Monday, June 6, 2011

Playa Flamingo Costa Rica

I had recently read a review of Playa Flamingo Costa Rica in Moon Costa Rica (Moon Handbooks).  The guidebook described this beach as "perhaps the most magnificent white-sand beach in the nation."  Tempted by this short description, I was able to convince my sister Lisa - who was in town for a week - to make the 3 hour trek with me from Miramar Puntarenas (where I currently live), to Playa Flamingo in order to see if the beach really lived up to this accolade.

We were not disappointed!  Playa Flamingo Costa Rica, while not the whitest sand beach I've ever seen, was certainly the whitest sand beach I've seen in this country thus far.  However, for me, the beauty of this beach extended beyond the sand, to the crystal blue warm waters and rugged headlands that cusped it from end-to-end so perfectly.  These headlands, atop the north and south sides of the beach, are populated by some of the most ornate mansions and luxury highrises I've seen anywhere in this country.  It is rumored that Playa Flamingo Costa Rica is among the beaches the stars (such as Mel Gibson, Brittany Spears, and Gisele Bundchen) make their way too whenever they are visiting the country.

Unfortunately, there were no star sightings for us on the day we visited. In fact, my sister and I practically had the beach to ourselves.  While the ocean was a little too rough for swimming (common for the winter/rainy months from what I've been told), we were still able to take a dip in the water and enjoyed walking up and down along the surf.  The beach is backed by a line of thick trees, and there is a small dirt road skirting it and allowing access to it.  In the few hours we spent lounging on Playa Flamingo Costa Rica, only about 5 cars passed on this road.  It was a weekday, though, so it could be busier on the weekends.

The small "downtown" area of Playa Flamingo was within walking distance from the beach.  We found this town area quiet and charming, and were glad it offered various dining options (from a cheap pizzaria where we ate, to more upscale venues).  We also asked the staff at the Flamingo Beach Resort & Spa (just across the street from the beach), if we could enter and see their facilities for ourselves.  From what we saw, I'd recommend a stay here if you will be visiting the Nicoya Peninsula beaches.  The resort has also gotten some pretty decent reviews on Tripadvisor.

The only drawback, which some may see as a plus, is that at night Playa Flamingo Costa Rica is quiet.  If you are in search of night life, you'll have to make the 30 minute drive to the surfing and resort town of Tamarindo.  Overall, my sister and I agreed, Playa Flamingo Costa Rica was the prettiest most impressive beach either of us has seen in this country so far.

The white sands of Playa Flamingo Costa Rica

Mansions and High Rises on Headlands Cusping Playa Flamingo

My sister, Lisa, enjoying the warm surf at Playa Flamingo Costa Rica

Me, at Playa Flamingo, with headland jutting into the ocean in the background

The small and charming "downtown" area of Playa Flamingo Costa Rica

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