When I stay at Pranamar Oceanfront Villas & Yoga Retreat in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica, one of my favorite things to do is to swim in the giant tide pool down the beach about five minutes from the hotel.
The larger-than-Olympic-sized shallow sea water swimming pool is one of the best-kept secrets of the area. It is located between Pranamar Villas and “El Peñón,” or the big rock, where Santa Teresa Beach turns into Hermosa Beach – better known as “Playa Hermosa”. Since Santa Teresa and Playa Hermosa – listed by TripAdvisor as Top 10 Beaches in Central America and Top 10 Beaches in Costa Rica for 2015 – are better known for being some of the best surfing beaches in Costa Rica, the tide pool often gets over-looked for great waves.
You can only find the tide pool at low tide, when the long, flat beach widens immensely, so when you can go varies on the tides. On my last visit, I got lucky and it was low tide in the early morning around 7:00 a.m. I slipped from the rocks into the cool placid water, refreshing even that early compared to the heat and humidity beginning to rise from the beach and rainforest. I couldn’t believe how clear and still the water was, especially when big, frothing waves pounded only a dozen or so yards away.
The sun-warmed water ranges from knee-deep to about chest-deep and is filled with all kinds of interesting sea creatures that get trapped when the tide goes out. You can find sea anemones, sea stars, crabs, mussels, hermit crabs and lots of little brightly colored fish. Rocks and volcanic reef create the structure around the tide pool. Since the water is shallow and it’s right off the beach, this is a perfect swimming and snorkeling site for families with kids.
You will want to wear water shoes, or strap-on beach sandals that can get wet, to be able to walk and stand up on the rocks. Keep in mind when you are snorkeling in Costa Rica that the country is located very near the equator and the tropical sun reflecting off the water will fry your skin faster than a fish over fire. Wear a T-shirt or nylon shirt, a hat, and a generous layer of SPF 30 or 50 waterproof sports sunscreen.
The long, curving beach of Playa Hermosa is known to be the most beautiful beach of the Santa Teresa area on Costa Rica’s southern Nicoya Peninsula. Officially called “San Martin,” visitors to the beach commented so often on how beautiful it was that it became known as Playa Hermosa, or “beautiful beach” in Spanish. Playa Hermosa recently was honored once again with the Costa Rica Ecological Blue Flag Award by the Costa Rican Tourism Board for being one of the cleanest beaches in the country.
The nice thing about staying at Pranamar Oceanfront Villas & Yoga Retreat is that the hotel is right on the beach at Playa Hermosa. It is wonderful to be able to walk out from your beachfront or garden bungalow or poolside villa a few steps onto the soft sand under a garden of Pacific almond and palm trees, lie in a hammock or on one of the lounge chairs, or walk down the beach. If you want to try surfing, Pranamar Villas offers surf instruction and Costa Rica surfing vacation packages. Pranamar Villas mostly specializes in Costa Rica yoga retreats, and holds daily yoga classes for hotel guests and the public.
Article by Shannon Farley