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The beaches of this horseshoe bay are wide and expansive !!

He was my North, my South, my East and West, My working week and Sunday rest, My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song; I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong. ~ Stop All the Clocks, W. H. Auden, 1907-1973

Great wide, beautiful, wonderful world, With the wonderful water round you curled, And the wonderful grass upon your breast, World, you are beautifully dressed. ~ The Child's World, William Brighty Rands (Matthew Browne), 1823-1882

The beaches of this horseshoe bay are wide and expansive, the water warm and inviting. Plus, they offer a wide range of accommodations.

Playa Hermosa, or Beautiful Beach, has developed in the last few years, thankfully with smaller properties. It has gray sand, flat and lined with trees, and is a favorite with swimmers. If you're thinking of going down, you're in luck. Bill Beard's Diving Safaris (_506/672-0012, www.diving- is headquartered at Hermosa. Bill's diving endeavor is Costa Rica's largest and most respected. They arrange direct or through many hotels all along the coast. Agua Sport (_ 506/672-0050) on the beach will rent all kinds of watersports equipment. They also have a little beachside eatery to keep your belly happy.

your turn toward the beach and you'll encounter Villa del Sue˝o (_ 506/672-0026, www., air, pool, restaurant, $$), one of the most appealing places to stay set just a short walk from the beach under shade trees on the dirt road. Rooms are clean and simple. There's a small pool, large restaurant, expansive gardens and condos across the street that they also rent. French-Canadian owners. Popular place at night with live music at the bar.

A good bet if you want an equipped kitchen is Villa Huetares (_ 506/ 672-0052, pool, basketball court, air, $$-$$$). These large motel suites with kitchenettes can sleep four or more. Super value in the off-season. On the beach our favorite is El Velero Hotel (_ 506/672-0036, elvelerocr@, restaurant, pool, $$). The bar is a happening place in the evening and the restaurant back in the shade near the beach is very pleasing for three meals. Rooms are simply furnished, but comfortable. The hotel offers a very popular sailing day-trip on their 38-foot catamaran. More monkeying around at night is at the nearby watering hole, Monkey Bar, on the road to Playa Panama.

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