For anyone who has ever willingly wandered off the beaten path… For every surfer who has woken with the sun to chase an epic wave… For all those who have ever declared flip-flops and swimsuits to be an official dress code… And for every dreamer who has bargain hunted in paradise… Welcome to life in Playa Negra, Costa Rica!
Not quite a best-kept secret but not quite fully discovered, either, Playa Negra can best be described as a surf-forward, still [relatively] untouched Guanacaste beach town that radiates up-and-coming energy while still remaining slightly removed from it all. We don’t tend to use the word perfection very often but if the sandal fits…
Once a secret discovered only by surfers, Playa Negra today is at once a family favorite, a community dedicated to the great outdoors and an active lifestyle, an investment opportunity, a digital nomad’s paradise, and a chance to live surrounded by nature – to enjoy life away from the crowds, pollution, and traffic jams. In other words – paradise. Welcome.
Why Live in Playa Negra
In 1994, the famed surf film, Endless Summer II, put Playa Negra on the map and since then, this world-class surfing destination has managed to hold tight to its chill vibes, consistent waves, and off-the-beaten-path ambiance, complete with pristine soft sands, rustic charm, pura vida attitudes, and a [mostly] sandals-and-swimsuit dress code.
Where “Old” Meets “New” Costa Rica
So, if you’re wondering why people choose life in Playa Negra, Costa Rica, then the simplest answer is the town’s intersection of lifestyle and affordability. Very much still in the realm of the “old” Costa Rica, laid-back Playa Negra feels like you’ve discovered a bit of a secret. A secret you share with only a handful of boutique hotels, surfer cabinas, restaurants, and single-family homes / ocean-view villas – oh, and a few troupes of howler monkeys, too!
But then, there’s also a bit of the “new” Costa Rica here. Sure, you can walk almost anywhere. And yes, you can still get in on the ground floor for development, at an affordable price. But Playa Negra isn’t what you’d call desolate or even deserted, and offers a full and growing suite of services, amenities, and conveniences at your fingertips. (See Lifestyle Amenities, below.)
Although Playa Negra remains a small community, there is a definite sense of community among its residents, both in the small town known as Pargos and at the beach, fostering a strong sense of community both within the waves and beyond the water’s edge.
Playa Negra is an international community, predominantly composed of Costa Ricans, Americans, Italians, French, Spanish, Argentinians, Peruvians, Venezuelans, Canadians, Germans, and others. Despite this diverse mix, the community still preserves its Guanacaste traditions and the “Pura Vida” spirit of its original inhabitants, who are known for their warm smiles and love for nature, horses, cattle, and traditional festivals.
Playa Negra’s beach itself is one of the best in the region, not in spite of but rather because it is not uniform; instead, it embraces the beauty of diversity.
Here, you’ll find many stretches of sand and named beaches – Callejones Port, Caramar Beach, Callejones Beach, and of course, Playa Negra, among them – that host shady mangrove trees, as well as rocky sections, tide pools, sandy bottoms (where you can swim), and the coast’s famous surf.
So, yes, this cool little beach town offers a lot of what you’ll love – dining and proximity to amenities – without the things you don’t, like over-touristed beaches and crowds. But it’s also close to schools, offers high-speed internet (and other amenities), and is home to some of the best restaurants in Guanacaste, a handful of hip brunch spots, and neighbors who live the easy-going vibes you seek.
In short, Playa Negra is as cool as it gets.
Lifestyle Amenities in Playa Negra
As if flouting conventional wisdom – “you can’t have it all,” right? – Playa Negra has found a way to blend off-the-beaten-path with many of those can’t-miss, beaten-path conveniences.
Here, you’ll find 3G cell phone access, high-speed fiber optic internet, three yoga centers, surf shops, dance classes, two mini supermarkets, walking paths, hiking spots, a skate park, and so much more. Playa Negra now has a paved road from Santa Cruz, and progress is being made on asphalting the route to Tamarindo, as well.
Private schools are accessible, too: the closest, Pacific Waldorf School, is about 9 miles from downtown, with other international schooling options about 12-20 miles away. Notably, there is an organized system of private shuttles (think: school buses) for students.
And, lest we forget, life in Playa Negra, Costa Rica also includes an invitation to a handful of truly exceptional restaurant options, including what many believe to be some of the best offerings in Guanacaste province. A few of our favorites (in alphabetical order):
A dual environmentally conscious coffee brand and welcoming café, Café Corazón offers 100% natural, high-altitude coffee from their biodynamic farm in the cool (and coffee-famous) mountains of Tarrazú. As a microroaster, they roast the beans themselves, which guarantees not only one of the highest quality cups in the area, but also one of the freshest. Prepare for a true Costa Rican treat!
Café Corazón’s accompanying Surf Café is a delight, offering cold-pressed juices and refreshing smoothies, paired with superfood bowls, paninis, and avocado toast.
Home to authentic Peruvian cuisine, Café Playa Negra, also known as Leche de Tigre, serves up Peru’s diverse culinary traditions, paired with Italian selections, live music, and genuine hospitality.
The perfect choice in Playa Negra for a special meal, a romantic dinner, or a lively night out, Café Playa Negra is elevated without pretention. Incredible cuisine – Peruvian sashimi and ceviche, grilled seafood dishes, and fresh pastas – pairs perfectly with your favorite selection from their full wine menu, featuring bottles that travel the globe from Chile and Argentina to France and California.
A true and authentic taste of Costa Rica, La Vida Buena (“The Good Life”) is one of Playa Negra’s most beloved and most affordable restaurants.
This Costa Rican, family-owned (and family-run) eatery features all your comfort favorites from delicious thin-crust pizza and Costa Rican casados (a “full plate” meal) to more sophisticated selections, including surf & turf, steak, fresh seafood dishes, and more. The family are also marimberos – marimba players– and if you’re lucky, their playing just might serenade your meal!
A new Asian fusion eatery, Mycelium is one of the best restaurants in Guanacaste, if not the country. Yes, it’s that good!
Featuring the creations of power couple Chef Kamu and Robi (published cookbook authors), Mycelium is known for its incredible cocktails, chill swings, open kitchen, and innovative cuisine: dishes like Japanese-style tuna tataki, served with puréed green peas, avocado, and wasabi and coconut-milk ceviche. They’re also renowned for their vegetarian cuisine, which is not just an afterthought but a forethought at Mycelium.
Offering a varied menu of original dishes created by Chef Patrick Jamon, Villa Deevena Restaurant blends elevated cuisine with the freshest seafood and hand-selected ingredients.
The results can be as extraordinary as they are delicious. From the restaurant’s lobster risotto and Costa Rican river prawns to lamb shank and filet mignon topped with wild-picked mushrooms, there’s always something that pairs perfectly with a selection from the restaurant’s new wine cave. Cheers!
Epic Waves in an Original Guanacaste Surf Town
What’s in a name? Stripes of truth, in the case of Playa Negra! Spanish for “black-sand beach,” Playa Negra’s stretch of sun-splashed sands isn’t usually black: there’s a bit of blonde, a bit of cinnamon, a touch of gray, and, yes, just a whisper of those iconic and nearly black volcanic sands, courtesy of the area’s lava reefs, all which fade into the challenging surf that earned Playa Negra its spot on the map of surfing rights-of-passage.
Because, while the town itself may not receive all the pomp and circumstance of its bigger and more famous siblings, life in Playa Negra, Costa Rica thrums to the rhythm of its waves – legendary surf that is well known (and idolized) for its exhilarating right break, which sports a narrow peak and a thrilling reef break. (Intermediate-advanced surfers only! No swimming.)
A tip, though: The beach break is tight, so it’s best to visit during off hours, especially if you’re new to town. If you happen to hit the beach when it’s full, practice your best surf etiquette; here, it’s not just polite but necessary for everyone’s safety.
Real Estate in Playa Negra, Costa Rica
And then, there’s that other big draw to Playa Negra: affordability!
Along a coastline known for its sparkling new construction and sprawling hilltop mansions, Playa Negra’s mostly untouched ambiance works heavily in its favor. Here, even amidst this world-renowned surf, modern amenities, and some of the province’s best dining, you can still hunt down a bargain.
Prices start around $65,000 for building lots and homesites and $350,000 for single-family homes and villas. A growing luxury market starts at around $750,000. The area’s investment property also offers an excellent leg into Playa Negra business, development, and other opportunities, and may help you secure inversionista (investor) residency in Costa Rica.
Is it clear by now that we love Playa Negra? We hope so! In fact, we love the town so much that in June 2022, Blue Water Properties proudly inaugurated our Playa Negra office, led by broker Andrés Lanza. With a rich background in law and experience as a successful real estate investor, Andres is fluent in English and Spanish, and knows about Latin culture, local laws, and the bureaucracy in Costa Rica. As an avid surfer and ocean-lover, he’s passionate about improving the local community and empowering others to achieve their dreams and goals.
And now, we invite you to discover with us this cool little beach town located just 14.5 miles (23.5 kms) south of Tamarindo.
Considering Life in Playa Negra, Costa Rica?
You have questions, we have answers! Whether you’ve already settled on Playa Negra or are still perusing your options throughout Guanacaste province and Costa Rica’s North Pacific, we’d love to help you explore the world of life in Playa Negra, Costa Rica and nearby towns.
At Blue Water Properties of Costa Rica, we’re committed to you. Not to selling you a property or spamming you with all the options, but to helping – genuinely and with good intent – to match you to the perfect property for your needs and wants. We thrive on relationships and promise the fastest communication and best services in the industry.
We’re proud to offer some of the best Costa Rica real estate. We have condos and homes, land and businesses for sale.
Go ahead – try us. Give us a chance to show off our expertise – and wow you with the possibilities! We look forward to it.