Last updated on January 16th, 2021 at 09:35 pm EST
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Playa Preciosa photos
Note: The Playa Preciosa referred to in this article is actually named Playa Platanares. We opted to use the beach’s nickname, Playa Preciosa, in the article below to address the beach as locals do.
Playa Preciosa fast facts
- English name: Preciosa Beach (Preciosa translates to “Precious”)
- Distance from San Jose: 380km (approximately 6 hours and 15 minutes)
- Closest Town: Puerto Jimenez
- Beach Status: Public beach
Playa Preciosa beach details
Sand, shade, scenery, and unique features
Playa Preciosa is a long beach with medium grey-brown sand that’s often awash with driftwood and other debris. The beach has long, unbroken waves you can surf. A variety of trees at the back of the beach, including tall ceiba barrigona trees, almendro (almond) trees, and leafy palms, provide cooling shade. Scarlet macaws can regularly be seen flying around the trees that back Playa Preciosa.
Crowds and noise
On any given day, Playa Preciosa receives only a handful of visitors, mainly guests of the few accommodations that are spread out along the beach. You’re more likely to share this section of the coast on weekends and holidays with locals that reside in nearby Puerto Jimenez. Fortunately, the multi-kilometer-long beach provides plenty of room for spacing out and rarely feels full. Noise is kept to a minimum, save for the sound of crashing waves and squawking macaws.
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 Preciosa did not participate in the Programa Bandera Azul Ecológica and therefore did not receive a star rating.
Development at Playa Preciosa
Hotels, restaurants, tours, bathrooms, etc.
Playa Preciosa is separated from the town of Puerto Jimenez and most commercial development by mangroves and an estuary. A few establishments, most notably the accommodation Iguana Lodge, are spaced out along the back of the long beach.
Playa Preciosa safety
Swimming and water safety
Swimming is allowed at Playa Preciosa, however, the beach can be ridden with rough waves. 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 Preciosa location and road conditions
Access to Playa Preciosa and 4×4 requirement
Playa Preciosa is located on Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula. It occupies a part of the coast east of the town of Puerto Jimenez and is the town’s principal beach.
Playa Preciosa is an approximate 5.5-kilometer, 15-minute drive away from Puerto Jimenez. Part of the drive is over an unpaved, bumpy section of road (Calle Platanares). A 4×4 vehicle is recommended to reach Playa Preciosa.
Map of Playa Preciosa Costa Rica
Parking at Playa Preciosa
There is no official parking at Playa Preciosa, save for the private parking spaces available at area establishments. You can park along the beach’s main access road (Calle Platanares), however, spaces aren’t secure. Don’t park far from where you plan to visit; the beach area is remote, and the nearby mangroves and estuary are home to crocodiles. Walks between vehicles and the beach should be kept to a minimum.
Best reason(s) to visit Playa Preciosa
Playa Preciosa 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 station yourself in the Puerto Jimenez area of Costa Rica primarily for another reason, such as to tour the region’s Corcovado National Park.
From Puerto Jimenez center, Playa Preciosa is a worthwhile day trip, but the beach is best enjoyed by guests of the Iguana Lodge and neighboring accommodations that are steps away from the water.
Beach hopping from Playa Preciosa (or alternative beach options in the region)
Playa Preciosa is the best beach in the Puerto Jimenez area. There are few other beaches to choose from along the eastern half of the Osa Peninsula, but if you must go someplace else, check out the sandy spots off Road 245 between Puerto Jimenez and Matapalo.
QUESTION TO COMMENT ON: Have you been to Playa Preciosa? What did you think?
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