Last updated on January 16th, 2021 at 09:38 pm EST
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Playa Hermosa (Guanacaste) photos
Note: The Playa Hermosa referred to in this article is the Playa Hermosa that is located along Costa Rica’s northern Pacific coast, just north of Playas del Coco. We cite the beach name as Playa Hermosa (Guanacaste) to distinguish it from Playa Hermosa (Central Pacific), a similarly named beach located along Costa Rica’s central Pacific coast.
Playa Hermosa (Guanacaste) fast facts
- English name: Hermosa Beach (Hermosa translates to “Beautiful”)
- Distance from San Jose: 240km (approximately 4 hours)
- Closest Town: Playas de Coco (small town), Liberia (large town)
- Beach Status: Public beach
Playa Hermosa (Guanacaste) beach details
Sand, shade, scenery, and unique features
Playa Hermosa (Guanacaste) is a long beach with trodden light-brown sand and a front-row view of fishing boats moored in Bahia Hermosa (Hermosa Bay). The beach is framed by vegetation-covered headlands that appear bright green and lush for part of the year (typically between May and December) but can be bare and dry looking during the summer months (usually January to April). Trees at the back of the beach provide cooling shade.
Crowds and noise
Playa Hermosa (Guanacaste) receives a steady number of visitors, mainly because it’s the main beach that fronts the community of Playa Hermosa. The north section of the beach, which is closest to the community’s main street (the second and northernmost entrance to Playa Hermosa), is the gathering place of local beach-goers. Though it is the busiest part of the beach, and though some beachfront establishments play music, noise generally isn’t an issue. Less frequented and quietest overall is the south section of the beach, which sits at the end of the first and southernmost entrance to Playa Hermosa, and has less commercial development right on the beach.
Cleanliness and Ecological Blue Flag rating
Costa Rica’s Programa Bandera Azul Ecológica (Ecological Blue Flag Program) promotes sustainability and public health (to learn more about the program, see our related blog post: Costa Rica’s Ecological Blue Flag Program: Safe and Sustainable Beaches). Every year, several beaches in Costa Rica compete for top honors, which are bestowed annually according to strict criteria that span the topics of water quality, beach sanitation and garbage disposal, the treatment of industrial waste, beach security, and environmental education. Beaches that participate in the program and meet 90-100% of the eligibility criteria achieve a 1-star rating. Additional efforts invite beaches to achieve 2-star, 3-star, 4-star, or 5-star ratings (5 stars is the highest rating).
In 2019, Playa Hermosa (Guanacaste) participated in the Programa Bandera Azul Ecológica and received a 1-star rating. You may see the achievement displayed at Playa Hermosa (Guanacaste) on a sign that reads Playa Galardonada (Award-Winning Beach).
Development at Playa Hermosa (Guanacaste)
Hotels, restaurants, tours, bathrooms, etc.
The community of Playa Hermosa provides an assortment of establishments, mainly hotels, condos, and restaurants. Most cluster around the town’s main drag (the second and northernmost entrance to Playa Hermosa) and are within walking distance of the north section of the beach. The longstanding restaurant and bar Aquasport is positioned on the beach in this area.
Along the first and southernmost entrance to Playa Hermosa are additional hotels, condos, and restaurants which are within walking distance of the south section of the beach. There is less developent directly on the beach in this area, save for a few picnic tables spread out on the sand.
Horseback riding tours, parasailing tours, and kayaking tours run in the region sometimes visit Playa Hermosa (Guanacaste).
Playa Hermosa (Guanacaste) safety
Swimming and water safety
Swimming is allowed at Playa Hermosa and is generally easy in the bay’s calm waves. As always, exercise caution in and around the water, especially if you plan to visit with children or inexperienced swimmers.
Never bring items of value with you to the beach and always keep an eye on your belongings. Remember to lock your rental car if you have one. Do not visit the beach before sunrise or after sunset.
Playa Hermosa (Guanacaste) location and road conditions
Access to Playa Hermosa (Guanacaste) and 4×4 requirement
Playa Hermosa (Guanacaste) is located on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast. It sits north of the town of Playas del Coco and south of the Peninsula de Papagayo (Papagayo Peninsula).
Playa Hermosa (Guanacaste) is a quick 10-kilometer, 15-minute drive up and over a hill from Playas del Coco via Road 151 and Road 159. The route is paved. A 4×4 vehicle is not required to reach Playa Hermosa.
Map of Playa Hermosa (Guanacaste) Costa Rica
Parking at Playa Hermosa (Guanacaste)
There is no official parking at the north section of Playa Hermosa (Guanacaste). Locals park randomly along the sides of the second and northernmost entrance to Playa Hermosa, which ends at the beach. At the south section of Playa Hermosa (Guanacaste), there is a makeshift lot behind the beach at the end of the first and southernmost entrance to Playa Hermosa. There is room for several vehicles in the lot.
Best reason(s) to visit Playa Hermosa (Guanacaste)
Playa Hermosa (Guanacaste) isn’t worth traveling to purely to experience the beach. However, if you plan to station yourself at a hotel or condo in the community of Playa Hermosa, the beach is a decent spot where you can stretch out along the coast, watch fishing boats peacefully come and go from the bay, and just relax. Alternatively, you can accomplish the same on a day trip from nearby Playas del Coco or whichever destination you plan to station yourself at along the northern Pacific coast.
Beach hopping from Playa Hermosa (Guanacaste) (or alternative beach options in the region)
Recommended day trips from Playa Hermosa (Guanacaste) include visits to Playa Panama, Playa Nacascolo, or Playa Virador, all to the north of Playa Hermosa (Guanacaste), or Playa del Coco, Playa Ocotal, or Playa Matapalo, all to the south of Playa Hermosa (Guanacaste).
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