Playa Hermosa – Sometimes Less is More

Playa Hermosa – Sometimes Less is More

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I’ve often pointed out that there are four Playa Hermosas in Costa Rica, but not one Playa Fea.

The one I live in is just north of the bustling town of Coco and just south of the Papagayo Peninsula, the Beverly Hills of Costa Rica. And it’s a great find, right in the Goldilocks zone between too congested and too remote.

The first time I drove through here, almost three years ago, I imagined what it would be like to live here someday. Turns out it’s pretty awesome.

For one thing, you’re rewarded by incredible ocean views every time you drive into town. Hermosa Bay is slightly smaller geographically than Coco Bay, but it’s far more lightly populated. There’s a beautiful, bowl-shaped bay, plenty of shady beaches and just enough lodging and dining options to keep it interesting.

My favorite hotel here is Bosque del Mar, where the reddish lattice design theme and the trees poking through the balconies and the bar make this one of the most beautiful hotels on this coastline. Another fine hotel is Villa del Sueño, which specializes in gourmet dining and live music.

For restaurants, it’s hard to top Ginger, which serves Asian-inspired tapas in a treehouse-style setting. Aqua Sport is the best beachfront option, with cool breezes and gorgeous sunsets, plus some hilarious signs (“If you drink to forget, pay first”). You also can’t go wrong with Sandbar, which has a good restaurant serving beach and bar food upstairs and a bar downstairs with a pool table, foosball and karaoke.

Among its oddest claims to fame, Hermosa has a movie theater showing first-run films, which you can enjoy in airconditioned comfort with popcorn, a hot dog and even a beer.

In the hills looking down on the beach, there are various high-end developments where you could find your dream retirement home or vacation rental. And in the center of town, there’s a smallish but well-stocked supermarket, a pharmacy, a souvenir store, an ATM and a dive shop. Best of all, Hermosa is close to virtually anything you might need — the hospitals, malls, hardware stores and international airport of Liberia and Coco are all within a 30-minute drive. Likewise, the secluded and resort-studded beaches that line Bahía Culebra are nearby.

Howler monkeys abound, though the mammal we notice here most is the skunk. There are also plenty of colorful lizards. I never saw a toucan here, but the mischievous and intelligent white-throated magpie jays love this place.

Come on down sometime and visit — the roads are paved, the trees are green, the people are friendly, and the skunks don’t bite.