Surfing Hermosa Beach Near Jaco Costa Rica

Hermosa beach stretches for miles to the south of the contest venue for the ISA World Games of Surf held here in 2009, to the turtle refuge, to the mouth of Tulin, to the Point of Judas. We also have information on Playa Jaco Costa Rica here.

As you move from north to south on Hermosa Beach the slope of the bottom of the beach becomes more gradual so that in Terraza you have a more sudden wave and in Tulin you have a more mountainous wave. The difference in size of waves is greater than i would expect from just looking at the bottom shape and the land shadowing (none) around there.

Hermosa has strong rip currents and heavy waves. Travelers should not consider swimming or surfing at Hermosa unless they are experienced in heavy surf conditions. Even wading can be dangerous, since shore break can surprise you, knock you down, and throw you into the rip to be shot out into the impact zone and trapped. So consider staying ashore and watching from the safety of the beach. If the waves are good, you can see some of the top surfers in the world, our local Costa Rican pros.

Hermosa Areas from north to south are called:


The World Surf Games contest venue. the steepest fastest wave on the beach shooting surfers who dare through a slalom of jagged rocks at low tide.

There is a rock just south (15m)of sand piper inn that shows up at 2 hours off low tide. Beware !


There's lots of fast jacked up action all the way from T. to B.
Once you get past the Backyard, about 100 yard down
there are a couple good sandbars that are often overlooked called...

Kook Gulleys

Expert local surfer Kimo named this spot a couple years ago. The waves suddenly get a little softer here and you are likely to see more kids and beginners, hence the name.

Then its another 300 yards to

The Tree , El Almendro, The Almond Tree

You will see a massive beautiful tree marking a zone of sand bars that stretches for a half kilometer or so.

There is some good stuff spread out south of the Almond Tree and
then the road turns inward (so park and walk out in front of the pig farm that is there and you can beat the crowd) and skirts pig farm and los ricos to come to..


Corners is a zone similar to the Tree. One hundred meters or more offshore
lots of different sandbars stretching about 300 meters. For some reason this gets a steep south angle better than the tree also works better at high tide than the tree, usually, but its close and worth checking both.

Now its a 500 meter drive down a loose sandy roady to the turtle refuge
which is a good place to park and walk towards the Tulin river mouth. Dont walk too far unless you think you can best a croc in the water because they are down there at the river mouth for sure !

Tulin / Turtle Refuge

This is where the biggest slowest waves are found.

Surfers rarely cross the mouth of the Tulin.

If you get a boat to take you there, you would have it to yourself.

So there. DoceLunas just gave you the secret spot bro.
Just dont get ate by a croc. Go way south of the boca Tulin.

Land access in dry season to Hermosa south of Tulin
would likely require a UniMog.

That leaves with Terraza to Tulin - almost four miles of beautiful open beach
with heavy and occasionally immense waves.

Swell info for Hermosa and how to interpret it

My observation of August sets in Hermosa tells me it varies: sometimes there
are relatively near shore disturbances that kick up some short period swells
coming from different angles which can make for some nice peaks but
tough paddling. More often the waves are coming all the way from N.Z.
area and the sets come in three to four with periods of 16 to 20 seconds.

Wavewatch and Surfline provide detailed swell forecast information for our
area. To give you an idea of what to expect, both sites typically report swells of 3 to 8 feet based on open ocean buoy height measurements and projections. They generally agree with each other and i have found they correspond well to what i see in Hermosa.

On the north end of the beach, a 3ft swell produce a wave that's 3-4ft
hawaiin or to an east coast surfers eye or someone building a skate ramp about 7 feet.

On the north end, 8 ft of ocean swell will get you that back in wave height
measured hawaiin style or 16 to 20 feet to a carpenter.
any tide is the best tide if you go to the best spot for it.

Best Tides for Hermosa Beach

North Hermosa works best on a mid tide falling
high tide will dump on the shore if its less than 4 feet
If its big high tide will work good, slower than mid or low.
Low is for kamikazee pilots.

Middle Hermosa
the tree and corners, will work with just about anything
and it depends on the swell and what you are looking for what's best
but generally the extremes of high and low dont work as well as mid.

South Hermosa, Tulin
down here a high tide can be mushy but if the waves are huge
that might be a good thing. a low tide will work well too and can
throw barrells that are literally big enough to drive a semi truck through.

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