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Playa Blanca (Central Pacific) photos
Note: The Playa Blanca referred to in this article is the Playa Blanca that is located along Costa Rica’s central Pacific coast, just south of Playa Mantas. We cite the beach name as Playa Blanca (Central Pacific) to distinguish it from Playa Blanca (Guanacaste) and Playa Blanca (Caribbean), two similarly named beaches located along Costa Rica’s northern Pacific coast and Caribbean coast.
Playa Blanca (Central Pacific) fast facts
- English name: Blanca Beach / White Beach
- Distance from San Jose: 92km (approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes)
- Closest Town: Playa Herradura (small town), Jaco (large town)
- Beach Status: Public beach
Playa Blanca (Central Pacific) beach details
Sand, shade, scenery, and unique features
Playa Blanca, one of Costa Rica’s most beautiful beaches, is blessed with smooth, soft, nearly white sand and long rocky sections. Bright-blue water that’s aquamarine in places ripples offshore, while gentle, crystalline waves roll toward the beach. Playa Blanca is backed by a vegetation-covered hill that’s home to a viewpoint you can hike to that overlooks the beach.
Crowds and noise
Playa Blanca receives a small but steady number of visitors, mainly because the beach is next door to Hotel Punta Leona, a moderately popular accommodation spread out in the area. Other visitors come to the beach to relax in solitude, so noise is generally kept to a minimum.
Cleanliness and Ecological Blue Flag rating
Costa Rica’s Programa Bandera Azul Ecológica (Ecological Blue Flag Program) promotes sustainability and public health (to learn more about the program, see our related blog post: Costa Rica’s Ecological Blue Flag Program: Safe and Sustainable Beaches). Every year, several beaches in Costa Rica compete for top honors, which are bestowed annually according to strict criteria that span the topics of water quality, beach sanitation and garbage disposal, the treatment of industrial waste, beach security, and environmental education. Beaches that participate in the program and meet 90-100% of the eligibility criteria achieve a 1-star rating. Additional efforts invite beaches to achieve 2-star, 3-star, 4-star, or 5-star ratings (5 stars is the highest rating).
In 2019, Playa Blanca participated in the Programa Bandera Azul Ecológica and received a 3-star rating. You may see the achievement displayed at Playa Blanca on a sign that reads Playa Galardonada (Award-Winning Beach).
Development at Playa Blanca (Central Pacific)
Hotels, restaurants, tours, bathrooms, etc.
Facilities of Hotel Punta Leona and other accommodations are in the Playa Blanca vicinity but aren’t located directly on the beach. For this reason, Playa Blanca feels secluded although it isn’t remote.
Playa Blanca (Central Pacific) safety
Swimming and water safety
Swimming is allowed at Playa Blanca and is lovely in the shallow water that crawls up the shore. As always, exercise caution in and around the water, especially if you plan to visit with children or inexperienced swimmers.
Never bring items of value with you to the beach and always keep an eye on your belongings. Remember to lock your rental car if you have one. Do not visit the beach before sunrise or after sunset.
Playa Blanca (Central Pacific) location and road conditions
Access to Playa Blanca (Central Pacific) and 4×4 requirement
Playa Blanca is located on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast. Access is permitted by way of Playa Mantas, a neighboring beach. Playa Mantas sits at the end of an unpaved, 5-kilometer side road that juts off Highway 36 approximately 6 kilometers south of the small village of Tarcoles, or 10 kilometers south of the Carara National Park. The side road is unnamed but is signed for Hotel Punta Leona. It’s common to find the road dusty during dry spells and ridden with potholes during wet periods. A 4×4 vehicle isn’t required to reach Playa Mantas; from Playa Mantas, it takes roughly 15 minutes to walk to the south end of the beach and climb up and over the small hill that separates Playa Mantas from Playa Blanca.
Map of Playa Blanca (Central Pacific) Costa Rica
Parking at Playa Blanca (Central Pacific)
There is no parking directly at Playa Blanca but there is a public parking lot at Playa Mantas, which is within walking distance of Playa Blanca. It is officially titled “Parqueo Maranonal” and the parking rate is 1,000 colones (less than $2 USD) per hour. Once you park in the lot, you’ll need to walk across the lawn to reach Playa Mantas, then walk south along the beach and hike over a small hill to reach Playa Blanca.
Best reason(s) to visit Playa Blanca (Central Pacific)
Offering some of the prettiest and most comfortable sand along the central Pacific coast, Playa Blanca is worth visiting purely to experience the beach. Most visitors don’t stay at Hotel Punta Leona (a known accommodation in the area); the beach is best enjoyed during a day trip from whichever destination you plan to station yourself at along the central Pacific coast.
Beach hopping from Playa Blanca (Central Pacific) (or alternative beach options in the region)
Recommended day trips from Playa Blanca include visits to Playa Mantas, Playa Herradura, Playa Jaco, and Playa Hermosa.
QUESTION TO COMMENT ON: Have you been to Playa Blanca (Central Pacific)? What did you think?
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