A guide to nightlife in Costa Rica

Costa Ricans love to party, and the north-western province of Guanacaste offers up some fantastic after dark entertainment for your Costa Rica holidays. From chilled out surf bars to modern nightclubs and swanky casinos, you’ll also find beach parties along the popular coastline during the summer.

Dance the night away at Aqua Discoteque, Playa Tamarindo

Designed with chandeliers and an amazing staircase which ascends around a cascading waterfall, this modern, chic club always attracts big crowds. With an outdoor terrace that enjoys spectacular ocean views, you can take advantage of the two-for-one happy hour and head upstairs to watch the sunset before taking to the dancefloor.

By day, Aqua Discoteque serves up delicious breakfast burritos and casual dining options. By around 10pm however, the vibe changes and this trendy beachfront club hosts an array of exciting DJs and live bands long into the small hours. Ladies will enjoy free drinks every Monday until midnight and everybody can take advantage of riding the full size mechanical bull.

Take your pick at Amberes, Playa Flamingo

Established in 1984, Amberes is a diverse venue with a casino, restaurant and vibrant dancefloor all within a few feet of each other. Boasting refreshing air conditioning and magnificent water views of the Marina and Bahia Potrero, visitors here are free to enjoy a few quiet drinks at the bar or stay for a night of full on dancing.

Special events are common at Amberes, and if you’re feeling lucky, the plush casino offers Black Jack, Rummy, a Roulette table, and Texas Hold’m. The bar also shows major sporting events on its large screens and arranges shuttle services to and from the main hotels within the area.

Surfers paradise at The Backyard Bar, Playa Hermosa

The Backyard Beach bar is a super cool spot to watch surfers tackle giant waves, and catch the sunset over the beautiful blue Pacific during your Guanacaste holiday. Its oceanfront terrace is nestled into rich green vegetation right on the beach. If you miss the sunset happy hour from 4.30 to 7.30pm don’t fret, as evening happy hour quickly comes around from 9 to 11pm.

With world-class surf so close, the bar hosts an open surf contest every Saturday at 4pm, which pays a whopping $300 cash to the winner. Even if you’re more novice than pro, you can still enjoy the show with an ice cold beer or a frozen cocktail. The popular bar also hosts Ladies Nights complete with a live DJ, lots of dancing and a bonfire right on the sand.

Never a dull moment at Sharky's Bar, Playa Tamarindo

This action-packed sports bar touts itself as the only true sports bar in Tamarindo. With an array of massive flat screen TVs showing every game imaginable, it’s hard to disagree with them. Open every night until 2.30am, this popular bar is always teeming with people no matter what time of year you visit.

Aside from sports, Sharky’s Bar offers an exciting event every night of the week, including Margarita Mondays, Wild Wild Wednesdays and Beer Pong Sundays. You’ll find tasty bar food in the form of wings and burgers, alongside an incredible selection of craft beers, delicious cocktails and as many shots as you can handle.

A slice of Ibiza at La Vida Loca Bar, Playas del Coco

At the top of El Coco beach is this quirky and spacious open-air bar, complete with a fun and inviting atmosphere. Once across the bridge, you’ll enter this recently refurbished hangout where you can grab a cold beer at the bar and watch the crashing waves tumble onto the beach.

Fridays and Saturdays fill up quickly, with people dancing to the latest hits, playing darts or just making new friends. The Sunday reggae night won’t disappoint, either. If you’re feeling adventurous, try the Chili Guaro shot – a blend of Cacique Guaro, Costa Rica’s most well known spirit, hot sauce and lime juice.