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. Resort nearby
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Playa Buena is a hidden gem located between Playa Hermosa and Playa Panamá, on the Pacific side of Costa Rica. The rock and coral areas found at both ends of the beach are home to dense sea life, including colorful reef fish, several species of rays, and hawksbill sea turtles. If you are staying in the area, don’t hesitate to pay a visit to this wild, yet untouched bay.
Playa Buena is located between Playa Hermosa and Playa Panamá, just a few kilometers drive from these two beaches. You’ll find off-road parking (not guarded) before you reach the entrance to the Occidental Papagayo all-inclusive hotel. As ever leave no valuables in your car.
To access the beach, follow “Playa Access” signs approx 750 feet down the paved path to the beach. This spot is Occidental Papagayo all-inclusive hotel’s house reef.
The beach offers an easy sandy entrance to water.
The rocky/reef areas found at the two ends of the beach are the most recommended for snorkeling. Between them, you’ll find a less interesting large sandy area. Lots of coral structures can be observed in the reef areas, but not too healthy-looking.
You’ll find quite shallow areas out to the rock spit (↕3-8 feet/1-3m). The area is nicely sheltered on the left side (as you look out) from waves and current.
Turtles, spotted eagle rays, stingrays, rainbow wrasse, puffers and angelfish abound at this location. If you take the time to look in the crevasses, you may also spot the odd snowflake moray or a spotted snake-eel.
There are no facilities on the beach, but you may find vendors selling shaved ice. Massages are offered for approx 20,000 colones.
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.
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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.
Rocky shore with colorful fish
Level: Free shore access
Small rocky and sandy bay with colorful fish
Rocky areas with fish, stingrays and sea turtles
Small islands bordered by reefs with turtles, sea horses and colorful fish
Rocky seabed with colorful fish
Level: Free shore access Resort nearby