We are a family of six (four boys, 17,15,11, & 9) and have just returned home from a week at Villas Hermosas. Having read all of the positive reviews on this sight prior to our arrival, I was worried that I was setting myself up for a let down. It didn't take long from me to realize that my concern was grossly misplaced.
In fact, my nine-year-old summed our adventure best when he offered the following unsolicited opinion: "Dad, this is a life-changing vacation." I'm not kidding, these were his exact words. And I couldn't agree more. We have been on numerous vacations in a variety of warm-weather destinations in the past. None of the others has come close to the adventure we just returned home from.
The Nicoya Peninsula is like no other place I've ever seen. Start with lush green countryside where cattle, yak, oxen, sheep and horses roam freely amidst rolling hills and distant mountains - think Vermont in July. Sprinkle in an entire rainbow's worth of vivid color from the flowering trees. And just when you think you're enjoying a trip to some lush inland destination, you round a bend and find yourself face to face with the vastness of the blue-green Pacific Ocean. Along the way there were moneys, lizards, snakes, an ant-eater, pigs, chickens and frogs sprinkled in. There were moments when I thought that, just maybe, I'd lost my mental way and ended up down the rabbit hole and into Alice's Wonderland.
The beaches are easily the most diverse and beautiful of any I've ever enjoyed. Some areas were surrounded by tall cliffs whose rocky coast lines emitted a briny essence reminiscent of coastal Maine. Adjacent to these were to long and wide, bone-white sandy expanses.
The tide is MASSIVE. At high tide the waves lap at the jungles edge while at low tide the water's edge is a good five-minute walk from the first sandy footprint. The waves are two-tiered. Out deep, massive swells provide the backdrop for the ubiquitous expert surfers to show off their outlandish abilities, while closer to shore a second line of breaking waves set the stage for incredible body surfing, boogie boarding and beginner surfing terrain. The ocean water was probably close to 90 degrees (F).
The weather was perfect every day, and the audacious sunsets were as consistent as the tides. It was super-cool to watch the community come to a standstill for the half-hour surrounding sundown, as though the unwritten rule is that everyone must honor the ritual of admiring nature's daily work of art.
THAT, is the backdrop for this incredible property. Villas Hermosas is a four-acre paradise with that entire suite of natural resources literally at its front and back doors. Owners Brad and Tara have created an environment were we felt so comfortable that after only one day we felt like we were at our own vacation home. Brad and Tara were like the veteran members of the neighborhood who have ALL of the locals' insider connections and information. We leaned on them for everything - from our almost daily adventures, to where to buy groceries, get cash, (they even loaned me cash one night when the ATM was down), where to dine out, from whom to take surfing lessons, how to convert the local currency, how to navigate short cuts down unmarked back roads, etc, etc, etc.
In our room was a thick three-ringed binder that was chock full of information from menus, a guide to their book and video library, a massive variety of adventures, and on and on and on. This was our vacation bible. When we'd finally decide on a place to dine (always based on their perfect track record of recommendations), they would pick up the phone and reserve the best table in the restaurant for us - even on short notice.
The same held true for our adventures. Among others, we did zip-lining, snorkeling, the Curu nature preserve hike (not to be missed - even the teens loved it). But far and away the coolest part of the entire week was Brad's ATV tour. My wife described our day as being "perhaps the perfect family adventure defined by the day-long push to the edges of our comfort zone". We crossed beaches and countryside, forded rivers and climbed steep oceans' edge peaks. We stopped for refreshment at a local watering hole that may as well have been plucked out of 18th century Vietnam, and had lunch at a long beachside table where the Restaurant's owner and his daughter prepared amazing lightly battered and fried whole red snapper, sea bass ceviche, and shrimp and rice - all of which my kids are still talking about.
On the two days where we decided to just relax and enjoy the property, we made fast friends with the amazing staff and the diverse mix of interesting and fun fellow guests.
I could go on but I think you have the gist of my review. If you're contemplating a warm-weather trip to someplace else, just stop. Instead, pick up the phone and book your week at Villas Hermosas. There is simply zero doubt in our minds that we will be back as soon as possible.
All of the rooms are impeccable.... You simply can't go wrong.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.