The Travel Guide to the Peninsula de Nicoya, Costa Rica, with detailed Maps, Hotels and Tourist Information
Nosara has evolved into Costa Rica's most important surf and yoga destination. Many hotels and services are top notch and cater to a health-conscious clientele of yogis, avid surfers and adventurous families. The venerable Nosara Yoga Institute played an important role in this development. For decades it had been training yoga teachers from all over the world. Today you find some of Costa Rica's most stunning beach and yoga resorts in Nosara.
Nosara is composed of the original, landlocked Tico village and the beach communities of Playa Pelada and Playa Guiones, where most of the foreigners live. The three communities form a sprawling maze of streets and pathways through the forest, where houses and hotels are spread apart and hidden by tropical greenery. Finding your way through this honeycomb of roads can sometimes be a challenge.
Nosara has three different beaches, each with its own distinctive charm and attractions.
The main beach of Nosara is Playa Guiones, a 6 km expanse of immaculate white sand running in a straight line from Punta Pelada to Punta Guiones in the south. Playa Guiones is one of the best surf spots in Costa Rica. The beach offers easy access and the surf is consistent with long beach breaks, both left and right. Up from the beach is Nosara's commercial center with a bank, hotels, restaurants, surf shops, yoga studios, fashion boutiques, and real estate offices.
North of Playa Guiones, past a rocky outcropping, is the shell-strewn, and more quiet beach of Playa Pelada. Protected by an offshore reef Playa Pelada is better suited for swimming, and you also find shady areas under the trees. Towards the northern part of the bay are tidal pools and bolders with caves. For taking a fun shower with sea water look out for the blow hole in the rocks. The spray is at its best during the transition of the tides.
At low tide, you can continue north from Playa Pelada past the rocky cliff to the estuary of the Río Nosara. Wading through the river brings you to Playa Nosara, the most remote of the Nosara beaches. The black-sand beach is backed by mangroves and extends until Playa Ostional, a wildlife reserve which protects sea turtles. At certain times of the year thousands of sea turtles arrive for laying their eggs into the sand. Peak nesting season is from July through December. Most hotels in Nosara will arrange turtle tours to Ostional.
Nosara offers a wealth of activities, from low-key nature exploring to thrilling sports and adventure. A large portion of the land is protected forest where hunting animals is prohibited and the beaches and river estuaries belong to the wildlife reserve of Ostional.
The Nosara Biological Reserve is a 35-hectare nature reserve on the southern side of the Rio Nosara. The reserve is home to many animals. 270 species of birds have been identiefied and in the mangroves you might even encounter crocodiles. The entrance to the reserve is on the hill, at Hotel Lagarta Lodge. From the hotel you overlook the river estuary and the shoreline as far as Playa Ostional. The entrance fee of $ 6 includes a trail map and a list of trees that grow in the reserve.
Behind the pristine beach of Playa Nosara the Río Montaña and Río Nosara converge and form a lagoon with large mangrove swamps, that are teeming with maritime life and waterfowl. To explore this fascinating habitat you can rent kayaks or make a tour on a SUP board to glide silently through the water. Guided river safari tours are also offered with a flat-bottomed boat with electric motor.
The lagoon and river mouth are favorite haunts for local fishermen and are famous for fly fishing. Conditions are best with the incoming tide, when you can observe traditional "pescadores" catch fish with hand lines, and shrimp with large oval nets.
Horseback Riding can be enjoyed along the beaches, or into the countryside to waterfalls and rivers.
Surfing is best on Playa Guiones which is one of Costa Rica's best surf spots.
Snorkeling is readily available in the many tidal pools and offshore reefs of Playa Pelada
Yoga Nosara has become one of Central America's focal areas for wellness, health consciousness and spiritual renewal. Many hotels in Nosara specialize in yoga, spa, detox and health retreats.
Tennis In downtown Nosara and surrounding areas there are various places where you can play tennis on well tended courts.
The actual Tico village of Nosara is 6 kms inland, spread out along the Rïo Nosara. The pueblo is still small and traditional but you find some inexpensive cabinas, supermarkets, typical restaurants, a discotheque, and medical services. Right in the middle of Nosara is the landing strip for daily flights to San José, and half way to the beaches is a gas station and ATM cashier. » Map of Nosara
The beaches of Nosara host one of the oldest expat communities in Costa Rica. In 1962 an American entrepreneur bought the entire expanse of land along the coastline of Nosara. He initiated "The American Project", a development slated for 500 residential lots interspersed with commercial sites, green zones, and a golf course. He built roads and water systems, and installed electricity. After a few years, however, the project came to a halt for financial reasons.
Individual investors then acquired portions of the land, and property owners organized themselves into the Nosara Civic Association (NCA) which continues as a strong community-based NGO.
The NCA and its members are committed to balance development in Nosara with protection of the environment. Their association is unique in Costa Rica and they fought many battles to keep Nosara free from large-scale developments and pollution.