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The minimum recommended age is 14 years

Playa Hermosa

Playa Hermosa

Costa del Pacífico - Puntareanas , Costa Rica


Playa Hermosa is one of the best beachbreaks in Costa Rica, a Central American country which has places to surf wherever you go. You’ll find it in the country’s central coastal region, bordering the Pacific Ocean, in the Puntarenas province. Playa Hermosa is famous for being one of the most extensive and consistent beachbreaks in the country. The 7 kilometre long blue flag beach has black sand and with an adequate swell from the south and three or four feet, the normal conditions during the season, you’ll see how it makes perfect A-frames which are a treat to surf. It’s for this and other reasons that this is a dream destination for those that want quality, warm water surfing with the best atmosphere and it’s where the Costa Rican motto ‘the pure life’ rings true.

It’s one of the nearest and most accessible spots from the capital San José and with the improvements in the roads, it only takes a little over two and a half hours to get there from Juan Santamaría International Airport, along road 27, then 34, the Fernández Oreamuno Pacific Road, until you reach Hermosa. There is a beautiful mountainous route if you go from Punta Dominical. If you arrive late at night, we recommend that you stay the night in the capital and travel the next morning. It’s a good idea to rent a 4x4 to be able to visit the other nearby spots as well. There are many companies which offer this service online. Towards the north, just before Hermosa Beach, you’ll come to Jaco, a surf city with all kinds of services. There are waves in Jaco but they aren’t as good quality as the other spots that are near, they are however, good for those that have a lower level. The most famous peaks there are T-Box, Corners and some of the peaks with rocky bottoms which are known as El Gato and Roca Loca.

You will have plenty of accommodation options when you arrive at Hermosa Beach but if you haven’t pre-booked anywhere it’s useful to know that some hotels and restaurants don’t accept credit cards. Some say that Playa Hermosa is similar to Puerto Escondido, it’s actually less brutal but nevertheless, with four feet it has enough force and it offers barrels that will satisfy the most experienced surfers. With more than six feet, the conditions are more complicated and the series tend to close. Most of the accommodation and restaurants are located at the extreme north of the beach along with the best sandbanks starting with Terrazas which is the first peak at Playa Hermosa. This is the best place to enjoy a few beers and watch the sunset from the terraces which overlook the beach. If you want to be away from the crowds you can head towards the south to Big Tree, a right with a sandy bottom, and the Almendro peaks which are more exposed to the west swells and work better at low tide. From there you can go a little further south to Tulin and to Playa Esterillas where there are more peaks as well.



The wave season in Costa Rica lasts from April to November and the best months are from June until September as it’s when the swell enters with more strength. It forms from the constant fronts which originate thousands of kilometres away in the south of the Pacific and so this is the best swell direction and the worst is NW. During this time, there is also constant offshore NE wind. It works from 1 to 10 feet, but with more than 6 the conditions are really difficult with a lot of close outs, currents and lack of channels to paddle out. The waves are generally quite short but on key days and depending on the peak, they can be longer than 100 metres. The beginning of the beach tends to break the best with high tide. It’s a more consistent zone but it’s more surfable with a rising mid tide as it’s more closed and tubular with low tide.

From north to south the peaks are as follows; ‘Terrazas’ is a fast right in front of some visible rocks and works better with a W or SW swell. ‘Backyard’, the most popular zone at Playa Hermosa, is right next to it and works better with low tide. ‘Almendro’ is 400 metres south of ‘Backyard’ and can be identified by the big tree that’s by the road and the many cars that park there to get to the various peaks. From there onwards, there are fewer peaks. Just as the road twists to the left you’ll find the ‘Curve’ and a small area to park. ‘Buda’ and ‘Turtle Farms’ follow, peaks well- known by the locals. Even further south, in the mouth of the river Tulin, is where you’ll find ‘Tusubres’ and after that ‘Punta Mala’. This zone is quite deserted and is mainly a fishing zone thanks to the river mouth, however, despite the dangers of possible crocodiles and even the sporadic small shark, some dare to camp out and cook their daily catch to be able to surf alone. Crossing ‘Punta Mala’, you will see the extensive Esterillos Beach, another incredible spot which is worth mentioning because it has very good quality waves, the ideal swell being S, and peaks for all levels.
Optimal Conditions
  • Wave
  • Wind
  • Tide
  • Swell
    S - SW
  • Bottom
  • Size
    1 to 10 ft
  • Time of year
    From May to september
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