While Playa Grande is famous for its consistent surfing waves and stunning sunsets, there are a couple of other beaches in this small community to visit. Today, we’ll tell you about Playa Ventanas, just north of Playa Grande. This beach is a little more sheltered from the big waves of Playa Grande and is a fun place to relax for the day.
The Playa Ventanas that we are talking about in this post is located in the northwestern part of Costa Rica in an area called Guanacaste. The closest large destination is Tamarindo. Closer still is the community of Playa Grande, just across a small river from Tamarindo.
It can be a bit confusing because there is another beach on Costa Rica’s southern Pacific coast with the same name. The Playa Ventanas in the south is near the towns of Uvita and Ojochal.
Other websites and even Google Maps show pictures of the two Playa Ventanas interchangeably.
There is, however, a big difference.
The Playa Ventanas in the south has caves that you can visit at low tide. Whereas the Playa Ventanas in Guanacaste has no caves. It is still a special beach though, and well worth the visit.
Playa Ventanas, Guanacaste is about 1 hour and 15 minutes from LIR Airport in Liberia and roughly five hours from San Jose’s SJO Airport.
Once you arrive in Playa Grande, there are two ways to get to Playa Ventanas. You can either walk or drive.
To walk, just follow the sand north from Playa Grande. You’ll eventually reach a small point separating the two beaches. If you do this, you’ll pass between the shore and a giant rock named Dante’s Rock (popular for sunset). Just on the other side of Dante’s Rock is Playa Ventanas.
If you have a car, you can drive to a small sandy parking lot near Dante’s Rock or continue north on a road paralleling the beach until the road ends.
There are two more sandy parking lots at the northern end of Playa Ventanas. These two lots are also good if you want to get over to the next beach, Playa Carbon, which has unique black sand.
Tip: Be careful not to leave valuables in your car at any of the beach parking lots. When we visited, there were no attendants. The locals told us it was fine to park here, but we have heard of car break-ins happening in the past so it’s best to be cautious.
About Playa Ventanas, Guanacaste
From rocky point to rocky point, Playa Ventanas makes a smooth arc that is about one kilometer (0.6 miles) long. The sand is a whitish-tan color. Distant hills covered in short, shrubby brush form the backdrop.
From the middle of the beach, you can see over to Tamarindo. You just need to look between Dante’s Rock and the shore. This little window could be the reason the beach gets its name, Playa Ventanas or Windows Beach.
On both points of Playa Ventanas are some nice tide pools at lower tide. On the northern end, there is a steep rock cliff face.
Also at the northern end is a seasonal river and small estuary. Be aware that crocodiles sometimes can be found in the mangroves here but shouldn’t pose a threat if you keep your distance.
If you are lucky, you may encounter some other wildlife at Playa Ventanas. This beach is part of Las Baulas National Marine Park, which protects not only the marine zone, but also tropical dry forest and wetlands. The park is most famous as a leatherback sea turtle nesting beach but there are other animals like monkeys, racoons, lizards, tropical birds, and crabs.
Tips for Visiting
Because there are only a few larger trees scattered along Playa Ventanas, it can be difficult to find any shade. Bring along a beach umbrella or find some relief from the sun at the very northern end. Depending on the time of year, the rocky cliff creates a large shady area, especially in the afternoon.
For swimming, use caution as rip currents can be present. And while the waves are usually smaller than those at the neighboring Playa Grande, they can still be very powerful and toss you around.
If you’re planning on spending the day, be sure to bring everything you need for food and drinks. There are no stores or restaurants at Playa Ventanas. The closest are in nearby Playa Grande.
Finally, if you are hoping to catch a nice sunset, Playa Ventanas is a great choice. People often hang out near Dante’s Rock or anywhere along the sand. We caught a great one on our last visit.
We hope this post helps you visit and experience Playa Ventanas, Guanacaste for yourself. We also hope it clears up any confusion about the two Playa Ventanas and how they are different. We’ll never forget exploring this beach for the first time many years ago. We were desperately searching for rocky caves that didn’t exist. It still makes us laugh today.
Have a question about visiting Playa Ventanas, Guanacaste or want to share your experience? Leave us a comment below.
Want more information to help you plan your trip? Check out these posts:
Vacation Rentals in Costa Rica: Safety and What to Look for – The Playa Grande area has lots of vacation rental homes. Read this post for Costa Rica-specific tips on picking a great one.
Hot Springs and Mud Baths in Rincon de la Vieja – A popular day trip from Playa Grande is the Rincon de la Vieja volcano area. Here, you can find relaxing hot springs and some other fun activities.
Palo Verde National Park: A Wildlife Tour Through Guanacaste’s Wetlands – This is another day trip from Playa Grande that will allow you to see lots of wildlife and a bit of local culture.