• Jaco
  • Playa Hermosa
  • Esterillos

Inside Scoop

The Jaco / Playa Hermosa area has every type of lodging, from $10 cabinas with the beach out back to the Los Suenos Marriot, with its own golf course "private beach". It's 45 minutes from Jaco to Boca Barranca, one of the longest left breaking waves in the world. And it takes 25 minutes to get to Playa Bejuco, with empty barreling beach breaks for miles. If you take your car surfing, never leave any valuables in it, but you should bring your passport and drivers license since there are plenty of places where the police are waiting to bust you for speeding. What is nice is that from Isla Damas to Boca Barranca, it's well paved and wide open. The views are also fantastic so enjoy the ride. Jaco has plenty of shops for surfers and souvenier hunters, as well as a hefty nightlife. Get up early to catch some waves like these below, because by 9 a.m. the wind could be on it along with thirty other "friends"..

YouTube Video by Cheech on Beach who does a weekly video report for Playa Hermosa

Getting There

From the airport, Jaco is the closest surf town - a drive of one hour and 30 minutes through the mountains. There is now a toll road that cuts down on the time but is less scenic. If you want to take the toll road, drive west from the airport about 6 kilometers and take the exit for 'El Coyol'. It is a quick turnoff so keep an eye out for it. Then you go around the roundabout until you are heading south on that road for about 3 kilometers. Then look for the tollroad entrance signs going towards 'Orotina'. Take a right (heading west) at the exit and from there you pay four toll, each from 400-700 colones. Get off at the exit after Pozon, looking for signs for Jaco and Quepos. Head south from there for about 20 kilometers and you will pass the Crocodile Bridge at Tarcoles (there are usually police at one end of the bridge), and from there it is another 17 kilometers to Jaco.

Bulletins - Anuncios

Christina at Surf Inn Hermosa - Local’s Corner: – Every Weekend don’t miss the Master’s Surf Series – 4PM on Fridays and the Saturday Surf Series on Saturdays – 4PM in front of the Backyard Bar.  

The Turtle Tour is Back in Playa Hermosa — Based out of Bowie’s Restaurant — Support Vecinos de Playa Hermosa and Book Your Tour To See The Turtles in Playa Hermosa -call 8988-3030 or 8858-5232

Surf Spots

Boca Barranca - Jetty

When Boca Barranca is big, this peak is overhead too. It breaks past an old pier and a boulder sized rock jetty which has built up the sand to the south of it. To the north the wave jacks on the takeoff and then has a mushy wall for up to 100 meters. The water is dirty, the local bodyboarders on it, and there is only one peak to sit on.

Boca Barranca

Boca Barranca is one of the longest lefts in the world. It needs a good double overhead Southwest swell to get up in the Gulf of Nicoya and make it work. The walk over the crusty cobblestones and paddling through San Jose's runoff is irritating, but worth it when it is big. It can be packed with locals, longboarders, and day trippers from Jaco. Or if you catch it early when the swell is not too massive, the drift will spread 10-20 people out nicely. Major drift factor, waves can break all the way to the pier, and then you walk back. There is parking with a security guard and showers, but how secure is unknown.


Caldera has wedging barrels and pounding closeout sections. The rights are short and tubes dark with dirty water and sand dredged up from the swell. Breaks best at head high to two feet overhead. Lots of bodyboarders and mostly all locals so give respect. 


This left hand point breaks off of big rocks that are exposed at lower tides. Long walls up to 200 meters can be found. The best angle is SSW, to much West and it closes out fast. The water here can be polluted, so disinfect after surfing. The road here is hard to follow so leave well before dark.

Little Fiji

Little Fiji is a left that breaks off an rock ledge offering a 100 meter ride with a nice barrel on the takeoff. The inside is sketchy, especially at lower tides when it works better. Never a crowd since not many surfers want to take the risk if it is better at Playa Escondida. When the tide fills in, it goes flat.

Playa Escondida

Escondida is a true A-frame with a short barreling right and a longer left that also throws out when it is big. Only access is my boat or through Los Suenos Resort. There is only 2 peaks, inside and outside, so it can be crowded with six people on it. Imagine 30 people trying to surf it when it's double overhead. The rock shelf sticks out at lower tides, so be careful. 


Playa Jaco is a beachbreak that breaks smaller during southern swells since it is sheltered in a more west facing bay. Best size is chest high to a foot overhead, any bigger and it closes out.  Best tides are two hours before high tide. There are a lot of peaks along the 3 kilometer beach, but a few better ones get crowded with tourists and locals on the weekend. The low tide whitewater reform is a great place for beginners to learn and lessons are usually given here.

Roca Loca

Roca Loca (Crazy Rock) is a right that breaks off a big rock at the far south end of Jaco bay, and just north of Playa Hermosa. It starts working at overhead and will hold surf up to triple overhead, but often closes out at that size. Lots of theft so leave nothing in your car, and the hike down from the parking area to the narrow take off spot is tricky. It is rarely crowded and works best at midtide. 

Playa Hermosa - Terrazas

Hotel Terraza del Pacifico sits in front of this beachbreak at the north end of Playa Hermosa. It works best 1-2 hours before high tide, at dead high breaks right on the shore (good for skimboarding) There are a couple of rocks that boil up at lower tides and provide a nice takeoff spot. Waves break both left and right. Crowds can be bad, but other peaks are located farther south that break the same.

Playa Hermosa - El Almendro

The Tree is a massive almond tree that sits on the dirt road running parallel to the beach in Playa Hermosa, about 400 meters south of the Backyard Hotel. Even though it is notorious for theft, many people park here and surf right out back where the drift tends to spread apart the crowds. Best best from head high to double overhead. Bigger surf closes out and at low tide it closes out. So get there between midtide and high tide. If you keep driving south down the dirt road, you may find other empty peaks.

Esterillos Oeste

Esterillos has three beaches, Oeste (West), Central, and Este (East). This one is the most popular with surfers since besides the beachbreak there is a rock shelf that extends several hundred meters off the beach. There is a big mermaid statue that sits above the water, marking where the shelf lies. At lower tides the waves can break waaaay far out, with big mushy walls for longboarders and funshapes. The inside wave is more hollow, offering a few barrels at the higher tides. Surfers arrive in mass from Jaco and Hermosa from June to August, and from January to March.


A 2 km. stretch of beachbreaks, with a rivermouth at both ends. It breaks best at higher tides with a South southwest swell to give it some angle. Best size is chest high to a foot overhead, when it is bigger it will close out. 

Esterillos Este

This beach is the farthest east in Esterillos, and the most remote. Surfers rarely come here, since the beachbreak only works towards high tide and then others spots will break better. Works best from chest to overhead and a south southwest swell. The Xandari Resort and Spa is located here, great for a secluded honeymoon surf trip.

Playa Bejuco

Bejuco is a dark sand south facing beachbreak like most others, but for some reason breaks a little harder and more hollow than other beaches. A rivermouth at the eastern end may be building up the sandbars, so come here if you empty lineups and the chance to get barreled. Be wary of the strong rips, too. 

Palo Seco

Palo Seco (Dry Branch) is a wide empty stretch of beach with lots of waves and nobody on them. It works best around high tide, and at all other times closes out. The water is a little dirty at times from Parrita pollution, and two big estuaries provide feeding grounds for crocs and sharks.  

Surf Camps

Description: The surf camp features three lovely guest bungalows, each with an unobstructed view of the ocean. Each of the bungalows has two individual rooms with private baths, air conditioning, two single beds or one queen-sized bed and large porches. The porches are ideal for relaxing in hammocks and watching the sun rise and set over the Pacific Ocean. Our bungalows are equipped with small safes for the storage of valuables. Guests of the camp can relax in our pool, hang out in hammocks on the porches, or wander around the camp gardens lined by fruit trees and flowers.

Certification: ISA
Jaco 2643-2830 or US (409)-599-1828

Description: Beginners: Learn to surf in the warm tropical waters of Costa Rica with the help of our friendly and experienced staff. You will learn the basics of paddling, standing, and turning, as well as wave selection and other fundamental skills. We have to warn you though: Surfing is addictive! Intermediate/Advanced Surfers: Surf students with previous surfing experience are taken on guided surf sessions in the Playa Jacó / Hermosa area. SURFING AND SPANISH This combo is one of our most popular programs. The Spanish class schedule is written with the tides and best surf times in mind so that you can learn the language and enjoy Jacó's favorite pastime.

Certification: n/a
Jaco 2643-2462

Surf Inn Hermosa Surf Camp

Surf Inn Hermosa Fitness Camp

Description: All Packages Include:

  • Airport transfers to and from San Jose “Juan Santamaria” Airport (SJO) * Transfers from Liberia for extra fee.
  • Shared accomodation for 6 Nights in one of our studio apartments.
    AC / Hot Water / Mini-Fridge / In room internet.
    You will be staying literally just steps from the beach!
    There is always the option to upgrade to private rooms.
  • 3 meals per day. They plan meals around the surf schedule to ensure you have energy for all the days activities.
  • Daily Guided Trips. There are a variety of area breaks based on tides, swell and local weather conditions. They will work to bring you to waves suitable to your own level of surfing.

Certification: ISA Certified, CPR, First Aid
Playa Hermosa (506) 8899-1520 or 1-866-304-3265

Del Mar Surf Camp

Certification: CPR, Water Rescue, First Aid, ISA
Playa Hermosa 2643-3197

Jaco Surf Lessons

Certification: ISA Certified Coach
Jaco 8829-4697

Hermosa Surf Vacations

Certification: n/a
Playa Hermosa 'The Tree' 714-464-3214

Surf Costa Tours

Certification: n/a
 Esterillos Oeste 732-610-8420

Tortuga Surf Camp

Certification: ISA certified
 Jaco 1-866-325-1528 [icon type="icon-email"

Jim Hogan's Surf Camp

Certification: n/a
 Playa Hermosa n/a

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Use the map above to book directly or contact us to help you plan a customized trip.

Description: 4 studio apartments with AC / Hot Water / Mini-Fridge / In room internet. 2 two-bedroom apartments with a full kitchen, AC, and ocean view balconies steps away from the surf.
Playa Hermosa (506) 8899-1520 or 1-866-304-3265 Contact Us

Hermosa Beach House