In pictures: The beaches of Costa Rica’s east and west coasts
With a coastline on both sides of the county, Costa Rica has no shortage of beaches with over 300 of them. They vary hugely – from black sand to pure white, from wave-battered surf spots to calm bays, from busy beach resorts to protected National Parks. Two of the most beautiful I visited were National Parks, where there’s no development, just you, the beach and some of the local wildlife. On the eastern, Caribbean coast is Cahuita National Park. Trails lead through the jungle, past lizards, sloths and monkeys, before emerging on a Bounty advert-style narrow white sand beach lined by palm trees. On the western, Pacific coast is Manuel Antonio National Park. The wide, horseshoe-shaped bays here are calmer but busier (watch out for the bag stealing monkeys) and with greeny-blue waters that are great for swimming.