Playa Hermosa

Playa Hermosa is one of the most popular seaside resorts on Costa Rica's Pacific coast. The beach, in a large bay with steep hills around it, is bordered to the west by the Punta Cacique, with excellent (and much better) snorkeling spots (La Penca and Calzon del Pobre). If you are staying at Playa Hermosa, you should still pay a visit to this spot since, when the conditions are right, there are great observation opportunities.
How to get there?

Playa Hermosa is on the west coast of Costa Rica, about 20 miles (35km) from Liberia. From Liberia, take the beach road and head for "Playa Hermosa", which is well signposted. Several buses go to Playa Hermosa from Liberia each day. For the return trip, the last bus leaves Playa Hermosa at 7 p.m. There is a 10-minute drive from Playas del Coco, heading east. When you get to Playa Hermosa, park near the beach and continue on foot. Once at the beach, walk for about ten minutes to the east (to the right when you are facing the ocean), walk along the rocks as far as a tiny white sand beach. This is the ideal place to enter the water.

Water entrance

Enter the water from the small white sand beach nestling in the rocks. The snorkeling spot is all around the rocky bars you can see on your left and right as you look out to sea.

Aerial view


Soon after leaving the beach, you will see the rocky reefs covered in seaweed surrounding the spot (↕3-10ft/1-3m). You will see a large number of blennies, which are easy to get near to, resting on the rocks, while Cortez rainbow wrasses come and go along the shore.

Snorkeling Report Playa Hermosa Guanacaste Costa Rica
Playa Hermosa

Further on, the water level increases (↕6-12ft/2-4m). A little soft coral (white polyps), which is quite rare in the region, cling on to the reef drop-off, between small blue sponges and colonies of caulerpas. Beautiful white sea fans are interspersed here and there along the rocky sea bed. Small shoals of sergeant major fish flow this way and that in the swirling water, and a few Cortez angelfish move along the sea bed, protecting their territory. Many other species of fish can be seen here.

This spot is strongly exposed to sea conditions and visibility can deteriorate in the rainy season. Wear swimfins and keep at a distance from the rocks to avoid all risk of a collision. Don't hesitate to postpone your snorkeling session in case of doubt, and head for the spots in La Penca and Calzon de Pobre in case of poor visibility.

Restaurants and accommodation

Playa Hermosa is full of restaurants and accommodation for every budget, less than 5 minutes away from the snorkeling spot on foot.

Snorkeling Report gives the most precise tips possible about the snorkeling spots and potential dangers, but each one of us is responsible for our own safety in the water. For more information, take a look at the snorkeling safety page. If you want to add extra information or make any corrections to the spot descriptions, please contact us.

Spot’s weather forecasts (°C)

Spot tips

  • Type of spot
  • Level of difficulty
    Intermediary level
  • Maximum depth
    25ft (8m)
  • Water entrance
    Easy, from a sandy beach
  • Potential Dangers
    Usual precautions
  • Lifeguard
  • Visitor numbers
  • Access costs
  • Restaurants nearby
    Yes, inexpensive
  • Public toilets & showers

Spot map

Spot photos

Underwater spot photos

Species you may spot while snorkeling Playa Hermosa

Common name Scientific name Abundance Fishbase Wikipedia
Cortez angelfish
Pomacanthus zonipectus
Cortez rainbow wrasse
Thalassoma lucasanum
Mexican hogfish
Bodianus diplotaenia
Stegastes flavilatus
Acapulco gregory
Stegastes acapulcoensis
Long-spine porcupinefish
Diodon holocanthus
You encountered a specie at this spot that is not listed here?