After taking the highway exit, you will travel on an unpaved road for about 10 minutes to get to Playa Tivives. Along the way you'll pass a few homes and forested areas until you come to the very tiny "center" of the town of Tivives. When the road dead ends, you have to take a left onto a sandy road parallelling the beach. This sandy road is lined by some 50 or so beach homes - some of which are quite lovely. Along the road, in between the homes, you'll see public paths leading to the beach. Park by one of these paths and make your short walk to the beach.
Playa Tivives is a beautiful 2.5km gray sand beach that is bordered by headlands jutting into the ocean on both ends of it. The Costa Rican government does not allow homes to be built immediately along Costa Rica's beaches, so how this beach became an exception, I'm not really quite sure. I did a quick check of real estate prices on the beach and empty lots are selling for about $70k U.S.D. and lots with homes go for about $200k-250k U.S.D. We only saw about two "for sale" signs along the entire street, however.
I really enjoyed my visit to Playa Tivives, but I have to give a couple important warnings about it. Since the Jesus Maria river feeds into it (bordering along the left-hand headland), there are crocodiles close-by. These crocodiles will most likely stay by the fresh water of the river's mouth, but there have been stories of some crocs straying into the salty waters of the ocean. This is why you'll see the very prominent "DO NOT SWIM...CROCODILES" pictorial signs when you first get to the town of Tivives. So I would recommend getting into the ocean as far away from the river's mouth as possible. We did not have any issues with spotting crocs thankfully!
Additionally, the waves in this beach are extremely rough and large, which is why it's so popular with surfers. I only went in about waist deep and decided not to try to swim out any further. Others were going out much further and seemed to be o.k. I do not recommend taking chances with riptides unless you are a strong swimmer and know how to get out of them. I've seen too many local news reports of visitors to Costa Rica's beaches being drowned by these strong currents.
Ok, now back to the good stuff. I really liked Playa Tivives, and am putting it on my list of favorite Costa Rica beaches visited to date. The 10 minute drive on the unpaved road is a bit of a pain, but once you get past that, the sandy street with all the nice homes lining it is very pleasant. We saw a security guard for the town walking up and down the street, which is reassuring. Also, Playa Tivives offers amazing quiet and solitude because not many people venture out to it. The headlands jutting into the ocean at either end of it are gorgeous, and there is also beautiful mountain scenery ahead as you stare out towards the ocean.
We made the short walk along the beach towards the Jesus Maria river area and saw many people fishing off of the river's banks. So I imagine you could combine fishing into your beach trip if you were so inclined. I'm not a big fan of gray sand, but Playa Tivives really intrigued me. There was one group of about 15 individuals that were camping on the beach and about 3 other families. Other than that, we had the entire beach to ourselves. It is possible that it picks up a bit during Costa Rican vacation periods, when more of the homeowners may actually be in the area.
If you are in Puntarenas and are looking for a remote Costa Rican beach with amazing scenery and tranquility, Playa Tivives is a good choice. If you would prefer to swim in more peaceful waters, then the nearby Playa Dona Ana is probably a better option. The scenery is not as beautiful as Playa Tivives, and you have to pay a small fee to get in, but the currents are not as strong and it's right off of the Coastal Highway which makes for much easier in-and-out access.
|Unpaved Road Leading to Playa Tivives|
|Crocodile Warning Sign as You Approach Playa Tivives|
|One of the more "modern" homes lining Playa Tivives|
|One of the public paths leading to Playa Tivives|
|Cris walking along the beach|
|Me in our small beach hut|
|Jesus Maria River where it meets Playa Tivives (you can see people fishing on its banks)|