Destination Overview: Playa Langosta Travel Guide

Playa Langosta travel guide - beachfront sunset

Sunset at Playa Langosta. Can you imagine yourself here?

This Gold Coast paradise is close to all the action (namely, Tamarindo) and yet just far enough off the beaten path – that perfect combination to yield seclusion and tranquility, but with all the conveniences of a larger town. Our Playa Langosta travel guide gets your planning started.

This usually sleepy, always awe-inspiring beach town defines the best of both worlds: spectacularly beautiful and at times wild – breaching whales and feisty monkeys, nesting sea turtles and epic sunsets – and yet just minutes to some of the finest dining, nightlife, and attractions in all of Costa Rica. Indeed, Playa Langosta is a prime choice for quiet getaways, family reunions, destination weddings, relaxing retreats, and everything in between.

Playa Langosta Overview:

Location: About 1.5 miles (2.5 kms) south of Tamarindo

Average Temperature: 75-95º F (23-35º C)

Landscape: Tropical ocean, dry and wet forest, and savannah landscapes (inland)

Closest Airport: Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport (LIR) – about 75 minutes

Top Activities: Surfing, SUP, Catamaran Sailing, Turtle Nesting, Snorkeling & Scuba Diving, Wildlife & Nature Tours, Sports Fishing, Swimming, and Golf

Top Attractions: Beaches, Surfing, Las Baulas Marine Park (turtle watching), Tamarindo Wildlife Refuge & the Catalina Islands (scuba & snorkeling)

Great for: Families & Family Reunions, Couples & Honeymooners, Destination Weddings, Surfers, Nature Lovers

We Recommend: Spending at least a day doing almost nothing at all. Swim in the sea. Walk over ocean rocks. Take a dip in the pool. Dig your toes into the sand. Build a sand castle.

About Playa Langosta:

surf Playa Grande in Las Baulas National Marine Park

From Playa Grande south through Playa Langosta, Tamarindo offers epic surfing waves

For travelers who want to be close to the action but not smack in the action, there is picture-perfect Playa Langosta, a sleepy beach town just 1.5 miles south of Tamarindo. Much more than a bedroom community of Tamarindo, Playa Langosta is an upscale, picturesque and quiet locale, where mangroves shade white-sand beach, glistening rocks jut out into the sea, and the surf is fierce. Our Playa Langosta travel guide unlocks this scenic wonderland.

Part of the beauty of Playa Langosta is in its location: patiently waiting at the end of a dusty road, but just 5 minutes to Tamarindo, this beachfront town offers all the advantages of its big-city brother, without the sometimes-crowds and beach throngs. Here, you can have the sands and sea almost to yourself by day, and then by night avail yourself of Tamarindo nightlife, including some of Costa Rica’s best bars and restaurants.

But of course, Playa Langosta is more than its proximity to Tamarindo: laid-back and totally chill, this elegant community is home to some of the area’s most beautiful vacation rentals, the area’s best surf, and unforgettable things to see and do – all in a town that you can walk in minutes.

The curving, white sands of Playa Langosta border mangroves and a handful of palms, and promise excellent waves and epic surfing; be careful, though, as currents can be strong. On a perfect day, the sky is clear cerulean blue, the sun glints off rocky outcroppings, and you have the beach almost all to yourself. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot scuttling hermit crabs and burrowing sand dollars.

And yet, just minutes from this tranquil paradise, you’ll also find famed coastline, warm swimming waters, golden sun, world-class sport-fishing, leatherback turtle watching, offshore scuba and snorkeling, tropical canopy tours, off-road ATV tours, horseback riding, and epic surf. It’s no secret: Playa Langosta is packed with adventure tours and nature-watching, ocean sports and leisure pursuits. There’s even an oceanfront, world-class, 18-hole golf course nearby at Hacienda Pinilla.

You’ll also appreciate how close Playa Langosta is to everywhere else you plan to go: Nosara and the Ostional Wildlife Refuge (more turtles!), Rincón de la Vieja National Park, Playas del Coco, and Palo Verde National Park, not to mention just 75 minutes to the newly expanded Daniel Odúber International Airport in Liberia.

This is the land of memorable things to do, bucket-list attractions, upscale vacation rentals, and awesome tours – options for every traveler and every vacation personality. Our Playa Langosta travel guide will get you started.

When to Visit Playa Langosta:

When it comes to most of Costa Rica, there are two basic seasons: the high season (December-May) and the low/green season (June-November). Playa Langosta breaks the mold, but just a bit.

Certainly, there is a sunny “dry” season and a wetter “green” season, but Playa Langosta is drier than the rest of the country, making for a more enjoyable green season. As such, you should know that Playa Langosta also has a high summer season and a mid-season. A quick breakdown:

  • Dry Season (Dec through Easter): Sun, sun, sun! And, the highest prices of the year.
  • Mid-Season (Easter to mid-June): A great bang for your buck, with lower prices and a great chance of sun.
  • Summer Season (mid-June through mid-August): A mid-year peak, with prices just under the true high season.
  • Green Season (mid-August through mid-Dec): A daily chance of rain sends prices to their lowest points of the year.

When you visit will, of course, depend on your schedule. But, as our Playa Langosta travel guide will show, there’s something to love here, every month of the year.

Things to Do in Playa Langosta:

Sunset sail in Tamarindo

You deserve this.

Playa Langosta is a favorite destination for good reason: while quiet and secluded, it’s just minutes to the best of Costa Rica’s Gold Coast – nearly endless things to see, do and experience! We’re talking world-record inshore and offshore sport fishing, spectacular nature-watching, adrenaline-pumping canopy ziplines, and so much more.

Here are a few of our favorite activities in Playa Langosta:

Surfing & SUP: EPIC. SURF. There’s no other way to describe it! Playa Langosta is one of the best surf spots in the Tamarindo area, especially when a Southern Hemi is in the water. And, even though this is a popular spot, it’s usually a lot less crowded than Tamarindo and Playa Grande breaks. Score! (Plus, you’re just a quick ride to Tamarindo, Playa Grande, Playa Avellanas and other popular Tamarindo surf spots.)

Catamaran / Sunset Sailing: A catamaran snorkeling + sunset cruise is a top choice for an afternoon out of Playa Langosta. Catamarans set sail daily to explore the captain’s favorite snorkeling destinations, where you’re likely to see undersea wonders including puffer fish, starfish, octopus, and manta rays, before turning to head into the beautiful Pacific sunset. Snacks, meals and sometimes booze are included.

Turtle Nesting: Neighboring Las Baulas National Park is a world-renowned nesting site for leatherback turtles, the world’s largest marine turtles. If you’re in luck during a visit, you may be there to see them lay their eggs and/or hatch.

Snorkeling & Scuba Diving: Group and private snorkeling and scuba excursions are available out of Playa Langosta. You can explore anything from major tourist draws like the Catalina Islands, to tiny reefs and inlets only an experienced boat crew can find.

Wildlife & Nature Tours: From a mangrove kayaking tour to a chill river float, Playa Langosta is rife with sloths, iguanas, monkeys, and myriad aquatic and migratory bird species, not to mention our ocean wildlife, including sea turtles, dolphins, and whales!

Sport Fishing: Our section of the Pacific is famed for its incredible inshore and offshore fishing, and Stay in Tamarindo hooks you up with the BEST boat and the BEST crew ever! We also offer the typical Costa Rican panga fishing boat, for the authentic Costa Rican fishing experience.

Canopy / Zipline: Located on a 150-year-old Costa Rican horse and cattle ranch, our favorite zip line tour offers 11 cables, a swinging bridge, and a thrilling rappel.

These may be the highlights, but there’s so much more to Playa Langosta than just these picks! Visitors also love tubing/rafting, horseback riding, ATV tours, ocean kayaking, luxury spa days, and even day trips to Palo Verde National Park (wetlands and wildlife-watching) and Rincón de la Vieja National Park (hot springs, hiking, horseback riding and more!).

Note: We always recommend pre-booking all your activities, transportation, chef services, etc. before you arrive, so you don’t spend your vacation… well, planning your vacation. If you’d like any help, our in-house concierge, Cristina (send her an email), can recommend perfect activities for your group – and book them on your behalf, absolutely free!

Things to See in Playa Langosta:

beach chairs near Tamarindo

We challenge you to a day of nothing but relaxation!

There’s a lot to see here – that’s one of the reasons you’re googling for a Playa Langosta travel guide, right? – from our powder-soft beaches, to our lush forests, or our beautiful islands. Here’s a quick list to highlight a few of the top attractions in and around Playa Langosta:

Beaches: Playa Langosta’s white sands and rocky outcroppings are vivisected by an estuary, which separates the northern residential area from the wilds of the southern beach, which is protected within Las Baulas National Marine Park. Aquatic bird-watching is a fun beach activity, too; spotted sandpipers, blue herons, white-lored gnatcatchers, and others are often spotted here. For beaches further afield, check out our info on all of our Tamarindo area beaches, which offer everything from killer surf to stunning pink sands.

Las Baulas National Marine Park: For a once-in-a-lifetime experience, head to Las Baulas. Every year, thousands of hulking leatherback turtles make their way ashore to lay their eggs; weeks later, their tiny babies hatch and make their way to sea. It’s an incredible sight to see.

Tamarindo Wildlife Refuge: Amidst the wildlife-rich Tamarindo Estuary, saltwater jungle stretches for acres into mangroves and wetlands that house monkeys and coatis, herons and caimans.

Catalina Islands: If you’re after superb scuba diving and great offshore scenery, the beautiful Catalina Islands are Playa Langosta’s go-to spot. Keep your snorkel-masked eyes peeled for starfish, living coral, reef sharks, manta rays, and so much more!

Nightlife: Okay, granted – Playa Langosta itself is basically dead after dark. But just 1.5 miles north, Tamarindo has all the dancing and dining, drinks and live music you crave, albeit downsized to meet the needs of a sometimes-sleepy beach town.

Where to Stay in Playa Langosta:

Playa Langosta vacation rentals

Playa Langosta vacation rentals are pretty special – just saying!

Call us biased, but we truly believe the best where to stay will always be a Playa Langosta vacation rental. And we have our reasons.

To start, there are only a handful of pricey B&Bs and hotels in Playa Langosta; if you need more than one bedroom, you’ll usually find a greater value in a comparable (but better equipped) vacation home. And we do mean, equipped: a vacation rental offers the freedom and amenities of your own home: your own bedrooms and bathrooms, your own kitchen, your own living area, your own pool… your own what-ever-you-dream.

And in Playa Langosta, we offer anything from cozy two-bedroom homes to massive 6+ bedroom homes (just run a search to find the home that’s right for you). There will be one that offers the amenities that matter most to you: private pools and bubbling Jacuzzis, beachfront locations and pets considered, wheelchair accessibility and WiFi.

And, when you rent with us, you also have access to free concierge services – all the extras you’d expect of a five-star hotel, including full vacation planning, babysitter services, private chefs, and much more.

Getting There & Around:

Playa Langosta airport shuttle

Travel tip: Save the headache and grab an airport shuttle to Playa Langosta

Hands down, the best way to get to Playa Langosta is via airport shuttle: it’s the no-stress way to travel. Your driver will be waiting for you upon airport arrival – that means, no waiting in interminable lines or taking shuttles to pick up a rental car – and you won’t have to whip out your high-school Spanish, either (unless you want to). No hassle. All ease.

That said, if you’re driving to Playa Langosta from the Liberia International Airport (LIR), your best bet is to download Waze, a free GPS app, to your smartphone. The basics: From the airport, take Route 21 south to Route 155 southwest, and then follow signs on Avenida las Palmas west to Tamarindo downtown. From there, head another 1.5 miles south down to Playa Langosta.

Once you’re here, you can have a rental car delivered to your rental home or, skip the car in favor of walking, biking (beach cruisers are available for around $10 per day!), and taxiing to where you need to be. Private drivers are also available for daily or weekly hire.

And that, friends, wraps up this introduction to our Playa Langosta travel guide. If there’s anything else, in particular, you’d like to know, please post a comment or get in touch!