Playa Flamingo In Guanacaste, Costa Rica (Full Review)

Playa Flamingo is a place where many things can keep you busy. It’s a perfect spot in Costa Rica for water activities (kayaking, snorkeling, fishing trips, and riding jet skis). If you’re into surfing, Tamarindo is only a short drive away. And if you prefer land adventures, you can go ziplining, ride ATVs, or take tours. However, access to quality food in this location is in question. 

I have received emails from many readers interested in Playa Flamingo. Many indicated they wanted to know if this location had enough food spots and outdoor activities to enjoy during their long-term stay.

If you’re in the same shoes, I can tell you for free, based on the short time I’ve spent here, that such interest can be satisfactorily fulfilled. 

But if you’re more keen on having good food that is accessible, that’s where things can take a turn. 

Based on my exposure and findings from researching everything you need about Playa Flamingo before coming here, I have poured my knowledge into this article. 

Flamingo Beach Overview

  • Flamingo is an excellent place for any water activity.
  • The most enjoyable land activities are ziplining and horseback riding.
  • I recommend attractions like the Rincon de la Vieja volcano for day tours.
  • Coco Loco serves dishes and signature drinks by the beach. But I recommend you eat at Surfbox if you are okay with the occasional crowd. 
  • Regarding where to stay, I recommend Margaritaville Beach Resort or the 360 Splendor Del Pacifico as an alternative. 
  • Playa Flamingo boasts a large marina perfect for booking any water excursion of fishing trip.

Where’s Playa Flamingo in Costa Rica?

Playa Flamingo sits on the northern Pacific coast of Costa Rica, specifically in the Guanacaste Province. 

If you’re flying in, the nearest big airport is Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport (LIR) in Liberia, roughly an hour’s drive away. 

Alternatively, you can use Juan Santamaria International Airport (S.J.O.) in San Jose, which is about a five-hour drive from Playa Flamingo.

Best Times to Visit Playa Flamingo

The Flamingo Marina
The Flamingo Marina was recently renovated and expanded.

During the dry season, the best time to visit Playa Flamingo is between January and March. During this time, the weather is pleasantly hot and dry, providing ideal conditions for enjoying the beach and its many activities. With minimal rainfall and temperatures ranging from the pleasant 90s F (32 C) to the balmy 100s F (38 C), this is the perfect time to:

  • Soak up the sun
  • Swim in the crystal-clear waters.
  • Engage in water sports like snorkeling, scuba diving, and fishing.
  • Explore the nearby national parks and wildlife reserves.
  • Take part in beachside yoga and wellness activities.

Make the most of your visit to this beautiful coastal paradise.

What To Expect As a Visitor in Playa Flamingo

  • You may need help with choices when it comes to picking where to eat. 
  • Besides deciding where to eat, you must also consider how to get around. Car rentals seem expensive here, and the cheapest one I found was $1200 a month. 
  • A better way to get around would be to rent a car or golf cart. 
  • If you’re into surfing, consider staying near surf spots like Playa Grande or Tamarindo. They both have excellent places to chill and plenty of amenities.

Fun Things To Do at Playa Flamingo

Even though chilling on the beach sounds excellent at Playa Flamingo, there are also cool things to do around the area. 

Since the ocean is right there, many activities involve getting out on the water and having fun.

Here are the top recommendations and why I recommend them: 

Activity What It EntailsWhy I recommend
Jet Ski Rentals and ToursYou can rent jet skis right at the top of Playa Flamingo. Since the waves are smaller there, it’s perfect for zooming around and having a blast on the water.Check out more of the coastline in a super fun way.
SportfishingIn the deep waters, you can hook big catches like marlin, tuna, and mahi-mahi. If you prefer fishing closer to shore, you’ll find roosterfish, mackerel, jack, and snapper.The best time to head out for big catches is usually during the wetter months, from May to November.
Catamaran CruiseDuring the cruise, you’ll get the chance to snorkel and swim in one of these calm coves, and who knows what you might spot from the boat? We’ve even seen whales, sea turtles, and rays before. The Guanacaste coastline has stunning spots, like excellent little points and coves. 
Explore other areas of the location. Some tours take you to Rincon de la Vieja, where there’s a volcano and cool stuff to see inland. Or you can visit Palo Verde National Park, which is a swampy area with lots of birds and monkeys to see.Overnight trips are worth it. 


Other activities include: 

  • Tropical Rainforest, Hanging Bridges, And Jungle Sloths Sanctuary
  • Whitewater Rafting Classes III and IV
  • Volcano-Waterfall and Hot Springs Combo ( Private)
  • Zipline, hot springs, horses, and more adventure.

What’s The Best Place To Eat at Playa Flamingo?

Many tourists say Smaran is better than Flamingo in terms of accessing good food. But the few times I’ve spent here, I’ve had the best in some areas, which I can recommend. 

For Lunch/Luncheon

There’s a relatively new marina with a restaurant called Maries in Playa Flamingo, which is excellent for lunch or early dinner. They focus on seafood, Central American, and Costa Rican cuisines. 

We frequented Marie’s restaurant several times during our ten-day trip to Playa Flamingo. It’s conveniently located near the Margaritaville resort and offers outdoor seating overlooking a charming courtyard filled with birds chirping. 

The salads, in particular, stand out for their freshness and deliciousness. They feature ingredients like palm hearts, avocado, and shrimp or chicken.

For Breakfast

1. Surfbox: this is another spot that serves good breakfast. It can get busy on weekends. You usually don’t need to book in advance, but it’s a good idea to call ahead (tel: +506 8349 9773) to be sure.

2. Angelina’s: Agenlina’s used to be a good choice too, although I have yet to go there recently. If you like the idea of an open-air restaurant, this is a good fit. It is located on the second floor of the Centro Commercial

3. Patagonia del Mar: If you’re up for a short drive to the next beach, Patagonia del Mar in Brasilito is my second-most recommended. Could you not take my word for it on this one? You can check out their menu page to learn what it feels like to be there or read our full review on the link above and see some of our personal pics we took there.

Sofia Mediterraneo, located on the Langosta side, is a fantastic Mediterranean restaurant (it’s wise to make reservations).

Fish and Cheeses is a reliable Italian option, and Naans and Curries is an Indian chain. Their Tamarindo location has an excellent seafood-focused menu.

Overall, you can’t go wrong with the following suggestions: 

A place to eat in Playa FlamingoBest purpose 
Coco Loco, Surf Box, Carpe Diem, and Patagonia del MarBreakfast and Lunch
Estero Azul typical local eatery on Potrero Beach
La ForkettaItalian food and pizza
Papya RestaurantIf you’re in or around Conchal Hotel
MasalaFor Indian cuisine

Where’s The Best Place To Stay In Playa Flamingo?

Many review sites recommend the Margaritaville Beach Resort as the best hotel in Flamingo. The pool and pool bar are great here, but there needs to be more shade for sunny days. 

The Friday night “Costa Rica” show in the garden isn’t good, and watching it for free from the bar is better.

The beach across the road is beautiful, especially at sunset. You can rent shade on the beach but haggle for a lower price. 

The average review of the Margaritaville says all the staff, including reception, bar, restaurant, maids, and spa, are helpful. 

There are shops and restaurants nearby, and there is a lovely marina. On Mondays, there’s a local crafts market. And if you’re here, I recommend Frank the Tank Tours for a rainforest day trip.

Can you swim at Playa Flamingo, Costa Rica?

Yes, it is safe to swim at Playa Flamingo. The location sits snugly within a bay, so it doesn’t usually face strong rip tides. 

This best beach boasts soft, white sand and offers some shade. The water gets deep relatively quickly; occasionally, the waves may be rough, though not always. However, Flamingo Beach is relatively safe compared to some other beaches.

The Downsides of Staying At Playa Flamingo 

1. Transportation with your car: There are better ideas than buying a car in Playa Flamingo. A few vehicles are available, so you might have to wait a while. And when it comes time to sell it, you could face some challenges, especially if you need to become more familiar with the country or the language. 

Plus, there are scams out there that could make it tricky to find a buyer for things like cars. 

2. Little nightlife: The beach is surrounded by mangrove trees, so few buildings are on the coast. However, you can find some casinos and resorts in the town, like Margaritaville Beach Resort Playa Flamingo.

Final Verdict: Is Playa Flamingo Worth Visiting?

Overall, Playa Flamingo is lovely. If you want water-related activities, you will be okay coming here. 

But like my husband would always advise, it’s best not to limit yourself to just one small town. 

You might enjoy exploring other places like La Fortuna, which is inland.