Surfing in Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica

There are several different Playa Hermosas (which translates to “beautiful beach”) throughout Costa Rica, one of the most popular being the well-known Playa Hermosa, near Jaco. However, the Playa Hermosa in the South Pacific is just the opposite — if you’re not paying attention, you will drive right by it. This Playa Hermosa is located between Dominical and Uvita, about a 10 minute drive from Bodhi Surf + Yoga.

With not many signs to point out this surf break, you’ll have to keep your eyes peeled for a break hidden by the coastal jungle and a sort of visible turnoff from the highway that will put you at the tree-lined beach. The lifeguard tower located at the main entrance to Playa Hermosa is a sure sign that you’ve found it. The parking area is shaded by trees which is nice for those hot, sunny days. You will also find a number of vendors selling ceviche, coconuts, and more.

Playa Hermosa is frequented by surfers from all over Costa Ballena. When the surf at Dominical is too big and/or closing out you’re sure to find surfers out at Playa Hermosa. A surf spot that is best suited for intermediate-level surfers, this break also provides fun waves for the experienced surfer. The spot can also be acceptable for beginners if it is small enough and the tide is high, so don’t be surprised to find groups of beginners from nearby surf schools out at Playa Hermosa from time to time.

Playa Hermosa Wave Information

  • Best swell size: Head-high to overhead
  • Best swell direction: SW
  • Best wind direction: E
  • Best season: June to September is the biggest due to tropical storms, December-April is when it’s cleanest
  • Type of break: Beach break
  • Bottom: Sand with some scattered rocks on the north end
  • Best tide: Best on a dropping tide
  • Best suited for: Intermediate and experienced surfers
  • Access: Two main parking areas bordering the beach under the trees. There is a third entry but this option provides little space to park or turn around.
  • Crowd: Can get crowded on the weekends but mostly uncrowded with plenty of room to spread out a bit
  • Potential dangers: Stingrays, rip currents, jellyfish, petty theft

Safety Information

Intermediate and experienced surfers will find Playa Hermosa to be a relatively safe surf break; however, beginners and beach-goers in general should be aware of the typical beach hazards: sting-rays, jellyfish, rip currents, and floating debris such as washed up tree branches and logs.

Playa Hermosa is a very inviting beach and conditions are usually favorable for but it is important to always exercise caution. There are lifeguards present everyday from around 8am-5pm.

Keep in mind that ocean conditions are consistently changing and with it the risk of dangers. This means that what is typically considered a "safe" beach can be dangerous under certain conditions, and a typically "dangerous" beach can be considered safe under the right conditions. The safety information is provided as precautionary and taking into account the most common conditions for a given beach.

For surfers just starting out, or individuals not comfortable in the ocean, it is recommended that you check in with the on-duty lifeguards, where available, or ask local surfers for tips on hazards, rip currents, or best places to surf.

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Surfing with Bodhi

Bodhi is a surf and yoga camp located in Bahia Ballena which has been teaching both beginner to intermediate-level surfers since its inception in 2010. Most of our lessons take place at Playa Colonia (Bahia Ballena’s main beach, which is within the Marino Ballena National Park) due to its consistent and safe waves that are great for practicing. However, depending on conditions and the skill level of students, we will visit other beaches such as Playa Hermosa.

During Bodhi Sessions (the surf and yoga camp for adults), you can expect to learn the fundamentals of surfing, including safety, technique, and theory — and to get hours of practice time under the watchful eye of a qualified and invested instructor. Our 7-day surf and yoga camps have been designed to help you achieve your surfing goals, regardless of previous experience or background. They also feature on site yoga classes, which balance the surfing perfectly, and have been proven to lead to improvement in guests’ surfing. Finally, Bodhi Sessions are a well-rounded vacation for everyone, balancing comfort and rest, learning and experiencing, and fun and pleasure!

Why choose Bodhi Sessions

We believe that one of the greatest benefits of doing our Bodhi Sessions is the fact that yoga is not just an add-on activity, but a fundamental part of the surfing experience. Many of our guests arrive without having any prior surf experience, and without having had the time to prepare physically for five surf sessions in six days. The yoga provides much-needed balance (no pun intended) of physical strength-building and stretching, and is designed to complement the building crescendo of the surf sessions. Our students benefit greatly from combining surfing and yoga; the yoga sessions address the more persistent challenges to learning to surf — refining the already-existing strength and mental discipline that every person has. As we mentioned, surfing is in large part mental, and yoga is an incredible tool to help us look inward and become more aware of our own thoughts and consciousness.

Surf breaks near Playa Hermosa

Already know how to surf? There are a number of surf breaks in the Costa Ballena region that offer something rideable year round and are suitable for surfers of varying abilities.

Playa Dominical

Playa Dominical is a popular destination for surfers looking for good, consistent waves and a more laid back atmosphere. A beach break that offers the most consistent surf in the region (and possibly in the country) and when the swell gets good it’s known to offer up hollow and powerful waves. There are lifeguards on duty 7-days a week from 8am - 4pm.

Dominicalito

Playa Dominicalito is located 3km south of Dominical. The surf break sits in a protected cove and is a beach frequented by Dominical surf schools. For beginner or intermediate surfers this surf break is recommended on a higher tide as there are rocks scattered across the bottom. There are no lifeguards on duty at Playa Dominicalito.

Playa Colonia

Playa Colonia is a beach break in Bahia Ballena. This beach is located within the Marino Ballena National Park, making it a less visited beach than other neighboring beaches and a great place to learn to surf or to hone your skills. This surf break is ideal for beginners and families with children who surf but be aware that there are not lifeguards on duty.

Punta Dominical

Punta Dominical is a reef break located just south of Dominicalito. It gets good when the swell is too big for the beach breaks. On smaller days it's suitable for intermediate surfers looking to gain some experience at a reef break. The rocky bottom is a major hazard so be aware paddling out, in, and taking off on waves. There are no lifeguards on duty and beware of car break-ins.

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