Posted on 8/17/2018

18 Can't-Miss Things to Do in Playa Flamingo, Costa Rica

Stretching a mile long, Playa Flamingo is crescent-shaped proof that paradise exists: pristine white-sand beaches, shade-lined coasts, and turquoise sea, teeming with spotted rays, dolphins, humpback whales, and endangered sea turtles. And those are just four reasons to visit. In fact, the list of things to do in Playa Flamingo is delightfully rich. From wildlife sightings and adventure tours, to beach combing and smooth sailing, Flamingo Beach is one of Costa Rica's most action-packed hidden gems. Hot Tip: Don't forget our EASY BUTTON! If any of these activities pique your interest, we're happy to book it on your behalf – absolutely no upcharge or fees! And we promise to make sure it's the best tour of its kind. Just name the day and our in-house concierge, Cristina (send her an email), will make it happen. And now, 18 of our favorite things to do in Playa Flamingo, Costa Rica:

Comb the Beaches (or Swimming or Sunbathe, or...)

Playa Flamingo is located on Costa Rica's famed Gold Coast, aptly named for its beautiful, white-sand beaches and glint gold in the sun. Our own Flamingo Beach is the recipient of a Blue Flag – certification of our ecological and sustainable practices – and offers a mile of semi-remote, soft sands and shade-lined coast. Of course, there are more things to do in Playa Flamingo than visiting just our eponymous beach: Playa Brasilito, Playa Potrero, Playa Pan de Azúcar, Playa Conchal, Playa Tamarindo, and Playa Grande are a few of the most popular beaches nearby. Offering everything from epic surfing and gentle tide pools, to turtle nesting and snorkeling, there's something for everyone at Flamingo's beaches.

Pamper Yourself at a Day Spa

We're smitten with Playa Flamingo's day spas, which offer luxurious pampering in any variety you crave: From hot-stone massages and paraffin pedicures, to organic mud wraps and botanical body scrubs, Flamingo's lovely spas will treat you to Costa Rica's exotic variety of restorative wellness and whole-body relaxation.

Explore via ATV

If adrenaline flows through your veins, there's no better way to explore Flamingo's rugged roads, oceanside hills, and vast expanses than via an ATV, or all-terrain vehicle. Tours typically last a few hours, or you can rent an ATV for solo exploration. Tip: If you want to pump some serious adventure into your trip, combine your ATV excursion with a canopy tour.

Fly High on a Canopy Tour

Speaking of canopy tours – also known as zip-line tours – there are several excellent examples within about a half-hour of Flamingo. (Optional: Skip the drive and have the tour pick you up at your Flamingo vacation rental.) One of our favorite canopy tours features a ¾-mile zipline – that's 30+ seconds of sky-high fun and flight – plus several suspension bridges and wildlife sightings. Trust us – this is one of the coolest things to do in Playa Flamingo (and Costa Rica). Don't miss it!

Catch Your Meal While Sport Fishing

Depart from Flamingo's world-class marina and say hello to some of the Pacific's best sport fishing, located just off the coasts of Playa Flamingo. Serious game fishing includes tough catches of marling, sailfish, wahoo, big cubera snapper, roosterfish and yellow-fin tuna – usually on half- or full-day excursions. Pair your day out with an evening at select local restaurants, and talented chefs will prepare your catch to order.

Tee Up for Golfing

Two spectacular golf courses can be found within two-dozen miles of Flamingo: The first, the Reserva Conchal Golf Club, a world-class course designed by the legendary Robert Trent Jones II and offering a 71-par championship course. Or, head a bit further south to the Golf Course at Hacienda Pinilla, an award-winning, 7,200-yard, par-72 golf course designed by architect Mike Young. Both courses offer spectacular scenery, including stunning ocean views.

Dive Deep for Scuba Diving

If it's the ocean's depths you seek, then board a Flamingo scuba diving tour to the nearby Catalina Islands, a small island archipelago and haven for a spectacular variety of marine life, including giant manta rays with jaw-dropping wingspans up to 20 feet. Prime diving conditions occur from November through May, when visibility extends 35-80 feet, whales are in residence (September-March), and several ray specie populations increase.

Scratch the Surface While Snorkeling

If you plan to dive but not too deep, then a snorkeling excursion is right up your alley. Luckily, snorkeling conditions mimic those of scuba diving – best November through May, but passable year-round – and afternoon boat dives welcome snorkelers to nearby reefs.

Test Your Rhythm with Dance Lessons

Add some Latin flavor to your list of things to do in Playa Flamingo, with dance lessons that several local hotels offer nightly (or, at least weekly) dance lessons, usually of the Latin variety: salsa, merengue, and perhaps a bit of cumbia, tango, and other regional varieties sprinkled in.

Hang Ten

Playa Flamingo may not be quite the surf paradise that is Tamarindo, but it's no slouch, either! The crescent's waves are gentle – perfect for beginners. And if you crave a greater challenge, look no further than the many surfing beaches that fan out from Flamingo.

Place Your Bets at a Casino

Several casinos – including a newer model, featuring Vegas-style slot machines, poker tournaments, blackjack tables, electric and standard roulette wheels, and more – line the beaches of Playa Flamingo, most often within popular upscale resorts.

Gallop Down the Beach Horseback

If you're looking to stack memorable experience atop memorable experience, then why not book a sunset (or sunrise, depending) horseback ride along the soft sands of Playa Flamingo's graceful crescent? If that doesn't whet your adventure appetite, you can also reserve half-day horseback riding tours to Brasilito, Tamarindo, and other nearby attractions.

Test Your Mettle Aboard a Jet Ski

There's more than one way to experience Flamingo's sparkling Pacific. One way we love? Aboard a jet ski, which offers the thrill of speed and an ease of sightseeing unlike any other: just turn your handlebars, and you're headed up and down the coastline, in search of manta rays and craggy mountains, hidden beaches and lazy sea turtles, rocky outcroppings and breeching whales.

Indulge in a Sunset Sail

Luxurious yachts dot the coast of Playa Flamingo – and some are available for rent! Board a daily tour (or charter your own for total opulence) and set off in search of beautiful views and secluded spots of ocean kayaking, snorkeling, swimming, and dolphin or whale watching. Most tours include a full meal and open bar and, if you time it right, an evening sunset on the sail back to home. (Tip: If you're looking for luxury but don't want to break the bank, we rank this as one of the most affordably indulgent things to do in Playa Flamingo.)

Balance on a Stand-Up Paddle Board

Think you have great balance? There's only one way to tell: Rent a stand-up paddle board (SUP) and paddle – available by the hour, half day, or full day – and see how long you can stay on. Paddle out on your longboard and "tackle" the waves; luckily, Flamingo's gentle surf is ideal for beginner SUP'pers.

Discover Nesting Sea Turtles

It's no secret that we're a wee bit obsessed with sea turtle nesting and hatching; it's one of the most unique, most otherworldly, most memorable experiences we've ever had. We can't help but want to share! And share, we must, considering Flamingo is just 15 miles from one of the world's most important turtle nesting beaches: Playa Grande and Las Baulas National Park, home to the critically endangered leatherback sea turtle.

Get Frothy on the River

The Class II-III Colorado River whips up an exciting but manageable frenzy for beginner to intermediate whitewater rafters. As you brave the rapids you'll also drink in the scenery around you: startlingly diverse river gorge, punctuated by small waterfalls, moss, dense forest, and all manner of inland wildlife.

Take a Day Trip

Playa Flamingo is one of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica, but if you want to explore further afield then we're happy to help. To whit, a few of our favorite things to do in Playa Flamingo and its surrounds: Beyond visiting nearby beaches, we're can recommend day trips to Palo Verde National Park, a wetlands and wildlife-watching paradise; Rincón de la Vieja National Park, a volcanic park known for its natural active volcano, hot springs, bubbling mud pots, hiking trails, horseback riding, and so much more; Río Celeste, an ethereal baby-blue river and waterfall, believed to have been dyed by the gods; Las Baulas National Marine Park, known both for surfing and its incredible leatherback turtles; Guanacaste's waterfalls, including their many swimming holes; Santa Rosa National Park, a historic and environmental exploration of Costa Rica; among many other possibilities.

Need Help? 

If you'd like help arranging a few of these things to do in Flamingo, look no further than where you already are. Our friendly concierge, Cris, will book for free on your behalf. But that's not the real appeal: Cris has first-hand knowledge of the best tours, activities and adventures around Playa Flamingo, and she'll recommend only the absolute best option to match your personal adventure style. Or relaxation style. Or outdoor style. Or any style. Because that's how we roll. Get in touch today!
Previous 5 Great Tamarindo Restaurants to Take Mom on Costa Rican Mother's Day 5 Apps to Download for your Trip to Costa Rica Next