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Beautiful Playa Hermosa, once a laid-back, fishing community, has grown like Topsy, with condominiums and villas covering the scrubby hills overlooking the wide, curved beach. Warm, swimmable water, prime dive sites, choice fishing grounds, and sunset views of the Papagayo Peninsula are all reasons why Canadian and American expatriates are buying up those condos. In the early morning, though, Playa
Hermosa is still the kind of place where the beach is the town's main thoroughfare, filled with joggers, people walking their dogs, and families out for a stroll. Not to be confused with the mainland surfers' beach of the same name south of Jacó, this Playa Hermosa has long been occupied by small hotels, restaurants, and homes along the length of the beach, so the newer hotel behemoths and other developments are forced to set up shop off the beach or up on the surrounding hillsides.
The large windswept bay at the very top of Costa Rica's Pacific coast is the second-windiest area in the country, after Lake Arenal, making...