Last updated on January 16th, 2021 at 09:39 pm EST
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Playa Danta photos
Playa Danta fast facts
- English name: Danta Beach
- Distance from San Jose: 260km (approximately 4 hours and 15 minutes)
- Closest Town: Potrero (small town), Playas del Coco and Tamarindo (large towns)
- Beach Status: Public beach
Playa Danta beach details
Sand, shade, scenery, and unique features
Playa Danta is a medium-size, pebbly beach with grey-tinged sand. At low tide, the beach exposes rocky outcroppings you can climb over. At the north end of the beach, a large, rocky headland separates Playa Danta from neighboring beach Playa Dantita. The south end of the beach fronts the private, upscale, car-free community Las Catalinas.
Crowds and noise
Playa Danta receives a small but steady number of visitors, mainly because the beach is commonly accessed by guests and residents of Las Catalinas, an up-and-coming luxury real estate development that nearly stretches the length of the beach. 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 Danta did not participate in the Programa Bandera Azul Ecológica and therefore did not receive a star rating.
Development at Playa Danta
Hotels, restaurants, tours, bathrooms, etc.
Properties belonging to the community of Las Catalinas line Playa Danta but aren’t located directly on the beach; they sit up a hill several meters above the sand. For this reason, development at Playa Danta feels less obvious than it is, apart from the beachfront office of Pura Vida Ride, a local tour operator that rents kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, surfboards, boogie boards, snorkeling gear, mountain bikes, bocce balls, and volleyballs to beachgoers. There are bocce ball courts and a volleyball court directly on the sand.
Playa Danta safety
Swimming and water safety
Swimming is allowed at Playa Danta where the waves tend to be small. Beware of the beach’s rocky bottom, particularly if you plan to swim shortly before or after low tide. 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 Danta location and road conditions
Access to Playa Danta and 4×4 requirement
Playa Danta is located on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast. It sits on the west side of the community of Las Catalinas, an approximate 4-kilometer, 10-minute drive north of Potrero on an unnamed, hilly, winding road nicknamed “the road to Las Catalinas.”A 4×4 vehicle isn’t required to reach Playa Danta.
Map of Playa Danta Costa Rica
Parking at Playa Danta
There is no official parking at Playa Danta, though there is a makeshift lot down a short side road just beyond the northwest end of Las Catalinas. To find the side road, take “the road to Las Catalinas” through the community of Las Catalinas. Just after you spot a road to your right, you’ll see a small entryway to a dirt road on your left; the parking lot is at the end of this short, dirt road. There is room for several vehicles. Locals stationed at the lot offer to keep watch over parked cars for tips. Once you park in the lot, you’ll need to follow a short path and walk along a flat boardwalk to reach the beach. Be sure to take the path that departs from the parking lot to the left; the path that departs from the parking lot to the right provides access to neighboring beach Playa Dantita.
Best reason(s) to visit Playa Danta
If you plan to stay at a residence in Las Catalinas or at a nearby accommodation such as Casa Chameleon Las Catalinas, the most obvious reason to visit Playa Danta is to take advantage of the beach that fronts the community. A second reason to visit this beach is to take advantage of the plethora of watersport equipment rentals provided by beach mainstay Pura Vida Ride. If you do not intend to stay around Las Catalinas but you wish to explore Playa Danta regardless, you can accomplish this on a day trip from whichever destination you plan to station yourself at along the northern Pacific coast.
Beach hopping from Playa Danta (or alternative beach options in the region)
Recommended day trips from Playa Danta include visits to Playa Dantita, Playa Matapalo, Playa Potrero, Playa Flamingo, Playa Brasilito, and Playa Conchal.
QUESTION TO COMMENT ON: Have you been to Playa Danta? What did you think?
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Costa Rica Writer / Author / Reviewer
Nikki Solano, Costa Rica guidebook author
Original Review Date (review has since been updated)
Playa Danta Costa Rica
Rating (out of 5)
Playa Danta Costa Rica