Playa Chiquita Limon: Costa Rica’s Pristine Caribbean Gem

There’s a saying in Costa Rica: “Pura Vida”. It means ‘pure life’ and is often used to express a philosophy of strong community, perseverance, and an appreciation of life’s simple treasures. If you’re looking for a place that embodies this spirit, Playa Chiquita Limon is it. Imagine a sparkling tropical beach, less crowded than its better-known neighbors, and just as stunning. Now, let’s take a closer look at this gem on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast, and find out why it should be next on your travel bucket list.

Playa Chiquita Cliff Notes

  • Discover Playa Chiquita Limon for a tranquil Caribbean getaway with swimming, snorkeling and stunning views.
  • Enjoy activities from animal rescue centers to horseback riding and explore the nearby rainforest.
  • Find accommodation options, local eateries & follow tips for a safe visit while exploring the surrounding region.

The Allure of Playa Chiquita Limon

Pristine Playa Chiquita beach with palm trees

The beauty of Playa Chiquita, also known as Chiquita Beach, lies in its simplicity. A small, secluded beach on the southern Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, Playa Chiquita Beach is a haven of tranquility.

Imagine lounging on the soft, golden sand of one of the healthiest beaches, glistening in the sun. These cleanest and healthiest beaches are surrounded by lush tropical palm trees that provide the perfect shade, and look out at a stunning palette of blues, with light blue and ultramarine waves gently rolling onto the shore.

It’s a sight that’s both calming and captivating.

While other coastal beaches may be more crowded, Playa Chiquita is the most hidden beach and an undiscovered jewel, providing a serene escape from the masses. Often overlooked in favor of easier-to-reach beaches, it remains a serene spot, perfect for those seeking privacy and relaxation. If you’re looking for a tranquil getaway, visit Playa Chiquita and experience the beauty of this hidden beach.

If you desire solitude, away from the noise and rush, Playa Chiquita is your ideal destination. Just remember to be mindful of the rocks and reefs while swimming, especially if you’re with kids or not a strong swimmer.

Sparkling Clear Waters

One of the first things you’ll notice about Playa Chiquita is the clarity of its waters. The Caribbean Sea here is crystal clear, making it perfect for swimming and snorkeling. The calm waves gently lap against the shore, inviting you to take a dip and cool off from the tropical heat. But it’s not just about the refreshing swim. The clear waters of Playa Chiquita also teem with marine life that is sure to fascinate snorkelers.

Envision yourself swimming with Porcupine fish, Angelfish, and Acapulco-Gregory, observing their vivid hues and patterns against the coral reef backdrop. The water temperatures, which range from 25 to 30°C (77 to 86°F) throughout the year, make it comfortable for swimming and snorkeling, even for extended periods. Whether you’re an experienced snorkeler or a beginner, the crystal clear waters of Playa Chiquita will surely impress you.

Natural Bays and Beaches

Playa Chiquita is not just one beach but several natural bays and beaches, each with its own unique charm. The tan sand, framed by tropical palms, offers a beautiful contrast to the blue of the sea, while the unique rock formations add to the beach’s aesthetic appeal. These rock formations aren’t just for looking at, either. You can clamber up and enjoy an amazing bird’s eye view of the pristine Caribbean Sea.

Adding to the charm of these natural bays and beaches is the seclusion and privacy they provide. Here, you can have a private beach experience, far from the madding crowd. Imagine lounging on the beach, the sound of the waves lulling you into a peaceful reverie, with no one around to disturb your tranquility. Sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? Well, at Playa Chiquita, it’s a reality. And with various Playa Chiquita hotels nearby, you can choose the perfect accommodation to complete your peaceful beach getaway.

Serene Atmosphere

Playa Chiquita is not solely about its aesthetic appeal. The tranquil, serene ambiance distinguishes it from other tourist-dominated beaches. Visitors often remark about the calm, relaxing aura of Playa Chiquita. It’s the kind of place where you can let your worries slip away as you soak in the beauty of nature.

The calm waters, secluded natural bays, and tranquil beaches, coupled with the humid tropical climate, make Playa Chiquita a haven of relaxation. It’s the perfect spot to unwind, whether you’re:

  • reading a book under the shade of a palm tree
  • taking a leisurely swim
  • simply lying on the beach, letting the gentle rhythm of the waves lull you into a peaceful nap

The tranquility of Playa Chiquita remains undisturbed throughout the day, making it an ideal destination for relaxation and rejuvenation.

Activities and Attractions at Playa Chiquita

Jaguar Rescue Center in Playa Chiquita

While peace and tranquility are the order of the day at Playa Chiquita, that doesn’t mean there’s a shortage of things to do. Contrarily, Playa Chiquita presents a variety of attractions and activities for your entertainment. Some of the things you can do include:

  • Visit animal rescue centers
  • Go horseback riding
  • Explore the beautiful beaches
  • Take a yoga or meditation class
  • Go snorkeling or scuba diving
  • Take a hike in the nearby rainforest

There’s something for everyone in Playa Chiquita.

One of the main attractions is the Jaguar Rescue Center. Although there aren’t any jaguars at the moment, the center is home to a variety of other animals, including:

  • monkeys
  • wild cats
  • sloths
  • raccoons

If you’re more of an equine enthusiast, the Prancing Pony Horseback Center offers beach horseback riding experiences that provide a unique way to explore the coastal scenery.

And for nature lovers, the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge is a must-visit. This 740-acre forest is teeming with diverse animal and plant life, making it perfect for hiking and wildlife spotting.

Jaguar Rescue Center

The Jaguar Rescue Center is not merely an attraction; it signifies hope for distressed animals. The center was started by a couple who initially focused on rehabilitating reptiles. However, their mission soon expanded to include all kinds of animals, including:

  • monkeys
  • wild cats
  • sloths
  • raccoons

These animals have been injured, confiscated, or mistreated.

The center offers the following services:

  • Physical health care for animals
  • Emotional support for animals
  • Preparation for return to natural habitats
  • Terrariums that mimic the natural environments of Costa Rica’s venomous snakes

Whether you’re an animal lover or simply curious, a visit to the Jaguar Rescue Center is sure to be a rewarding experience.

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Prancing Pony Horseback Center

If you’ve ever dreamed of galloping along a beach with the wind in your hair, the Prancing Pony Horseback Center can make that dream come true. Offering horseback riding experiences for all levels and ages, the center provides a unique way to explore the stunning coastal scenery of Playa Chiquita.

The center also offers special ticket packages, making it a budget-friendly option for families, as kids 12 and under can join for free. Whether you’re a proficient rider or a novice, a beach ride at Playa Chiquita promises a memorable experience.

Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge

If you’re looking to immerse yourself in nature, the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge is the place to go. Covering 740 acres, the refuge is a veritable playground for wildlife enthusiasts. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Monkeys
  • Coatis
  • Sloths
  • Iguanas

And that’s not all. With over 350 bird species in the area and hundreds of fish species in the nearby coral reefs, the refuge offers a wealth of wildlife spotting opportunities.

Open from 8 am to 4 pm every day, the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge is best visited from August to October. Some highlights of the refuge include:

  • Guided tours, offering in-depth insights into the local flora and fauna
  • Exhilarating hiking trails for experienced hikers
  • Scenic walking paths for casual walkers

Whether you’re an experienced hiker or a casual walker, the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge, located near Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, assures an exhilarating day of exploration and adventure.

Accommodations in Playa Chiquita

Luxurious accommodation options in Playa Chiquita

Playa Chiquita offers a variety of accommodations to cater to all preferences, including:

  • Beachfront villas
  • Eco-lodges
  • Luxurious resorts
  • Cozy bed and breakfasts

Whether you’re looking for a luxurious resort or a cozy bed and breakfast, you’re sure to find the perfect place to rest your head after a day of exploring.

Accommodation options in the area include:

  • Villas del Caribe: spacious rooms with ocean views
  • Shawandha Lodge: unique Balinese-style bungalows
  • La Kukula Lodge: wooden buildings with a natural vibe
  • Casa Merlin Lodge: comfortable rooms with air conditioning and a porch with a hammock
  • Tierra de Suenos Eco Lodge & Wellness Center: offers wellness programs and yoga classes

Dining Options and Local Eateries

Delicious local and international cuisine in Playa Chiquita

Playa Chiquita may be small, but it boasts a deliciously diverse dining scene. From organic specialties to classic Italian dishes, there’s a culinary delight for every taste. Whether you’re in the mood for a quick bite at a café or a leisurely meal at a fine-dining restaurant, the local eateries in Playa Chiquita won’t disappoint.

Among the must-visits are:

  • GypSea Café for organic options
  • La Leyenda de L’Antico Forno en El Establo de Bruce for traditional Italian wood-fired pizza
  • La Botanica Organica for vegetarian, raw, macrobiotic, and gluten-free food
  • Cafe Rico
  • El Refugio Grill
  • Como en mi Casa Art Café
  • Soulsurfer
  • Pita Bonita
  • La Cocomar

With such an array of dining options, every meal in Playa Chiquita is an opportunity to discover new flavors.

Getting to Playa Chiquita Limon

Scenic route to Playa Chiquita from Puerto Viejo

Reaching Playa Chiquita is straightforward, regardless of whether you’re traveling from San José, Limón, or Puerto Viejo. Here are the different options:

  • From San José, you can take a bus to Puerto Viejo, which takes about 5.5 hours.
  • From Limón, it’s a shorter journey to Puerto Viejo by shared shuttle, which is around 65 km (40 miles) away.
  • Once in Puerto Viejo, you can easily reach Playa Chiquita by car, bike, or bus.

What’s more, you won’t need a 4×4 vehicle to get to Playa Chiquita, making the journey even smoother. Just a word of caution though, if you’re planning to take a taxi directly from Limón to Playa Chiquita, it might end up costing you a bit more. So, whether you’re a local or a traveler, reaching Playa Chiquita is a breeze.

You can rent a car at any of the San Jose Airport Car Rental Agencies.

Weather and Best Time to Visit

Due to its tropical climate, Playa Chiquita maintains a humid atmosphere throughout the year. The sunniest months are September and October, making them a great time to visit if you’re looking to soak up the sun. However, if you’re a rain lover, you might want to plan your visit between June and November, which are the rainiest months.

Regardless of when you visit, you can expect temperatures to average between 75°F (24°C) and 85°F (29°C) throughout the year. So, whether you prefer sunny or rainy weather, Playa Chiquita offers a comfortable climate all year round, making it a perfect location for your Costa Rican Caribbean getaway.

Tips for a Safe and Enjoyable Visit

Although Playa Chiquita is a secure destination, it’s advisable to take certain precautions for a carefree holiday. For instance, it’s best not to bring valuables to the beach and always keep an eye on your belongings. Also, try to visit during daylight hours when the beach is most lively.

When swimming at Playa Chiquita, remember to:

  • Be mindful of the rocks and reefs
  • Avoid swimming in deep waters if you’re not a strong swimmer
  • Have the local emergency number (911) and the Touristic Police contact numbers ((506) 2258-1008 or (506) 2258-1022) handy for any emergencies.

Finally, ensure to verify the operating hours of the attractions you intend to visit for optimal utilization of your time in Playa Chiquita.

Exploring the Surrounding Region

While Playa Chiquita offers ample activities, taking time to explore the surrounding region is also worthwhile. Just a short distance away, you’ll find several other beautiful beaches like:

  • Playa Arrecife
  • Playa Manzanillo
  • Playa Punta Uva
  • Playa Cocles
  • Playa Puerto Viejo

Each offers its own unique charm and a range of activities including snorkeling, kayaking, scuba diving, stand-up paddleboarding, and scenic walks.

Getting to these nearby beaches is a breeze. You can take a taxi, drive, or catch a local bus during the day. And while you’re out and about, don’t forget to savor the local cuisine. From GypSea Cafe and Cocomar Comida Caribeña to Cafe Rico and El Refugio Grill, the options are plentiful and delicious. So, while Playa Chiquita may be your base, there’s a whole world waiting to be discovered just around the corner.


So there you have it – a comprehensive guide to Playa Chiquita Limon, Costa Rica’s pristine Caribbean gem. With its sparkling clear waters, multiple natural bays, tranquil atmosphere, and a host of activities and attractions, Playa Chiquita offers a quintessential Costa Rican Caribbean experience. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, or a bit of both, Playa Chiquita is a destination that caters to all.

So why not pack your bags and head to Playa Chiquita? After all, as the locals say, “Pura Vida” – it’s all about enjoying life’s simple pleasures. And what could be more pleasurable than a vacation in this Caribbean paradise?

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you swim in Puerto Viejo Costa Rica?

Yes, you can swim in Puerto Viejo Costa Rica as long as you choose the right beach such as Playa Chiquita.

What is Limon Costa Rica known for?

Limon Costa Rica is renowned for its rich Afro-Caribbean culture, having evolved separately from the rest of the country for many centuries, and resisted Spanish colonization.

What kind of animals can I see at the Jaguar Rescue Center?

You can see a variety of animals, such as monkeys, wild cats, sloths, raccoons, anteaters, marsupials, reptiles, amphibians, and venomous snakes, at the Jaguar Rescue Center.

What’s the weather like at Playa Chiquita?

Playa Chiquita is typically hot and humid, with sunnier months in the fall and more rainfall during the summer and early winter.

How can I get to Playa Chiquita from Puerto Viejo?

To get to Playa Chiquita from Puerto Viejo, you can drive, bike, or take the bus.

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Tim Schmidt is a 20+ year Entrepreneur and Digital Marketer. A Fort Lauderdale-based "Digital Nomad," he enjoys traveling as much as possible with family and friends. AllWorld is his escape to document all of his adventures, including being a hardcore "foodie." He has property in Costa Rica and visits several times each year and is happy to offer his expert advice for planning your trip.

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