Playa Grande, Costa Rica

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Playa Grande at dawn
Sunset at Playa Grande

Playa Grande, also known as Salinas, is a beach community on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica just north of Tamarindo. Playa Grande is internationally popular as one of Costa Rica’s best surfing spots[1] as well as being part of Parque Nacional Marino Las Baulas, a nesting ground of the largest marine reptile, the leatherback turtle.[2]

Salinas is the name of the little town at Playa Grande, but this name is rarely used anymore.[citation needed] Condos, small hotels, and a few places to eat are a short walk from the Playa Grande shore. The hotels Indra Inn, Rip Jack Inn, La Marejada, Playa Grand Inn, BP Surf Hotel, Las Tortugas, and Park Hotel are all situated on the north end of the beach. The southern area of Playa Grande includes Hotel Bula Bula, Hotel Manglar, Villa Baula, Playa Grande Surf Camp, and La Cantarana. A mini-market can be found next to a cafe/bar named Kike's Place.[3]

On the southern end of Playa Grande, Palm Beach Estates is a gated community with its own amenities. Palm Beach has a small supermarket called Wil-Mart, restaurants and a couple hotels. It also has a panga dock that allows quick boat rides up and down the estuary so that one can reach Tamarindo in five minutes for shopping or other necessities. The Great Waltini's at Hotel Bula Bula is a nice restaurant for dinner with boat taxi service to Tamarindo. Cantarana is another good choice in Palm Beach.

The Leatherback Trust[edit]

Main article: Leatherback Trust

The Leatherback Trust is an international non-profit conservation organization devoted to preserving endangered leatherback turtles and other sea turtle species.[4]

Playa Grande Surf


Playa Grande's beach has a sandy bottom and waves big enough to surf, but not big enough to prevent a comfortable swim. There are multiple surf breaks starting at the river mouth and running towards Hotel Las Tortugas.[5]

Other Activities[edit]

Playa Grande is most famous for its leatherback turtles and surfing, but there are a variety of other activities for adventure seekers nearby. The estuary from the Rio Matapalo, as well as the Tamarindo Estuary is a popular place for visitors to see wildlife. Many travelers come for the sportfishing, stand up paddleboarding, hiking, sailing, horseback riding, scuba diving, snorkeling, and canopy tours, all of which are a short drive away.[6]


  1. ^ Lonely Planet. Lonely Planet Retrieved 14 May 2016.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ "Surfing Playa Grande". Surfing Playa Grande. Retrieved 2 April 2016. 
  3. ^ "My Playa Grande - Playa Grande Hotels - My Playa Grande". My Playa Grande. Retrieved 2 April 2016. 
  4. ^ Trust, The Leatherback. "The Leatherback Trust". Retrieved 2016-05-14. 
  5. ^ "Surf Reports - Una Ola Surf Camp – Pavones, Costa Rica - Surf Camps & Surf Lessons in Pavones, Costa Rica". Retrieved 2 April 2016. 
  6. ^ "My Playa Grande - Playa Grande Activities". My Playa Grande. Retrieved 2 April 2016. 

Coordinates: 10°20′12″N 85°51′3″W / 10.33667°N 85.85083°W / 10.33667; -85.85083