Last updated on January 16th, 2021 at 09:39 pm EST
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Playa Mantas photos
Playa Mantas fast facts
- English name: Mantas 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 Mantas beach details
Sand, shade, scenery, and unique features
Playa Mantas is a deep beach with soft, fine, light-brown sand that’s easy to sink your toes into. Vegetation-covered headlands to the northeast and southwest enclose the beach, helping it to feel private. Cooling shade is provided by the tall trees that back the beach and separate it from the parking lot.
Crowds and noise
Playa Mantas receives a small but steady number of visitors, mainly because the beach is commonly accessed by guests of 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 Mantas participated in the Programa Bandera Azul Ecológica and received a 1-star rating. You may see the achievement displayed at Playa Mantas on a sign that reads Playa Galardonada (Award-Winning Beach).
Development at Playa Mantas
Hotels, restaurants, tours, bathrooms, etc.
Facilities of Hotel Punta Leona and other accommodations in the area surround Playa Mantas but aren’t located directly on the beach. For this reason, Playa Mantas feels secluded although it isn’t remote.
Playa Mantas safety
Swimming and water safety
Swimming is allowed at Playa Mantas 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 Mantas location and road conditions
Access to Playa Mantas and 4×4 requirement
Playa Mantas is located on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast. It 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.
Map of Playa Mantas Costa Rica
Parking at Playa Mantas
There is a public parking lot within walking distance of Playa Mantas. 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 the beach.
Best reason(s) to visit Playa Mantas
Offering some of the prettiest and most comfortable sand along the central Pacific coast, Playa Mantas is worth visiting purely to experience the beach. Most visitors don’t stay at Hotel Punta Leona; 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 Mantas (or alternative beach options in the region)
Recommended day trips from Playa Mantas include visits to Playa Blanca (Central Pacific), Playa Herradura, Playa Jaco, and Playa Hermosa.
QUESTION TO COMMENT ON: Have you been to Playa Mantas? What did you think?
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