Playa Conchal, Costa Rica

Playa Conchal, Costa Rica

She sells seashells by the seashore, she sells seashells by the seashore, she sells….

She can find her supply here.

Jungle River

Before heading to Playa Conchal, the Lingles — my family, my parents, and my brother’s family — went on a two-hour boat tour on the Tempisque River in Palo Verde National Park. It was awesome. Like floating through The Jungle Book. We saw howler monkeys, white-faced monkeys, scarlet macaws, dozens of crocodiles, and more. Our guides were friendly and informative. And they even let our kids drive the boat!

Shells, Shells, and More Shells

An entire beach of pea-sized shells. From the jungle to the sea.

We’ve seen one other beach like this in Costa Rica, in Cahuita National Park on the Caribbean side. At the time, I didn’t think much of it. Just that it was, evidentially, a mass graveyard for mollusks. At Conchal, I pontificated mucho about it. Like why have so many mollusks been murdered near this beach? How many hermit crabs are around here scouting new homes? And why, just one beach over, are there no shells?

I ruminated on that last question the most. Mes dumb head thing couldn’t understand why, seemingly, no mollusks were squirming around the outcrop and depositing their shells on the neighboring Playa Brasilito, a wide, tan, and all-sand beach a mere hundred feet away.

I determined, the only logical explanation, really, is that Playa Conchal is in a mollusk vortex, where all Central America molluks’ spent shells drift to while being crushed and polished by the waves. That, or some dastardly tunas committed mollusk genocide several centuries ago.

Beach Score: 8.5 out of 10

The shells are, mostly, white. This white shines turquoise in the water. From a distance, from the hilltop one must ascend between Playas Brasilito and Conchal — unless you’re paying beaucoup bucks to stay at the all-inclusive Westin — the beach looks like sand and as picturesque, as idyllic as any screensaver shot you’ve ever seen.

And while the shells do have a massaging quality to them, like walking in those old-school Adidas slippers with all the black rubbery nubs, I wouldn’t classify the beach as comfortable. You’d want a chair or a towel if you are going to spend an entire day here. The shells also seem to be magnets for nether regions. I think Everett (see photo below) is still finding shells in various orifices.

Regardless, especially with a good pair of Chacos, this beach is increíble. The waves are slight. Lake-ish. But what makes them unique is not their stature but their sound. As they shuffle the shells, they whistle. It’s more melodic than sand. More soothing than sand.

There’s also excellent sights above and below the ocean. Rocks peek from the bay like wack-a-moles, just waiting to get slammed by errant waves. Jungle juts from surrounding cliffs. Islands pepper the horizon. And below the rocks, cliffs, and islands, sea life flourishes. Butterflyfish, pufferfish, starfish, and all kinds of other fish zigzag in and out and around the rock formations, as if they’re the ones creating the vortex for the mollusks — or eating them.

A must visit on the Nicoya Peninsula.

One Reply to “Playa Conchal, Costa Rica”

  1. OK, now I know you are in the bayou! Haha. You saw crocodiles, we saw alligators. Paheli you make the prettiest boat captain!!!!

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