The Hermosa Vibe
Playa Hermosa in the Puntarenas Province is the place to stay if surfing is your jam and you want to be close enough to the craziness of Jaco, but have a more peaceful stay.
This is a great jumping-off point for tons of fun Pacific coast adventures.
Map Of Hermosa
Playa Hermosa is located on the Pacific coast just south of Jaco and a bit north of Esterillos.
Hermosa at a Glance
Nearest International Airport
Juan Santamaria International airport in San Jose
Popular Things to Do
surfing, day trips to Manuel Antonio National Park, adventure activities
Best Way to Get Around
Best Time of Year to Visit
Dry season is from late December until mid-April
Book Your Trip
Getting to Hermosa
Flights to Costa Rica
The easiest way of getting to Hermosa is by flying in to the San Jose International Airport. From San Jose, it is about a 1.5 hour drive to Hermosa.
For flight booking we suggest Skyscanner. They are our go-to flight booking site for great rates.
It is best to fly into San Jose (Juan Santamaria International Airport) to easily get here.
Most Flexible/ Our Suggested Transportation Option
We suggest renting a car and driving to Hermosa.
The highway from San Jose to Playa Hermosa is a well-maintained highway. You should have no issues if you are a somewhat experienced driver.
Keep in mind that the highway is a toll road. You need to pay with cash, but they do accept dollars if you don’t have colones.
We usually pay with a $10 bill and the change (in colones) is enough to pay for the rest of the tolls.
About an hour into your drive you will cross over a river called Rio Tarcoles which is usually lined with people. Pull your car over and walk back onto the bridge to check it out. You’ll see huge crocodiles below waiting for a tasty meal. 🙂
You do not need to rent a 4×4 for this route. The roads are all paved.
We suggest renting a car if you plan on traveling to other places and want the flexibility of not having depend on tours.
We suggest booking your rental car with Adobe. They are the most trustworthy company in this country (in our opinion) and we have partnered with them to get a 10% discount for you on your rental car. You can find out more here.
Most Comfortable Option
If you have a small group, the most comfortable option is hiring a private shuttle.
We are big fans of Adobe Transfers and they are more than happy to stop along the drive so you can check out all the crocodiles at Rio Tarcoles or other viewpoints.
You can get get a price quote from Adobe Transfers here.
If you are only going to Hermosa and not planning on traveling to other places, the bus from San Jose is your cheapest option.
The public bus will only cost you a few dollars and runs several times a day. It’s not the most comfortable and if it’s full you could be left standing for the whole ride, but hey, it’s cheap!
You can check out the full bus schedule here. As your destination put in “Playa Hermosa de Jaco”
Getting Around in Hermosa
Hermosa is so small that you really do not need a car. It is very easy to just walk around.
However, you most likely want to take some fun day trips. For that, you will either need a car or book tours with transportation included.
If you don’t feel comfortable driving from San Jose to Playa Hermosa, but would like a car while you explore the area, you can rent a car from Adobe and input Jaco as your pick-up location.
They have an office directly in the downtown area of Jaco. In the comments section of the rental car reservation, you can specify that you need the car delivered to you at your hotel.
Adobe will deliver it to you free of charge if you are within 12 miles of their location (which all Playa Hermosa hotels should be less than 12 miles away).
Book Your Transportation
Playa Hermosa follows the same weather pattern as most of the Costa Rican Pacific coast.
From December until mid-Aril there is very little chance of there being any rain.
Just keep in mind that this is also prime tourism time and Jaco (just north of Hermosa) tends to be one of the most crowded beach towns in the country. This means that by default, Hermosa also gets very full.
From mid-April until the end of July you can expect sunny and hot days with a daily afternoon thunderstorm. The rain usually rolls in around 2 pm and typically does not last for more than a few hours. Even after the rain ends for the day it tends to stay hot and sometimes the sun will return for a bit before a beautiful sunset.
From August until December the weather is a complete surprise. Sometimes there will be nice sunny days and other times there can be nonstop rain.
Keep in mind that this is also the least popular time to travel so there are fewer tourists and everything is cheaper.
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Hermosa Beach House – Simple hotel with nice rooms located directly on the beach. There is also a pool on the property.
Vida Hermosa – Hotel directly on the beach with breakfast included. The breakfast and overall service are excellent.
The Villas @ Las Brisas – This hotel is located in the hills of Hermosa, not directly on the beach. We like this place because the property is nice with all rooms facing a pool in the center.
Surf Inn Hermosa – Studio-style apartments located directly on the beach. This is a good place to stay if you want to have a kitchen for cooking your own meals.
Hermosa Homes & Villa Rentals
We always love renting a home or villa for our vacation. This gives you more privacy and allows you the flexibility to cook your own meals.
Note: We try to only ever suggest places with good cancellation policies, but always double check before booking.
Casa La Cima – A modern three bedroom house with sweeping views and an infinity pool. Note that this spot is in the hills above Hermosa, not directly on the beach.
Beachfront 3BR Home – This hone can sleep up to eight guests in three bedrooms. There is a private pool and it is located directly across the street from the beach.
La Casita – This is a great spot for a couple. There is one bedroom and a private plunge pool. Just note that this spot is located in the hills above Hermosa, not directly on the beach.
Oceanfront Paradise – A two bedroom condo with shared pool located directly on the beach.
Things to Do in Hermosa
Playa Hermosa is the perfect spot for more experienced surfers. If you are new to surfing you are better off trying out the waters near Jaco.
There are plenty of surf shops that offer board rentals as well as lessons.
Hike at Carara National Park
Carara National Park is located north of Hermosa near Rio Tarcoles. This is a popular bird-watching destination and a nice place for a hike that isn’t too intense. Check out our Carara guide for more info.
Take a Day Trip to Playa Blanca
Playa Blanca is one of our absolute favorite beaches in Costa Rica. It’s a bit difficult to get to though. Please read our Playa Blanca guide for more info.
Take a Day Trip to Manuel Antonio National Park
Manuel Antonio National Park is the most popular national park in the country. It is the perfect place to experience a ton of wildlife in a condensed setting with lush jungle backdrops and white sand beaches.
The national park is located about one and a half hours south of Playa Hermosa.
Check out our Manuel Antonio guide for more info.
Paragliding is not for the faint of heart, but there is absolutely no better way to see the stunning Pacific coast of Costa Rica.
Take an ATV Tour
Are you ready to get your adrenaline pumping? ATV tours are a fun way to see the surrounding area in a thrilling way.
Go Zip Lining
Zip over the lush jungle near Hermosa and possibly enjoy views of the Pacific coastline in this thrilling activity.
Take a Horseback Riding Tour
Go with an experienced guide and ride through the jungle. Along the way, you might see various species of wildlife.
Go White Water Rafting
Savegre and Naranjo rivers are located not far from Hermosa. These are both great rafting destinations. The Savegre is better for less experienced rafters while the Naranjo is better for rafting enthusiasts.
Take a Trip to Isla Tortuga
Isla Tortuga is an unpopulated island located off the Pacific coast. This is a great place to take a day tour that includes snorkeling and relaxing on white-sand beaches.
Vida Hermosa Bar & Restaurant – Excellent food served directly on the beach. In the evenings this place can become a fun party spot. I highly suggest anything on their menu with tuna.
Falafel Hermosa – Our go-to lunch spot in the area. The falafel is on point.
Pizza Pata – Delicious square pizza with a wide variety of toppings.
Arenas Restaurant – A great place for elevated Costa Rican food. They also serve excellent cocktails.
Remote Working in Hermosa
– In general the internet is usually decent, but it’s always a good idea to ask about the internet speed before booking a place.
– If you need a co-working space the nearest spot is Selina Hotel in Jaco. They offer co-working spaces for $10 per day, and you don’t need to be a guest.
Packing for Hermosa
Since Hermosa is a relaxed surf village, there is no need to pack much besides your surfing gear and breathable shorts with tshirts. We basically live in flip flops here.
Just keep in mind that the sun is very powerful so surfing with long sleeve UV protecting shirts is always a good idea.
Check out our Hermosa Packing List on Amazon for all the essentials.
Hermosa Travel Tips
Keep in mind that there are two small beach towns called Playa Hermosa in Costa Rica. One is located in the northern part of the country (Guanacaste) and the other is this one located near Jaco.
When doing a Google search for this one, type in “Playa Hermosa, Puntarenas” or “Playa Hermosa near Jaco” for the best results.
Just make sure when you book any hotels or activities you book them for the correct location. 🙂