Tempisque River Bridge, Nicoya and Route 18. There is a well-marked intersection at a Shell gas station with signs to the Tempisque River Bridge: turn left here onto Route 18. After crossing the Tempisque River Bridge, look for Route 21 and take it through Nicoya and Santa Cruz. Continue north past Santa Cruz to Belen, then head south through Huacas. Follow the signs to Brasilito. Either park here and walk to Conchal, or continue following the signs via car.