Playa Conchal is one of the nicest places in Guacanaste. This beautiful beach, where you’ll find tiny pieces of shells instead of sand, is the gateway to a gorgeous snorkeling spot located in its eastern end. Unlike many other places along the coastline, water is generally clear here since waves are stopped by rocks cutting the shore from the open sea. Underwater, everyone can admire dozens of fish species including moray eels, bright butterflyfish and friendly blowfish.

How to get there?

Playa Conchal is located at the extremity of Brasilito village, at the heart of the Pacific “gold coast”, Costa Rica’s main sun & beach destination. Reaching it by car is easy from Playa Flamingo (10min/3km), Tamarindo (35min/20km) but also Liberia, Guacanaste Province’s capital city (45 minutes to 1 hour). From Liberia airport, head towards the coast (road 21) and follow Playa Tamarindo direction until Huacas. Follow Brasilito directions from there, and park close to the earthen road fringing the beach. You will have to walk westwards along the beach (on your left when facing the sea) for about 20 minutes before reaching Playa Conchal. The beach is located behind the rocky point marking Playa Brasilito’s western end.

White spotted puffer at Playa Conchal

Water entrance

The snorkeling area starts at the very beginning of the beach when arriving from Brasilito. This shaded part of the beach is particularly liked by visitors. You will also be able to rent snorkeling gear here, if you didn’t bring your own. Enter the water facing the emerging rocks.

Playa Conchal snorkeling map, Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Exploration

You will explore the area surrounding the rocks emerging from the water, close to the rocky point separating Playa Conchal from Playa Brasilito (see map above). As often, aquatic life gathers around rocks whereas the surrounding sandy seabed is of less interest. Rocks also shelter the area from waves and create perfect conditions for snorkeling. If waves still sometimes overcome the rocks up to the inner side, you will be able to explore even the open sea side of the rocks when the sea is calm.

Sergeant major at Playa Conchal

Dozens of species typical from the region inhabit the rocky seabed. Schools of sergeant-majors usually dwell in shallow areas, above the rocks, just like Cortez wrasse with its three odd blue, yellow and purple stripes. Peer into rocky cracks and look for young moray eels hiding. Golden puffers, white-spotted puffers and blacknose butterflyfish are photogenic species easy to spot here.

Starry grouper at Playa Conchal

Restaurants and accommodation

Hiding in the greenery behind the beach, the luxurious Westin Golf Resort & Spa Playa Conchal is the only accommodation next to the spot. If you don’t want to pay the price for it, head to Brasilito village, just a 20 minutes’ walk from the spot. You will find there accommodation options fitting all budgets, along with many amenities.



Species you may spot while snorkeling Playa Conchal
COMMON NAME SCIENTIFIC NAME ABUNDANCE FISHBASE WIKIPEDIA
Indo-Pacific sergeant Abudefduf vaigiensis  
Threebanded butterflyfish Chaetodon humeralis  
Razor surgeonfish Prionurus laticlavius  
Acapulco gregory Stegastes acapulcoensis  
Beaubrummel Stegastes flavilatus  
White-spotted puffer Arothron hispidus  
Guineafowl puffer Arothron meleagris  
Long-spine porcupinefish Diodon holocanthus  
Jewel moray Muraena lentiginosa  
Cortez rainbow wrasse Thalassoma lucasanum  

 

  • Level required Intermediary
  • Maximum depth20ft/6m
  • Water entranceEasy, from a sandy beach
  • Potential DangersWaves
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersMedium
  • Access costsFree
  • Restaurants nearbyBarbecues on the beach during the week-ends
  • Public toilets & showersNo

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.