Playa Esterillos, Costa Rica, located just south of Jacó, is a breathtaking 7-kilometer (3.75 mile) stretch of grey sand beach. The beach is not one town, but rather several, each with its own unique personality, and together they offer an abundance of natural beauty and diverse flora and fauna. Palm trees, almond trees, and tropical forests are all prevalent in the area, and extensive mangrove zones serve as critical ecosystems. The Bejuco River runs through the region and separates Esterillos Este and Centro. While this extensive stretch of beach is well known for its great surfing, we advise caution against swimming here as the currents can be dangerous. The area is off the beaten path for tourists, creating a peaceful and idyllic atmosphere. Those who do come to the area are often there to experience the exciting turtle spawning and hatching seasons. In addition to its stunning natural beauty, the entire region provides incredible views of the Gulf of Nicoya and some of Puntarenas’ most stunning sunsets. With Playa Hermosa to the north and Playa Bejuco to the south, Playa Esterillos is truly a hidden gem that visitors to Costa Rica should not miss.
This segment of the beach is known for rocky promontories and waterways, and is habitat for iguanas, crocodiles and birds alike. The famous Mermaid sculpture (whose base is covered by high tide) is a tourist attraction. Another attraction are the natural swimming pools within the rocks. This town is the most developed of the three.
Esterillos Este is known for high end housing and beachfront hotels. The area is well known for cattle ranches and you’re just as likely to meet cowboys in town as you are tourists.
Centro is another small fishing village, and is touted as a great jumping off point to many adventure activities and tours of nearby Carara National Park. It is popular with Ticos on weekends.