Last Updated on May 18, 2022

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Rainforest canopies, picture-perfect beaches, and endless paradise. This is Los Sueños, located on picturesque Herradura Bay on Costa Rica’s central Pacific coastline.

An idyllic nature-lover’s nirvana, Costa Rica is a country rich in natural beauty, filled with tropical forests, waterfalls, volcanoes, exotic plants and wildlife, with an abundance of biodiversity. There’s so much to see and do here, that if you truly want to experience Costa Rica’s pura vida, it’s best to immerse yourself in what each of its magnificent regions has to offer.

We found the Los Sueños-Herradura region a perfect home base for venturing out to explore Costa Rica’s jungle-y paradise and the unforgettable natural wonders of its central Pacific coast. If you’re planning an upcoming trip to this area, here’s everything you need to know so you can enjoy the best this region has to offer.

Weather in Los Sueños Costa Rica

Costa Rica has mainly two seasons—dry and rainy, also known as high and green seasons respectively. Dry season runs December to May and the rainy from June through November. September and October experience the heaviest rainfall.

Even though the chance of rain is always higher during green season, it’s not unusual for the Los Sueños Pacific side to see rain late in the afternoon any time of year. But due to its unique location on the coast, even the rainy season doesn’t mean consistent showers in Los Sueños.

Weather by Month

MonthHigh (°F)Low (°F)Daily Chance of Precipitation
Source: Wanderlog

Visitors to Costa Rica should always plan to pack sunscreen, bug spray, and some form of rain gear, no matter what time of year you’re coming.

How to get to Los Sueños, Costa Rica

Herradura Beach Near Sunset
Herradura Beach Near Sunset | Photo by: Noreen Kompanik

Closest airport to Los Sueños, Costa Rica

We recommend flying into Juan Santa Maria International Airport in San Jose Costa Rica (SJO). Located in Costa Rica’s capital, it’s a scenic and relaxing 70-minute drive to Los Sueños on well-maintained roadways. And there are more options of flights arriving and departing daily from this main terminus.

Getting around Los Sueños

Once arriving in Costa Rica, visitors have several options on getting to the Los Sueños-Herradura area. There are several car-rental companies available, and we selected Adobe Rent a Car for our week-long adventure. Driving in Costa Rica is easy, and we love the flexibility of having our own vehicle for exploration. But make certain you’re taking the correct insurance options as U.S. insurance companies do not cover an international rental.

Travelers choosing not to drive can opt for group or private shuttles but these should be arranged in advance as arriving at this busy airport with its myriad of transportation can feel a bit overwhelming.

Where to stay in Los Sueños Costa Rica

Guests have many accommodation options in the Los Sueños-Herradura area. These range from budget, boutique, or luxury hotels to private homes, villas, and vacation clubs.

Beaches here are so stunning that honestly, this is a place where location truly matters. There’s something about waking up to ocean vistas, wave action, and swaying palms.  

Marriott Los Sueños Costa Rica Vacation Club

Marriott Los Sueños
Marriott Vacation Club at Los Sueños | Photo courtesy of Marriott Vacation Club

We love vacation clubs as our “home away from home” due to the multitude of amenities they offer making a vacation so much easier.

For this reason, we loved our stay at Marriott Vacation Club at Los Sueños (check out my full review). This tropical paradise is situated on Herradura Beach in Provincia de Puntarenas. One and two-bedroom villas are thoughtfully designed for comfort and plenty of family space. And they blend in beautifully with the incredibly picturesque natural surroundings.

Hotels in Los Sueños, Costa Rica

Marriott Los Sueños
Marriott Vacation Club at Los Sueños | Photo by: Noreen Kompanik

Visitors to this region can also opt for a hotel stay at the stunningly beautiful oceanfront Los Sueños Marriott Ocean & Golf Resort. This splendid 201-room hotel shares the grounds with the Marriott Vacation Club.

You can practice your swing at its magnificent golf course then take a dip into one of the two stunning outdoor swimming pools or head for some Los Sueños beach time. The Los Sueños Marriott also boasts a beautiful spa, and five restaurants and cafés serving a variety of Mediterranean, Central American, and international cuisines. And it’s within walking distance to the Marina, a charming shopping and dining village, and home to a fleet of Los Sueños fishing charters and yacht services.

Another highly recommended place to stay in the Herradura area is the Zephyr Palace with its Egyptian, African, and oriental suites. The boutique property is perched 1,100 feet above the Pacific Ocean and rainforest and has its own pristine private beach.

What to do in Los Sueños, Costa Rica

For our family, vacation is all about the balance of adventure and relaxation. And the great news is that with its location, many amazing sites and natural wonders are in close proximity. This makes a Los Sueños stay easy for checking off your favorite bucket list items.

Los Sueños, Costa Rica Golf

Capuchin Monkey at La Iguana
Capuchin Monkey at La Iguana | Photo by: Noreen Kompanik

If you’re a golfer, La Iguana Golf Course is a magnificent course beautifully landscaped to blend seamlessly with the lush surrounding Costa Rican jungle. It’s also home to a rich variety of exotic plants and animals. These include playful monkeys, colorful toucans, three-toed sloths, impressive iguanas, and yes, an occasional crocodile. No need to pack your golf clubs, as top of the line rental equipment and golf carts can be obtained from the clubhouse.

Carara National Park and Tárcoles River Crocs

Macaws at Carerra National Park
Macaws at Carerra National Park | Photo by: Noreen Kompanik

Just a short drive from Los Sueños, Carara may be one of the country’s smallest reserves, but it’s the richest in wildlife. I’m not sure we’ve ever seen so many types of wild mushrooms, poisonous dart frogs, huge centipedes, rare indigenous plants and oh my…the birds. Colorful scarlet macaws and multi-hued toucans were our favorites.

As an added treat, our guide, Daniel Bolaños from Tucanes Tours stopped off at the Tárcoles River overlook, home to one of the planet’s largest congregations of crocodiles. At one point, we counted 15 massive and intimidating crocs sunbathing on the riverbanks and island with others slowly sliding beneath the water’s muddy surface. 

If you have time, try a rainforest skywalk and Tarcoles River eco cruise tour.

Los Sueños Adventure Park

Another way to enjoy the beautiful rainforest is by horseback. Take a guided tour of the Los Sueños Adventure Park, where you can visit private waterfalls and natural swimming pools. It’s also another great place to see the amazing birds of this region, including toucans and scarlet macaws. There are also plenty of white-faced monkeys to encounter along the way.

Tours leave in the morning or afternoon and are fun for the whole family. Book your tour here.

Jet Ski to Breathtaking Beaches

Los Suenos jet ski
Jet skiing to Costa Rican beaches | Photo by: Noreen Kompanik

Due to its location right on the Pacific Central Coast, Los Sueños on Herradura Bay is a perfect spot for water enthusiasts. After all, here it’s all about the water and the beaches. Guests can rent kayaks or better yet, head out on jet-skis to experience more of its natural beauty and explore its secluded seductive white sands.

We hired a guide to visit three extraordinary stretches of beach.  Firstly, Herradura Island has the protected nature reserves of Punta Leona, and the surfer’s dream beach of Punta Canejo. Next, we jet-skied to Playa Escondida nestled in a secluded jungle cove. It’s renowned as one of Costa Rica’s most secretive beaches and exotic hideaways with waterfalls, and yes, even spider monkeys.

Playa Escondida Waterfalls
Me and my hubby at Playa Escondida Waterfalls | Photo by: Noreen Kompanik

Lastly, Playa Fantasia is often called Jaco’s Garden of Eden. This extremely private and isolated piece of paradise accessible only by boat, is rich in tropical wildlife. It’s also surrounded by two large volcanic reef formations where underwater coves and groves are teeming with marine life.

The snorkeling here is superb, and we even got to see a pair of magnificent sea turtles swimming by. You can also try a sunset tour to Playa Fantasia.

Restaurants in Los Sueños, Costa Rica

Dining options are not a problem in this coastal region and range from sports-bar types to fine dining and everything in between.

Hacienda Kitchen at Marriott Los Sueños features the best of Central American and Costa Rican food in a beautiful breezy setting overlooking the pools and Herradura Beach. Sunsets here are spectacular. The restaurant offers an impressive collection of seafood, though other “land” options are equally splendid.

Marina Kitchen at Marriott Los Sueños
Marina Kitchen at Marriott Los Sueños | Photo courtesy of Marriott Los Sueños

What a treat it was to feast on perfectly-prepared Costa Rican steak at 18 & Green. This stylish, stellar steakhouse with luxurious wood, plush booths, and beautiful artwork overlooks Marriott’s picturesque La Iguana Golf Course. We heard the steaks here were outstanding. But that doesn’t even begin to describe the quality, taste, and presentation of this locally-raised beef.

You can’t beat the views or the warmth and charm of this Playa Herradura restaurant that’s a local favorite. El Pelicano is a beachfront eatery with an impressive menu, top-notch service, and incredible cuisine. Seafood here is king, though you’ll find plenty of other local land and vegetarian specialties. But guaranteed, you won’t forget your quintessential Costa Rica dining experience at this delightful restaurant.

After a visit to Costa Rica, author Justina Chen quoted “I didn’t know that the world could be so mind-blowingly beautiful.”

Those were our sentiments exactly after our vacation in Los Sueños Costa Rica. Though future travels will likely take us to some of its other “heaven on earth” regions, our first visit here was unforgettably full of magic.