Hotels and Resorts
- The Best of Costa Rica
- Costa Rica’s Top Spots for WIldlife
- Costa Rica’s Most Beautiful Beaches
- Costa Rica’s Best Beaches for Wildlife
- Best Surfing Beaches in Costa Rica
- Costa Rica’s Unique Retreats & Resorts
- Surf’s Up in Costa Rica
- Off-The-Beaten-Path Eco-Adventures
- Costa Rica Family-Friendly Adventures
- Adrenaline Rush
Just 50 meters from Playa Hermosa beach, you can camp at Congo’s Hostel and Camping (tel. 506/2672-1168, www.congoshostel.com, $5 pp), run by friendly hosts Ana and Marco, who offer a pool table, common kitchenette, WiFi, and bike rentals.
The no-frills Iguana Inn (tel. 506/2672-0065, www.playahermosahotel.com, $20 s, $30 d), in the heart of Hermosa, is a popular surf hostel with 10 simple rooms, all with WiFi, cable TV, and private bathrooms in a two-story wooden lodge 100 meters from the beach. Its Jammin’ Restaurant is a popular spot.
Next door, Congo’s Hostel and Camping offers a friendly alternative.
Nearby, backpackers might try the German-owned Cabinas Las Casona (tel. 506/2672-0025, gaviotalouise [at] hotmail [dot] com, $30 s/d low season, $40 s/d high season), an old wooden home that has eight simple but clean apartment-style rooms with fans, small kitchenettes, and private baths with cold water.
Nearby, the modern Hotel ManGaby (tel. 506/2672-0048, www.hotelmangaby.com, from $81 s/d low season, from $110 s/d high season) is a perfectly adequate option in the mid-price category, with 17 pleasantly furnished, air-conditioned rooms (two are mini-suites and five are wheelchair-accessible) with cable TV. It has a swimming pool.
Directly overlooking Playa Hermosa, the venerable Hotel El Velero (tel. 506/2672-1017, www.costaricahotel.net, $69 s/d low season, $79 high season) is an intimate Spanish colonial–style hostelry with 22 modestly appointed, air-conditioned rooms (some also have fans). The hotel has both upstairs and downstairs restaurants open to the breezes, plus a boutique and a small pool surrounded by shady palms. It offers tours and scuba diving.
At the south end of Hermosa, you can’t go wrong at the splendid Canadian-run Villa del Sueño (tel. 506/2672-0026, U.S. tel. 800/378-8599, www.villadelsueno.com, from $65 low season, from $75 s/d high season), an exquisite Spanish colonial–style building offering six air-conditioned rooms in the main house and eight rooms in two two-story whitewashed stone buildings surrounding a lushly landscaped courtyard with a swimming pool. The pastel-themed rooms boast terra-cotta tiled floors, lofty hardwood ceilings with fans, large picture windows, contemporary artwork, beautiful batik fabrics, and bamboo furniture. The gourmet restaurant hosts live music.
Also to consider are the charming Villa Acacia (tel. 506/2672-1000, www.villacacia.com), with eight villas and a swimming pool; the upscale self-catering Villas Playa Hermosa (tel. 506/2672-1239, www.villasplayahermosa.com); and Hotel & Villas Huetares (tel. 506/2672-0052, www.villahuetares.com), an apartment-style complex of 15 two-bedroom bungalows in lush grounds.
The large-scale Condovac La Costa (tel. 506/2527-4000, www.condovac.com, call for rates) resort commands the hill at the northern end of the beach and appeals mainly to Ticos. It offers 101 air-conditioned villas, plus there’s a selection of bars and restaurants and a full complement of tours, sportfishing, and scuba diving.
For intimacy, consider the bargain-priced Canadian-owned Hotel La Finisterra (tel. 506/2670-0227, www.lafinisterra.com, $100 s/d low season, $120 s/d high season), a handsome contemporary structure atop the breezy headland at the south end of the beach. What views! The 10 attractively furnished air-conditioned rooms boast fans, WiFi, and wide screened windows; some have forest (not beach) views. The open-sided restaurant looks over a swimming pool. The owners have a 38-foot sailboat ($60 for a full-day tour); sportfishing tours are arranged. Rates include full breakfast.
Bargain-priced by any standard, the Hotel Playa Hermosa (tel./fax 506/2672-0046, www.hotelplayahermosa.com, $125 s/d junior suite, $200 oceanfront suites low season; $175 s/d junior suite, $275 oceanfront suites high season), at the southern end of the beach, is the most stylish class act in Playa Hermosa. Suites in twin-level fourplex units are built around a gorgeous amoeba-shaped swimming pool and a half-moon wooden sundeck shaded by a giant tree. Designed with a graceful Balinese motif, rooms feature deep-tone hardwoods, luxurious linens, coral stone–clad bathrooms, and balconies. Amenities include everything from flat-screen TVs and WiFi to a sophisticated lighting system. It has 38 junior suites, plus the most deluxe and spacious penthouse suite in Nicoya (occupying a three-story tower, it has four bedrooms and vast decks, can sleep 16 people, and competes with the best that the Four Seasons offers). The Niromi Restaurant and lounge-bar is a major plus. Almost entirely tree-shaded, this superb hotel is kept cool on even the hottest of days. Monkeys are regular visitors.
If all-inclusive resort elegance is your thing, try Villas Sol Hotel & Beach Resort (tel. 506/2010-0800, www.villassol.com, from $176 s/d), next to Condovac La Costa, which has 54 deluxe hotel rooms and 106 attractive villas (24 with private pools) refurbished in fashionably contemporary vogue, including flat-screen TVs, and modern amenities. There’s a swimming pool, three restaurants, and a disco, and water sports and other activities are included.
Now an all-inclusive, Sol Papagayo (tel. 506/2672-0121, www.solpapagayo.com, $118 s, $184 d), formerly El Nakuti Resort, has 22 rooms in thatched air-conditioned chalets arrayed in the style of an indigenous village on landscaped grounds. Subdued tropical colors enhance the romantic mood in the graciously furnished bungalows, which have terraces. It has a spa, plus a large pool and a kids’ pool. Rates include tax.
At Playa Buena, the expansive all-inclusive Occidental Gran Papagayo (tel. 506/2672-0191, www.occidentalhotels.com/grand/Papagayo.asp, from $250 s/d) draws a mostly Tico clientele. The 169 beautiful, air-conditioned bungalows (with seven types of rooms) stair-step down grassy lawns. Hardwoods and terra-cotta tiles abound, with an Edwardian elegance to the decor. Plate-glass walls and doors proffer priceless vistas. Suites have mezzanine bedrooms and king-size beds, plus deep sea-green marble in the bathrooms, which have whirlpool tubs. It has two restaurants and a large pool set like a jewel on the slopes. There’s a tennis court and shops, plus scuba diving and tours. Call for varying rates.
Sensational! That’s the term for the marvelously situated Hilton Papagayo Resort (tel. 506/2672-0000, www.hilton.com, from $329 s/d), a sprawling all-inclusive with 202 rooms, suites, and bungalows nestled on the scarp face overlooking Playa Arenilla, immediately north of Playa Panamá. You sense the stylish sophistication the moment you enter the open-air lobby, with tantalizing views over the bay. Its infinity pool and handsome use of thatch are pluses, as are the gorgeous bedrooms with sophisticated contemporary styling, quality linens, flat-screen TVs, in-room safes, and other modern conveniences. Three restaurants include an Italian open-air dining room under soaring thatch, the thatched beachfront grill, and the chic La Consecha, serving gourmet fusion fare. There’s a great spa.
© Christopher P. Baker from Moon Costa Rica, 8th Edition