The Playa Flamingo area is great! We love this spot because it is small, but has some of the best resort and beach options in the country.
Most of the accommodation options here tend to be more high end, but it is possible to find some budget friendly options as well (especially when traveling during the rainy season).
It is also sandwiched between Tamarindo and Coco, so if you do want more action it is only a short drive away.
Like most of the country, the dry season here runs from mid-December until April or May. During this time it gets really dry here. By March everything turns brown due to such a lack of rain. This is also the most popular time of year to visit Playa Flamingo.
From May until August you can expect some afternoon rainstorms, however, you really never know here. There is typically far less rain than other parts of the country.
From mid-August until December you will typically experience an afternoon rain storm for a few hours.
Getting to Playa Flamingo
It is definitely much easier to get to Playa Flamingo from Liberia airport rather than San Jose. From Liberia the drive will take a little over an hour on a well paved (and mostly flat) road.
From San Jose airport the drive will take about 4.5 hours. The roads are all well maintained, but this route can sometimes be really slow. Most roads are one lane in either direction and if you get stuck behind a slow truck (which will happen at some point), it can be difficult to pass.
We like to rent a car to get to Playa Flamingo. You do not need a 4 wheel drive vehicle to get to Playa Flamingo. An SUV is nice for comfort, but you can make it here from San Jose or Liberia with a small car.
We suggest using Adobe Rent a Car because they are the most trustworthy rental car company in this country (in our opinion) and we have a 10% discount for you. You can read more about renting a car here.
If you would like to take a private shuttle, we suggest booking your shuttle ride from throughout the country with Caribe Shuttle. They are always our go-to shuttle company here.
Getting Around in Playa Flamingo
The downtown area of Playa Flamingo is very walkable. You really do not need a car if you will just be relaxing at your hotel, visiting the beach, and enjoying the great restaurants. However, there is a lot to do in the area. If you would like to explore some nearby spots, a car is the easiest way to get around.
If you take a shuttle to Playa Flamingo and would like to rent a car for just a few days of exploring, that is completely possible with Adobe. In fact, they will even deliver your rental car to you for free within Playa Flamingo. Just add a comment in your reservation about which hotel you will be staying at so they know where to deliver your car.
Also, make sure to select “Tamarindo/Flamingo/Potrero” as your drop off and pick up location.
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.
Go beach hopping– There are so many beautiful beaches in this area. We definitely suggest checking out Playa Conchal and Playa Potrero.
Check out Tamarindo– The town of Tamarindo is located about 20 minutes south of Flamingo. This town is great for surfing lessons, great restaurants, and shopping.
Take an ATV Tour- There are multiple companies in Playa Flamingo that can arrange a fun ATV tour for you.
Take a sunset boat tour– The sunset here is always amazing. There are several companies in Playa Flamingo that do sunset catamaran tours. Often these tours include snorkeling and some food and drink. So fun!
We definitely suggest checking out Airbnb as well. Sometimes you can get some really great accommodation deals at beautiful places on Airbnb. We like Airbnb because often you can get a place with a private kitchen. This definitely helps us to save some money so we are not constantly eating at restaurants. Also, often staying at an Airbnb will give you a more local experience.
Save $30 off your first Airbnb stay here
Cerveceria Independiente– Tasty craft beer! It is not actually overly budget friendly. Craft beer tends to be a bit pricey in Costa Rica, but we put it on the budget list because they also have a nice garden with four food stands on the property. You can grab a beer and get an affordable burger, taco, pizza, or breakfast. It’s a great place to hang out!
La Forketa– Super delicious Italian food and just an overall really cute place. Located just north of Playa Flamingo in Playa Potrero.
Surf Box– Our go-to spot for breakfast and lunch in the area (although they are also open for dinner). We love the cafe vibe here and they really know how to make some awesome breakfast foods!
Coco Loco – Coco Loco is our go-to beach bar in Flamingo. Even if you don’t eat here, we suggest at least spending some time here and getting some tasty cocktails. Although, they food is great as well. Coco Loco actually catered our wedding. 🙂
Sentido Norte– Wow! Not only is the food here excellent (and beautifully presented) but the view is also amazing! For a fancy dinner out, this is our top pick!
– We suggest avoiding this area in the week leading up to Easter Sunday. There is only one road in and out of Flamingo and this is the most popular time to travel in Costa Rica. Lets just say the beach is packed and the traffic is crazy.
-Playa Flamingo is wonderful, but if you want a bit more peace and quiet we suggest staying at Playa Potrero (just north of Playa Flamingo). This little beach town is really peaceful but still has plenty of great restaurants.