8 Things To Do In Playa Negra, Costa Rica | 2024 Guide

The Guanacaste region of Costa Rica is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world and some of the most popular travel destinations in 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

Tamarindo is the largest beach town in the region – and undoubtedly the most popular among tourists. This can make for crowded shores, overpriced restaurants and bustling hotels and resorts.

If you’re looking to experience the marvel of Guanacaste without the crowds, Playa Negra (and the town of Los Pargos) is the perfect destination for you! Playa Negra is on the North Pacific Coast, and is a neighbourhood located just a few kilometres away from where we usually stay when we visit Costa Rica. It’s a small and beautiful beach community that we have gotten to know well over the last few years in Costa Rica. 

Playa Negra is located just 23km (14 miles) south of Tamarindo and is what we like to call the up-and-coming Nosara. The closest airport is Liberia International Airport (55.1km or 34.24mi), while San Jose International Airport is a much further drive (179.3km or 111.41mi). If you’re coming from these cities, it’s possible to take a quick domestic flight to Tamarindo.

Playa Negra Costa Rica
Playa Negra, Costa Rica
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

About The Neighbourhood

Much like the neighbouring beach town of Playa Avellanas, Playa Negra is a quiet, quaint beach town in Puerto Viejo where you can get a real taste of the Costa Rican pura vida lifestyle.

This small town can only be accessed via dirt roads. A regular car will work just fine in the dry season, but during the rainy season, we do recommend renting an SUV to get around the area, as the road here can get pretty bumpy.

Prepare for a nice Costa Rican massage along the way, as these bumpy roads are what keeps the crowds away from Playa Negra, leaving this area only to the most adventurous travellers looking to get off the beaten path in Costa Rica.

One of the best beaches in Guanacaste is Playa Avellanas
Aerial view of the area along the Pacific Coast

Things to Do in Playa Negra

1. Catch A Wave

Whether you’re a seasoned surfer or your holiday dream is to take your first lesson, Playa Negra is a surfer’s paradise. (So much so that it was the setting of the movie Endless Summer II!)

It’s got world-class waves, the swells are pretty consistent year-round, and the main wave break is world-famous for its right-hand barrel. You can rent a board from Pargos Adventures – the best supplier in the area.

Sunsets after a rainy day in Playa Negra, playa negra costa rica
Sunsets after a rainy day in Playa Negra

READ NEXT: Where to Find the Best Surfing in Costa Rica!

2. Hang Out On The Beach

If surfing isn’t your thing, don’t fret! Playa Negra has a beautiful black sand beach that you can enjoy without any water sports involved. The beach is wide and spacious but also short enough for a nice seaside stroll. The remote landscape is perfect for just chilling out and watching the waves. Some days, it will feel like you have the entire beach all to yourself. 

Playa Negra also has woods that come right down to the sand. Find a spot underneath the trees for some shade, sit back, and enjoy the sea breeze.

If you need a break from sunbathing or are getting a bit too hot, head just a few kilometres down the coast to Playa Lagarillo – this beach is perfect for swimming! 

Playa Lagartillo, Guanacaste. Costa Rica
Playa Lagartillo, Guanacaste. Costa Rica

READ NEXT: Best Beaches in Guanacaste, Costa Rica

3. Find Your Zen

The town of Playa Negra is known for its appreciation for health and wellness activities. In fact, many people visiting Playa Negra are coming over as part of a yoga retreat!

One of the best yoga retreats in Costa Rica is hosted by the Peace Retreat in Playa Negra. Even if you’re not part of one of their retreats, you can pop into their drop-in daily yoga classes for all levels of experience.

Playa Negra Yoga is another awesome option for drop-in classes. They offer barre yoga in their studio in town and vinyasa yoga on Playa Negra beach. They also host their own retreats.

What to do in Playa Negra, Costa Rica
Photo courtesy of The Peace Retreat

4. Try Beachside Horseback Riding

A surfboard isn’t the only mode of transportation at Playa Negra. Guti Tours, a family-owned eco-adventure company, offers incredible beach horseback riding tours. Their local guides will take you to the most scenic views, from beachside to along the mountain trails. Guti Tours is located in the neighbouring beach town of Playa Lagartillo. You can even take a coastline horseback ride from Playa Avellanas to Playa Negra.

Horseback riding in Playa Lagartillo near Playa Negra
Horseback riding is a must-try activity in Playa Negra

READ NEXT: Best Things to do in Playa Avellanas, Costa Rica

5. Go for a Paddleboard Adventure

Pargos Adventures offers a paddleboard tour and lesson that takes you through the Mangrove Tunnels at the Nandamojo River, only 12 minutes away from Playa Negra. Keep an eye out for water birds, monkeys, crocodiles, and other wildlife that your guide will help you spot.

6. Try Out SUP Yoga (Standing Up Paddleboard Yoga) Experience

Take your yoga practice to new waves, literally! Pargos Adventures are pioneers in the SUP Yoga Practice in Costa Rica. Depending on the tides, a session can take you out on the ocean, or at the Junquillal Estuary, just 20 minutes out of town. These classes are led by an ISA-certified instructor, so you can keep your calm in the water.

SUP in Guanacaste, Costa Rica
SUP in Guanacaste, Costa Rica

7. Go Snorkelling in a Tide Pool

Playa Negra’s black sand beach has lots of rocky borders that make ideal conditions for small tide pools. Pargos Adventures offers a 2-hour snorkelling package in a beautiful and shallow low-tide pool, with over 15 species of Pacific Ocean wildlife. 

8. Visit the Sea Turtles at Ostional 

Take a side trip to Ostional Wildlife Refuge, just about an hour’s drive away from Playa Negra. Within the park, there are three pristine beaches, a coral reef, mangroves and a leatherback turtle nesting site. You can get a guided tour of the park from a knowledgeable local who will teach you about the local flora and protected sea turtles projects!

READ NEXT: Witnessing Turtle Nesting at the Arribada in Playa Ostional, Costa Rica

Best Restaurants in Playa Negra

Villa Deevena Restaurant

Villa Deevena Restaurant is our favourite restaurant in Playa Negra. It’s got an extensive menu for any diet and has some of the freshest, most delicious seafood options in town. The chef here, Chef Patrick Jamon, is world-famous – he’s even prepared some of his 5-star dishes for US presidents! The best part is, that Villa Deevena is within walking distance from Playa Negra.

A delicious meal at Villa Deevena. Photo via Villa Deevena
A delicious meal at Villa Deevena. Photo via Villa Deevena

Hotel Playa Negra Bar & Restaurant

Hotel Playa Negra Bar & Restaurant is a beachfront restaurant that’s easy to spot. You can find it under a large, circular palm leaf roof called a “rancho.” Grab a table, and you’ll get a wonderful view of the beach, as well as all the surfers catching a wave! The restaurant focuses on serving local dishes made with fresh ingredients–from the traditional Costa Rican casado to tenderloin steaks, lobster, and other seafood. They also have vegetarian and gluten-free dishes. The restaurant is open from 7am to 9pm, while the bar stays open until late.

La Ventana

La Ventana is a vegetarian and vegan-friendly restaurant found at the end of the road in Los Pargos, Playa Negra. All of their dishes are organic and made with fresh, whole foods sourced from local producers. They even cater to big events, creating special menus depending on the guests’ dietary needs. Make sure not to skip their smoothies and desserts! 

La Vida Buena

La Vida Buena is a local family-run restaurant along the main road at Playa Negra. They have an extensive Italian menu, but the main draw is their popular thin-crust, wood-oven pizza. You can even watch as they make the pizzas in the wood-fired oven. Everything on the menu is reasonably priced, and the service here is always attentive and friendly. 

Our favourite dish at La Vida Buena
Our favourite dish at La Vida Buena restaurant

Corazon Surf Cafe

If you’re interested in locally sourced and sustainable coffee, make a pit stop at Corazon Surf CafeTheir house coffee – Café Corazon – is so good you’ll probably end up buying beans for the road! You can also order it in freshly brewed cups, convenient cans, or cold brew bottles. They also have great breakfast and brunch options, like fluffy pancakes, smoothie bowls, acai bowls, and pitaya bowls. Drop by for breakfast or lunch on Tuesdays to Sundays from 7:30am to 2:30pm, but note that they’re closed on Mondays.

Jalapeño Eatery & Market

Jalapeño Eatery & Market is a local gem in Playa Negra Surf Lodge. Run by the kindest husband and wife pair, their menu is mindfully made and locally sourced. They make their tortillas and famous hot sauce in-house and also serve the best burrito in town! Plus, the Pico de gallo is made fresh every day, while the guacamole is made fresh to order. Don’t miss out on their refreshing signature smoothies. They’re open from Mondays to Saturdays, at 8am to 4pm, and are closed on Sundays.

Kon-Tiki Pizza

Kon-Tiki Pizza has been serving pizza and love near the shores of Playa Negra since 1994. Their brick-oven pizzas are organic, delicious, and filling. We recommend their Pizza n’Love or the Margarita Special! Grab a bite here on Tuesdays to Sundays from 5pm to 9pm.

Café Playa Negra Restaurant

For a classy and fun dining experience, book a table at Café Playa Negra Restaurant. They specialize in authentic Peruvian cuisine, with a menu that’s inspired by the diverse culinary traditions of Peru. As good as the food is, their delicious cocktails and dessert also steal the show. Don’t miss their freshly-baked pastries.

What to do in Playa Negra
Photo via Cafe Playa Negra


Created by Chef Kamu, Mycelium serves delicious Asian Fusion food in Playa Negra. They’re vegan and gluten-free friendly, and focus on local ingredients, vibrant flavours, and a unique atmosphere. They offer brunch, gelato, and coffee from 9am to 2pm, as well as dinner and cocktails from 6pm to 10pm. Try their own take on Fish & Chips, made with fresh mahi-mahi and served with smoky yuca and corn croquettes (with a plant-based option made of homemade tempeh), or their healthy bowls for brunch. They’re open from Wednesday until Sunday. 

Best Hotels in Playa Negra

La Tica Lodge

La Tica Lodge is a beautiful bohemian lodge just 5 minutes away from Playa Negra. Serene and very close to nature, it’s surrounded by 988 acres of all-natural and virgin land. It’s one of the accommodation options that, at first glance, simply exudes pura vida.

The house comes with 8 large bedrooms with a king-sized bed or 2 twin beds. These rooms all have air conditioning, hot water, free wifi, and recycled vintage furniture. The property also has a vegetable garden with farm animals, a swimming pool, a pura vida area that has nightly bonfires, and a yoga ranch. 

Cafe Playa Negra Hotel

A 3-star hotel that’s perfect for a peaceful and relaxing getaway, Café Playa Negra Hotel puts you less than a kilometre away from the beach. Their bright and comfortable air-conditioned rooms come with a private bathroom with hot water, a mini-fridge, blackout curtains, and wifi.

On-site, there’s also a restaurant (which we recommend!), an outdoor swimming pool, a garden, a spa, and a shared lounge and terrace. Whether you venture out into town or stay in, this hotel gives you the perfect start to a chill and rejuvenating vacation.

Villa Deevena Hotel

Located within walking distance from the beach, Villa Deevena Hotel is a reliable and rather well-known option in Playa Negra. They have six individual, elegant rooms decorated in a chic, modern tropical style. Guests can choose between king-sized or queen-sized beds. All their rooms have air conditioning, ceiling fans, cotton sheets and cotton towels, not to mention beautiful views facing the saltwater swimming pool.

Apart from that, they’ve our favourite restaurant on site, and they can help you book any outdoor activity you’re interested in trying. 

where to stay in Playa Negra
Photo via Playa Deevena/www.villadeevena.com/

Playa Negra Surf Lodge

For a stay that puts you in the heart of Playa Negra, check out Playa Negra Surf Lodge. It’s a family-owned boutique-style hotel with air-conditioned rooms, private bathrooms and hot water. The rooms also come with a kitchen, large windows, a TV, and reliable wifi. The property has a new outdoor pool, hammocks, free bicycles, and a delicious on-site restaurant.

As the name suggests, the lodge is the perfect place to stay if you’re here to surf. The convenient location is only a 9-minute walk from the beach.

Mundo Milo Eco Lodge

Mundo Milo is a small-scale sustainable eco-lodge just 350 metres away from Juquillal Beach. The eco-lodge has seven cabinas built and decorated with different world styles: African, Mexican, Persian, and Oriental. These rooms have their own private entrance, private shower with hot water, a refrigerator, and a private terrace.

The property also has a lovely pool, a restaurant and bar, and high-speed wifi. The lodge is situated around a tropical forest, so you feel connected to nature whether you’re walking around the grounds or enjoying your dinner.


Have You Been Adventurous Enough To Go Off The Beaten Path And Visit Playa Negra, Costa Rica?

READ NEXT: Things to do in Tamarindo, Costa Rica

2 thoughts on “8 Things To Do In Playa Negra, Costa Rica | 2024 Guide”

  1. Jacqueline Scannell

    Hi there! We are thinking of getting married in Playa Negra next fall. We are a laid back couple from CO looking to have 50 friends/ family for a beach wedding. Any tips would be greatly appreciated!!

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!