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Playa Hermosa of Jaco Regional Surf Guide


Playa Hermosa

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Playa Hermosa Surf Spots

Surf Spot: Playa Hermosa
Break Type: Beach break
Difficulty Level: Medium/Difficult
Best Swell Direction: NorthWest, West, SouthWest
Ride Direction: Right and left
Tide: All but high tide is best


Playa Hermosa is a surfer’s haven situated 5 km south of Jaco in Puntarenas Province, in the Central Pacific region of Costa Rica. This black-sand beach is renowned for its perfectly shaped surfing waves that are consistent throughout the year. The beach is located right on Costanera Highway running south towards Manuel Antonio and Quepos. From there, you can easily reach the beach by taking a taxi or a bus.

In 2009, the ISA Billabong World Games was held on the beach, which is the largest event ever to take place in the area. Playa Hermosa features few crowds, smooth dark grey/black sand and a calm Pacific Ocean. Moreover, Hermosa presents a wide range of surf camps and accommodations suitable for every sort of budget.

Playa Hermosa is a 8 kilometer-long stretch of beach boasting a number of consistent beach breaks. The beach features large heavy waves that break near the shore with the full power of the Pacific Ocean, since it has no protection. The beach break features fast, powerful and hollow waves that break to the right and left over a sandy bottom. The waves are short riding up to 50 meters on a normal day while on a good day it can go up to 150 meters.

Best swell direction is from the Northwest, West and Southwest and wind blow from Southeast, East and Northeast. The best tide is high, and at low tide it breaks heavier and can be more hollow. There are different kinds of sandbars that result in a creation of pounding and tubular beach breaks.

This beach is really not a place for beginners. If you’re thinking about renting a board to try out surfing here, you’re going to have an unpleasant experience when these heavy waves hurl you into the air and drag your face across the bottom! Beginners should go to Jaco and specifically to the south end of Jaco at “Corners”. We highly recommend taking lessons at the beginning. You’ll learn much faster and have a lot more fun your first few times since you won’t get crushed.

For more information about the town of Playa Hermosa, click here: Playa Hermosa Town

Beach breaks found along Hermosa:


Terrazas Surf SpotTerrazas is a fast, hollow right break fronted by a large group of visible rocks. There are few other breaks just south of it which are less potent and break over a sandbar. The best time to surf is during the mid tide coming from a west or southwest swell. It’s also known as one of the better spots along Hermosa to be for low tide. Many restaurants and hotels are here, and it’s a popular spot.


Backyard - Hermosa Surf SpotIt features a very regular and clean sandbar present right at the opening to the dirt road in Hermosa. The waves are hollow breaking nearby the beach with lefts and rights. This is the most popular spot in Playa Hermosa, and it’s chock full of hotels and places to eat, including the favorite beachfront restaurant Vista Hermosa, from where you can eat and watch the surfers in front. Backyard also has a surf competition every Saturday, with many locals and tourists competing. The Surf Inn Hermosa surf cam is also located here.

The Tree / Almendro

The Tree Surf Spot“The Tree” is located in front of a tall, multi-trunked Beach Almond Tree which is impossible to miss, not just because of the trees but because of the many cars parked there. A paid guard is here so it’s the ideal place to leave your vehicle, and then walk to other spots along the beach. It’s about 400 meters or so from Backyard, and has many great peaks in between. Like all of Hermosa, it’s black sand and breaks hard and heavy.

The Curve

The Curve Surf SpotThe beach road from Playa Hermosa turns inland and goes around a couple of condominium complexes. When it comes back to the beach, you’ll find a parking area on the right where the road CURVES to the left. This is a great break, and known to kick off barrels even at low tide. Here begins the “Refugio Nacional de Vida Silvestre de Playa Hermosa”, which in English means Playa Hermosa National Wildlife Refuge.

Buda / Turtle Farms

Buda - Turtle Farms Surf SpotHeading south from The Curve, on the left side of the road you’ll find the Refugio del Buda, and a set of surf breaks on the right. All these spots along this road are well-known to locals and you’ll usually find cars parked at each one. The characteristics of each spot in this long section can be left to you to discover. If you get lucky, you may see some baby sea turtles digging their way out of the sand and heading towards the sea. Sea turtles are hatching from August to January.

Tulin / Tusubres

Tulin - Tusubres Surf SpotTulin at the very south end of the road, which gets worse the farther you go. Here you’ll find a river-mouth, with amazing, chocolate-colored waves due to the dirt running out of the Tusubres River mouth. This estuary is a very popular fishing spot and you’ll often find many fisherman here, many camping out and grilling their catches. Where there’s a rivermouth and lots of fish, you’re going to find lots of crocodiles and probably bull sharks too. Most people don’t surf the river-mouth, but if you’re feeling daring then you can probably get a wave to yourself, and hopefully won’t get bitten or hooked.

Playa Hermosa Photo Gallery

Surf Camps

Some of the renowned surf camps in Playa Hermosa are:

If you want to surf and mingle with the surfing crowd, then you should definitely stay in Playa Hermosa. During the holiday season, the town gets full really quick. It is recommended you make reservations before coming. There are plenty of beachfront hotels, hostels, camps, bed and breakfast services and lodges.

Surf Forecast

Video: Surfing in Playa Hermosa

For more information on Playa Hermosa, visit:


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