Guide to Visiting Playa Marbella, Guanacaste, Costa Rica

If you’re looking to escape the busy surf at Tamarindo, head an hour south to Marbella, also referred to as Playa Frijolar, Playa Pitahaya, or simply Playa Marbella. This hidden gem is one of the most consistent surf breaks in Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica.

*This post may contain affiliate links, as a result, we may receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you) on any bookings/purchases you make through the links in this post. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Read our full disclosure

Situated away from the main town of Marbella, you won’t find loud music, crowds, or packed car parks. Instead, Marbella Beach has lovely dark sand, fresh ocean air, crashing waves, and bright blue water that is often deserted except for a few surfers. It’s a must for surf enthusiasts to check out!

Playa Marbella Map
Playa Marbella Map
Traveling Soon? Here is a list of our favourite travel providers and accessories to help get you ready for your upcoming trip!
  • Book Your Accommodation HERE
  • Search for Great Tours HERE
  • Get a Car Rental HERE
  • Buy Travel Insurance HERE
  • See our Favourite Camera Bag HERE
  • Grab a Reusable Water Bottle HERE or a Filtration Straw HERE
  • Order an eSim HERE

How to Get to Playa Marbella

By Car

Playa Marbella is just over an hour’s drive south of Tamarindo on the Guanacaste coastline. Once you turn off the main highway, the road can be rough at times, especially during the rainy season. During the dry months, all regular vehicles can access the beach, but check conditions after heavy rain, as a 4×4 may be necessary to navigate the big potholes.

It’s also close to other great beaches in the area, including Playa Azul, just 15 15-minute drive to the south.

Driving on a dirt road in Costa Rica
Driving on a dirt road in Costa Rica

By Bus/Shuttle

It’s possible to reach Marbella town by public bus if you haven’t hired a car in Costa Rica. There are a couple of buses that run every day from Santa Cruz’s main bus station to Playa Ostional along the coast. You can ask to get dropped in Marbella. From there, you’ll have to walk to get to the beautiful beach.

Parking at Playa Marbella

There’s no designated parking lot, but if you follow the beachfront road along the coast to the iconic Tiki Hut Bar and Restaurant, there’s parking available under the trees in front. Just ensure you don’t leave valuables around your parking spot because it’s not a guarded car park.

Facilities at Playa Marbella

There aren’t a lot of facilities or services at Playa Marbella, but that’s part of the charm. The beach is backed by trees, so you’ll find some shade to relax near the sand. Otherwise, Tiki Hut is the main place on the beach, offering food and drinks. 

The town of Marbella itself is very small, with just basic food and drink available and a small supermarket just 1.5km from the beach.

Beach in Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Beach in Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Things to Do at Playa Marbella

If you stumble upon this stunning spot, here’s what you can do.

Go Surfing

Surfing is the main activity on the beach, with some of the best waves on the Guanacaste coast. There are two main breaks, one further up the northern end with barrels, while the southern end offers a consistent left-point break. It’s best reserved for experienced surfers, with strong currents and big breaks during the main season.

Surfing in Guanacaste
Surfing in Guanacaste

Walk Along the Beach

If surfing isn’t your thing, Marbella Beach is also a nice spot to go for a long beach walk. It boasts an extensive stretch of black sand that is often hard-packed to make walking easy enough. It’s popular for locals to go for a stroll, especially around sunset time.

Watch the Sunset

Being on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, Marbella is a great spot to watch the sunset. You can head down to the sand for a walk or enjoy a happy hour drink at Tiki Hut, which offers tables back from the sand for the perfect sunset view. 

Costa Rican Sunset
Costa Rican Sunset


Can you Swim at Playa Marbella?

Swimming at Playa Marbella is not recommended. The beach is best known as a surf break, with big waves and strong currents. If you want to swim, be careful of the rips and try to stay in the shallow water.

Can you Fish at Playa Marbella?

Playa Marbella is not known as a fishing beach. Due to the big waves and long stretches of sand, it’s not the best place to throw a line in. However, many locals head just up the coast to Playa Lagarto for fishing instead.

Can you Surf at Playa Marbella? 

Yes, Playa Marbella is one of the most consistent surf spots in Guanacaste Province. The long beach break has a couple of good spots, with most locals heading to the long left break at the southern end of the beach.

Is Playa Marbella Safe for Families?

It’s a nice place to take the family for a day at the beach, especially to enjoy the serenity without the crowds. However, it’s not the safest place for swimming with children, so be careful if you plan on bringing young kids. 

Some beaches in Costa Rica have rip currents, make sure to read the warning as a precaution!
Some beaches in Costa Rica have rip currents, make sure to read the warning as a precaution!

Where to Stay near Playa Marbella

Mid Range/Budget Hotel: Casa Alice Marbella Lodge

Tucked back from the beach, this lodge is perfect for those travelling with their family or in a group. The large house offers private rooms, or you can rent the entire three-bedroom house to have the place to yourself. With a large garden and outdoor pool, it’s the perfect place to kick back for a few days near a surf beach.

Luxury Hotel: Marbella Surf Inn

Located just 1.5 km from the surf break and closer to town, this surf inn is the nicest place to stay in Marbella. The boutique inn offers just six rooms, fully equipped with bathrooms and a kitchenette. The inn also boasts an outdoor pool, restaurant, bar, and surf lessons or hire onsite, so you never have to go far.

Where to Eat: Best Restaurants near Playa Marbella

Tiki Hut Restaurant

The most iconic place to eat or drink on Marbella Beach is Tiki Hut. This spot right on the beach towards the northern end offers meals from breakfast through to dinner, with sunset drinks in the evening. With a mix of local and international fare, it’s the only place to head for a quick meal post-surf.

Restaurante Marbella Inn

Closer to the main road than the beach, this small local restaurant is a nice spot to grab an affordable meal. They offer fresh seafood and rice but also offer Western meals like pizza and burgers for those looking for a quick bite.

Delicious seafood at Costa Rica, manuel antonio national park
Costa Rica is abundant in delicious seafood!

The Bottom Line

For experienced surfers, Playa Marbella is an absolute paradise. Big waves await, with far fewer crowds than other spots further up the coast. With long dark sand and more primitive facilities, it’s the perfect place to escape it all.

READ NEXT: Best Beaches in Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Download Japan Trip Itinerary

Enter your name and email to get our Japan Trip brochure with more details about this trip in your inbox.

Join our 2025 Group Trips Pre-sale List

Be the first to know about NEW Trips
and SPECIAL Offers!

Have 5 minutes to share more info?
Fill out the Pre-Sale trip survey HERE

Interested in joining us in Japan?

Love the sound of this trip?
Ready to book? Have some questions? 

Send an inquiry and let's chat!

Leave your details below and be the first to get updates, special deals, and connect with us directly about this trip!

Reignite the Feminine Retreat

Love the idea of a women-only retreat in September 2024?

Help me decide where we should go! 

Our women-only gatherings will be limited to 8-10 people, so leave your details below to add yourself to the waitlist.

We'll email you first to share all the details of the trip. 


After years of traveling in Costa Rica, we've figured out exactly what you need to pack for this diverse country!