With dark sand and stunning sunsets, Playa Hermosa, Guanacaste has been given the prize of “Bandera Azul” for upholding high environmental standards as one of the cleanest beaches in the country. It has gorgeous scenery, surrounded by mountains and lush vegetation so if you’re looking for a quiet beach in Guanacaste, Playa Hermosa is a top choice. Below is our guide to visiting Playa Hermosa in Guanacaste.
*Post updated May 27, 2020.
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- Location and Directions
- Playa Hermosa Beach
- Restaurants in Playa Hermosa
- Playa Hermosa Hotels
- Things to do + day rips
Playa Hermosa, Guanacaste Map
Playa Hermosa, Guanacaste is 25 kilometers (15 miles) from Liberia International Airport and 231 kilometers (143 miles) from San Jose International Airport. It is about a 30 minute drive from Liberia Airport and a 4 hour drive from San Jose Airport.
Driving: There are 2 ways to get from Liberia International Airport to Playa Hermosa, Guanacaste. You can take either route as they are both on paved roads and the time difference is not much at all, just a couple of minutes. The drive time is around 30 minutes. You can take Route 21, 253 and 254 or Route 21, 151 and 159. Either one is fine. You can find Playa Hermosa on Google Maps and Waze.
Shuttle: A private shuttle costs around $50-55 USD each way for 1-4 people and a taxi costs around $60 USD. From Playas del Coco, a taxi ride to Playa Hermosa costs about $15 USD each way.
Bus: There is a public bus from Liberia to Playa Hermosa and Playa Panama everyday at 4:50 AM, 730 AM, 830 AM, 930 AM, 1130 AM, 1 PM, 330 PM and 530 PM with Pulmitan company and takes 1.5 hours. From San Jose, there is a public bus everyday at 5 AM and 330 PM with Tralapa company that takes 6 hours.
There are two entrances to Playa Hermosa which you will see signs for (primera/segunda entrada). Either one is fine to go to. We usually go to the first one because it’s closer from Coco and had decent parking space. Remember if you drive to the beach, to lock your doors, roll up your windows and don’t leave any belongings visible in your car.
Playa Hermosa, Guanacaste Beach
Hermosa is a popular place to watch sunsets as you can get a full view of the sun going down for the day. The beach itself is calm, relaxed and immersed in nature because of the few amount of commercial businesses around.
The tide is fairly calm and since it rarely gets crowded, there is plenty of space underneath the trees to grab a spot. Stretching 2 kilometers (a little over a mile), dark grey sands contrast brilliantly with the blue waters and dark green vegetation. Hermosa beach’s chill and low key vibe makes it a favorite for visitors looking for a quiet vacation. Additionally, the cleanliness and friendliness of the locals makes this one a big favorite in Guanacaste.
However, it is not ideal for a young single traveler since there isn’t much here and it can get a little boring. It’s especially quiet with not much to do in the off season and low travel months like September and October as some restaurants and businesses close.
But for those looking for tranquility, solitude and a quiet beach, this is the place for you. Playa Hermosa is rightly named for what it means – truly a beautiful beach.
Restaurants in Playa Hermosa
Playa Hermosa doesn’t have a town center or a downtown but many of the restaurants and businesses are located on the main road. There are a couple nice restaurants and hotels on the beach and off the main road is the mini supermarket, restaurants, a laundry mat, apartment complexes and real estate offices.
Most of the restaurants serve international and local food.
- Ginger: Asian fusion
- Roberto’s Bar & Restaurante
- Aqua Sport: On the beach with bar and local food
- Papa Hog’s Smokehouse: barbecue, a bit pricey
- Pescado Loco Bar and Restaurant: excellent seafood
Playa Hermosa, Guanacaste Hotels
Hermosa is well known for having some of the nicest houses and condos in the area. You can find many residential communities such as Palo Alto, Monte Paraiso and Hermosa Heights that have giant houses with a spectacular view overlooking all of Hermosa Bay. Check out Airbnb and VRBO if you would like a luxury home rental. (Get $40 in Airbnb credit here).
Depending on what you are looking for, there are many hotels in Playa Hermosa that provide comfortable and clean rooms to accommodate to your budget and needs. Here are the top hotels in and around Playa Hermosa.
- Villas Sol Hotel & Beach Resort – they mostly do time shares but you can stay in the rooms. They are a resort with a couple of pools and a beautiful view of both Playa Panama and Hermosa. They have a range of budget standard rooms to fully furnished condos. They offer an all-inclusive option. Right on the beach.
- Hotel Condovac La Costa – This is another very nice resort on Playa Hermosa with a pool, great view and is beach front, right next to Villas Sol.
- Bosque del Mar – This is a very beautiful hotel on the beach. It’s a nice option if you don’t want to be in a resort or in a hotel with hundreds of rooms like Villas Sol or Condovac as this one is smaller and quieter.
- La Gaviota Tropical: Beach front, small hotel with rooftop pool.
- Hotel El Valero: Boutique hotel on the beach, clean, reasonable prices. Has a restaurant.
- Hotel Mangaby – Excellent budget option close to the beach
- Congos Hostel – Hostel on the beach, good for backpackers and solo travelers. They also have a camping area.
Things to do in Playa Hermosa, Guanacaste
Whether you just want to lay in the sun or be out in the water, there are plenty of activities to keep you busy at Playa Hermosa. The best things to do in Playa Hermosa, Guanacaste are watching the sunset, happy hour on the beach, kayaking and swimming.
Being a more tranquil beach, it is the perfect place to enjoy some relaxation time with loved ones. Sunsets here are spectacular!
From Playa Hermosa, you can also book organized activities such as fishing, scuba diving, snorkeling and beach hopping in the Gulf of Papagayo.
Some popular day trips from Hermosa are Guachipelin combo tour, Diamante Adventure Park, Nicaragua one day tour and Arenal. There are several national parks in the area perfect for day trips such as Rincon de la Vieja, Palo Verde and Rio Celeste (Tenorio Volcano). If you don’t rent a car, you can book tours with transportation from Hermosa included. For day trips, you can check our post on day trips from Playas del Coco (which works for Playa Hermosa too).
There aren’t any big full service supermarkets in Playa Hermosa proper. There is a small convenience store called Super Luperon that has basics and produce. If you want to pick up lots of groceries, it is best to go to the supermarkets in Playas del Coco. You can also go to the Walmart/supermarket in Santa Rosa Plaza in Liberia after you land at the airport.
Playa Hermosa, Guanacaste Nightlife
Aqua Sport is a great place on Hermosa beach for nightlife as they have happy hour, live music, sunset drinks, swings, lounge and a beach volleyball net. However, for more options, head to Playas del Coco for nightlife. Playas del Coco has many more bars, restaurants and places to dance, enjoy live music, good food and happy hour.
Check out our video of Playa Hermosa in Guanacaste to see more!
Here are some ideas of visiting Playa Hermosa, Guanacaste.
- One week in Costa Rica Itinerary: Stay in Playa Hermosa instead of Playas del Coco. Also has a few days in La Fortuna (volcano + rainforest). Get around by renting a car.
- Two weeks in Costa Rica itinerary: Same as above. Stay in Playa Hermosa instead of Coco. Itinerary also includes Santa Teresa (beach), La Fortuna and Monteverde (cloud forest) by renting a car.
Some people only have 4-5 full days in Costa Rica. It is possible to use Playa Hermosa as your homebase without renting a car. You will just have to book tours with transportation.
- Day 1: Land in airport, take private shuttle to hotel
- Day 2: Full day fishing/snorkeling/beach hopping in Gulf of Papagayo (pick up from Hermosa beach). Other options are scuba diving if you dive or surfing at Witch’s Rock.
- Day 3: Sleep in, taxi to Playas del Coco in afternoon to souvenir shop, walk around town, happy hour, sunset drinks
- Day 4: Full day trip to Diamante Eco Adventure Park for ziplining and animals, Hacienda Guachipelin for ziplining, hot springs and horseback riding or Rio Celeste to hike
- Day 5: Relax. Or if you’re up for it, book another day trip like Nicaragua 1 day or Arenal 1 day.
- Day 6: Fly out, transportation via private shuttle
However, if you want to explore, are staying at a vacation rental or just want more freedom, you should rent a car for your trip. And for this area, you can get by with a sedan, you don’t necessarily need a 4wd or 4×4.
Want to read about more beaches in Costa Rica? Here you go!
Or read our guide to the best beaches in Guanacaste.