Playa Hermosa de Guanacaste, not to be confused with the surf destination of Playa Hermosa in the province of Puntarenas, is a mere 30-minute drive from Daniel Oduber International Airport in Liberia on a paved, scenic road with sparkling views of the Pacific Ocean as you near the coastline. Hermosa is just 5 kilometers from the budget beach destination of Playas del Coco.
Hermosa: True to its Name
Playa Hermosa means “beautiful beach” in Spanish, and one look at this pristine bay, with pool-like transparent waters and soft, light brown sand, will confirm that this is indeed, a fitting description. Although it is so close to the bustling Playas del Coco, Hermosa has developed differently, maintaining a quiet elegance and attracting an abundance of retirees, sports fishing enthusiasts, and families. In spite of the high-rise condos and resorts that dot the coastline, Hermosa offers respite from the crowds and its excellent location in northern Guanacaste makes it a quiet, relaxing base to explore the rest of this province.
Of course, quiet elegance has a price, and accommodation and dining in Hermosa is pricey, but well worth it.
What the Weather is Like in Playa Hermosa
The rainy season in Playa Hermosa, like the rest of the country, runs from May to November, bringing the dry brush on the hillsides and pastures near the beach back to life in different shades of green. Keep in mind that the dry season, which extends from December to April, is also tourist high season, so if guaranteed sunshine and blistering heat is what you are after, be sure to book well in advance because accommodation and tours fill up fast then.
Hermosa is located in one of Costa Rica’s driest provinces, and compared to the rest of the country, Guanacaste doesn’t see a lot of rain. The temperature here is usually in the 90s (Fahrenheit) or 30s (Celsius).
Don’t miss out on visiting this paradise in the lush, green season. You’ll get enough sunshine to enjoy the beach, sunbathe, and get plenty of outdoor playtime before the daily downpour. During rainy season, it is rare to have entire days of rain and grey skies. Plus, rainy season usually means green season discounts and uncrowded beaches.
Fishing and Family Fun: Activities & Things to Do in Hermosa
Sport fishing enthusiasts have long been drawn to Playa Hermosa, but this attractive destination – a quiet, picturesque base to explore the beautiful Guanacaste coastline – also offers visitors and its growing expat community endless opportunities to engage in different water sports and family outings. Although one wouldn’t expect it at such a remote destination, Hermosa also offers excellent dining options. Playa Hermosa is much more than just good looks.
Sport fishing is popular in this area of Guanacaste, and you’ll find a variety of tour companies in Playa Hermosa and El Coco that offer fishing charters for the whole family to enjoy. Full day tours usually include lunch and snacks. Boats can also be chartered for snorkeling and surf tours to nearby breaks. To reduce costs, these companies usually offer shared charters. No matter which tour you choose, be sure to wear lots of sun protection!
The tranquil waters of Hermosa Bay may not be apt for surfing, but they offer perfect conditions for swimming laps and splashing around with the kids, even babies and toddlers, that’s how mellow it is. For those seeking a bit more adrenaline, you can rent a jet ski or even sign up for a jet ski tour of Hermosa or El Coco. Stand up paddle and kayaking is also popular here and for the more adventurous, there are a few dive operators in this area to choose from, that will take you to coveted destinations such as the Bat Islands and the Catalinas Islands. Snorkeling tours can also be arranged.
Beach and National Park Hopping
Due to its central location, easy access and quiet beauty, Hermosa is one of the best destinations to use as a base for sightseeing in the northwestern province of Guanacaste. El Coco and Ocotal beaches, with scores of dive operators to choose from, a vibrant restaurant scene and bustling night life, are just a 5 to 15-minute drive from Hermosa. The more secluded Playa Panamá and Playa Bonita are also located in the vicinity. Approximately one hour away you’ll find the gorgeous Playa Conchal, Tamarindo, Flamingo and other popular destinations that can make perfect day trips.
Guanacaste contains seven national parks and if you’re in the area, you shouldn’t leave without visiting or arranging a tour to the scenic Rincón de la Vieja, located just an hour and a half from Hermosa by car. To the north, Santa Rosa National Park boasts an important tropical dry forest and an impressive coastline.
Wining and Dining
While Playa Hermosa isn’t exactly a foodie destination, there are lots of yummy beachside breakfast, lunch and dinner places where you can dip your feet in the sand while enjoying an ice cold Imperial beer. There is one surprising culinary gem here, an Asian-inspired tapas place called Ginger (www.gingercostarica.com). Luckily, you can’t miss Ginger, which is open for dinner only, as you drive into town. If you do one thing in Hermosa, treat yourself to a meal there. Oh! And make sure you leave enough room for dessert!