Playa Hermosa (Guanacaste): Costa Rica’s Northern Beauty

Last Updated: October 7, 2022

One of the best places in Costa Rica’s popular Guanacaste Province to relax and unwind is Playa Hermosa. This small community draws repeat visitors year after year with its gorgeous beach and peaceful charm. Although its location makes Playa Hermosa feel somewhat isolated, the small but well developed town offers many amenities. You’ll find upscale dining steps from the sand and varied accommodations, including condos, timeshares, vacation rentals, and small hotels. In this post, we’ll share what you need to plan your visit to this beautiful beach town. 

Playa Hermosa Guanacaste - Costa Rica's Northern Beauty


Playa Hermosa, which translates to Beautiful Beach, is located in northern Guanacaste Province. Keep in mind that Costa Rica has several beaches named Playa Hermosa, including near Jaco, Santa Teresa, and Uvita. The one we are covering here is in Guanacaste on the northern Pacific coast. Liberia International is the closest airport, at about 30 minutes away.

Playa Hermosa Guanacaste (sometimes called Playa Hermosa GTE) sits between two points that divide it from the lively town of Playas del Coco to the south and Playa Panama to the north. It is situated in a valley with much of the real estate development in the surrounding hills.

The town has two main roads where many businesses are located. The first and second entrances, as people refer to them, run perpendicular to the beach. There are also some businesses spread out along the main road to town and on the road closest to the ocean.

Hermosa is fairly concentrated, so no matter where you are, you’ll be a walk or short drive to everything.

Playa Hermosa (Guanacaste) - Costa Rica's Northern Beauty
Playa Hermosa sits in a green valley during the dry season

About Playa Hermosa

This small town is popular for those looking to relax in a tranquil setting.

Playa Hermosa is seldom crowded and it is almost always possible to find your own spot on the sand. The destination tends to draw families who come for the calm ocean waters, as well as groups taking advantage of the vacation rentals and condos.

Although Playa Hermosa has a good selection of restaurants, it does not have much nightlife. You can find a party scene in Playas del Coco, though, which is only a short cab ride away.

Activities in Playa Hermosa

From Playa Hermosa, you can organize all the usual tours out of Guanacaste. Zip lining, ATV, horseback riding, and catamaran tours are possible.

Farther inland, you can find more day trips that lead to waterfalls, hot springs and mud baths, and wildlife rehabilitation centers.

National parks within a couple of hours’ drive are Las Baulas National Marine Park (seasonal turtle watching), Rincon de la Vieja (volcanic features), Palo Verde (river boat tours), Santa Rosa (hiking and site of historic battle), and Lomas Barbudal (off-the-beaten-path reserve with a river and waterfall). We’ll cover some of these in more detail below.

Beaches and Water Sports

The main attraction in Playa Hermosa is its light gray sand beach. This wide cove stretches about 1.2 miles (2 km) and has lots of palm and figs trees for shade.

Swimming and water sports like kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, and banana boat rides are popular things to do at Playa Hermosa.

The Gulf of Papagayo just beyond the bay is also full of marine life. Sport fishing, snorkeling, and diving are especially good. The best diving is at the Catalina and Bat Islands where it is possible to see manta rays, white-tip reef sharks, and bull sharks.

Just around the point from Playa Hermosa is a little-known beach that we absolutely love called Playa Penca. This is a small cove with light tan sand and clear turquoise water. It is a good spot to just soak up the sun, but also has a reef with some awesome snorkeling. We have seen a lot of fish not far from shore, including pufferfish, needle-nose fish, and spotted eagle rays. 

For more information about visiting Playa Penca, read our post, Playa Penca: A Gorgeous Hidden Beach in Guanacaste.

Playa Hermosa (Guanacaste) - Nearby Snorkeling Beach
The beautiful Playa Penca

Catamaran Tour

Catamaran tours are a fun way to take in the scenery along the Guanacaste coastline. Boats leave from Playas del Coco and take you up the coast to a calm cove for some time to swim and snorkel. Most tours are a half day and include food and drinks.

Catamaran Tour Playa Hermosa Costa Rica
Aboard the catamaran out of Playas del Coco

Eco-Adventure Park

A great activity with kids is the nearby eco-adventure park, Diamante.

This has an elaborate wildlife sanctuary with monkeys, sloths, toucans, and big cats that you can view close up in nicely maintained enclosures. The sanctuary provides a home for these animals that have been injured in the wild or confiscated from the illegal pet trade and are unable to be released back into the wild.

The park also has zip lining and some fun cultural activities like a coffee/sugar cane/chocolate tour. Different packages are available depending on what you’re interested in. 

Boat Tour of Palo Verde National Park

A national park within a reasonable drive that is definitely worth visiting is Palo Verde. This park encompasses both land and water, but tours typically explore the wetlands of the Tempisque River.

We have done this tour with our two kids and it was excellent. On a comfortable covered boat, a guide will lead you along the river to see wildlife like monkeys, crocodiles, and many kinds of birds. We highly recommend one of the tours that will take you to a farm in the countryside after for a traditional meal cooked over a wood stove.

For more information and help booking this experience, read our post Palo Verde National Park: A Wildlife Tour Through Guanacaste’s Wetlands.

Palo Verde Boat Tour
Boat tour up the Tempisque River in Palo Verde National Park

Restaurant Recommendations in Playa Hermosa

Playa Hermosa has a small, but satisfying, dining scene. Here are some of our favorite restaurants.


A longstanding favorite in Playa Hermosa, Ginger offers refined tapas that are full of flavor. Many dishes are Asian or Indian inspired, but they also incorporate traditional ingredients like local fish. Some of our favorite small plates are the ginger rolls with poached salmon, spicy chicken samosas, and Thai red curry beef on plantains. Ginger is a romantic spot with a modern, candle-lit outdoor dining area. Just after the second entrance on the inland side.

Playa Hermosa (Guanacaste) - Restaurants
Poached salmon rolls at Ginger


Roberto’s is located inside La Gaviota Tropical Hotel on the beach. From the outdoor patio or tables set up on the sand, you can take in the beautiful view or watch the sun sink into the Pacific. Roberto’s has a basic bocas (snack) menu as well as rice dishes, burgers, and sandwiches. Their dinner menu features entrees like shrimp with avocado, Caribbean chicken, and tuna steak. Second entrance, on the beach.

Playa Hermosa (Guanacaste) - Restaurants
Ceviche and patacones with a view at Roberto’s

La Casita del Marisco

As the name implies, La Casita del Marisco (the House of Seafood) specializes in delicacies of the sea. They have big seafood platters for sharing and dishes with jumbo shrimp, mahi-mahi, squid, and local lobster. You also can find traditional Costa Rican dishes and a few steak and chicken options for the non-seafood eaters.

The best thing about La Casita del Marisco is the view. The restaurant is right on the water and has an amazing ocean view. Second entrance, on the beach.

Patio La Casita del Marisco
The view from La Casita del Marisco

Restaurante Niromi By Hotel Bosque del Mar

Playa Hermosa doesn’t have a ton of restaurants so it’s worth visiting this one located at the upscale Hotel Bosque del Mar. Restaurant Niromi is open to the public for three meals a day and also has a tapas menu. They offer refined dishes like bourbon tenderloin, caprese chicken, and an assortment of fresh seafood dishes. The outdoor restaurant has a nice ocean view. First entrance to the beach.

Soda Hermosa

For simple, yet delicious traditional Costa Rican cuisine, head to Soda Hermosa. Soda Hermosa serves up hearty breakfasts and lunches. They offer gallo pinto (a breakfast dish of rice and beans) four ways, including one vegetarian option, breakfast quesadillas, soups, ceviches, traditional rice dishes, and many lunch plates. The quality is good. Tortillas are homemade and you also can get fresh chorreadas (corn tortillas served with sour cream). Second entrance, near the main road.

Hotel Recommendations in Playa Hermosa

Hotel Mangaby

We’ve stayed at this small, family-run hotel right in the middle of town before and enjoyed it. Hotel Mangaby has simple, but spacious and extremely clean, rooms with A/C and hot water. Rooms overlook the gorgeous pool, which is quite large and surrounded by lush gardens. The small restaurant serves a made-to-order traditional breakfast. Hotel Mangaby is popular with visitors and you’re likely to see locals there as well. Double room, $90-250. Check Rates and Availability Here.

Playa Hermosa (Guanacaste) - Hotels
Hotel Mangaby

Hotel Condovac

If you’re looking for more of a resort setting, consider Club and Hotel Condovac. This is a larger complex on the northern end of the beach that offers condo-style accommodations with kitchenettes. The facility is a bit dated, but very affordable. Condovac is situated on a steep hill so has nice ocean views. The two-bedroom villas are good for families and groups. Villas, $100-550. Check Rates and Availability Here.

Hotel Bosque del Mar

This beautiful upscale hotel is in a prime location on the beach. Suites are big, clean, and comfortable, with separate living areas. The property has many mature trees, which draw wildlife like monkeys, iguanas, and hummingbirds. Bosque del Mar is good for couples, but also families and groups because some suites can be connected. Located on the quieter southern end of the beach. We loved our stay here. $280-500. Check Rates and Availability Here.

Hotel Bosque del Mar - Playa Hermosa, Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Photo Credit: Hotel Bosque del Mar

La Gaviota Tropical

La Gaviota Tropical is another option for a higher-end stay. This cozy boutique hotel is right on the beach in the center of town. It has just five rooms with configurations ranging from a family room with a queen bed and bunk beds to a multi-room oceanfront suite for couples. One of the best features is the small rooftop pool. $125-300. Check Rates and Availability Here.


Playa Hermosa is the perfect destination to spend a week relaxing on the beach or to close out an action-packed vacation. Although small, it has enough to keep you busy and plenty of restaurants to excite your pallet. We can see why so many people return year after year.

Last Updated: October 7, 2022

Are you visiting Playa Hermosa? Leave us a comment below. 

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you book a hotel using one of the links, we receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Read our Privacy Policy for more information.

Looking for more information to plan your trip to Costa Rica? Check out these posts:

La Fortuna: What to Expect from Costa Rica’s Most Popular Destination – La Fortuna is home to the mighty Arenal Volcano and is commonly paired with destinations in Guanacaste like Playa Hermosa. This post has everything you need to plan your visit.

Driving in Costa Rica: What to Know Before You Go – Playa Hermosa is a drive from most activities so having a car is recommended. See our tips before you hit the road and look for our rental car discount too!

Monteverde: A Forest in the Clouds – Another popular place to pair with Guanacaste destinations is the misty mountain town of Monteverde. Bring your jacket for this one as temps are much cooler than at the beach.


  1. I enjoyed this post thoroughly, Jenn and Matt. It brought back wonderful memories of the culmination of my 2013 Wonderful Women trip when we enjoyed peaceful Playa Hermosa and our time at Hotel Bosque del Mar. Looking forward to hopefully seeing you soon (perhaps first in the World Series?!!) in CR!

      1. Jenn and Matt– We’ll be in Uvita at La Cusinga 2/5-8. I’ll get in touch closer to the dates and see if we can connect sometime while we’re there. It would be great to see you and meet Sam, too! Fyi, I’ll probably take the group to the restaurant where we had dinner with you in Aug. 2015. I still remember that octopus dish and am already looking forward to ordering it again!

  2. Jenn and Matt,
    this was such a great post for me since i only recently made our bookings at Hotel Bosque del Mar. I picked Hermosa for the quietness after our activity packed time in La Fortuna and because we have a 4×4 if we are bored and want to venture to nearby beaches. your post has given us a few options for the latter and saved me trouble from restaurant research. I will post back in December once i return.

    1. Hi Mavis, Glad we had good timing for you. We think you’ll love Hotel Bosque de Mar. It’s the perfect place if you’re looking for some quiet. Definitely let us know how your trip goes. We heard that a couple of new restaurants opened up in town since we were there. Would love to hear what you think if you try any of them. Cheers!

  3. This looks like a beautiful area. Is there any bus transportation between Playa Samara and here? I will be ending my trip at Playa Samara but thought it might be good to spend the last few nights in this area since I am flying home from Liberia. Currently we are staying for five nights in Playa Samara, which almost seems too long. Thoughts?

    1. Hi Mary, 5 nights is a little long in Samara so maybe switch a couple of those to Hermosa. Hermosa is very close to Liberia Airport, which is nice because you can often leave same day as your flight, and it’s a different area of the country to experience.

      This website has good info on the bus schedule. It looks like there is bus service from Samara, but nothing direct. You have to connect a couple of times, which is less convenient. You could see how much a shuttle would be, which is a much faster option. It isn’t a long trip so should be reasonable. Hope that gives you some ideas.

  4. Jenn and Matt,

    Great info. My wife, 3 teenage girls, and myself are coming in late December. Cant wait. Will probably pick your brain for some ideas while we are in Playa Hermosa. Playa Penca is a must. We will be in La Fortuna for 3 days then Hermosa for 5. Thanks for the trip info and chat with you soon.

  5. We have reservations for 3 nights at La Gaviota Tropical hotel and are wondering if we can walk to restaurants, etc. From hotel and what you recommend nearby to see, shop, eat? Will we need a car to do even basics? We wanted to chill at hotel yet still be able to check out the town. Also, How far from Samara and Coco will we be? Thank you!

    1. Hi Kini, That hotel is in a good location right on the beach. It has its own restaurant and there are a few others within walking distance. It’s not a huge town so a lot will be close by or a very short taxi ride away. This post has our recommendations for area activities and restaurants so scroll up for that.

      Samara is quite far, but Playas del Coco is right next door so you could easily take a taxi. You could also visit Tamarindo and Playa Conchal on day trips. Have a great visit. Hermosa Beach is beautiful!

  6. Thank you! we can’t wait to get there! From your description the hotel sounds perfect for our needs and what we had hoped for! Will take your recommendation and visit Coco, Tamarindo & Conchal. Gracias for your insight and recommendations!

  7. Hi guys!

    I’ve been reading and rereading your blog as my trip to Costa Rica gets closer and closer. I picked La Mareas (a Dreams resort) since this is my first time in Costa Rica and the idea of planning a trip there was overwhelming. Have you ever been there? Is it a good place to be?

    Nervous in New Orleans (lol)

    1. Hi Tiffany, We have not been to Dreams. We’ve heard that it’s fine and it’s a good option if you don’t want to have to plan everything out. Hope you enjoy your time there!

  8. Great read! We are coming in early Nov. Staying 3 nights in Rincon, and then want to spend the other 5 nights at a beach or two. Do you think 5 nights is too long to stay in Playa Hermosa? We want to be beachfront but shy away from big resorts. Hotel Bosque del Mar looks good but they only have 3 nights available. See what you think of my itinerary, better idea? We dont mind splurging a bit on the beach part, just two adults that need a/c.
    RT to Liberia
    Day 1-3
    Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin
    DAY 4-8
    Shuttle back to Liberia and rent a jeep,
    drive to beach but having a hard time choosing which one.
    Thanks for any help you might offer.
    This is a last minute plan as our trip to the USVI and BVI was cancelled due to Irma.

    1. Hi Bert, We don’t think 4 or 5 nights is too long in Playa Hermosa as long as you’re okay with a quieter, chill scene. Although it is a fairly small town, you would want at least 2-3 nights there to fully experience it and you can use your other 1-2 days to explore the area since you will have a car. You could do day trips for excursions or check out some nearby beach towns like Tamarindo and Playa Conchal (gorgeous beach).

      Hotel Bosque del Mar is probably your best bet for a nicer place in Playa Hermosa, but there are good options in other towns too, especially around Tamarindo. Capitan Suzio, just outside Tamarindo, is one that comes to mind. Although Tamarindo can be very busy at certain times of year, it won’t be in early November. If you’re looking for a little more going on, that might be a better choice.

  9. Hi Guys! We have rented a house on Playa Hermosa for 5 nights in January. We were hoping to do some cooking while there. Is there a place in town to buy groceries or would it be better to do this in Liberia? We will be passing through Liberia anyway after spending some time further inland, so it is on the way. Your thoughts?

    1. Hi Michele, Liberia has bigger grocery stores so you may want to stock up there for the best selection and prices. But Hermosa also has a decent sized store on the main road coming into town (Super Luperon) if you need something while you’re there.

  10. Just an update for all traveling to Hermosa and planning on taking a trip to Playa Penca. Be advised the the road from the hiway into the beach is substantially washed out. Couldn’t make the trip down to the parking area with a small 4×4 SUV. We ended up walking over a kilometre in sweltering heat, not for the elderly or faint of heart. Be advised.

  11. We are two families staying in Playa Hermosa in February with 4 children ages 8-10 yrs old. Any suggestions for day trips that are kid-friendly? Thank you!

  12. Hi There, I’m enjoying reading your posts. We will be staying in Playa Hermosa for 7 days in March. Would like to rent a car for some of the time, but are a bit nervous about hidden charges based on what we’ve read. Also don’t think we’ll need a car the entire time as we will be spending time on the beach and on the water. Do any of the car rental companies deliver a car to Playa Hermosa, or is there a car rental company there?

    1. Hi Marilyn, Yes, you do have to be careful about hidden fees when renting cars in Costa Rica. Always go with a reputable company that is transparent about their pricing. We recommend Adobe Rent a Car. You can find a lot of information about renting a car on this page. Adobe does not have an office in Playa Hermosa, but we think they will deliver it for free from their Liberia office. They provide free delivery if it is not more than 12 miles. When you go to make a reservation, under Pick Up Location, write in where you are staying in Hermosa. Then just confirm with the company afterwards that there will be no charge for delivery.

  13. Traveling to Hermosa with two adults and girls 18,15 and 11. Is it safe? Any special precautions? Recommended adventures? We are staying at sol y mar condos.

    1. Hi Beth, Playa Hermosa is a great destination with younger girls. It’s safe and has enough going on without so much that you will have to worry about them, if you know what I mean 🙂 For adventures, you should check out a catamaran-snorkel tour, take a day trip to Playa Conchal, take a day trip to Llanos de Cortez Waterfall, and maybe go horseback riding or diving if you’re interested in that. They would probably like visiting Tamarindo for a few hours too.

      For general safety tips about traveling in Costa Rica, you can read this post.

  14. Hi, Thanks for a great post!
    We are planning to go to Playa Hermosa for our final three days of our trip to Costa rica. Our flight goes from San José at 11 pm. Is it possible to travel from Playa Hermosa in the morning to catch a flight in San José in the evening?

    1. Hi Sara, If your flight isn’t until 11 pm, you can definitely leave Playa Hermosa the same day. It’s about 4 hours to SJO Airport, but build some extra time for traffic and to return the rental car. We recommend arriving at the airport about 2 hours early. Hope you have a great trip!

  15. hi there!
    how far away are the other beaches? taking two teenage boys and I would like to get them to a nearby beach with some bigger waves!

    1. Hi Shannon, The nearest beaches with bigger waves are Tamarindo and Playa Grande. If they’re into surfing, Tamarindo is a good beach for beginners and intermediates, while Playa Grande has bigger waves, best for experienced surfers. These beaches are about an hour from Playa Hermosa.

  16. Hi! I am looking to plan 2 weeks in Costa Rica with my family (we have 2 girls, ages 4 & 9) this summer. We basically want to just live and hang at a beautiful beach with calm water. I do not want to be somewhere that specifically caters to Americans…no chains, major retailers, etc. but would love local cafes and places to just hang and be lazy at 🙂 Does Playa Hermosa sound like it could work for us? How is the weather there in June ? Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Meghan, Yes, it sounds like Playa Hermosa may be a good for for your family. The ocean is relatively calm and the restaurants and businesses are locally owned, by Costa Ricans and expats. Keep in mind, though, that it is a smaller town and doesn’t have a ton going on. For weather, Playa Hermosa is in Northern Guanacaste, which is one of the driest regions of the country. It will be rainy season in June but usually there is still plenty of sun.

  17. Hey guys – I’m surprised there wasn’t any mention of the fact that this is a very depressed town, with an eerie feeling. My husband and I booked a reservation and upon driving into the town realized what a strange town it is and far from what it’s name depicts. We decided to cancel our reservation and keep driving. Not worth going to.

    1. Hi Astrid, It is the low season right now and a lot of the smaller towns are very quiet. Tourism typically picks up in June and July. Maybe that is why it had that feel? Every time we have been to Playa Hermosa, it has had a chill, but good, vibe.

      1. Hey Jenn and Matt: we visited Hermosa 6 years ago. Loved it. Went snorkeling with Captain Aldofo – do you know if he is still in business?



        1. Hi Bob, We’ve never heard of him but that doesn’t mean he’s not still there. You’d have to get in touch with some locals. We’re quite far from Hermosa on the Southern Pacific Coast.

  18. We will be staying in Playa Hermosa in late August for 1 week. Is there a National Park that’s close to see wildlife? Also, any suggestions for ziplining, snorkelling, fishing excursions? Is there Uber there? Really looking forward to experiencing CR! Thank you for the website, it has been extremely helpful for us!

    1. Hi Mark, There are some good options for day trips to see wildlife at national parks and reserves. They’re typically full day activities due to drive times, though, so be aware of that. If you’d like help booking some tours to see wildlife, zip lining, snorkeling, fishing, etc., send us a message through our Tour Booking Service page. We work with some great operators in Guanacaste and would be happy to help.

      Uber is just starting to catch on in Costa Rica and has faced a lot of opposition from local taxi drivers so they’re still working out the kinks. It’s more common around San Jose (though not currently allowed for airport transfers) and harder to find out in the smaller towns like Playa Hermosa. Plenty of affordable regular taxis there, though.

  19. We’ll be staying at the Mangaby for two weeks in Feb 2019. Do you have any idea what the beach fishing is like. Don’t need large fish just want some action. Hope the beach won’t be too crowded at daybreak and a few hours after.

    1. Hi Bill, We’ve never fished Playa Hermosa before. But it shouldn’t be too crowded at daybreak. We’ve seen lots of local guys fishing on beaches to the south like Nosara and Tamarindo so we’d expect it to be pretty good too. Best of luck!

  20. Hi Jenn and Matt, this is our first time visiting Costa Rica. I was happy to see that one of your recommended places to stay is Condovac la Costa as that is where we just booked. It took me a long time to decide on where to stay for our first visit and it sounds like Playa Hermosa is a good choice. Thanks for this blog, it gives people some great tips on vacationing in Costa Rica – excited for our visit!

  21. Hello, we are planning a family trip in early March 2019. We have never been before. We plan to fly into Liberia, drive to LaFortuna (staying at Arenal Springs). Thinking of 3 nights/2 days there then to the beach for 4 nights/3 days. We have 3 active teenage boys. Would you recommend Tamarindo or Playa Hermosa or somewhere else for beach resort and activities? I don’t want to drive longer than we have to but want a nice beach resort and lots of options for boys. Thanks!

  22. Hi there,
    Planning on visiting for one week in March with our 8 year old twins.
    Trying to decide between visiting Uvita and surrounding areas, or splitting our time between La Fortuna and Playa Hermosa. Which would you recommend? Also, looking to rent a house. We have found some good options in Uvita, but not as many in Guanacaste, any suggestions?

    1. Hi Farah, Uvita and Playa Hermosa are totally different so it depends on the experience you’re looking for. Uvita is more lush and green, while Playa Hermosa will be drier in March. Uvita has more wildlife and the beaches are rougher for swimming but secluded and gorgeous. Playa Hermosa has much calmer water for swimming with kids. Here’s a link to our article on the Uvita are to give you a better feel for the differences.

  23. Hi Jenn & Matt. Love your blog. Spent whole month of August in a beach front cabin in Esterillos Este last year. We did not rent a car and travelled north to Quepos and south to Manuel Antonio with public transport, discovering along the way Jaco and Parrita among other sites. Rain man project was great ! Thanks for the discovery !! This year, again in August, we want to repeat similar experience in Guanacaste near Playa Hermosa since we want to bring our snorkelling gear, visit Arenal and Monteverde and/or other parks. We’re looking for clean, simple accommodations where we can stay 1 month, close to the beach, easy access to grocery’ store. We don’t plan on renting a car and enjoy public transport. Would greatly appreciate your advice or other suggestions as snorkelling On our own is principal motor for this trip. Thank you.

    1. Hi Jacynthe, Glad that our site was helpful with the planning for your last trip! Not sure of a specific place to stay for a month in Playa Hermosa, but you could see if Hotel ManGaby would work out some kind of deal with you. They do have rooms with kitchens and are more affordable. They are centrally located in Hermosa. Otherwise, maybe a vacation rental would be better. Hope that helps!

  24. Hello,
    My husband and I are taking a trip in September for our 30th anniversary. We will be fishing while there and staying at Basque del Mar. Can’t wait to try some of these restaurants and I would love a good 1/2 day tour where I can get some wildlife pictures.

    1. Hi Tracy, That sounds like a nice anniversary trip. The Palo Verde tour is a great way to see wildlife and get photos. Let us know if you need any help making the arrangements for that when your trip gets closer.

  25. Hi Jenn and Matt – I am planning our first trip to Costa Rica for my family of 7. We have made our flight reservations for 12/17 – 12/31/20 and are now putting the rest of the trip together.

    We would have liked to have stayed in the Puerto Viejo area for the two weeks, but want to make sure that we are safer with the weather. Our family is hoping to really have our first trip to a foreign country that helps us learn more spanish, be close to the beach with opportunity for good snorkeling, and focus primarily on one area, with just a few day trips.

    Any recommendations?

    Thank you – Eric

    1. Hi Eric, The weather in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca actually isn’t too bad in mid to late December. We have lived there during that time frame and had plenty of sunny days and calm ocean waters.

      For other areas that are close to the beach, Playa Hermosa would be a good option, with some snorkeling nearby. We recently spent some time in Potrero and loved that area too. It’s close to several different, amazing beaches. It has a little more going on than Playa Hermosa. Here’s a link to our Potrero post with more info. Hope that helps!

  26. Hi Jenn and Matt – Your help is big! Thank you. I really like your summary of Playa Hermosa and Potrero. We have 13 nights, so I was thinking of splitting it between two places. We won’t have a rental car. Playa Hermosa or Potrero and _______________? Ideally both places would have beach activity, with one being closer to day activities involving Zip line / WW Rafting / …


    Thank you!

    1. You can do zip lining and whitewater rafting from many different beach areas. We’d probably recommend going to the other side of the country since it has a very different feel and you have 13 nights. Manuel Antonio has excellent zip lining, whitewater rafting, and other adventure activities nearby. It’s also exceptional for wildlife viewing. If you would prefer something closer to Guanacaste, you could look at the Jaco area, which also has those activities, but is busier. Hope that helps! When you’re at the point of arranging tours, we’d be happy to help. Just send us a message through our Tour Booking Service page. We can also arrange shuttle transfers for the 7 of you if you need to reserve those still.

  27. Hello,
    Great info about Playa Hermosa. My family and I are looking forward to spending a month in CR in June. We don’t want to move much. My goal is to stay in one place with a private pool and access to the beach. Do you think that Playa Hermosa will have enough activities to keep a 12 and a 13-year-old entertained? Sounds like a nice quiet place. Do you think Tamarindo be more fun, more lively? I would prefer not to rent a car and just be able to walk to supermarkets and restaurants.

    1. Hi Maria, A month may be a little long in Playa Hermosa because it is small. Unless you plan on mostly going to the beach. Tamarindo would definitely be more lively but it has a totally different feel. It’s much busier and the beach isn’t as calm for swimming. You could take a look at Playa Potrero ( That’s a small beach town but it still has restaurants and stores within walking distance if you are strategic with where you stay. It’s close to several different beaches. Some you would have to drive to but you could also rent a car for just a day or two. Many rental car companies, including the one we work with (Adobe – see our discount here:, will deliver the car to you for free. Potrero also has a sailing center that does different camps with activities for kids.

      Hope that helps! You can follow the link we just have for lots more info about Potrero.

  28. Hi Jenn and Matt! Just trying to decide between Playa Hermosa and Playa Portrero for where to stay with my family after going to a wedding in Tamarindo. We want to get a different, more local feel than the more touristy Tamarindo but with good beaches, restaurants and easy access to other things. It seems like these two are the best options but is one more family friendly than the other (my kids are 6 and 3)? We are also considering going to stay at one of the resorts for the last couple of days by Rincon de la Vieja – but would this be a better area to visit just for the day with the little ones? Not sure what they can actually do there besides swim and take small hikes and not sure if its better to just stick to one of these beach towns and explore from there. Thanks so much for your advice.

    1. Hi Kim, I think I’d do Potrero over Playa Hermosa. It has more of a local feel and a little more going on. It’s also close to many different beaches with calm water.

      It would be nice to do Rincón as a separate destination. There is quite a bit to do there to fill a couple of nights. Waterfalls, hikes, horseback riding, mud baths, hot springs, etc. Here’s a link to our Curubande post (this is the closest town to Rincón). Hope that helps!

  29. We go to Playa Hermosa every year and always stay and eat at Hotel El Velero right on the beach beside Roberto’s. I’m surprised you didn’t mention it. Clean, beachfront, reasonable price and very good food.

  30. Planning our first ever trip to CR this coming November, most likely Playa Hermosa. Just wondering how the bugs are – specifically biting bugs such as sand fleas and mosquitoes? We’re looking at Sol y Mar condo on the beach (VRBO) unless you know of a direct contact there for renting? Thanks! I love reading your info!

    1. Hi Mary, Sand fleas aren’t really a problem in Costa Rica. We do have mosquitoes and noseums/chiggers, though. November is still rainy season so bring some repellent just in case. We don’t have a contact at Sol y Mar so can’t help with that. Glad our site has been helpful to you!

  31. Hi Jenn and Matt – I have three nights to spend in Costa Rica after a program ends in midApril. I’m looking for a beach location on the Pacific side, calm waters for swimming, a beach town that has some selection of shops and restaurants but is relatively quiet, and with easy transport from SJO and then back to LIR for my departure. I am happy to take a hopper place from SJO to get to the coast, and a shuttle or Uber to the Liberia airport, but I am trying to be conscious about not spending too much time and money on the transport since my trip is short. Can you recommend a beach spot that fits this bill? Considering Samara, Playa Conchal, Playa Hermosa. Shall I consider another

    1. Hi Toby, We don’t recommend taking small planes right now. It is hard to find a beach town that is easy to get to from both SJO and LIR. Samara is a really nice beach town with fairly calm water for swimming and enough going on. We wouldn’t do Playa Conchal since there isn’t a town right there. Playa Hermosa is nice and has a good swimming beach so that may be a good option. It’s only about 35 minutes to Liberia Airport for after your stay.

      1. Thanks so much for your response.
        Having not heard back earlier, I booked a place in Samara and a small flight to Nosara from SJO.
        I’m curious about your counsel that you wouldn’t recommend small planes right now — can you say more about that?
        I am also leading a group the previous week who will be arriving in SJO and flying together on Sansa to our destination in Uvita. If there is something we should know about small planes right now, it would be really helpful to understand.

        1. Hi Toby, We don’t recommend them because of safety concerns and we don’t think there is enough government oversight. We used to take them ourselves but aren’t comfortable anymore. People do take them every day and usually everything is fine. It just depends on your comfort level.

          Your group going to Uvita must be flying into either Quepos or Palmar so will still need additional transport even if they fly. It’s easy enough to drive from SJO – it’s about 3.5-4 hours. If you do change plans and need to arrange a shuttle, mini buses are available. Feel free to reach out through our Private Shuttle Booking page and we can help.

  32. We are staying in Playa Hermosa. We have to go to a meeting in Santa Cruz. Can you comment on what the road conditions are for that drive. I am told 45 minutes. It is an important meeting we have to go to, so any and all tips for that drive would be most appreciated.

  33. Hi Jenn and Matt.
    Can you recommend a tour company that offers a catamaran sail and snorkeling in Coco beach?


    1. Hi Drew, Marlin del Rey has catamaran-snorkel tours out of Playas del Coco and there’s also a smaller company there. If you’d like any help with the booking, just email us at bookings(at)twoweeksincostarica(dot)com

  34. Hey guys your site has always been super helpful- we took our daughter to montezuma which we loved for the quiet and then samara last time for a more swim friendly beach – it was that but it was also pretty noisy and busy – would playa Hermosa be a happy medium?

    1. Hi Christine, Yes, Playa Hermosa is sort of in between Montezuma and Samara in terms of business. It´s small and stays fairly quiet except on holidays. Hope that helps!

  35. Hello Jean and Matt, thank you for all the helpful information on your site. We are looking to end our 3wk holiday in Costa Rica with with a few days on a beach in the Guanacaste region. We would like a good beach for swimming, perhaps a bit of snorkelling/kayaking, exploring along the coast, some nice local restaurants… The small quiet nature of Playa Hermosa sounds perfect, I am just worried the accommodation looks quite up market. I was hoping for something a little more rustic… do you have any thoughts?
    Many thanks 🙂

  36. Hi, thank you for all the helpful information, my family and I are travelling to CR in March. First stop is Playa Hermosa, I’m looking for a family friendly place for lunch, preferably with a kids menu for that first day, off the plane when my 6yr old will be tired and less willing to try new things. Any recommendations please?
    Thank you

    1. Hi Natalie, Most restaurants have chicken fingers and fish fingers for kids if that would work for your 6 year old. They are the really good kind (real fish/meat and hand breaded). I don’t know of any restaurants in Playa Hermosa with a kids’ menu specifically, but there are more options in Playas del Coco, about 8 minutes away. Numu has a great kids’ menu.

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