Playa Hermosa Journals

Pura Vida! 10 Days in Costa Rica

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An August 2003 trip to Playa Hermosa by Kozikowski

Villas Sol Hotel and Beach Resort Photo, Guanacaste, Costa Rica More Photos
Quote: The Pacific beaches of Playa Hermosa are a paradise that must be seen to be believed. Plenty of activities in the Guanacaste area to keep everyone occupied. We had planned this trip for nearly 18 months, taking advantage for the first time the timeshare that we purchased in Orlando. The resort we received in trade, Villas Sol Playa Hermosa, deserve their rating as a world-class resort, but rooms and villas can be rented as well. Our 10 days included a week at the beach in Playa Hermosa on the Pacific coast along with 2 days in and around the Arenal Volcano. We left our schedule open, planning a limited amount in advance so that we could take advantage of opportunities that developed. I was fortunate to meet some locals over the Internet in advance of our trip and they offered to meet us for a drink on our arrival to talk about our plans and to offer last-minute advice. Our activities included the canopy tour at Witches Rock, horseback riding with Oceans End Trails, and trips to the Rincon and Palo Verde national parks. Rincon and Palo Verde are nice, but the roads leave A LOT to be desired. Be forewarned if you are going during the rainy season that these roads can be impassable and a 4WD is an absolute must. The road to Arenal through Tilaran is 'interesting' with landslides along the way making a 50km trip last more than two hours. Arenal is breathtaking once the clouds clear and the rumble is awe-inspiring and unforgetable. Lava flow at night is the coolest sight. The hot springs at Tabacon Resort are a must-do, even if they are a bit pricey.

Pura Vida! 10 Days in Costa Rica

Overview

Quote:
Laying on the beach and drinking from a freshly-opened coconut -- well spent; Horseback riding through the dry forest on the way to the beach near Witches Rock -- our first glimpse of howler monkeys; Scuba diving with 60+ feet visibility; watching the lava trickle down Arenal; sunsets while drinking the best pina coladas EVER!Quick Tips: Eat where the locals eat: Pescado Loco, La Finisterra and Puesta del Sol are all top notch; Diving Safaris is one of the top 2 or 3 dive shops on the Pacific coast; Don't jump at the first offer of a canopy tour -- some are boring and others are downright dangerous; rent a car -- travelling by bus or with a tour group may be cheaper, but far from convenient...Read More

Villas Sol Hotel and Beach Resort

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Hotel | "Villas Sol Playa Hermosa"

Villas Sol Hotel and Beach Resort Photo, Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Quote:
Best Things Nearby:Playa Hermosa (Hermosa Beach), restaurants in Hermosa and Coco, scuba diving.Best Things About the Resort:Clean, well-maintained villas; two pools, one with a great view of the sunset; great location -- quiet, but near enough to activities.Resort Experience:Playa Hermosa in the Guanacaste province (not to be confused with the Playa Hermosa south of San Jose near Playa Jaco) is one of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica. Located on the central Pacific coast, Hermosa offers a fantastic beach with enough activities (e.g., horseback riding, canopy tours, diving, etc.) within an easy 45-minute drive to keep the whole family occupied and ente...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 14, 2003

Villas Sol Hotel and Beach Resort
Playa Hermosa
Guanacaste, Costa Rica
672-0001

Pescado Loco

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Restaurant

Pescado Loco Photo, Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica
Quote:
During our week in Playa Hermosa, we had two dinners and two lunches at Pescado Loco. Most people would just pass by this open-air restaurant that looks like a typical dive, but Mario -- host, waiter, and bartender -- is great and became a family friend, greeting us by name even when we were just driving by. Great, simple food that is CHEAP!!! Try the ceviche, arroz con pollo, or anything with shrimp. Dinner for four, including tax and tip, never exceeded $30. Don't mind the lizards on the walls - they add to the character of the place and keep the insects down. Don't count on everything being available on the menu if it includes seafood since the daily catch determines what the kitchen can pre...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 14, 2003

Pescado Loco
Opposite the entrance to the El Velero Hotel
Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica

Finisterra

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Restaurant | "La Finisterra"

Quote:
Owned by another one of the self-described Canadian tax refugees, La Finisterra is arguably the best restaurant in the Playa Hermosa/Coco/Occotal area. Located in the hotel of the same name, this restaurant offers outstanding views of the ocean from its location high on a hill above Playa Hermosa. The menu each night is brief, written on a chalkboard, and consists of whatever the local fleet brought to market that day. The fish may have one or more of marlin, yellow fin tuna, grouper, dorado (mahi mahi), and others. The night that we went the menu featured jumbo shrimp, dorado with a garlic butter, and filet mignon au poivre. The attentive, but not doting, service from the owner, his daughter,...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 18, 2003

Finisterra
Playa Hermosa
Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica
+506 672-0227

Arenal Volcano

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Attraction | "Arenal Volcano & Tabacon Hot Springs"

Arenal Volcano Photo, Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica
Quote:
The Arenal Volcano is like the Space Mountain of Costa Rica -- it is a must-see attraction for a variety of reasons. First, it one of the most active volcanos in the Western hemisphere and during active periods you will appreciate what this means. Second, it is just too cool to be able to see something this awesome so close. Third, the thrill that you may be incinerated at any time is just what every vacation needs. If you are driving from the Pacific beaches, keep in mind that the road from Tilaran (the last major town before Arenal) to the volcano are horrible. Maps will mark them as gravel roads that may be impassable -- heed this information, especially during the rainy season. The 51...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 19, 2003

Arenal Volcano

Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica

Diving Safaris

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Attraction | "Scuba with Diving Safaris"

Quote:
Earl and Bobbie Jo, transplants from Colorado, operate one of the most highly-regarded dive shops in Costa Rica. We enrolled our daughters in a PADI 'Discover Diving' program. Their instructor, Sylvia, brought enthusiasm and knowledge that made the entire experience memorable. We had not planned on diving during our vacation, but Diving Safaris shares a location with a friend's business, Spanish Dancer catamaran, and we kind of got sucked in by our kids. The course is normally $115, but they cut the price to $100 since we had three people. The program is simple -- about two hours of instruction including 1.5 hours in the pool -- showing us basic dive safety. Sylvia, our instructor, is very go...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 14, 2003

Diving Safaris
Playa Hermosa
Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica