Last updated on January 18th, 2021 at 03:03 pm EST
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Playa Las Manchas photos
Playa Las Manchas fast facts
- English name: Las Manchas Beach
- Distance from San Jose: 305km (approximately 5 hours and 30 minutes)
- Closest town: Montezuma (small town)
- Beach status: Public beach
Playa Las Manchas beach details
Sand, shade, scenery, and unique features
Playa Las Manchas is a small beach with soft sand that’s nearly white in some areas and pink-hued in others. Offshore, the water is light blue and turquoise in places. A collection of tide pools among rocky outcroppings provide opportunities for snorkeling. Though the beach is rocky in places, smooth areas are idyllic spots for sunbathing and picnicking.
Crowds and noise
Playa Las Manchas receives a small but steady number of visitors, mainly because it’s the best beach in the Montezuma area. Because Playa Las Manchas is a small beach, it can feel busy when there are only a few visitors, especially on weekends and holidays when locals relax on the beach. People come to Playa Las Manchas 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 Las Manchas did not participate in the Programa Bandera Azul Ecológica and therefore did not receive a star rating.
Development at Playa Las Manchas
Hotels, restaurants, tours, bathrooms, etc.
There is no commercial development at Playa Las Manchas, though a handful of accommodations are spread out along the road that connects the beach to Montezuma center (Road 624).
Playa Las Manchas safety
Swimming and water safety
Swimming is allowed at Playa Las Manchas, however, the beach has a known rip current. 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 Las Manchas location and road conditions
Access to Playa Las Manchas and 4×4 requirement
Playa Las Manchas is located on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast. It sits south of the town of Montezuma.
Playa Las Manchas is an approximate 1.5-kilometer, 5-minute drive (or 20-minute walk) south from Montezuma on the road that leads to the Cabo Blanco Absolute Nature Reserve. A 4×4 is recommended to reach Playa Las Manchas.
Map of Playa Las Manchas Costa Rica
Parking at Playa Las Manchas
There is no official parking at Playa Las Manchas. Locals park along the side of the road that backs the beach (Road 624 that travels south out of Montezuma and ends at the Cabo Blanco Absolute Nature Reserve), however, when the narrow street is congested with cars there can be little room to park.
Best reason(s) to visit Playa Las Manchas
Playa Montezuma, the principal beach that fronts the town of Montezuma, isn’t much to write home about. So if you plan to station yourself at a hotel in the Montezuma area of Costa Rica, and you’re in search of a beautiful beach where you can relax away from crowds, Playa Las Manchas is worth a day trip.
Beach hopping from Playa Las Manchas (or alternative beach options in the region)
Recommended day trips from Playa Las Manchas include visits to Playa Curu, Tortuga Island, and Playa Montezuma.
QUESTION TO COMMENT ON: Have you been to Playa Las Manchas? What did you think?
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