Not that many years ago, Herradura, was a quiet unknown pueblo with a perfectly shaped pristine beach, thus its name, Herradura meaning horseshoe in Spanish. Located on the Pacific Coast South of the city of Puntarenas, Herradura was a place where travelers would sometimes stop while on their way to the popular Jaco Beach or further south. Then came Los Suenos, a large luxurious condominio complex, and everything changed. The Prestigious and luxurious Marriot Hotel, complete with Marina and Golf Course completed the task of revolutionizing this sleepy little town.
The beach itself is still quite pretty lined with Coconut Trees and typical sea food restaurants. Fishing boats or yachts are sometimes seen lazing in the bay. Many local still like to visit it as in spite of its location it is still reasonably quiet. The sea of Playa Herradura is quite safe for swimming.
For those looking for a good location for sportsfishing or golf, it is probably the best destination. It is close to San Jose, it has a large supermarket, and all the amenities one could wish for and a good choice of hotels, villas and restaurants.
Going north is Punta Leona, a private beach club with pure white sand; it is possible to spend the day there and use the restaurant for a fee. The beaches of Punta Leona are known for being some of the most beautiful of the country.
Going South you will find the popular Jaco beach ; considered the beach of San Jose for its proximity, it is really good for its choice of food and a funky night life rather than for its beach. On the way to Jaco, you pass Villas Caletas, a must for a sunset drink! Perched on top of the rocky shore 1,200 feet above the sea it will treat you to sophistication and a view that are hard to beat, with relentless beauty and peace. The French Colonial architecture and design of the villa is a chef d'oeuvre.
While in the area it is highly recommended that you visit the Carara National Park, splendid if you are a lover of nature. There, in the mangroves of the river Tarcoles, you can see Toucans, macaws (that indeed are visible along the whole coast), and herons, and much more impressive flora and fauna. The whole area however is famous for its Crocodiles! It was while living near Herradura that I discovered that they sometimes swim in the sea, as a shortcut between one river to another! Yes, a bit of a surprise indeed! Rest assured, as up to date, no one has ever been attacked by a croc while swimming in the Pacific Ocean.
Finally, Herradura is quite well known by some as it was there that Gerard Depardieu landed as Christopher Colombus in the 1492 movie. Herradura is very simple to find: Follow the directions to Jaco and there you will find it on the way, about 6 kms before you reach Jaco Beach.