A friend and I are planning on heading to Costa Rica in late July. The two places we are debating on going to are Tamarindo or Playa Hermosa. We are basically just looking for a place with good waves and inexpensive accomodations. If anyone has any advice please let me know.
Playa hermosa no question. That is if you are planning on surfing your brains out and arnt worried about partying. If you wanna party Tamarindo has a club but its kinda sketchy and if your going to costa for a trip its to surf not hang out in a crappy techno club. Tamarindo its self doesn't get waves but it is centrally located to a lot of decent breaks, none of which are as good as Hermosa.
lots of factors to this decision. from tides (grande only works on mid tide rising) to travel time (grande is only 1 hour from liberia while hermosa takes longer from san jose) to type of wave desired (hermosa is typically more top to bottom) and so on. (partying, quality of ladies, quantity of ladies, price, etc, etc.)
imo hermosa usually provides for more sessions and typically a better, heavier wave.
Both places you are going to surf your brains out. Don't let anyone lead you to one or the other, both have endless breaks and every type of wave you would want within an hour drive. Both places are great party towns. The difference is....around Jaco/Hermosa area (central CR) the waves are going to generally be much heavier, but you are going to sacrifice the conditions...Tamirindo and the northern part is blessed with the Papagayo Trades which blow offshore 200 days a year. The central area just doesnt have that and usually only has a few hours of offshore in the mornings.
Those places are well beaten tracks. If I were you I'd stick to the quieter places in Nicoya and Guanacaste. Think places more like Mal Pais, Samara, Nosara, Playa Negra, Witches Rock. Those areas are good base points (except Witches Rock) to jump off from and the waves are pretty good. Have fun.
heres a pic of the bar at avellanas...pretty sick place
If you making avellanas your starting point id deffinatly go to playa negra, and playa marbella. Oh yeah an on the way to Playa Negra stop by Piko Negro a little bar in between Avellanas and negra. My boy Joel there is a great guy and will give you a cheap place to stay and some good eats along with a bunch of local knowledge of the surf in the area.
Heres a couple more pics
Negra going off
That area has a lot of potential. Marbella seemed to pic up a lot more swell than avellanas and negra but when the swell finally came negra was the place to be.