Playa Hermosa: The Most Beautiful… And the Driest

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My name is Rocio Larín and I’m a Salvadoran living in Guanacaste. I came to San José 14 years ago with a U.S. franchise. I lived there for three years until I had an opportunity to work in Guanacaste. I checked out Playa Hermosa and fell in love at first sight.


In January 2011, I started a local business called Rocio’s Kitchen Costa Rican Food to share Costa Rica’s gastronomic culture with our tourists. Like all beginnings, it was very difficult. Nevertheless, the customers were fascinated with being able to take part in a little bit of Costa Rica from their homes. I’ve had the business for five years now, and the truth is I’ve been very blessed.


Of course, everything has its complications, and for us, it’s living in an extremely expensive tourist area. Everything from rent to food is expensive, but the peace we have living at this beach makes up for it. It’s a very tranquil place with people who know each other’s names. People even know the names of the criminals!




Yes, we live in a rural area, and as such, we have to be very careful with wild animals. I remember the first time I was stung by a scorpion. I was putting on a blouse, and when I put it on, the little critter jabbed its stinger in my neck. The second time was in a pair of shoes. I ended up learning a lesson: Always sweep the house and check your clothes and shoes before putting them on. It’s also good to have anti-allergic medicine on hand.


Two years ago, after several years of living here, I managed to buy land. I knew there were a lot of water problems, so I went to ask for a water availability letter from the Costa Rican Water and Sewer Institute before I bought the lot. They gave me the letter and I made the purchase. At the time, I didn’t have money to build, but now that I need the lot so that my daughter, who’s a single mother, can build a house, the letter’s expired, and the AyA refuses to renew it even though it’s a small, subsidized home.


This has been the worst experience I have lived through. … And I’m still living it, because we filed lawsuit before the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court requesting an injunction against the AyA.


I understand the water problem. I’m even on my community’s water emergency committee. But now I have a lot with which I can do nothing. Without water, you can’t sell it and you can’t get a mortgage from the bank.


Water is a fundamental right. It belongs to no one, and the government should better manage its distribution. The strange thing is that I see new construction projects that are moving forward. With what water permits? It seems like they were able to get them.


In spite of all of this, living at the beach has been a marvelous experience. As a foreigner, I’ve met incredibly warm people who have big hearts. If I could go back and do it again, I would. But before buying land, I would read the small print a thousand times, as they always tell you to do.


Something that I love about these people is that they take care of their beach, and they waive the blue flag with honor. They always carry around bags for trash, and they’d never throw garbage on the beach. In high season, things change. People come from all over and they leave our beloved beach filthy.