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Playa Cangrejal photos
Playa Cangrejal fast facts
- English name: Cangrejal Beach
- Distance from San Jose: 235km (approximately 4 hours)
- Closest town: Samara (small town); Nicoya (large town)
- Beach status: Public beaches
Playa Cangrejal beach details
Sand, shade, scenery, and unique features
Playa Cangrejal is a deep beach with compact light-brown sand and a shallow shore. Only a little shade is provided by the tall palm trees that line the back of the beach. Playa Cangrejal occupies the west end of Playa Samara and fronts Bahia Samara (Samara Bay). The bay’s small waves are perfect for playing in and great for beginner surfers. Isla Chora, an island in the bay, is visible from the beach.
Crowds and noise
Despite its proximity to Playa Samara, Playa Cangrejal receives only a handful of visitors. People come to the beach to relax in solitude, so noise is 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 Cangrejal did not participate in the Programa Bandera Azul Ecológica and therefore did not receive a star rating.
Development at Playa Cangrejal
Hotels, restaurants, tours, bathrooms, etc.
There is no commercial development at Playa Cangrejal, though a tiny residential community complete with a few sodas (traditional Costa Rican restaurants) is located behind the beach (within walking distance). A handful of accommodations are in the area (mainly along Road 160) but none are directly on the beach.
Playa Cangrejal safety
Swimming and water safety
Swimming is allowed at Playa Cangrejal and is lovely in the shallow water and gentle waves that crawl 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. If possible, visit the beach as part of a group to avoid being at this remote-feeling beach alone.
Playa Cangrejal location and road conditions
Access to Playa Cangrejal and 4×4 requirement
Playa Cangrejal is located on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast. It occupies the west end of Playa Samara, just west of the community of Samara.
In Samara center, the north-south Road 150 intersects with Road 160, an east-west route. An approximate 1-kilometer drive west from the intersection on Road 160 leads to the unnamed Playa Cangrejal beach access road. Turn left onto this road (just beyond the Las Palmeras condo complex) and it’s a 500-meter drive to the beach. A 4×4 vehicle is not required to reach Playa Cangrejal.
Some people who visit Playa Cangrejal choose to walk or bike to the beach from Samara center. It’s an approximate 1.5-kilometer walk or bike ride to Playa Cangrejal from the intersection of Road 150 and Road 160.
Map of Playa Cangrejal Costa Rica
Parking at Playa Cangrejal
There is no official parking at Playa Cangrejal. Locals park along the side of the road that backs the beach, near the row of tall palm trees.
Best reason(s) to visit Playa Cangrejal
The best reason to visit Playa Cangrejal is to sunbathe or swim at a beach in the Samara area that’s void of Playa Samara’s crowds. If you wish to station yourself in Samara to take advantage of the many offerings that the town has to offer, consider the peaceful, nearby Playa Cangrejal a beach that’s worth retreating to for a few hours of rest and relaxation.
Beach hopping from Playa Cangrejal (or alternative beach options in the region)
Recommended day trips from Playa Cangrejal include visits to Playa Samara, Playa Carrillo, Playa Garza, or Playa Guiones.
QUESTION TO COMMENT ON: Have you been to Playa Cangrejal? What did you think?
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