Playa Hermosa in Garabito, Puntarenas, very close to Jacó, is one of the most visited beaches of this province, its beauty, great waves ideal for surfing and the fact that is just a short drive from San Jose contribute to the high visitation rates; however, this is also one of the most dangerous beaches in Costa Rica.
On Christmas day the Garabito Red Cross informed of the drowning of a 44-year old man, apparently from the United States, the accident was registered at around 1:08 p.m.; just a few days prior, December 17 a 47 year-old male also drowned after being dragged into the ocean by the rip currents at around 8 a.m. the man was identified with last names Miranda Palma and was Costa Rican.
Numerous rescues have also been reported in the last few weeks in this beach.
Therefore the Playa Hermosa Wildlife Refuge is recommending visitors NOT to swim in this beach, “Signs are not enough, visitors don’t pay attention to recommendations, and having lifeguards on sight is not an option since it gives people the impression that because there are lifeguards this means it’s a safe beach for swimming, but it’s dangerous even for the lifeguards and people that have to enter the water for rescues. We are telling visitors they should not swim here, to avoid more water accidents”, stated Marvin Perez to Surfing Nation Magazine; “Hermosa is not a beach with the conditions for recreational swimming and it is certainly not the right place to learn how to surf”, he concluded.
The Garabito Municipality posted in their Facebook page:
“Due to the high danger that the rip currents represent in this beach of the Central Pacific and the high waves that are forecasted for these days, the Lifeguards Department of the Garabito Municipality *WARNS that Playa Hermosa de Garabito will be restricted only for professional surfers, we recommend recreational swimmers not to enter the water due to the danger it represents. The Lifeguards Department will inform when the conditions return to normal; for the time being we recommend swimmers not to enter the water”.
Experienced and professional surfers can enter the water, since their abilities makes them less likely to be dragged by rip currents.
Authorities recommend that tourists that wish to swim in the ocean pick one of the many beaches that are considered safe and have lifeguard programs in place to avoid tragedies. The beaches in Costa Rica usually have signs that inform visitors of dangerous areas where swimming should be avoided.