Playa Hermosa is at the center of surfing in Costa Rica and has recently been named as one of the World Surfing Reserves by Save the Waves.
As Playa Hermosa is a short drive from Jaco, it is in the perfect position in the Pacific ocean to pick up swells from the Southwest, making it a reliable surfing beach where you can catch many high waves.
The beach is so spacious and the waves can hit heights of 5ft 9 inches with good offshores and swells usually through the wet season. Playa Hermosa is 2 hours away from San Jose so you are able to explore the city as well as experience the surfing heart of Costa Rica.
Below is the ultimate guide to surfing in Playa Hermosa so you can make sure that you hit these waves when you are visiting Costa Rica. We have all of the information for you here so you can plan where to stay, eat, and the best times of the year to visit Playa Hermosa for surfing.
Find out more information about Playa Hermosa below.
The Best Time To Surf In Playa Hermosa
You can surf in Playa Hermosa pretty much all year round as the waves are incredibly reliable so you are able to catch them throughout the year.
The rainy season is when Costa Rica gets a Southern swell, which provides some of the best waves throughout the year. Find out more about surfing throughout the year in Playa Hermosa.
May – November (Rainy Season)
As mentioned above, the Southern swell generates great waves during the rainy season that hits the Pacific coastline with unstoppable waves.
This season tends to be popular with more experienced surfers due to the height and strength of the waves, as double overhead waves are pretty common.
This can be daunting for beginner surfers, so you are better off practising on smaller waves before hitting the Playa Hermosa waves during the rainy season.
The closeouts often run to the end of the sand, so if there is one thing that Playa Hermosa doesn’t lack in, is waves. This does mean that there isn’t anywhere milder along the Playa Hermosa shoreline that will be less daunting for beginners. For advanced surfers, Playa Hermosa is a dream come true!
December – April (Dry Season)
The dry season in Playa Hermosa is much more suitable for beginner surfers as there are surf camps to take part in and also whitewash to help you improve your surfing techniques.
There are consistent breaks in the waves with incredible barrel options that allow you to experience some awesome waves on Playa Hermosa and take your surfing to a whole new level.
Although the rainy season in Playa Hermosa is labelled as the best season for waves, the dry season can cater to both beginner and experienced surfers.
Although the swell direction changes from the South to the North and the West, the waves become a lot calmer but still good enough to ride. There is less of a chance of experiencing heavy closeouts during the dry season so you can get in on the action as a beginner surfer as well!
Playa Hermosa Surf Spots
Playa Hermosa is overrun with great surf spots that stretch for 6.5 miles, so you will most definitely never be short of options for surfing. Here are the spots that you need to know about so they can be added to the top of your list for surfing!
Terrazas is one of the most well-known surfing spots on Playa Hermosa as it is right next to the hotels that are filled with keen surfers that are eager to get out into the Costa Rican waves!
The waves are great for top turns and pick up enough height so that you can surf all day if you want to. Although Terrazas is a great surf spot, there are jagged rocks hidden by the waves that you need to be aware of so you don’t cause yourself any harm in the water.
La Curva is an excellent surf spot for beginner surfers as the waves are much more relaxed. The waves stretch to both the left and right, but the right is of better quality if you are looking for larger waves to catch.
La Curva has a lot of foamers that will most certainly help you become more confident in your surfing. The Southwest swells generate good waves but there is a much more relaxed vibe in this spot.
Tulin has great waves and gets very busy when people find out that great waves have arrived in Tulin, so it is best to get down there fast!
It is the most Southern end of the Playa Hermosa and the waves are good for most surfing levels as barrels are common and the waves become much more relaxed.
Tulin is very popular for surfing but it can also be popular for crocodiles, so you need to be extra careful when surfing these waters.
If you are a beginner surfer, Playa Hermosa seems like the best place to head as it is super popular for surfing, but the waves can be too much for beginners and it can get dangerous if you aren’t experienced.
If you are a beginner surfer, learning to surf on Playa Jaco will help build up your confidence as a surfer.
The waves are still big enough to catch but small enough to not be too intimidating for beginner surfers, and the town is full of surf shops and surf schools to help you feel more confident and comfortable in the water.
Backyards is the perfect surf spot during the peak of the rainy season and the peak of the dry season.
The waves are great to catch as there are always North or South swells in this area with an element of the West swells in them that generate incredible waves for you to consistently catch.
The sandbank barrels that are formed are very steep and strong so they are more suitable for experienced surfers, but this area is always full of keen surfers trying out the waves.
Roca Loca And El Gato
Roca Loca and El Gato are 2 reef breaks that are between Jaco and Playa Hermosa and are both great surf spots.
Roca Loca is perfect during the rainy season as it is a shallow reef that greatly benefits from the South swells during the rainy season. Meanwhile, El Gato is good for single overheads but it can get shallow with not as many great waves compared to Roca Loca.
In the middle of the Playa Hermosa is Almendros, a popular surf spot for short boarders. The waves are of great quality in Almendros but they need around 5ft 9 inches to work. There are great ripples at the Almendros which means that it is popular with experienced surfers who enjoy the larger waves.
Where To Stay To Visit Playa Hermosa
When you are visiting Playa Hermosa, you can either stay around the coast of Playa Hermosa where you have access to the best waves and have a great view of the ocean. There is also the option of staying in Jaco where there is nightlife to explore.
It is entirely based on personal preference where you would rather stay, and here are some options to help you.
Hotel Terraza Del Pacifico
The Hotel Terraza offers incredible views of the Pacific ocean from your hotel room, so you are able to surf all day and then wake up to an incredible sight of the ocean from your window.
You are also able to see the Playa Hermosa from your window so that you can keep an eye out for the best waves so that you can quickly get on down there. The rooms are very modern and there is an outdoor pool that you can use whenever you want.
The Hotel Ibiza can be found in the beautiful Jaco and is a couple of hours away from Playa Hermosa. However, if you are up for making the journey for some awesome surfing, then this hotel would be great for you.
It is also a good location for beginner surfers who want to practice surfing at Jaco before surfing on Playa Hermosa. There is a pool available for the guests to use and their main attraction is gardens that are filled with animals for you to marvel at during your stay.
If you are looking for accommodation that is built for a surfer, then Sunny’s will offer you the perfect surf lodge vibe. The beach house is made from timber and every room has a balcony where you can marvel at the Playa Hermosa from your room.
You are within a short distance from the Northside of the Playa Hermosa but you are able to get to all of the surf spots from this destination.
One of the most important things about taking a surf trip is knowing that you have a surf shop nearby. Playa Hermosa and Jaco have various surf shops that will have you covered if you forget any necessary equipment or if you want to purchase anything on your trip.
Here is a great option for you to head towards if you need any gear or have some questions that need answering.
Carton Surfboards is the perfect place to go wherever you decide to stay as it is located right between Playa Hermosa and Jaco, so it is a short distance away from both. You can get your hands on great quality surf gear, which you can either get second-hand or brand new.
The store also offers repairs on your own gear if something has been damaged, but if it cannot be repaired, you can pick up everything that you need here.
Food And Drink At Playa Hermosa
There are plenty of options for food and drink down at Playa Hermosa where you can cater to all preferences. Choose either of the options for a great start to your day or hit them up on your way back from a long day of surfing.
These places are great for providing you with all of the energy that you need to enjoy Playa Hermosa to the fullest.
Vida Hermosa Bar And Restaurant
Vida Hermosa Bar and Restaurant gives you the full surfer experience as after a fun-filled day of surfing, settle down at this hangout spot and enjoy your meal with a beautiful view of the North end of the Playa Hermosa.
The restaurant is made out of timber for a classic beach hut vibe and is filled with fun as they have an array of cocktails and live music most nights.
The Surfing Co.
The Surfing Co. is a part surf shop and part hangout spot, but it is more of a cafe than a store. It is handy as you can take a look around at the gear before you settle down for some refreshments and they can really set you up for the day.
The interior is smooth concrete and has lots of great surfboards just in case you fancy making a purchase. Great coffee and breakfast food is served here to make sure that you are energized for a full day ahead.
To conclude, Playa Hermosa is a great destination for surfing as it is already incredibly popular with the surfing community in Costa Rica.
There are a variety of waves that can be surfed by both beginners and more experienced surfers, but there are designated surf spots depending on your experience level to make sure that you are confident and comfortable in the water so that you can remain safe.
There are a few things to be aware of when surfing, particularly as it is a water sport, so you always need to be aware of any risks posed to yourself and others. The main risks are crocodiles and jagged rocks, both of which cause a significant threat to surfers.
You need to always make sure that you are safe in the water and minimize any risk of injury or danger to yourself and other surfers in the water.
Finally, it is important to enjoy the waves! Playa Hermosa is a famous destination for surfers as it provides great waves all year round, so you can fully immerse yourself in the surfer’s paradise.
Playa Hermosa is known for its high and strong waves, so make sure that you have the skills to be able to surf in the world-famous wave of the Playa Hermosa.