As a travel writer, this is the type of place that I have mixed emotions writing an article about. On one hand, I’m thrilled to share this jewel of knowledge with the world having frequented the beach since back when the only public access to Playa Hermosa was by boat. On the other hand, I cringe at the thought of San Juan’s best kept secret getting out. Simply put, if it you want great surf, uninterrupted nature and local culture combined with wifi, security and delicious meals, it does not get any better than Playa Hermosa.
The owners have developed this beachfront hotel, bar and grill with a conscience for the environment and the surrounding area. Most of the hotel staff comes from the nearby community of El Carizal; solar panels attached to the clay tile roof provide power; the water is sourced from a nearby well which is pumped by a windmill and the entire establishment is off the grid (well, except for the wifi).
The hotel structure, along with the indoor and outdoor furniture is built from beautiful local hardwood. The rooms can’t be described as fancy, but are clean and secure. The first floor consists of 4 dorm rooms – each with 5 beds – and a bathroom. The second floor has 4 rooms with king bed, private bathroom and terrace. Two of the rooms overlook the ocean, and two feature views of the forest. Room rates range from $18 per person for a shared dorm room to $55 per person for a private.
The hotel is built directly on the sand. There are several different surf breaks within walking distance. Add to that a beach volleyball court, several thatched roof palapas with hammocks to provide shade for that mandatory mid-day siesta. A variety of both long and short surfboards are available for rent at the beach. Local instructors are available daily and no prior reservation is required for rentals or lessons.
This is exactly the type of place that will make you want to leave your laptop at home, pull up a hammock or grab a surfboard and indulge in the magnificent spectacle that nature has to offer daily.
Directions: As you head out of San Juan del Sur take a right just before the bridge. (If you pass the grocery store Pali on your right, you’ve missed the turning.) Stay on the paved road past the houses of Las Delicias, following it as it forks left. (The right fork is unpaved). Around 6km later, you’ll reach the start of the Escamequita neighborhood at the village of El Carizal and the entrance to Hermosa beach. Take a right turn off the main road, pass through the entrance gate to Playa Hermosa and follow the signs for Playa Hermosa. If you are staying at the hotel you do not need to pay the entrance fee at the gate.