Playa Avellanas, Costa Rica

A Peaceful Surfing Village Down a Dirt Road

The Playa Avellanas Vibe

This area is interesting because it is so close to the large town of Tamarindo but feel worlds away.

The village is really spread out, so it doesn’t have a downtown area. Instead you can expect dirt roads and a few minute long drives between various restaurants and hotels. 

avellanas map

Map Of Playa Avellanas

Avellanas is located on Northern Pacific coast of Costa Rica in the Guanacaste Province. 


Playa Avellanas at a Glance

Nearest International Airport

Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport in Liberia

Popular Things to Do

surfing, yoga, rent an ATV

Best Way to Get Around

Rental car

Best Time of Year to Visit

Dry season is from late December until mid-April


Getting to Playa Avellanas

Flights to Costa Rica

The easiest way of getting here is by flying in to the Liberia International Airport. From Liberia, it is about a 1.5 hour drive. From San Jose, it is about a five hour drive.

That being said, we will go through how to get here from each airport to clear things up a bit.

If you haven’t booked your flight yet, we suggest using Skyscanner. We consistently find the best rates through their website.



Transportation From Liberia International Airport

Rental Car

Renting a car and driving to Avellanas on your own is a great option if you would like to have a car for fun day trips.

The drive is on main roads until you turn off on the dirt road that leads to Avellanas. 

If you are a somewhat experienced driver you shouldn’t have any trouble.

The drive from the airport will take about 1.5 hours.

You do not need a 4×4 to get here, but we suggest an SUV with decent clearance.

The roads around Avellanas are unpaved, but they are driven so frequently that the dirt is packed down and easy to drive on. 

We work exclusively with a local car rental company called Adobe for all our rental needs. They are the best company and we could rave about them all day. Plus, they have given us a 10% discount and other great perks to pass on to you.

You can find out more and book your car here.


Private Shuttle

If you are traveling with a group of people and don’t plan on renting a car, a private shuttle is the way to go.

You can all sit back and enjoy the Pacific coast scenery while a competent driver ensures you get to your destination safely.

We work exclusively with Adobe Transfer for private shuttles. You can find out more and get a shuttle price quote here



If you are traveling as a couple or small family, a taxi is usually a more economical option rather than a private shuttle.

There is a family of certified Costa Rican taxi drivers based out of Liberia who we think very highly of. They will take very good care of you!

If you are interested in taking a taxi, click here to contact them for a price quote.

Oh, and they will give all our readers a $10 discount off the official taxi price list!


From San Jose Internation Airport

From San Jose it will take about five hours to drive to Playa Avellanas.

Rental Car

The drive is long, but doable. The first two hours of the drive are on a main toll highway. If you are a somewhat experienced driver you should have no trouble with this.

The tolls do not accept credit cards. They will take dollars or colones.

You will then drive on a main road that can feel like it take foreverrrr. A lot of big trucks drive this road and it is often hard to find a place to pass them.

Eventually, you will turn off on a smaller main road called Paso de Tampisque.

If you need to stop for a quick meal or bathroom, there is a small plaza with a Subway, Papa Johns, and Taco Bell located just before you make a left-hand turn on to Paso de Tampisque.

Other than that, there are not many quick food options along the way.

However, there are several gas stations if you need a bathroom break. Most of the gas station bathrooms are actually fairly decent.

From the turn on Paso de Tampisque, it is usually smooth sailing until you reach your left turn off to get to Avellanas.

Just not that police tend to hang out in the first few miles of your turn onto Paso de Tampisque controlling speeding.

We suggest downloading the free app Waze for directions in Costa Rica. It is the best and often other drivers are really great about inputting where the police are hanging out.

In other words, this drive is doable. We’ve done it many many times.

However, after a long flight, driving for five hours might be the last thing you want to do.

Book your rental car here and save 10% plus many other great perks. 


Private Shuttle

A private shuttle is the most comfortable way to get to Avellanas.

Your shuttle driver will be waiting for you when you exit the airport and will take care of everything.

You and your group can just enjoy looking out the window. Your driver will be happy to stop for pictures or food along the way.

Get a private shuttle quote here. 

Domestic Flight

From San Jose it is possible to take a domestic flight to the Tamarindo airport. From there you can have your rental car delivered to the airport from Adobe or take a taxi to Avellanas. 

This is definitely the fastest way of getting here, but it is usually a bit more expensive and we don’t suggest it for people who are scared of small planes.

You can check out your domestic flight options here. 

Getting Around in Playa Avellanas

We suggest having a rental car if you are staying here and want to do some exploring. Everything is somewhat spread out.

The exception to this is if you are staying at a resort with on site restaurants and guided activities. 

If you opt to take a shuttle or taxi to Tamarindo you can always rent a car for just a few days if you would like to do your own exploring.

Adobe is happy to deliver a rental car to you for free within 12 miles of their Tamarindo office.

Avellanas is a it more than 12 miles so there may be a small delivery fee. 

Just make sure to select Tamarindo as your pick-up location in the reservation form.

In the comments section of the reservation form, specify that you need the car delivered to you at your hotel in Avellanas. 

Pro Tip: Rent a car with Adobe through our site and you will get a 10% discount! Score! You can find out more about it here.

Playa Avellanas Weather

Every time we have been to Avellanas it has been really hot and sunny. Make sure you bring plenty of strong sunscreen when here!

The most popular time to visit Avellanas is between the end of December through early May. This is dry season in the Guanacaste region. You can expect extremely hot weather and no rain.

Keep in mind that the area is not as pretty come late February through mid-April. At this time of year there has been so little rain that everything starts to turn brown and dried out. 

We like to visit this area between May through mid-August. At that time of year, you will likely have a daily afternoon thunderstorm, but there are far fewer tourists, and everything is green and blooming.

From mid-August through mid-December you can expect the temperature to cool off a bit and more rain. It is really difficult to predict the weather at this time of year.

Sometimes you might experience rain all day. Other times the weather may be completely fine. 

For more info on Costa Rica seasons check out our guide to the weather by month

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Playa Avellanas Hotels

JW Marriott Guanacaste – The JW Marriott is located in a private luxury community called Hacienda Pinilla. There is a 18 hole golf course, nine restaurants on the property, a beach club, multiple pools, a spa, and so much more!

Los Altos de Eros – Adults Only – A high end hotel located in the hills near Playa Avellanas. We suggest this spot if you would like a relaxed getaway. Just note, it takes about 10 minutes to drive to the beach. 

Mikado Natural Lodge – I love this place. It has a natural boutique hotel feel to it. It is a ten minute drive from the beach.

The Point – We suggest this place if you are traveling with kids or as two couples and want to be within walking distance of the beach. All apartments have a large kitchen and access to the pool.

SoulShine – Eco bungalows near the beach. The property feel like a little oasis. 

Vida Verde Eco-Guesthouse – Another great spot that has an eco vibe. There is a pool on site for guests to use.

Latica, Alternative Resort – This place is a bit out of Avellanas and you need to drive to get to the beach, but it is a fun spot. The staff is the best (last time we were here they gave us coffee and banana bread when we arrived) and everything is so beautiful.  The picture of the pool above is from here.

Finca Avellanas – Our pick for you if you are looking for a more budget friendly accommodation option. All the bungalows are well equiped and a bit rustic. 

Avellanas Villa Rentals

Hacienda Pinilla is a luxury private villa community located just north of Avellanas. It is a Marriott property and also has the large JW Marriott Resort on-site.

We suggest staying here if you would like to take advantage of the amenities. These include: private beach club access, spa, an equestrian center, and 18-hole golf course

If that is not really your vibe, we’ve includes villas outside of the Hacienda Pinilla property as well. 

Villas at Hacienda Pinilla

CASA LEON – An 8 bedroom/ 8 bathroom house that can sleep 16 guests. This house has a large outdoor pool and open floorplan.

VILLA DEL BOSQUE – A 4 bedroom/ 5 bathroom home that sleeps 12 guests. There is a nice outdoor pool area.

Villa Almendro – A 3 bedroom/ 4 bath villa that sleeps up to 8 guests. This home does not have a pool, but does have a nice lake view. Also, you will have resort access so there is a large shared pool you can use.

VILLA TRANQUILA – An 8 bedroom/ 10 bath home that can sleep up to 32 guests. Personally, we think it is more comfortable with less people since there are only 8 bedrooms. This would be a great place for a family reunion or wedding.

CASA BONITA BEACH – A 6 bedroom/ 6 bath villa that can sleep up to 19 guests. I really like this home. It has a clean, modern, beach feel to it.

And there is an outdoor pool with a waterslide.

It’s perfect! 

Other Villas

La Vida Mar – A 4 bedroom/ 3 bath home that can sleep up to 10 guests. This house is in a remote setting surrounded by nature. Note that there is no pool here, but it is located just next to the beach. 

Casa Oasis – A 4 bedroom / 3 bathroom home which can sleep up to 10 guests. This hone is set up as separate bungalows with a common area. There is also a large pool.  

Things to Do in Avellanas


Go Surfing

The main attraction here is definitely the surf. There are several places to rent boards or take lessons. 


Visit Tamarindo

There are tons of nice shops lining the streets of the downtown area. If you are looking for fun souvenirs to bring home, this is the place to find them.

There are also TONs of delicious restaurants here.


Go Sport Fishing

If you would like to go sport fishing we suggest booking your trip with Captain Noah of Sea Breeze Fishing.

You might catch sailfish, tuna, mahi mahi, and more!

Just note that this adventure leaves out of Tamarindo.



This national park is located slightly north of Tamarindo. The white sand beach here (Playa Grande) is absolutely beautiful and far less busy than Playa Tamarindo.

This beach is also a leatherback turtle nesting site at certain times of the year (so if you are lucky you’ll see some little babies hatching or mommas laying their eggs).

This is also a great spot to go on a kayak or boat estuary tour. Your guide will point out tons of wildlife along the way.

Playa Avellanas Restaurants

Lola’s – Our go-to beach bar spot in this area. The food and drinks are excellent and you can also enjoy a seat right on the beach. 

La Purruja Restaurant & Bar – Another beach front spot. I suggest getting the tacos here. They are on point!

Barumis – Burgers and beers! What else could you want!

Vibe 528 – This place serves excellent local cuisine but in a more elevated way. It’s really good. 



Packing for Avellanas

The town is very relaxed so unless you are staying at a resort we suggest really casual clothes. Also the roads aren’t paved so things get dusty.

We usually wear flip flops and try to bring our luggage in a camping backpack so we don’t have to wheel a suitcase through the dirt.

If you plan on surfing, don’t forget your UV protection rash guard shirt

Check out our Avellanas Packing List on Amazon for all the essentials. 

Playa Avellanas Visitors Guide

Playa Avellanas Travel Tips

– Sometimes places don’t take credit card in small beach villages. It is a good idea to carry colones with you. Also, note the nearest ATM is in Tamarindo.

– Sometimes this area is also known as Avellana (without the “S”). Yes, it is the same place. 

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