Level: Free shore access This spot have a free shore access: you can go snorkeling there freely and without having to book a tour or pay an entrance fee.
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Playa Penca is a small beach on Punta Cacique (the peninsula separating Playa del Coco and Playa Hermosa). Completely natural, this white sand beach where you may observe monkeys sleeping around make the atmosphere very romantic and peaceful. The water is usually calm and crystal clear, and allows snorkeling sessions among the most enjoyable of Guanacaste. You can combine an exploration of the area with Calzon de Pobre, which lies just a few hundred meters away.
Playa Penca is a small beach on the peninsula separating Playas del Coco and Playa Hermosa, which are among the most sought-after resorts on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast.
From Liberia, you can get to Playa Hermosa in about 40 minutes (well signposted). Once you are at Playa Hermosa, continue on towards Playa del Coco for a few minutes. At the top of the hill, turn right along the dirt road serving the peninsula (a GPS application may come in handy since there are no signposts along the path, see on Google Maps). From Playa del Coco, head for Playa Hermosa and turn left on the track.
Entry is controlled (a note is taken of your license plate), but free. Follow the track for five minutes until a cul-de-sac. Park and continue for around five minutes on foot. You can drive along the track in a normal vehicle, but ask for more information at the entrance (a 45-minute walk approximately).
You can also hire a water taxi from Playas Del Coco or Playa Hermosa to drop off/pick up.
The area to explore is at the left-hand part of the beach, along the rocky point enclosing the bay. You can enter the water anywhere along the sandy beach.
As you move away from the beach, you cross 20 meters or so of rocky seabed (↕3-6ft/1-2m) which gradually give way to a sandy seabed (↕6-12ft/2-4m). Some healthy coral, that has been “tagged” & observed for growth, is found on the left side.
Large groups of wrasse and damselfish rest near the rocks, where small moray eels sometimes find a home. Cornetfish, orangeside triggerfish, and several species of puffers and porcupinefish are easy to see.
The rocky area enclosing the left side of the beach is the most interesting. Hundreds of sergents majors and chromis take shelter around the rocks, and blacknosed butterflyfish are common.
Here and there, you will also see Cortez angelfish, and the elegant king angelfish. If lucky, when the visibility is good, you may also spot spotted eagle rays, stingrays, and hawksbill sea turtles, especially in the deeper areas.
Watch out for boats that sometimes come and go on this site when you are out to sea. The waters are particularly translucent here during the dry season, but sea conditions can be poor depending on the wind or the waves. Avoid Be careful and postpone your swim if the sea is too rough.
The site is completely natural. To make the most of this very nice site, take along a picnic.
These snorkeling spots are accessible to beginners and kids. You will enter the water gradually from a beach, or in a less than 3ft. deep area. The sea is generally calm, shallow, with almost no waves or currents. These spots are usually located in marked and/or monitored swimming areas. It is not necessary to swim long distances to discover the sea life.This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.
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Snorkeling spots are part of a wild environment and their aspect can be significantly altered by weather, seasons, sea conditions, human impact and climate events (storms, hurricanes, seawater-warming episodes…). The consequences can be an alteration of the seabed (coral bleaching, coral destruction, and invasive seagrass), a poor underwater visibility, or a decrease of the sea life present in the area. Snorkeling Report makes every effort to ensure that all the information displayed on this website is accurate and up-to-date, but no guarantee is given that the underwater visibility and seabed aspect will be exactly as described on this page the day you will snorkel the spot. If you recently snorkeled this area and noticed some changes compared to the information contained on this page, please contact us.
The data contained in this website is for general information purposes only, and is not legal advice. It is intended to provide snorkelers with the information that will enable them to engage in safe and enjoyable snorkeling, and it is not meant as a substitute for swim level, physical condition, experience, or local knowledge. Remember that all marine activities, including snorkeling, are potentially dangerous, and that you enter the water at your own risk. You must take an individual weather, sea conditions and hazards assessment before entering the water. If snorkeling conditions are degraded, postpone your snorkeling or select an alternate site. Know and obey local laws and regulations, including regulated areas, protected species, wildlife interaction and dive flag laws.
Small rocky and sandy bay with colorful fish
Level: Free shore access
Small islands bordered by reefs with turtles, sea horses and colorful fish
Rocky areas with fish, stingrays and sea turtles
Rocky shore with colorful fish
Rock and coral reef with colorful fish, rays and turtles
Level: Free shore access Resort nearby
Rocky seabed with colorful fish