Playa Nosara, Guanacaste

Bask at the Beaches of Nosara, Guanacaste

There are plenty of beach towns along the Pacific coast of the Nicoya Peninsula in Guanacaste Costa Rica such as Tamarindo, Playas del Coco and Sámara, but none are as quiet as Nosara.

Known for its worries-by-the-wayside attitude and shorelines undisturbed by commercialism, Nosara is famous for surfing and yoga. When you stay in Nosara, you’re never far away from the beach, which is one of the biggest draws to the area.

Here, you can experience undeveloped coastlines that are hard to find anywhere else in the world, untouched by excessive tourism. You’re free to swim and dive in the ocean waters, but the most popular activity at these beaches is surfing, especially for an experienced surfer looking for consistent waves.

The lack of commercialism in this blue zone also gives the city a more laid-back vibe when compared to big cities like San José or even more developed nearby beach towns like Tamarindo. Many of the businesses in town are locally-owned family stores selling handcrafted wares and staples, all free from the typical price markups at some other Costa Rica tourism destinations. The mellow atmosphere is perfect for enjoying a midday meal at a sidewalk café, or kicking back with a good book.

Nosara Costa Rica is also fairly trendy with a youthful population. Relaxing activities like yoga are popular throughout town, and there are also quite a few opportunities to explore the surrounding jungles on tours.

Many people you meet during your trip will be locals, and if you can speak the language, you might just get a few recommendations for hangout spots that are off the beaten path, or the best restaurants for an authentic meal featuring the best Costa Rican foods the country has to offer!

Either way, you’re sure to enjoy your time in “No shoes, no shirt, Nosara”, and you may even come away from your trip with a newfound appreciation for Costa Rica’s authentic natural beauty.

Things to Do While Visiting Nosara

You won’t find many man-made attractions like casinos and theme parks in Nosara. However, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing interesting to do here. On the contrary, the town has a wide range of activities and attractions, from yoga and surfing to tours of the jungle by river boat.

Surfing

The beaches of Nosara offer incredible opportunities for surfing in Costa Rica, and locals and tourists alike frequently flock to the shore to take part in this time-honored tradition. Here, you’ll find beach breaks with consistent waves and the occasional barrel or two.

Keep in mind that while the surf is a little smaller at low tide, the waves can become larger, faster, and rougher when the tide comes in. It’s recommended that only intermediate to expert level surfers go out into the ocean when the waves get big.

Alternatively, consider taking surf lessons, it is a great way to give surfing a try. An experienced local guide will make sure you are safe, have solid instructions and are able to experience maximum waves.

Yoga

Nosara is one of the most well-known yoga destinations in all of Costa Rica, and as a result, there are many yoga retreats in the area. Some classes run on a daily basis, while others are more structured, week-long excursions meant to help you get in touch with your mind and body.

If you’re not into a guided yoga experience, you can always meditate on the beach instead, lulled by the calming sound of the waves crashing against the shore.

Palo Verde National Park: Half-Day Jungle River Cruise

Are you interested in seeing the jungle, but you’re not so interested in going on an exhausting hike? Experience all of the natural beauty from the comfort of a river boat on the Palo Verde National Park Half-day Jungle River Cruise.

On the tour, you’ll traverse the river by boat, with plenty of opportunities to see monkeys, exotic birds, crocodiles, and more. An educated tour guide will provide you with additional information about the forest so you can learn about Palo Verde National Park during your excursion.

Do know that Palo Verde National Park is a few hours’ drive to the Northwest of Nosara proper but well worth the drive for the experience that awaits when you arrive.

Other Attractions

In addition to typical beach day activities, paddle boarding and boogie boarding are popular choices in Nosara, especially for families with younger children.

You will find vendors along the shore selling refreshing drinks made with locally-sourced coconut water, which is the perfect way to quench your thirst on a hot afternoon lounging in the sand and sun.

You can also consider taking a tour of the area on horseback or by ATV. Head into the jungle, where you’ll pass by a roaring waterfall. When you’re ready to rest and refuel, hit the town for a tasty meal at one of Nosara’s many restaurants to truly immerse yourself in the local Costa Rican culture.

The Best Places to Stay in Nosara, Guanacaste

Nosara’s hotels aren’t quite beachfront resorts, but they’re still close enough to the shore that you should have no problem getting to the beach bright and early each day. These hotels have everything you need to enjoy your trip.

Boutique Hotel Lagarta Lodge

The Boutique Hotel Lagarta Lodge offers elegant suites with private verandas. On-site accommodations include a private garden, two infinity pools, a jacuzzi, and an event room perfect for destination weddings. The hotel’s nature reserve, Reserva Biologica, is a great way to see a wide range of animals and plants, and you can check out cultural artifacts and crafts at the art gallery.

For added relaxation, visit the hotel’s on-site spa. Enjoy a massage while taking in the view, or try out meditation, aerial, or restorative yoga classes.

Living Hotel

Living Hotel is a mere six-minute walk from Playa Guiones, but its proximity to the beach is just one part of what makes it so special.

Standout features of this hotel include free WiFi, daily yoga classes and private lessons, a saltwater pool, and a restaurant that serves dishes made with locally-sourced ingredients. For an additional fee, you can take a surf lesson at this Nosara beach hotel.

Take a full wellness retreat at Living Hotel when you visit the Living Spa, which offers services ranging from facials and waxing treatments to deep-tissue and Thai massages. Couples massages are available in the evenings, and if you’re really looking to release some tension, you can get an acupuncture treatment.

Villa Mango B&B

Keep homesickness at bay when you stay at Villa Mango B&B, a charming hotel with a homey atmosphere. This boutique bed and breakfast isn’t just great because of its tropical surroundings, but also because of the friendly and dedicated staff who can assist you in booking tours and other nearby activities in Costa Rica.

At the Villa Mango B&B, you can get an open-air massage, swim in the saltwater pool, go horseback riding, and take a morning yoga class. Head next door to the Nosara Biological Reserve for some birdwatching and wildlife photography.

Selina Nosara

Selina Nosara is only a short walk from the shores of Playa Guiones. The rooms feature a minimalist design style, though they include modern comforts like air conditioning and balconies for sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean.

This is a pet-friendly hotel that also offers family rooms for guests traveling in bigger groups. Selina Nosara is fully equipped with top amenities like an on-site restaurant and bar, free WiFi, a pool, free parking, and a shared kitchen and lounge if you’d prefer to cook your own meals.

Olas Verdes Hotel

The secluded Olas Verdes Hotel is a perfect match for Nosara! This hotel has a private trail that brings guests right to Playa Guiones, as well as easy access to the Wildlife Refuge.

Popular features at Olas Verde include in-room amenities like a wet bar, mini-fridge, microwave, safety box, and coffee maker, as well as free breakfast, WiFi, laundry, and transportation to Nosara Airport.

Lounge on Nosara’s Three Beaches

Above all else, Nosara Costa Rica is known as a beach town. This comes as no surprise to those familiar with the area, as there is far less commercialism and tourism than what you might see at other seaside towns.

If you’re expecting long boardwalks full of loud attractions and dozens of hotels butting up against the coast, think again. Instead, picture a more serene experience with secluded natural beaches and a quiet atmosphere.

Lounge on the sands and play in the waves from sunrise to sunset at Playa Guiones, Playa Nosara, and Playa Pelada. Just respect these incredible Costa Rican beaches, as Nosara residents and visitors alike are especially dedicated to keeping the area free of disruptions and outside influences.

No Major Developments On the Beach

For many years, local restrictions on construction in national parks have prevented the excessive development of Nosara’s shorelines. As a result, the town remains a completely unspoiled beach destination with miles of unbroken coastlines, only interrupted by a few shops and eateries that have a minimal impact on the environment. Visiting a Nosara beach means escaping the more touristy locales in Costa Rica, while also supporting the conservation of native wildlife and their habitats.

Longstanding efforts by local citizens have also been instrumental in protecting and preserving Nosara’s beaches, so it’s especially important to be conscious of your surroundings when vacationing here. Don’t disturb the wildlife, and make sure to clean up after yourself at the three gorgeous beaches.

Playa Guiones

Playa Guiones spans all the way from Punta Pelada to Punta Guiones. It’s about six kilometers long, providing plenty of space for visitors to spread out their beach towels and umbrellas before enjoying a day of sunning themselves and jumping in the water to cool off.

Playa Guiones is considered the main beach of Nosara. This can mean occasional overcrowding, especially during the high season of January, February, and March, when North American travelers head to Costa Rica to escape the winter. That said, the beach is large enough that there are almost always a few less crowded zones in the more isolated areas.

While you can stay on the sand, most visitors prefer to get their feet wet, usually by swimming or surfing. In fact, Playa Guiones is a surfing hotspot for locals and tourists alike, boasting consistent swells and long right and left breakers.

Note that the surf conditions at Playa Guiones are best suited to more experienced surfers, as the waves can get big during high tide and the right swell. However, the waves tend to be calmer during low tide, so even beginners can test their mettle when the tides and swells are right.

Playa Nosara

Playa Nosara stretches from the Boca Nosara river mouth of Punta Nosara to the Ostional Wildlife Refuge and Playa Ostional. This long beach is equally well-known for its surf, with characteristic peaks and shallow rock reef left waves.

While there’s plenty of sand, the coastline of Playa Nosara is somewhat rocky underfoot, which is one reason why it’s a bit less crowded than Nosara’s other beaches. It still has great wave conditions for an experienced surfer with shallow rock reef lefts and southern swells that frequently produce barrels, but beginners should steer clear, as they run the risk of wiping out on the less forgiving terrain.

Playa Pelada

While Playa Nosara and Playa Guiones are known for their great waves, the beach in between, Playa Pelada, isn’t nearly as popular among surfers. This is because the tides here are far less consistent. While high tides can sometimes bring in northern swells, barrels are few and far between, so you won’t see many surfboards at this beach outside of peak conditions.

On the positive side, this means there’s more space for sunbathing and swimming, which are both popular thanks to the natural shelter of the offshore reef, which keeps the strong tides at bay. Playa Pelada is also a great spot for beachcombing. Shells frequently wash up on the shore, and a break in the rocks creates a ‘blowhole’ that sprays sea water into the air.

Expert Tips for Navigating Nosara

Nosara is a town with a truly unique atmosphere. Check out these tips if you’re planning a visit.

Eat Local

There aren’t many chain restaurants in Nosara, which means most of your meals will consist of authentic local Costa Rican fare. With a wide variety of options from romantic hotspots meant for couples to kid-friendly locales serving up sandwiches and beverages, you're apt to find something of interest.

Take the opportunity to try something different - you might just discover a new favorite!

Don’t Over Plan

Embody Nosara’s laid back vibe and resist the urge to go overboard on planning. This is a great town for taking things as they come and crafting your trip around what’s available that day, so don’t feel pressured to have your itinerary set in stone before you arrive!

Guanacaste Escape Adventure Tour
7 Days / 6 Nights
Starting at $779 per person
Costa Rica Beach & National Park Tour
14 Days / 13 Nights
Starting at $2,084 per person

Where to Stay near Playa Nosara

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Hotel Palma de Oro
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Tambor Tropical Beach Resort
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Hotel Belvedere
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Esencia Hotel & Villas
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Fuego Lodge
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Hotel Playa Bejuco
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Nammbú Beachfront Bungalows
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Things to Do near Playa Nosara

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Adventure Flights Costa Rica
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Efrain's Nature Tours
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Vista Los Sueños Rainforest Tours
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Costa Rica Sky Adventures - Monteverde
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El Trapiche Tour
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Jaco Royale
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El Santuario Canopy Adventure Tour
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