If sportfishing, boating, and golf are your priorities, this is a good option. If you're looking for nature, seclusion, a beautiful beach, or a bargain, keep driving. Rocky Playa Herradura is a poor representative of Costa Rica's breathtaking beaches, although its tranquil waters make it considerably safer for swimming and stand-up paddleboarding than most central and southern Pacific beaches. It gets its name from the Spanish word for "horseshoe," referring to the shape of the deep bay in which it lies. Playa Herradura's safety factor, coupled with the fact that it's the closest beach to San José, has turned it into a popular weekend getaway for Josefinos, who compete for shade beneath the sparse palms and Indian almond trees that line the beach. On the north end is Los Sueños, which includes a large marina, shopping center, hundreds of condos, a golf course, and a massive Marriott hotel. This is the sportfishing capital of Costa Rica, so expect plenty of boats anchored offshore. The rough black sand makes the water look somewhat dark and dirty at times. Amenities: food and drink (at hotels); toilets (at marina). Best for: swimming; water sports.