Off The Beaten Path | Secret Beach in Guanacaste

playa minas mapLook up “Playa Minas” in Google and you’re likely to get a few hits. Run a search through Google Maps and you may get lost, ironically. But, if you look north of Tamarindo on Maps, along the coast, past Grande and just before Brasilito, you can find Playa Zapotillal. While “Minas” is the name by which most locals know the secret beach, at some point the gods of Google have deemed Zapoltillal a better name. It’s entirely possible that the gods have it right and all the locals have it wrong. Doubtful, but possible.

playa minasIn any case, for our purposes here, we’ll be calling it Playa Minas. This location is a bit more off the beaten path than our last locale. Last time we went to Playa Danta. That beach is at the end of a paved road, in a developed town, complete with services and sundry items. Minas is none of that. In fairness, you should know this destination is not for the unadventurous. The trek is tougher than where we’ve sent you so far, and the waves can be aggressive. Those two items aside, if you go, you’ll find Minas to be a delightful escape from everything. First you need to plan.

For starters, here is a list of what you should have with you:


We’ve included one. Also, you will find turn by turn directions below, which should get you all the way there provided you have the right vehicle.

Vehicle with clearance

While your rental car may be able to make the journey, it’s possible you could get stuck. You won’t need 4WD unless it’s raining, but it won’t hurt to have it either. As an alternative, you could drive in as far as the last leg of the journey, and hike the last bit.

Beach Stuff

This should be obvious, right? Bring a towel, sunscreen, sure, but also bring your snorkel gear, and a body board. This beach is sometimes the nesting ground of sea turtles. If the water is clear you may be able to swim with them. The body board can help you if the waves are aggressive.


Again, Captain Obvious reporting here, but keep in mind you may be the only people at Minas. Bring more water than you think you’ll need, like two liters per person. If you get stuck you’ll wish you had more. It’s easy enough to cart it home. As of this writing it’s still impossible to manufacture water from thin air.

Extra Water

No, seriously, this is a really good idea. Get your hands on some large used water containers, the kind with the handles. Fill them with tap water and toss those jugs in the trunk. In a pinch you can drink the water, but if you don’t, then you have a little shower to rinse off before loading back in the car. Trust us. This is way better than being sandy and salty all the way home.

Okay, now that you have everything, you’ll need directions:

playa minasHead out of Tamarindo to Villarreal. Take a left at the crossing, and go all the way to Huacas. It’s another crossing and another left turn. Pass the road for Brasilito and stay straight like you were going to Playa Grande. You will dead-end at Matapalo. This is where things get exiting. Take a right to the end of the park (on your right) and turn left. The road will be terrible. Don’t worry, you’re going the right way. Go one block up, turn right, and you will be on another beat-up road. That road will quickly split. Take the right option. You’ll stay on this curvy road for some time; along the way you will pass houses, horses, and forest. Enjoy the view. Once you come to Hotel Condor Lodge up on the left, prepare to turn left. (If you miss this turn you’ll find yourself at the south end of Playa Brasilito. Turn around. That’s not your destination.) Past the lodge it’s exactly one kilometer to the first right you can take. This is the road that you should not try to cross if you don’t have the right vehicle. It’s another kilometer to the beach.

Enjoy the beach in safety

playa minasThis should go without saying, but please lock the car, and don’t leave any valuables behind. And, for the love of Pete, don’t leave any bags in the cabin, even if you know there is nothing important in them. You don’t want to worry about these things. Time and sand are about to slip through your fingers. Check your cell phone for reception, and find a good spot to camp out. Be smart, keep applying sunscreen, and don’t forget to call your mother on her birthday. You can tell her all about your best day at the beach ever.

Horizon Pacific Management & Rentals logoHorizon Pacific Management & Rentals is located in Tamarindo, Costa Rica. Horizon Pacific offers vacation rentals, property management, long-term rentals, as well as a complete concierge service. Providing you with a local contact during your stay, Horizon Pacific is a company you can trust, with the experience you need.

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