Playa Matapalo, Costa Rica

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Playa Matapalo, Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica

Playa Matapalo isn't your typical beach for the reason that it's only accessible by boat, through the thick jungle or through the entire length of two heavily secured Riu resorts. Playa Matapalo, Guanacaste, Costa Rica is the 'private' beach that belongs to the Riu Guanacaste and Riu Palace all inclusive resorts. The beach itself is set in an encroaching jungle backdrop with brown volcanic sand, it's easy to see why this location is a perfect habitat for most of Costa Rica's wildlife. Despite the tourist presence here from the two Riu resorts monkeys still swing and turtles still nest every year.


Costa Rica at a glance

 ✓ Language: Spanish

✓ CapitalSan Jose

✓ Flight time from UK: 10.5 hours

✓ Tour operator: Tui - Formerly Thomson

✓ ResortRiu Guanacaste & Riu Palace

✓ Currency: Costa Rican Colón - US Dollar is widely accepted especially in areas with large tourism although it is always recommended to use local currencies

✓ Rough price of a 7 night stay: $600/$1000 per person - based roughly on an all inclusive 7 night stay (not including flights)

All Prices in US Dollar


Playa Matapalo, Costa Rica

I arrived on the secret and secluded beach of Playa Matapalo, Costa Rica in the Guanacaste region on my first ever all inclusive resort holiday. I'd have 8 days in the stunning resort of Riu Guanacaste where I'd explore the Arenal Volcano National Park. The perks of having travel agent friends never get old. Arriving in Guanacaste Province and on Playa Matapalo I was instantly transported back to the Central American dream I lived for 3 months in this vibrant and exciting segment of the world. The humid air, volcanic sand and constant hiss of the jungle meant my nostalgia from our Central American backpacking trip was ever present.  

Playa Matapalo, Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica
The jungle backdrop and volcanic sand of Playa Matapalo

Pura Vida - Playa Matapalo, Costa Rica. The secret beaches of the Riu Guanacaste and Riu Palace resorts

Playa Matapalo, Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica
A room with the view - The 5th floor of the Riu Guanacaste hotel overlooking Playa Matapalo, Costa Rica
Playa Matapalo, Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica

The tranquil setting of Playa Matapalo, Costa Rica is not unlike the other Pacific coast beaches of Central America, although it's access points make it very untypical in the perspective of my usual travel style. Situated in a deep bay with imposing rocky headlands to the left and more to the right. This Pacific coast beach is unusually wind free most of the time. Playa Matapalo isn't spared of the usual Latin hustle, the same hustle that can be found on almost any beach anywhere in Latin America. The sellers are ever present on the private beach of Playa Matapalo, Costa Rica despite its seclusion. Handbags, pottery, jewelry and more you can find the same goods on any beach up this coastline in Costa Rica right down to Peru and up to Mexico.

If you plan on staying at either of the Riu resorts on Playa Matapalo you'll have exclusive (along with the sellers) access to the beach. For the benefits of tourists you will find many amenities on the beach. Sun loungers, jetskis and massage therapy are all available. Sun loungers are free of charge the latter two will come with a price.

The sunsets of Playa Matapalo, Costa Rica

Pacific coast sunsets ignite the sky over Playa Matapalo and turn the holidaymakers into silhouettes against the headland back drop as the day turns from light to dark. Playa Matapalo becomes the ideal setting to spend an evening and a sunset stroll is recommended. Note: Sand flies are prolific on this beach and a mere 15 minutes on Playa Matapalo will have you itching for days. Always wear insect repellent with DEET or even better, cover your legs before arriving on the beach for sunset.

Playa Matapalo, Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica

Playa Matapalo, Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica
Pura Vida - Costa Rica sunset from Playa Matapalo

What to do in Playa Matapalo, Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Thanks to the rocky headlands that enclose the bay of Playa Matapalo the beach is relatively quiet for a Pacific coast beach. The waves rarely reach the typical heights that can be expected of the Pacific. Unlike similar beaches in the area you'll see no surfing on Playa Matapalo, instead you can try kayaking, paddle boarding or if you prefer you can board one of the 'food and drink inclusive' snorkel boat trips that can be booked from both Riu resort receptions. Also known as the sunset cruise.

What to do in Playa Matapalo, Costa Rica?

Snorkelling
Paddle boarding
Kayaking
Jetskiing
Diving


Both of the Riu resorts in Playa Matapalo share a dive school. The ScubaCaribe is a well known and reputable dive school/brand offering local dives in Central America and The Caribbean. ScubaCaribe operate from a small dive shop in between both of the Riu resorts slightly set back from the beach itself. They offer PADI certifications and dives off the coast of Costa Rica from this school. Guests at the Riu resorts can book here during their stay. The dive boats leave from the centre of Playa Matapalo and all equipment can be rented from the dive shop.
Playa Matapalo, Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica
The sunset cruise retuning 
Playa Matapalo, Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica
Divers waiting to head out onto the water - Playa Matapalo, Costa Rica

Photos of Playa Matapalo, Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Playa Matapalo, Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica

Playa Matapalo, Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica

Playa Matapalo, Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica

Playa Matapalo, Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica
Photos of Playa Matapalo, Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica

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1 comments

  1. I saw your photos again and again and again. Really loved them. I love sunset pictures but yours are rare and amazing. Costa Rica straight goes on my bucket list

    ReplyDelete

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