Playa Matapalo, Costa Rica

Playa Matapalo is a beautiful pristine beach located in between Dominical and Quepos/Manuel Antonio.  Offering miles of secluded sandy coastline to explore and fun waves to surf and play make this one of the area’s best beaches.  Many tourists and buyers alike overlook Playa Matapalo and want to be in Manuel Antonio or Dominical, but it really is an ideal location between the two.  You can be at the Quepos Regional Airport or shopping in Quepos in 20 minutes or at fine restaurants, tropical beaches or national park at Manuel Antonio in 25 minutes.  Playa Dominical and its World famous surfing, multitude of outdoor adventure activities, plus casual beach side restaurants are only 15 minutes away.

Playa Matapalo is small town, but does have some restaurants, a small super market for supplies, even a hardware store, high school, and police stationReal Estate in Matapalo consists of mostly residential lots with acreage and numerous homes scattered throughout the mountainous jungle terrain.  So whether traveling to the area for the first time or looking to buy, do not pass through Matapalo without taking a look around, you could miss a real opportunity to discover something special!

Dominical and Uvita Area Beaches to Enjoy

Beach Suggestions

The Dominical area has some of the most secluded and pristine beaches in all of Costa Rica.  Here is a list of my favorite beaches located from North to South.  With the aid of a map and road signs you should be able to find them all.  You can also go on personal beach searching adventures by just pulling off the road at various turn offs and seeing where they go.  Mid to high tide is usually best for surfing and lower tides provide more sandy beach area for different activities.

Playa Guapil – Located about 4 kms North of Playa Dominical.  Go toward Hacienda Baru and about 1 km after you pass the gasstation on the left, there is a sign for Playa Guapil.  Turn left and then go straight to the beach or you can turn right before the palm farm and go around to more secluded areas.  At the end of that road there is a river mouth and small park.

Playa Dominical – If heading South from Quepos, cross over the Baru River Bridge and then turn right into the town of Dominical.  Drive to the end of the main road and you come to the beach or make a right at the I.C.E. office and cell tower to get to the beach as well.  Once at the beach you can park and surf the worldclass waves, play on the beach, stroll through the street vendors, or enjoy the local beachfront restaurants.  Please swim in front of the life guard because Dominical does have rip tides and if there is a decent swell it can get heavy out there. 

Playa Dominical

Playa Dominicalito – A few kilometers south of Dominical; there is a blue national beach sign and the right turn off is just before the long straight away.  You should swim to the left of the parking area due some rocks and boulders to the right.


Playa Hermosa – About 10 to 15 minutes south of Dominical and the parking area can be seen from the road.  It is under some mangrove type trees and usually crowded on weekends.  The beach is similar to Playa Guapil and is also a great family beach for walking, surfing, boogie boarding, and just relaxing on the picnic blanket.

Playa Uvita
– About 18 kms south of Dominical look for signs once in Uvita.  After you pass the gas station and another bridge youcan turn right before the new 2 story Dome Commercial center.  Or go a little further to a paved right hand turn, which is paved all the way to the park entrance. Follow signs to Ballena National Park and there is an entrance fee.  Once in the park go to the end of the road to the parking area.  If go around lower tide and walk to the right you will walk out onto the “Whale’s Tale”.  This is about a 1 km sandy strip of land with tranquil lagoons on either side of a rock formation at the end that resembles a whale’s tale.

Whale's Tail at Playa Uvita

Whale’s Tail


Playa Ballena – A few kilometers south of the Playa Uvita is the turn off and is also part of the National Park.  There is an entrance fee unless you paid earlier at the Uvita entrance.  This is also a great family beach for walking, swimming, or picnic.

Playa Ballena

Playa Ballena

Playa Pinuela – About 2-3kms south of Playa Bellena and if you pass the ceviche stand on the right you went too far.  This beach is all rocks, but it is where you can find some rounded rocks.  It is also part of the national park, but sometimes there is no one to collect the entrance fee.

Playa Ventanas –Known as the cave beach, this is many people’s favorite.  The turn off is just past the ceviche stand with an inflatable shark out front.  This is some of the best ceviche in Costa Rica and a perfect quick snack or lunch spot.  Park at the palm farm and pay, then walk down the trail to the beach.  This beach has 2 caves and is a secluded cove that is about 1 km of beach surrounded by lush jungle.  At low tide you can walk into the caves and at high tide they spit mist.  Maybe more crowded on weekends and the ceviche place is closed Mondays.

Cave at Playa Ventanas