Last updated on January 17th, 2021 at 09:22 pm EST
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Playa Curu photos
Playa Curu fast facts
- English name: Curu Beach
- Distance from San Jose: 275km (approximately 4 hours and 45 minutes) via ground transport; Shorter travel distances/times are possible by taking ferries that cross the Nicoya Gulf from Puntarenas
- Closest Town: Paquera (small town)
- Beach Status: Public beach (access is granted with payment of a fee; see below for details)
Playa Curu beach details
Sand, shade, scenery, and unique features
Playa Curu is a crescent beach that curves around Bahia Curu (Curu Bay). It has soft, light-brown sand that ripples in shallow water. The beach is framed by vegetation-covered headlands that appear bright green and lush throughout the year.
Crowds and noise
Playa Curu is part of the Curu National Wildlife Refuge. Though several people set foot on the beach each day, mainly small groups who meet at the beach in the early morning to depart on Tortuga Island tours, scuba diving tours, and/or snorkeling tours, few visitors stick around to swim and sunbathe at the spot. Groups tend to congregate on the beach between 8am-9am, around lunchtime, and between 3pm-4pm. Outside of these times, it’s possible to have the beach all to yourself.
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 Curu participated in the Programa Bandera Azul Ecológica and received a 1-star rating. You may see the achievement displayed at Playa Curu on a sign that reads Playa Galardonada (Award-Winning Beach).
Development at Playa Curu
Hotels, restaurants, tours, bathrooms, etc.
The central section of Playa Curu has bathrooms and an office for Turismo Curu, a tourism company that operates tours from within the refuge. The rest of Playa Curu is void of commercial development.
Playa Curu safety
Swimming and water safety
Swimming is allowed at Playa Curu and lovely in the tranquil Bahia Curu, save for waves caused by tour boats coming and going from 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 Curu location and road conditions
Access to Playa Curu and 4×4 requirement
Playa Curu is located on Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula. It sits south of the community of Paquera and falls within the boundary of the Curu National Wildlife Refuge.
Because Playa Curu is part of a protected land area, beach access is limited to individuals who pay the Curu National Wildlife Refuge entrance fee (for more information about the Curu National Wildlife Refuge entrance fee, see our related blog post: A List Of 50+ Costa Rica Entrance Fees: How Much It Costs To Enter National Parks, Reserves, And Refuges).
Playa Curu is located at the end of the main access road that leads through the Curu National Wildlife Refuge; an approximate 2.5-kilometer, 8-minute drive from the refuge’s entrance. A 4×4 vehicle is not required to reach Playa Curu.
Map of Playa Curu Costa Rica
Parking at Playa Curu
There is no official parking at Playa Curu, though there is a makeshift lot at the end of the road that leads through the Curu National Wildlife Refuge from the refuge’s entrance to the beach. There is room for several vehicles and parking is free.
Best reason(s) to visit Playa Curu
Playa Curu isn’t worth traveling to purely to experience the beach. However, it’s a beautiful beach you can easily stretch out on and relax at if you plan to spend a day exploring the Curu National Wildlife Refuge. You can also enjoy Playa Curu for a short while before or after you participate in a tour operated by Turismo Curu, which departs from the beach.
Beach hopping from Playa Curu (or alternative beach options in the region)
Recommended day trips from Playa Curu include visits to Tortuga Island, Playa Tambor, and/or beaches in the Montezuma vicinity such as Playa Montezuma and Playa Las Manchas.
QUESTION TO COMMENT ON: Have you been to Playa Curu? What did you think?
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