Playa Hermosa, North Puntarenas

Ocean winds whipping through your hair. Saltwater on your skin. The scents. The adrenaline. What is there not to love about surfing?

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced surfer, you can't beat Playa Hermosa in North Puntarenas.

Not to be confused with Playa Hermosa in Guanacaste, the one in Puntarenas is situated five kilometers south of Jacó and brings in surfers of all experience levels from all over the world.

Quicksilver International Surf Championship

Each August, Playa Hermosa hosts Quicksilver's International Surf Championships. Costa Rica surf enthusiasts welcome hundreds of expert surfers from around the world, and that isn't even counting all the spectators that visit during the competition.

Whether you spend the competition on the waves or beach-side watching the participants, you are sure to see action up and down the coast, including the world-famous break in front of the tree known as "El Almendro."

The Small Town of Playa Hermosa

The town itself is sparse in accommodations and mostly home to locals, but when the surfing is over for the day, you can find plenty more action in nearby Jacó.

The town is home to a range of bars, restaurants, resorts and hotels.

You might even find some surfers catching waves at the quieter, less populated black sand beach known as Hermosa to Jacó.

A Surfing Mecca

Of course, surfing is popular even outside of August's Quicksilver competition. In fact, you'll find the best surfing on Costa Rica beaches anywhere from April to November.

Playa Hermosa is known to have some of the most consistent surf breaks in the world.

Perfect for expert surfers, the beach features waves that often reach as high as 13 feet.

However, it is important to note that the beach's currents are very strong, so swimmers and beginner surfers are discouraged.

For those who are just learning to surf, the better choice is to visit Jacó. Just 10 minutes away, Jaco's waves are much calmer and an excellent choice for people who are just learning the ropes.

Regardless of which place you choose to surf, you will find a range of affordable shops for renting surfboards and other types of beach gear.

Manuel Antonio National Park

The surfing may be phenomenal in Playa Hermosa, but it is hardly the only thing to do.

Just 45 minutes away is Manuel Antonio National Park.

Situated on about 7,000 land acres and 136,000 marine acres, this park is one of the most popular in the country.

Guests can take a guided tour along the Perezoso Trail, taking in scenic views as they learn about the area's many plant and animal species. In fact, the park is home to more than 100 mammal species and 350 bird species.

From endangered spider and howler monkeys to toucans, wild parakeets and motmots, the number of animals you might see is truly amazing. You might even come across a three-toed sloth or an armadillo!

The park also features four different beaches for sun bathing, snorkeling and swimming.

Even More to Do

That isn't all, either. Playa Hermosa and nearby Jacó provide many more options for people with all types of interests.

Spend an afternoon fishing for dorado and blue marlin, explore the rainforest on all-terrain vehicles, or even just spend a relaxing vacation sitting on the white sand and enjoying your favorite book. The possibilities are practically endless.

Regardless of whether you’re surfing, hiking or relaxing on the beach, always be safe. If you are inexperienced in the water, take lessons from one of the area’s experts.

Always use safety jackets and other water safety gear, and remember to bring plenty of sunscreen and bug spray to protect your skin during your trip.

The more prepared you are, the more fun your trip will be.

Around Beautiful Costa Rica Tour
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Costa Rica Cloud Forest & Arenal Volcano Tour
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Distance: 2 miles / 4 km
Drive Time: 6 min
Distance: 37 miles / 59 km
Drive Time: 1 hr

Where to Stay near Playa Hermosa

Featured Hotel
Hacienda AltaGracia Auberge Resort
Starting at $275 / night
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The Falls at Manuel Antonio
Starting at $98 / night
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Si Como No Resort, Spa and Wildlife Refuge
Starting at $150 / night
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Hotel South Beach Jacó
Starting at $97 / night
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Villa Lapas Jungle Village
Starting at $70 / person
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Hotel Arenas en Punta Leona
Starting at $125 / night per person - All Inclusive
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La Palapa Eco Lodge Resort
Starting at $110 / night
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Best Western Hotel & Casino Kamuk
Starting at $66 / night

Things to Do near Playa Hermosa

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Vista Los Sueños Rainforest Tours
Starting at $65 / tour
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Efrain's Nature Tours
Starting at $55 / tour
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El Santuario Canopy Adventure Tour
Starting at $75 / tour
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El Trapiche Tour
Starting at $33 / tour
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Adventure Flights Costa Rica
Starting at $150 / tour