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Located a little bit away from the main Guanacaste resorts, Playa Bassey is a great location if you are looking for off-the-beaten-track snorkeling. Angelfish, butterflyfish and wrasse are easy to spot around the small bay’s rocky beds, and the underwater visibility is generally excellent.

Porcupinefish at Playa Bassey
Several species of puffers and porcupinefish can be seen in Playa Bassey, including the long-spine porcupinefish.

How to go snorkeling at Playa Bassey

Playa Bassey is a small beach located in the Gulf of Santa Elena, on the north coast of Guanacaste. From Liberia (about 1 hour by car), take the Inter-American road towards La Cruz/Peñas Blancas for 44 km, then turn left towards Cuajiniquil.

After about 10km, turn right just after the Super Compro supermarket. Continue on this road for 2.5 km, and take the small dirt road that goes down to the left (intersection here). Park and walk to the seaside.

The spot is a 25 minutes drive from the Dreams Las Mareas Costa Rica, and 5 minutes from Playa Junquillal campsite.

Playa Bassey snorkeling map, Costa Rica

Water entrance for snorkeling Playa Bassey

The spot extends to the left of the small “islet” (linked to the coast by a sandbank) that you see when you arrive by the small path. Enter the water from the beach.

Playa Bassey snorkeling exploration tips

The snorkeling area covers the small bay extending to the left of the islet. The underwater landscape is varied, with many rocks and beautiful stretches of sand. In some places, the rocks are covered with different varieties of algae, small sponges and sea urchins.

Cortez angelfish and sergeant majors at Playa Bassey
A Cortez angelfish and a small group of sergeant majors.

This rather secluded spot allows you to observe a great diversity of fish. Around the rocks, you will see sergeants majors, several species of puffers and porcupinefish, cornetfish, and the very colorful Cortez rainbow wrasse.

Cortez angelfish is also common near the small caves in the reef. In places you may come across huge schools of yellowspotted grunt and scissortail chromis.

Blue sponges on Playa Bassey rocky beds
Some rocks are covered with small blue sponges.

Restaurants and accommodation nearby

Playa Bassey is a completely natural site. There are several restaurants in the village of Cuajiniquil and around Dreams Las Mareas Costa Rica. The Playa Junquillal campsite is just 5 minutes by car from the spot.


  • Level required Intermediate
  • Maximum depth15ft/5m
  • Water entranceFrom a sandy beach or rocks
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersLow
  • Access costsFree
  • Restaurants nearbyNo

MAP Spot

These spots are accessible to anyone with basic snorkeling skills, and feeling comfortable in the water and with his snorkeling gear. You will enter the water from the shore (beach, pontoon, ladder, rocks) or from a boat. The water height in the sea entrance area is reasonable, but you will not necessarily be within your depth. Moderate currents can occur in the area, even when the sea conditions are good. The distance to swim to reach the most interesting snorkeling areas of the spot does not exceed 200 meters.

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.