If I had to sum up my opinion of Nosara in two words, it would be: SIMPLY AMAZING. Nosara, a town in the Nicoya Peninsula and the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica, is beachy and relaxed, yet energetic and adventurous. A perfect example of pura vida (pure life).
The Guanacaste region is fairly large so if you have friends heading to a town in Guanacaste and you’re heading to Nosara, you most likely won’t be as close to each other as you think you are.This town is pretty much off the beaten path, but has been growing steadily during recent years. There’s about 5,000 people in the town, but I never felt overwhelmed because of how spread out it was. I stayed in Nosara with a local family for one month while volunteering at a children’s summer camp. Living here for that length of time enabled me really get to know the town and people of Nosara. You may notice this is a pretty in-depth guide, but my desire in this post is that other people will get a good sense of Nosara, especially my fellow solo traveling females out there! Shout out to you powerful women! Yea!
Getting to Nosara
- Bus – approximately 6 hour drive from San Jose (around $10 US)
- Domestic flight via Nature Air: 45 minute scenic flight from the San Jose airport (price varies – my flight was around $160 US)
- Private shuttle
Like I said, Nosara is off the beaten path. I didn’t realize until two days before my flight (yay for last minute planning) that I wouldn’t be able to catch a bus or a flight on the domestic airline, Nature Air, the same day that I arrived in San Jose, the capital. As my first time solo traveling internationally, this was a tad frightening. You can read more about how I spent my first night in San Jose in this past post.
Tips before visiting Nosara
- Practice and memorize (even write on some note cards) some Spanish phrases. Many people speak English in Costa Rica, but not everyone does, so it’s helpful to know some important phrases in case of emergency. Plus, learning new words in another language is really fun. 🙂
- Bring bug spray (avoid dengue fever!), sunscreen and even aloe (you will need it, trust me). It can be quite expensive in town!
- Cash is great – some restaurants/stores charge more for using credit cards. Plus, exchange rates can be better using American dollars than Costa Rican colones.
What to Do:
There are two main beaches that people frequent here. Playa Guiones and Playa Pelada. Guiones is mostly touristy, has better consistent surf for beginners or well-experienced surfers, and is larger in shoreline. Pelada is quieter, more local, has less restaurants around (but does have a restaurant on the beach called La Luna, unlike Guiones which has no beach restuarants. Part of a government initiative to keep the environment natural, no building is permitted within about 200 yards of the beach.). The two beaches are connected by a “secret” pathway which makes traveling to the other beach a lot quicker than taking the main roads.
Zipline at Miss Sky Canopy Tours
Swing way WAY above the rainforest on this fast-paced adventure. The staff is so friendly and funny throughout the journey, making it that much more fun. There are about 13 cables and tours that run during the morning and evening. Helmets have GoPro mounts so you can capture the moment. Does involve a little hiking in between some of the cables, but that just means more time to reflect on the beauty surrounding you! One of my favorite parts? Seeing Nosara from so high up, and hearing the echoes of howler monkeys down below!
Surf some waves
Walk down the street by Playa Guiones and you will come across multiple surf shops offering fantastic prices. I rented a board for two hours at Nosara Tico Surf School for only $5. Can’t beat that! Nosara also has lots of surf instructors in the town if you want to receive in-depth lessons.
In Nosara, the yoga is unlike any other place. I was constantly in awe of the beautiful scenery where the classes meet. Both of the following places are two of my absolute FAVES. Classes cost $15 (pretty typical United States price) and all of my teachers were phenomenal.
- Nosara Yoga Institute – Ever done yoga in an open tree top studio, with monkeys howling around you? I hadn’t, and now I wish I could continue doing yoga here everyday. The institute is also fun to walk around as it intricately winds within the forest.
- Bodhi Tree Yoga Resort Sunset yoga here is UNBELIEVABLE. Candles, cool breeze, and a good stretch session. Total relaxation. Need some refreshment after your class? Grab a fresh and oh-so-delicious smoothie at their juice bar near the pool deck.
Into skating or just watching your new friends skate? Hang out at the skatepark, where there’s a bar, occasionally live music, and various events throughout the week!
Where to Eat
Nosara – Playa Guiones and Playa Pelada
- Bagel House – A small indoor/outdoor cafe with tasty fruit/veggie smoothies, salads, and sandwiches that are fairly priced. Has wifi too.
- Robin’s Ice Cream– AH-MA-ZING ice cream. I ate here multiple times throughout my month in Nosara. Favorite flavors were Mayan Chocolate and a classic, Vanilla. Just try not to spill ice cream on yourself – I did this every. single. time. I don’t think I ever learned how to eat ice cream properly.
- Cafe Au Paris – I usually stopped at the cafe section (there’s a restaurant here as well) and had pastries like creme puffs and fruit tarts while using wifi to connect with family and friends. They also have a mini-golf course here too. Creme puffs and mini-golf = fun times.
- Surf Lounge – Hammocks and food? Just what you want after a day spent surfing in the sunshine. Smoothies and sandwiches. And hammocks (worth mentioning twice).
- Go Juice– A juice stand near Playa Guiones that offers amazing smoothies, acai bowls and food. Get your acai bowl in a coconut if you’re feeling extra tropical.
- Gilded Iguana – great busy place for drinks and food. Also has wifi. And it’s a hotel as well. They even have local craft fairs here too.
- El Pepperoni – Who can go wrong with pizza?? Near Playa Pelada (another beach near Playa Guiones that’s popular with locals and sometimes has tidal pools to wander around.
- El Chivo – Cozy outdoor restaurant featuring dishes like big spicy burritos and tasty drinks like Mexihitos.
Nosara Central (area near the airport)
- Rancho Tico – Large restaurant with yummy local foods. Pizza isn’t local to Costa Rica of course, but I shared a few pizzas with friends here and was pleasantly delighted.
- Nachos – Local family run restaurant with cheap, tasty nachos. It’s open at odd hours but worth the wait.
- Cosechas – Cheap chain smoothie shop found throughout Costa Rica. This location is right next to Nachos and is only open when Nachos is open. Great for cooling off during the summer months.
Getting Around Nosara
- Walking is easiest and most cost effective (especially around Playa Guiones area – most restaurants are on the same street)
- Tuk Tuk – Basically the taxi service of Nosara, but much much cooler. Definitely an experience. Rides are about $6 one way and you can ask restaurant staff to call one for you if you don’t have the tuk tuk number, or cell phone service for that matter.
- Car – Not really the recommended mode of transportation. Definitely nice to have your own transportation, but the roads around Nosara are not the best (downside of Nosara) and full of potholes. Also, the rainy seasons are said to mess up the roads and even have flooding.
- ATV – The fun, popular way of getting around Nosara. Some people even have racks on the sides for their surfboards (innovative or what?!). Perfect for navigating around the many, many potholes here.
Enjoy the spectacular sunsets, waves, scenery, food, and the friendly people! Nosara is truly a wonderful place – whether you enjoy active adventures in water or on land, or just relaxing on the beach. Pura vida amigos!
Have you been to Nosara before? Are you planning to visit this town someday? Let me know in the comments below!