Playa Hermosa de Jaco
Of the two Hermosa Beaches on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast, Hermosa de Jaco would be the wild, wavy one. Most visitors to this Playa Hermosa, meaning “beautiful beach,” come to ride her unstoppable, pounding waves, host to a yearly international pro surfing competition and not meant for the faint of heart. Located just a couple of hours’ drive from San Jose, this destination is a top choice for weekend getaways among surfers who live in the city.
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Although Hermosa is only four kilometers from Jaco, you’ll notice a drastically different vibe here. With just a few restaurants and a couple of bars, if tranquilo is what you’re seeking you will find it here.
While surfing is the activity of choice here and you will find plenty of surf camps, lessons and gear for rent or sale in the area, plenty of tours can be arranged during your stay. These include canopy ziplining, scuba diving, horseback riding or a visit to the Pacific Rainforest Aerial Tram to soar above the rainforest while seated comfortably in an open air gondola.
Those who would enjoy an aerial perspective of Hermosa and its surroundings should try the experience of floating weightlessly over the jungle and ocean in a paragliding adventure. Claude the Paraglider, can give you the ride of your life.
Hermosa may be laid back and quiet, but there is no shortage of accommodation here. You will find an assortment of options for all budgets, from rustic backpackers’ cabinas to luxurious condos with pools.
Note: With riptides, currents and gigantic waves, Playa Hermosa is no swimmer’s beach, so be extra careful when you step into its waters.
Reasons to visit
- Big wave surfing
- Conveniently located 1.5 hours from San Jose
- Conveniently located 5 minutes from Jaco
- Laid back area
- Several good restaurants and bars to choose from
- Close enough for a day trip to Manuel Antonio
- Beautiful sunsets
Reasons NOT to visit
- Riptides and big waves mean you cannot swim
- It is not very family friendly
- No all inclusive resorts
- Most accommodations cater to the surfing community (not necessarily a bad thing, but worth consideration to some)
How to get there
From San Jose: Take Autopista del Sol (the Caldera Highway) and go west until you reach the toll booth at Pavon, where you take the Costanera Sur Highway following the signs to Jaco. After you pass Jaco, keep driving towards Hermosa, which is located about 4 km. from Jaco en route to Quepos. The drive should take less than two hours.
Weather and packing list
The temperatures in the Central Pacific region where Playa Hermosa is located remain stable throughout the year, hovering in the upper 80s to low 90s during the day and dropping to the upper 70s at night. Precipitation levels vary by month, but the best time of year to visit if you wish to avoid rainy weather is from December to April, the driest months.
Make sure to pack your surf gear, swimsuits, flip flops, hat, a beach towel or sarong, shorts, t-shirts, some rain gear, and a ton of sunblock and aloe vera gel to soothe any stinging sunburns. Check our packing list for more suggestions.
Fun Fact: There are several Playa Hermosas in Costa Rica. If you were looking for a popular swimming destination by the name of Playa Hermosa check out Playa Hermosa de Guanacaste.