Las Catalinas, Costa Rica – Travel Guide

Las Catalinas Costa Rica is a luxury white sand beach village on the Pacific Coast

las catalinas costa rica

The Las Catalinas Costa Rica Vibes

Las Catalinas is unlike anything else you will find in Costa Rica. To give you a little background, the Catalinas property was purchased by a businessman from the United States named Charles Brewer. 

Brewer was interested in the idea of New Urbanism and decided to construct Las Catalinas around these principles. 

New Urbanism is an urban planning technique that revolves around creating walkable towns or neighborhoods. 

These towns typically have a town center with all dwellings located within a five-minute walk. There is a focus on having pedestrian-only streets in the town center with cars only allowed on the outskirts.

So, anyway, that is how Las Catalinas is set up. The town square has a few restaurants, public restrooms, a preschool, and more businesses will be added soon. This square is located just in front of the beach, making it easy to access.

All of the housing is located around the central square as condos and villas.

The buildings have a Mediterranean style.

Background Info About Las Catalinas Costa Rica

Nearest International Airport

Liberia International Airport in Liberia

Popular Things to Do

Go diving, relax on the beach, take a catamaran tour, explore the nearby towns and beaches

Best Way to Get Around

walk in the downtown area and Rental car for day trips

Best Time of Year to Visit

Dry season is from late December until mid-April. We think that May – July  is the best time to visit because everything starts to turn green again and you should really only have an hour or so of rain per pay. 

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We met in Virginia, moved to Germany, and have called sunny Costa Rica home since 2016.

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las catalinas Costa Rica
las catalinas Costa Rica beach
las catalinas Costa Rica
las catalinas map

Map Of Las Catalinas

Las Catalinas is located in the Guanacaste Province north of the beach town of Playa Flamingo and south of Playas del Coco. 

From the Liberia International Airport it only takes a little over an hour to drive here. 

Flights to Costa Rica

The easiest way to get to Las Catalinas is from the Liberia International Airport.

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

Driving to Las Catalinas

If you opt to rent a car, it will take a little over an hour to drive from the Liberia International Airport to Las Catalinas Airport.

Check out our guide to renting a car from Liberia Airport for more info

We suggest a 4×4 or at least an SUV with decent clearance for this drive. Some of the roads can be a bit interesting.

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Private Shuttle to Las Catalinas

If you would like to take a private shuttle to Las Catalinas we suggest Adobe Shuttles.

They can pick you up from the airport (or anywhere in the country) and bring you straight to your accommodation in Las Catalinas.

You can get a shuttle price quote here.

Taxi to Las Catalinas Costa Rica

Another option is to take a taxi to Las Catalinas.

We work exclusively with a great family of registered taxi drivers.

It is possible to receive a price quote from them here.

las catalinas Costa Rica
las catalinas Costa Rica
las catalinas Costa Rica

Transportation In Las Catalinas

Typically we love renting a car to get around, but Las Catalinas is the exception to that. The parking garage on-site charges about $15 a day to park your vehicle. In our opinion, this is just not worth it.

You will likely spend most of your time enjoying the amenities of being in the Las Catalinas area. For day trips, we suggest booking activities with transportation included.

The downside is, there aren’t a whole lot of restaurants yet in Las Catalinas. Not having a car limits you to only cooking your own food or only eating at the few restaurants located in town.

las catalinas Costa Rica

Las Catalinas Costa Rica Weather

The weather in Las Catalinas can be roughly divided into two seasons: the dry season and the green season.

The dry season typically runs from December to April.  During this time you can expect clear blue skies, low humidity, and temperatures ranging from the mid-70s to mid-80s Fahrenheit (24-29Β°C).

Sometimes there might be a light breeze (especially in December and January.

In March and April there are sometimes forest fires because everything gets so dried out.

In contrast, the green season, also known as the rainy season, occurs from May to December. 

The start of rainy season means warm weather and the occasional afternoon rain storm that will roll in around 2pm and last for an hour or two.

From August until November you may have heavier rains that last longer, but this area actually tends to stay decently dry all year round. 

Things to Do in Las Catalinas Costa Rica

The concierge service at Las Catalinas can book a variety of activities for you to do. Some of the most popular activities include:

Mountain biking on the 42 kilometers of trails, trail running, snorkeling, scuba diving, surfing, sea kayaking, and boogie boarding.

las catalinas Costa Rica

Las Catalinas Beach Club

Some condo and villa rentals offer access to the Las Catalinas Beach Club included in the nightly price and some places require you to pay an additional daily fee if you would like access to the beach club. This is around $15 per person per day.

The beach club offers:

  • A private beachfront
  • A 25 meter lap pool
  • A kids pool
  • An adults-only lounging pool and hot plunge pool
  • Sun loungers and umbrellas
  • A restaurant and bar services
  • A fitness center
  • Organized activities such as yoga classes and beach games

Basically, it serves as a hub for socializing, relaxation, and recreation in Las Catalinas Costa Rica.

las catalinas Costa Rica

Las Catalinas Day Trip

If you would like to visit Las Catalinas but are not staying in the car-free community, you can always come as a day trip.

In Costa Rica, all beaches need to have public access by law. 

So, there is a large parking lot on the outskirt of town that you can park in and walk to the beach. 

If you have beach chairs and coolers you are not allowed to walk through the center of Las Catalinas (got to keep up appearances, you know πŸ˜‰ ). But, you can still access the beach.

If you opt to do this, don’t leave anything of value in your car. There are guards, but I’m not sure how well they guard vehicles. 

Also, I believe we payed about $5 to park when we tried this. So, have some colones or US dollars on you. 

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Las Catalinas Restaurants

There are only a handful of restaurants in Las Catalinas. But, as construction is ongoing, I’m sure new places will be added soon.

So, I included the few places in Las Catalinas that I recommend as well as some places located in Playa Potrero (about a 10 minute drive away). 

Fine Dining

Sentido Norte 

This restaurant features sweeping views of the Pacific Coast. It is located in the Casa Chameleon hotel in Las Catalinas. We suggest going here for an early dinner to enjoy the sunset.

Everything is great here, but I suggest opting for whichever fresh fish they are currently offering. 

RLT Cuisine

If you are a bit of a food snob, go here. This is a cozy kitchen experience in which all food is created by Chef Gil in front of  you. The menu is always changing based on what is fresh that day. The experience can be as interactive as you would like it to be. Just make sure you make reservations. 

Castillo de Lillo

Luxury castle views of the Pacific Coast while enjoying a delicious meal, what more could you want? The hosts, Erica and Marco will take great care of you and produce an excellent dining experience. 

Pascuel

A beautiful restaurant located next to the beach in Las Catalinas. This is a good place for meat or fish. 

Mid-Range

Hemingways

Our go-to dinner choice in Playa Potrero. I suggest ordering the Pargo Entero (whole red snapper) and a cocktail. They have an extensive drink menu and the bartenders know what they are doing. 

La Forketta

Consistently excellent Italian food. I usually opt for the pizza, but their pasta is also on point. Just note that this place seems to always be super crowded so make a reservation if you can. 

Pots & Bowls

Located in Las Catalinas, this is a good place for cafe style food with ocean views. They serve a variety of breakfast options, acai bowls, burgers, lunch bowls, and more. I definitely suggest getting a cold pressed juice or smoothie on a hot day. 

Potrero Brewing Co

Located in Potrero, this is a great place for a rotating menu of craft beer which they brew themselves. They also often have live music and it’s just an overall great environment. 

Budget Friendly

Carpe Diem

A cafe that is open for breakfast and lunch in Playa Potrero. They serve great sandwiches on fresh ciabatta bread. 

Soda Marcell

Great place for no frills typical Costa Rican food. They are only open from 7:00 until 3:00pm so head here for a gallo pinto breakfast or casado for lunch. 

las catalinas Costa Rica
las catalinas Costa Rica
las catalinas Costa Rica

Las Catalinas Costa Rica Hotels

As of now, there only two resorts located in Las Catalinas. The rest of the accommodation options are private condo and villa rentals. 

The two resorts are:

Casa Chameleon

Casa Chameleon boasts stunning ocean views, private plunge pools, and exquisite accommodations. The hotel is perfect for honeymooners, couples, and travelers seeking a serene and secluded getaway.

Note: This is an adults-only hotel. 

Santarena Hotel

The hotel features spacious and stylish accommodations, world-class dining options, and a wide range of amenities, including a rooftop pool, fitness center, and spa.

las catalinas Costa Rica
las catalinas Costa Rica

Vacation Rentals in Las Catalinas

We always love renting a home or villa for our vacation in Costa Rica. This gives you more privacy and allows you the flexibility to cook your own meals.

Note: We try to only ever suggest places with good cancellation policies, but always double-check before booking.

Ocean View Condo

Over 2,123 square feet of living space just steps from the beach. With a stylish master suite, two guest bedrooms, and a fully stocked kitchen with upgraded features, this professionally decorated property can comfortably accommodate up to 8 guests. Enjoy ocean views from the terrace with a private dipping pool, and take advantage of the many amenities Las Catalinas has to offer.

One Bedroom Luxury Condo

This spacious and beautifully decorated 1-bedroom condo offers over 1,100 sq. ft of living space. The open concept design integrates the kitchen, dining, and sitting room. With a landscaped backyard, BBQ, and ground-level entry for easy access, this condo is perfect for those seeking a comfortable and convenient home with no stairs. 

Two Bedroom Luxury Condo

Experience the spaciousness of this 2-bedroom condo that sleeps 5, perfect for a family or two couples. We love that there are three terraces which feature views of town, a hammock, and a large BBQ for outdoor gatherings.

Casa Alouatta Guesthouse

This is a luxury-designed two-bedroom home with direct beach access and ocean views in Las Catalinas. This guesthouse, sharing the property with the main house, features a spacious kitchen with a large island and bistro tables, perfect for entertaining. The infinity pool provides a relaxing oasis with shaded and sunny lounging areas overlooking the ocean.

Casa Teja

Introducing Casa Teja – a stunning villa boasting 3272 sq. ft of luxurious living space with 4 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms. It can accommodate up to 8 guests. The open-air floor plan integrates the lap pool, ocean-facing front porch, and indoor/outdoor dining and living room, making it easy to relax and entertain.

4 Bedroom Home

The views here are amazing! This beautiful 4-bedroom house is perfect for accommodating up to 12 guests. There is a covered BBQ terrace, infinity-edge pool, and heated spa, providing ample seating and stunning views for your ultimate relaxation and entertainment.

Oceanfront Villa

Whoever did the entire design of this house is absolutely amazing. This home features six bedroom and seven bathrooms. It can sleep up to 14 guests. Relax and unwind on the rooftop terrace with a cozy fire table and star-gazing pool, take a refreshing dip in the plunge pool with comfortable seating, dine and lounge in style at the oceanfront alfresco area, or retreat to the tranquil library for some quiet downtime. And the best part? The beach is just a 15-second walk down the trail from the front of the home.

Casa Mar y Sol

This exquisite home boasts 7 bedrooms and 6 bathrooms, with ample space to comfortably sleep up to 20 guests. Created by the merging of two homes, Casa Mar and Casa Sol, this unique property offers a pool courtyard at its center with a poolside lounge, shaded cabana, and plenty of space for kids and adults to gather and create lasting memories.

Casa de Tom

The main house boasts three luxurious bedrooms with private baths and spacious wraparound porches. The infinity-edge pool and BBQ area provide the ideal setting for sunbathing and cocktails, while the guest house features two more bedrooms, including a king bedroom with courtyard access and a bunk bed room with a terrace overlooking the ocean.

las catalinas Costa Rica
las catalinas Costa Rica
las catalinas Costa Rica

Las Catalinas Travel Tips

– Las Catalinas is a really nice place to visit to enjoy the amenities of the town and the nice beaches. However, we really think that if you visit Costa Rica you should also explore some other parts of the country as well to really embrace the Costa Rica vibe.

las catalinas Costa Rica
Las Catalinas, Costa Rica - Travel Guide
las catalinas Costa Rica

Las Catalinas Costa Rica FAQ

Is Las Catalinas Costa Rica expensive?

Yes, Las Catalinas is on the high end for accommodations and restaurants. The community was designed with luxury in mind and the surroundings reflect that.

Who built Las Catalinas Costa Rica?

Las Catalinas was purchased by a US businessman named Charles Brewer. He intentionally designed the community with the concept of New Urbanism in mind.

Is Las Catalinas walkable?

Yes, Las Catalinas is designed to be a completely walkable beach town. Cars are not allowed in the downtown area of the town.

Articles About Las Catalinas Costa Rica

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Playa Flamingo: Home to one of the nicest white sand beaches in the country and condo-style resorts

….if none of those appeal to you, check out our Guide to the Guanacaste Province for more ideas of places to visit in this area.