At the risk of sounding arrogant, our business has afforded us the pleasure of having friends in high places (and low places, thank-you Garth Brooks) throughout Costa Rica. As a result, we are often invited to visit particular areas of the country, stay with our hotel partners, and trial-test the tours and activities we choose to recommend to clients. We do this year-round, however despite these perks, Ricky and I opt to spend our precious (and rare) vacation time exploring new Costa Rican territory discovered upon a whim – whether this be a corner of the country we have not yet visited, a new accommodation option in a town we are already familiar with, or a restaurant, local attraction, or unique shop that we happen to hear about through the grapevine. On one of our most recent vacations, Ricky and I headed to Playa Hermosa, Guanacaste (not to be confused with one of the country’s other three Playa Hermosa, as we touch on in our related blog post: Costa Rica Destinations: Common Name & Location Misunderstandings). We left our humble abode in La Fortuna and drove west towards the northern pacific coast, only to find ourselves relaxing at a “beautiful beach” (the English translation of “Playa Hermosa”) a few hours later.
Our accommodation of choice was Villa del Sueno. In my opinion, this hotel is perfectly located within walking distance to the beach – not directly on the water (so you avoid the noise created by beach-goers), yet only a short two minute walk away (offering visitors a much more remote hotel atmosphere and tranquil environment). For those with rented vehicles, parking is widely available on-site (parking is also free), and the hotel is only a few minutes from a supermarket and restaurants. Staple amenities include a pool, free WI-FI internet service (although I was able to surf the net from our room, I found the strongest signal near the lobby/pool area), and an on-site restaurant and bar. Extra bonuses include the friendly hotel staff and nightly live music (think calm and relaxing lounge vibes, not karaoke or rock n’ roll beats).
Villa del Sueno is a beautiful oasis hidden among natural greenery. The property is quiet and is designed to allow travellers to bask in the peacefulness by offering quaint sitting areas outside each room, an outdoor lounge area close to the pool, and indoor/outdoor seating at the restaurant. In addition, we thoroughly enjoyed the on-site food (try the Pasta Mama Mia for dinner). Overall, the small hotel property, its clean and charming rooms offering visitors the basics, helpful hotel staff, and competitive hotel rates make Villa del Sueno a favourite of ours worth a mention in the northern Guanacaste region.
Truth be told, the entire Playa Hermosa area is a favourite of ours. There is something about this part of the country that is just our cup of tea. It lacks the tourism offered by popular beaches such as Manuel Antonio, Jaco, and Tamarindo (which is great for those who are looking for a beach to relax at, although not ideal for those who are looking to have access to tours and/or watersports). Playa Hermosa is arguably best suited for an older audience (especially when compared to beach towns such as Puerto Viejo and Montezuma that tend to attract a younger crowd), and fortunately it remains a clean and relatively crowd-free beach for visitors to enjoy. In addition, the sand is unscathed by rocks or shells, the water is warm, and the sunsets are beautiful. All in all, a great spot to retreat to from beaches Tamarindo, Conchal, or Flamingo (to the south), Monteverde or La Fortuna (to the east), or else Liberia (home to one of Costa Rica’s two international airports) which is conveniently situated only 45 minutes from this hidden hotspot.
QUESTION TO COMMENT ON: When choosing a beach location, would you prefer to stay at a remote location? Or would you prefer to be nearby the town hub that includes tour, shopping, and dining options?