10 Things to do in Playa Hermosa Guanacaste

It is not easy to sort through the hundreds of activities available to you during your visit to Playa Hermosa Guanacaste, but in an effort to just start somewhere, here are 10 popular ones that I loved doing, all located within a one-hour drive.

Canopy zip lines. Who of us hasn’t wondered what it would be like to fly like a bird? If hang gliding is too extreme for you, the next best (read: safer) option is zip lining. El Diamante, Trip Advisor #1 Adventure Park in the area, has an incredible superman zipline that is almost 1 mile long. In addition, there is the animal sanctuary with sloths, various different monkeys, and big wild cats like the jaguar. In to beach activities and horseback riding? It all at El Diamante. Or try The Congo Trail Canopy Zip Line Tour which has a network of 11 exhilarating zip lines, rappelling, Tarzan swing and hanging bridges that “fly” you around the forest canopy. There is also an area where you can play with howler monkeys. Add a horseback tour to see the area from a different angle for just over $50. Both are exhilarating and a lot of fun–I know I have been to both.

Playa Hermosa Zip Line

Scuba diving. Who hasn’t wondered what it would be like to swim like a fish? Then you should scuba dive! Playas del Coco is one of northern Guanacaste’s most celebrated dive and snorkeling spots, just a short 10-minute drive from Playa Hermosa Guanacaste. There are many dive shops in town that give PADI certification courses or offer boat tours for certified divers. What the ocean in the area lacks in coral, it makes up for in its abundance of marine life. The local waters team with marine life–giant schools of fish, rays, sharks and sea turtles. January through March there are enormous schools of manta rays, whereas March through November is shark season.

Costa Rica Scuba Diving

Palo Verde Mangrove Safari. Palo Verde River is a sanctuary for migratory birds and a year round home to crocodiles, monkeys, herons, egrets, king fishers, and scarlet macaws. Tour vendors pick you up at your hotel, and after about an hour and a half drive you begin your 2-hour boat tour of the mangrove swamps. The tours costs about $88 per person and are perfect for any age.

Guanacaste Costa Rica Palo Verde

Area Catamaran Tour. Several outfits offer a tour of the beautiful Papagayo Bay. Most tours cost about $75 for 4 hours and include a meal prepared by the crew and tropical drinks. The catamaran drops anchor from time to time in peaceful bays to give everyone a chance to dive into the crystal clear water and snorkel. My favorite is the Marlin Del Ray. It’s a nice big catamaran with bathrooms and a awesome staff. Wildlife sightings include dolphins, sea turtles, flying fish or even a breaching whale if the time of year is right.

Playa Del Coco Catamaran

Jet Ski and/or Banana Boat Ride. Riding a jet ski can be an extreme sport or a peaceful cruise—it is all up to you! Take yourself out to the nearby islands or find your own private beach. Rentals are usually for 30 minutes and cost $60. Guided tours of 2 hours or more are also available. You can’t miss them–just walk the beach and you will see them.

Playa Hermosa Fun

If you like the idea of mountain biking but not necessarily pedaling, Electric Bike Costa Rica has a solution—a bike with an electric motor! Bike rentals start at $10 an hour. They also offer several group tours to local sights and landmarks. For example, for the Tour Las Pilas you will be picked up from where you are staying, and after coffee and a briefing, you will begin the 2 to 3-hour guided tour through the forest, across rivers, arriving at the Las Pilas waterfalls for a cooling swim. The tour costs $90.

Playas Del Coco Bikes

Horseback riding. Several local outfits rent horses for trips to waterfalls, hidden beaches and tours through the forest. Very inexpensive rates may mean overworked and unhealthy horses—beware!

Costa Rica

Float trip on the Corobici River. This is a leisurely raft trip that is ideal for families with young children or people just wanting to relax and enjoy the scenery. Along the river banks you will spot monkeys, iguanas and birds. Project Expedition has a tour that lasts 2 hours for $65. It is easy to find, just head back towards and past the Liberia International airport to Interstate RT1 and head south a half hour and it is on the left side of the highway.

Rafting Costa Rica

ATV tour. Let’s face it: Four wheelers are fun. But let’s also face it: When you are laying on the beach trying to relax, a passing group of screaming, un-muffled four wheelers is annoying. That said, if you stick to the back roads and mountain trails, an ATV tour can be a blast! Xtreme Adventures has a 2-hour ATV Tour for $75. Prepare to eat dust and get really dirty.

Playa Hermosa ATV

If you want to take the easy way, contact Tico Tours Guanacaste and Bernal can arrange everything for you.

Speaking of laying on the beach relaxing, that is actually the Number One Best Activity at Playa Hermosa Guanacaste. Highly recommended and absolutely free. Enjoy!

Playa Hermosa Guanacaste

Best Places to Experience Costa Rica Animals

Most of us love animals, and most of us want an up-close-and-personal encounter with Costa Rica animals. Here are some of the best places for that:

Costa Rica Animals

Right here in Playa Matapalo, only 17 minutes south from Playa Hermosa, is the El Diamante Adventure park. The park is an incredible wildlife animal sanctuary with jaguars, pumas, and various species of monkeys. Of course, you cannot forget about those cute faced sloths. In addition, there is a bird aviary that you can stroll in and a butterfly farm. For the brave at heart, there is a serpentarium with many different kinds of vipers and other creepy things–but all in cages. The park is staffed with bilingual guides and a biologist that are very helpful explaining the natural habitat of the animals. You can almost see it all in one place.
However, for the adventurous that like to drive there are more options below to encounter Costa Rica animals.

Costa Rica Butterfly
Jaguar Rescue Center is an animal rescue and rehabilitation center near the Caribbean hamlet of Puerto Viejo. Sadly (and fortunately) you will not be able to interact with jaguars here. Being a transitional animal center, the number and species housed there varies. There are 130-200 resident animals at any given time. Visitors are informed about the process of rescue and release of the animals, and you are able to enter the enclosure and interact with the monkeys. There are friendly parrots all around ready to perch on your shoulder!

Playa Del Coco Monkey

The Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica is a privately owned sloth rescue center located near the town of Cahuita on the Caribbean coast. The center is dedicated to the rescue, research, rehabilitation and release of injured or orphaned sloths. Though holding and touching the sloths is prohibited, many sloths can be viewed up close as you tour the facility or during a 45-minute canoe ride on the shallow Estrella River.

Sloth Costa Rica

A rarely-seen, biological wonder takes place each week before a new moon from August through December at Ostional Beach in Guanacaste. Hundreds—sometimes thousands—of Olive Ridley sea turtles come ashore to dig a hole and lay their eggs in the soft black sand. Days or weeks before the mass nesting, the turtles begin to group offshore. At a moment only they determine, the turtles begin to stream ashore and this continues for the next 3 to 7 days. The turtles generally ride in on the high tide after dark and continue until the wee hours of the morning. You should keep your distance so as to not “spook” off the mama turtles, but once they begin laying their eggs, they go into a “trance” and you can approach and observe the miracle without fear of frightening the mother. The baby turtles hatch at night after 45-54 days, although it is not unheard of for them to pop out of the sand during daylight hours. At this point you can accompany the hatchlings as they clamber toward the sea, protecting them from vultures and dogs. However, do not pick them up and carry them to the sea since they need the exercise to develop their lungs. Those babies may travel as far as India, but their natural navigation system will carry them back to their place of birth in Ostional to lay their eggs when they are adults.

Guanacaste Tucan

La Paz Waterfall Garden (near the Poas Volcano) is a wonderful place for close encounters with many Costa Rica animals: toucans, frogs, sloths and hummingbirds. Check for feeding times at the front desk. The toucans will take fruit from your hands; the hummingbirds will buzz your head and land on hand-held feeders; you can put your head right up next to a sloth as it eats; take a selfie with the neon red-eyed tree frog.

Territorio de Zaguates was featured in Episode 5 of the Netflix series “Dogs.” Located in the mountains high above Alajuela, this 347-acre refuge is home to 1,300 stray dogs. The Territorio is not open to the public right now as they work to meet government requirements, but they plan to open soon. When they do, you will be able to walk the refuge’s trails with hundreds of happy dogs that take turns jumping on you and putting their muzzles in your hand in a bid for attention.

Land of the strays

If you are interested in more long-term encounters (read: volunteer work), the Territorio de Zaguates, Sloth Sanctuary, and Jaguar Rescue Center all have arrangements for volunteers. Check out their websites for more information. Just copy and past the name in a web browser. It’s a great way to interact with Costa Rica animals and help them at the same time.