The thing that amazed me most standing on Playa Hermosa in Jaco Costa Rica on a recent Saturday morning was not the beautiful deep blue and turquoise barrel waves, or the warm sunlight glinting off the black sand. It was the nearly complete absence of people.
There were maybe 30 surfers in the water, but so spread out that everyone got a wave to surf regularly. There was a young photographer alternating between shooting images of surfers and his model-looking girlfriend in her bikini. A lone jogger headed down the beach, and a family played in the sand. A dozen or so cars – most likely of the surfers – were scattered along the roadside paralleling the beach; parking not being a problem.
If this were Malibu, California, or even Jacó, the next beach over from Hermosa, it would be a very different scene with crowds of people on the beach and plenty more surfers out in the waves.
Playa Hermosa, just past Jacó on the Central Pacific Coast of Costa Rica may be famous for its surf and the site of the Costa Rica National Surfing Tournament Finals held annually in July, but it isn’t crowded. The northern end of the 6 km long, black sand beach has a gathering of small hotels, restaurants, shops and homes. Then the beach stretches to the south virtually empty, save for a couple of small clusters of vacation rental bungalows and homes. Even though Playa Hermosa is only a little over an hour’s drive from San Jose, you could definitely say the beautiful beach is peaceful and quiet.
The beach is great for long walks, relaxing, sunbathing, surfing and sunsets. The waves are big and there are strong currents, so for general swimming it is not ideal. The southern end of the beach is part of the Playa Hermosa Wildlife Refuge that protects Olive Ridley sea turtles that nest here each year.
Located on this even quieter end of Playa Hermosa is the modern, new Hotel Tramonto. Since its opening in December 2014, the 76-room hotel has become popular with families, couples and international surfers. The location is ideal to enjoy Playa Hermosa and all of the attractions in the Jacó area as well as Manuel Antonio.
Tramonto means sunset in Italian, and indeed the sunsets here are breathtaking from the impressive second-story sun terrace lounge area. Modern, comfortable rooms in two three-story buildings surround an inner courtyard with a large swimming pool. Each of the 64 Standard and Superior Rooms come with air-conditioning, cable TV and full-size beds; private baths have hot water showers and hairdryers. There are 12 Suites with king-size beds and Jacuzzi tubs. There are four rooms for disabled guests, and an elevator. The ocean-view restaurant specializes in Italian cuisine. Free Wi-Fi in public areas and free private parking are offered.
To get to Hotel Tramonto from San Jose (approximately 75 minutes): take Highway 27 toward Puntarenas. After the toll booth past Orotina, take the turn-off for Jacó Beach on the Southern Coastal Highway. Playa Hermosa is the town just past Jacó Beach. At the far edge of town by the Backyard Café, turn right and follow the signs and access road along the beach to Hotel Tramonto.
Check Hotel Tramonto’s Facebook page for frequent special offers and promotions.
Article by Shannon Farley