Nosara Costa Rica is a laid back little surfers beach town located along the Pacific coast in the Nicoya Peninsula. There is a fun saying about Nosara which goes like “No shoes, no shirt in Nosara”. And that pretty much sums it up how the Nosara vibes are. With little development, untouched beaches and lots of jungle around, Nosara Costa Rica is only a place for people that love to go off the beaten path. You won’t find big hotels, shops or many restaurants here. The two most important things that Nosara is about are surfing and yoga. We spend a week in Nosara and share in this complete guide about the best things to do in Nosara Costa Rica and some important things to know before you go!
How to get to Nosara Costa Rica
There are several ways to get to Nosara but public transport isn’t one of them. By car from San Jose or Tamarindo is one of the options, however the safest way is to have a 4×4 car. You might need to cross some rivers, especially coming from Tamarindo. It takes about 4.5 hours of driving from San Jose to Nosara and from Tamarindo to Nosara it takes about 2 hours of driving.
There is a small domestic airport located about 15 minutes from the centre of Nosara town that only receive domestic flights with Nature Air. The closest International Airport to Nosara is Liberia Airport which is two and a half hours away by car. However, flights tend to be cheaper when flying into the capital San Jose.
Best time to visit Nosara Costa Rica
The best time to visit Nosara is in the dry season that runs from December to April. Temperatures are high and rain is very unlikely to fall. However during these months the prices are also higher and you can expect slightly more tourists. But in Nosara it won’t feel crowded in any month. In comparison to Santa Teresa where you will see lots of people on the beach with sunset, in Nosara it’s just handful of surfers and beach lovers.
The green season is also a great time to visit Nosara. During these months that runs from May through November, the vegetation is much lusher, which is why it’s called the green season. Prices tend to be lower as well and even less tourists around then during the dry season months. By September and October it usually rains all day so you can best avoid these months. Floods also occur during these months and many businesses shut down to reopen in November.
Is Nosara Costa Rica worth visiting?
If you’re an off the beaten path traveler and you like to slow things down and tune into nature then Nosara is the place to go. Especially if you love surfing but you don’t like the more crowded waves at Santa Teresa. Nosara is still undiscovered by mainstream tourism so you will see little development here. This is also because Nosara is part of the Ostional Wildlife Refuge which has protected the region from large-scale overdevelopment.
The laid-back atmosphere of the beach town is enhanced by the many yoga retreats, unpaved roads surrounded by jungle paths, perfect surf waves and untouched beaches.
Where to stay in Nosara Costa Rica
In Nosara you can find various accommodations from surf camps with bunk beds, a hotel room and private villas. It may be clear that Costa Rica isn’t a budget traveler destination, like Asia for example. So for a bit of a decent accommodation in Nosara you can expect to pay around €80-€100 so around $100 per night. Nosara is divided in different areas, so you’ll have to choose beforehand in which part you’d like to stay.
Around Playa Guiones are most of the accommodations located. However there is a north and south part because the beach is pretty stretched. If you don’t have transport in Nosara I would advice to stay around the northern part of Guiones Beach because there are most restaurants located on walking distance.
Some options for some of the best Nosara Costa Rica hotels are:
- Harmony hotel; one of the best yoga retreats in Costa Rica
- Lagarta lodge; luxury Costa Rica Yoga Resort
- Bodhi Tree Yoga Resort; one of the best yoga resorts in Nosara
- Living Hotel Nosara
- Green Sanctuary Hotel
- Gilded Iguana
Things to do in Nosara Costa Rica
The main focus when going to Nosara should be to slow down. This is not a huge adventure destination such as La Fortuna where you can go hiking through the jungle over hanging bridges, visit impressive waterfalls, climb volcanos etc. But, when you’re a surfer you can enjoy the perfect waves in Nosara year round and besides that Nosara is a great place for yoga classes or to attend some of the yoga retreats. But there are definitely some fun things to do in Nosara, below our 8 best things to do in Nosara.
Nosara is one of the world’s best surfing destinations and therefore definitely one of the best surf destinations in Costa Rica. The town’s five beautiful long sandy beaches have drawn surfers here for years. But thanks to the lack of overdevelopment Nosara still has an undiscovered, laidback vibe. Perfect ingredients for a surfing culture to thrive. If you want to learn surfing, then there are several surf schools in Nosara. However keep in mind that there are better places in Costa Rica to learn surfing considering the height and power of the waves here.
Relax at the beautiful Nosara beaches
Nosara Guanacaste has some beautiful, raw beaches around. Don’t expect much development here because there are lots of protected areas in Nosara which is why you wouldn’t see any buildings close to the beach. No big resorts, no beach bars, just the beautiful untouched white sand beach and the waves of the Pacific Ocean.
At Playa Guiones there is a large stretch of a beach forest where you can perfectly have a walk in the shade. It also gives natural shade when you’re relaxing on the beach.
The other beaches are Playa Pelada and Playa Nosara, and two smaller beaches called Playa Rosada and Playa Bote. But these are not as easy to get to as the earlier mentioned beaches. The beaches in Nosara are all fantastic spots to watch the sunset, facing west over the Pacific Ocean.
Hike to the viewpoint at North Guiones Beach
There’s a steep little hill at the north side of Guiones Beach overlooking Playa Pelada and Playa Guiones. You can find it on Google Maps by the name ‘North Playa Guillones hiking area’. But soon enough when you make your way to the northern end of Guiones Beach you will also see the Costa Rican flag on top of the hill and a dirt path going up. There is some climbing involved here, so I would personally recommend some grippy shoes. However it can be done on flip-flops or even barefoot if you’re comfortable with that.
Once you made it up the hill you can walk along the ridge with beautiful views that stretch until Playa Nosara and the other way onto Playa Rosada. This is a great sunset spot as well if you’re looking for a different kind of sunset view than from the beach. The path continues to Playa Peleda, so if you’re in for a longer hike you can continue and make a loop back to Nosara town. But returning the same way is a great option as well of course.
Take Yoga classes in Nosara
Nosara has a rich yoga community with great variety in world-class yoga retreats and yoga studios that offer different styles. Together with surfing and relaxing, practicing yoga in Nosara is some of the best things to do. There are several great options for single yoga classes or complete yoga retreats. The Nosara Yoga Institute for example is located at Bodhi Tree Yoga Resort that offers a beautiful setting for people looking to deepen their yoga practice. Other great yea studios in Nosara are Blue Spirit, The Harmony Healing Centre, Lagarta Lodge and Vivo.
Hike through the jungle of Nosara
Nosara is surrounded by tropical forests that are filled with various hiking trails. Via these forest trails you can explore the pristine and untouched wilderness of Nosara. They even connect several parts of Nosara town so you don’t have to walk along the dusty roads. For longer hikes you can head inland, for example at the Nosara Biological Reserve. This is a self guided hike that takes a couple of hours. There are also some cool waterfall hikes in the near area. Below more about these little adventures.
Explore Nosara’s wildlife
The best place to discover wildlife in Nosara is at the Nosara Biological Reserve. In this 90-acre reserve you can spot a huge variety of Costa Rica’s incredible biodiversity such as howler monkeys, raccoons, deer, armadillos, wild cats and coatis. In the reserve’s mangrove live iguanas, snakes and crocodiles, so do keep an eye out when you’re exploring the park!
Explore the hidden Mala Noche Waterfall
One of the hidden spots near Nosara is the beautiful Mala Noche waterfall near the Rio Nosara. It might be hard to find this waterfall, but in this YouTube video you will find a description on how to get there. It is a fun hike through the forest and you can swim in the natural pool of Mala Noche Waterfall to cool off. A fun little adventure if you’re looking for something to do in Nosara that doesn’t involve beach. If you don’t want to get lost you can ask local tour guides to bring you to the waterfall.
Watch sea turtle nesting at Playa Ostional
The Ostional Wildlife Refuge is the nesting ground for sea turtles. Each year between July and December many sea turtles come to this area to lay their eggs in the sand at Playa Ostional. If you just want to spot turtles you can come at any time of the year, however the egg laying only takes place between July and December. You can visit the Playa Ostional beaches for a $6 USD fee to experience the turtle haching.
Best tours in Guanacaste
If you want to explore the best of what Guanacaste Costa Rica has to offer, then it is highly recommended to book a tour. During most of these tours you will combine a few locations on one day so you can see the diversity that the Guanacaste region has to offer. Because of Costa Rica’s popularity it is highly recommended to book your tours in advance as it is likely that tours sell out. So don’t wait with booking until you get to Costa Rica. Choose your favorite tours here and secure your booking! All of these tours include air conditioned transport with hotel pick up and drop off, certified guides and sometimes also lunch and the entrance fees. You can reserve now and pay later, with cancellation up to 24 hours in advance to receive a full refund.
- Sunset and snorkeling cruise from Tamarindo. Sail from Playa Tamarindo and cruise along the Costa Rican coast to see the sunset. You might have the chance of spotting, dolphins, whales, turtles and more. Snorkel in a tranquil bay or walk along a deserted white sand beach.
- Llanos de Cortez Waterfall and Rio Celeste waterfall hike from Tamarindo. Hike through Tenorio Volcano National Park and visit the beautiful blue river. Discover the rainforest and swim at Llanos de Cortez waterfalls while observing sloths, red-eyed leaf frogs, toucans, and butterflies.
- Blue River Resort & Hot Springs: Full-Day Adventure from Playa Conchal. Enjoy hikes through the lush tropical rainforest, tour through the lush botanical garden and butterfly park and end with a relaxing dip in the natural green mineral hot spring pools.
- Zip-line and rafting full day adventure tour from Tamarindo. Let your inner adventurer out by zip-lining, horse riding, canyoning, rafting, rock climbing, and more at the foothills of the Rincón de la Vieja volcano.
- Rincon de la Vieja National Park: 1-Day Pass, Lunch, & Tour from Tamarindo. Experience the best of Costa Rica during this outdoor adventure to Rincón de la Vieja National Park. The tour includes pickup, lunch and drinks, horseback riding, ziplining, waterfall visit and unwinding in the hot springs.
- Horseback Riding on Playa Conchal and Brasilito. Experience the joy of a horseback ride across the stunning Costa Rican beach Playa Conchal. Take a relaxing ride across the beautiful sands of Playa Brasilito and Playa Conchal while enjoying the area.
- Boat safari to Las Baulas National Park from Tamarindo. Sail up the waters of Las Baulas National Park and spot crocodiles, green parrots, howler monkeys, and many other species during this 2-hour tour.
- ATV Quad Bike Adventure Tour from Tamarindo. Enjoy nature from a unique perspective with the help of your local guide. Experience a fun-filled ride through pastures and rivers, up mountains with breathtaking views of the valley.
- Cahuita National Park and Tortuguero Canal boat tour. Explore Costa Rica’s Caribbean side with this wildlife-rich shore excursion to Cahuita National Park. Admire the biodiversity of the Tortuguero Canals, hike across Cahuita and enjoy Puerto Limon’s city highlights.
- 3-Day Tortuguero National Park Excursion from San Jose. Visit one of the most important destinations in Costa Rica on a guided tour. Explore a beautiful natural paradise, tour the famous Tortuguero Canal and see diverse flora and fauna during this 3 day tour.
- Manuel Antonio National Park combo tour from San Jose. Explore the world-famous Manuel Antonio National Park and its beautiful white-sand beaches. Discover the abundant wildlife on the park’s rainforest trails. Enjoy included breakfast and lunch, and make stops to see crocodiles.
- Poas volcano, Coffee plantation tour and La Paz waterfall gardens. Visit 3 destinations in one day on this guided tour from San José. Learn about coffee production, visit the Poas Volcano Crater, and experience the incredible nature around La Paz Waterfall Garden.
- Irazú and Turrialba Volcanoes Guayabo Tour. Visit Irazu volcano and the “Central Town” at the foothills of the active Turrialba Volcano. Experience a unique history and culture, shaped by the tallest and most active volcanoes in Costa Rica.
- Tortuguero Park Day Tour with Breakfast & Lunch from San Jose. Spend the day discovering the luscious landscapes of Tortuguero National Park. Explore this vibrant rainforest, see native wildlife in its natural habitat, learn about the local ecosystem and enjoy a delicious Costa Rican breakfast and lunch.
- La Fortuna 4 activities on 1 day; base hike Arenal volcano, hanging bridges, La Fortuna waterfall and hotsprings
More Costa Rica travel inspiration
I hope you enjoyed this blog post about Nosara Costa Rica and the best things to do.
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