Check out the impressive multimillion-dollar villas on the road to Playa Palmilla, the best swimming beach near San José. Turn off the highway as if you're going to the One&OnlyPalmilla and then cross over the highway on an overpass. Continue about half a mile. The entrance is from the side road through the ritzy Palmilla development; take a left before you reach the guardhouse of the One&Only Hotel. There are signs, but they're not exactly large. The beach is
protected by a rocky point, and the water is almost always calm, however Punta Palmilla further out is popular with surfers during huge swells (20 ft+). A few thatched-roof palapas on the sand provide shade; there are trash cans but no restrooms. Panga fishermen have long used this beach as a base, and they're still here, after winning lengthy legal battles to ensure their continued access to the beach that provides their livelihood. Guards patrol the beach fronting the hotel, discouraging nonguests from entering the exclusive resort—although the public legally has access to cross the beach in front of the resort property. Amenities: Parking lot. Best for: solitude; walking.