280km (174 miles) NW of San José; 67km (42 miles) SW of Liberia

Playa Conchal ★★ is the first in a string of beaches stretching north along this coast. It’s almost entirely backed by the massive Westin Playa Conchal resort, W Costa Rica, and Reserva Conchal condominium complex. The unique beach here was once made up primarily of soft crushed shells—a shell-collectors’ heaven. Unfortunately, as Conchal’s popularity spread, unscrupulous builders brought in dump trucks to haul away the namesake seashells for landscaping and construction, and the impact is, sadly, quite noticeable. The beach is still primarily comprised of crushed bits of polished sea shells, but it’s become increasingly hard to find larger pieces or complete shells.

Just beyond Playa Conchal to the north, you'll come to Playa Brasilito, a tiny beach town and one of the few real villages in the area. The soccer field is the center of the village, and around its edges are a couple of little pulperías (general stores). The long stretch of gray sand beach has a quiet, undiscovered feel to it.