Nosara (Guanacaste, Costa Rica)

I just love this place because you can do practically anything! A common day for me is to wake up to the ocean’s sound and go surfing. Once I finish, I buy a fresh and cold coconut water from the lady on the entrance of the beach and go have a big and delicious breakfast. Then, depending on my mood, I can rest for a while and enjoy the sound of the waves, hang out with my friends or go to the ocean (just to enjoy feeling the waves crashing my body).

If the tide times are late, I like to do some yoga in the morning, previous to…  the surfing session, Bodhi Tree is my regular option. They have a yoga deck on the top of a hill, surrounded by nature and great teachers. After lunch, I can take it easy and just enjoy the view of the beach, or take a walk on it… you spend about 50 min walking from one side to the other and back (just try to do so on a low tide because there is an estuary and its better to cross it when its low or you will have to swim). When its about 3 pm, I take my surfboard once more and I go grab some more waves. If you ask me, this is my favourite session… when its about 5:30pm, the sun will start to fall so while you are surfing, you get to watch some ridiculously beautiful sunsets, to the point where my “happy place” is actually just floating in that particular beach, on that precise hour, and as you feel the ocean, you just watch the silhouettes of the other surfers and the sun setting behind them. I am shaking with excitement just to think about it! Later on, if I still have energy, now and then I go climbing, or I just hang out at the skatepark which is actually a good place to go out at night.

General Useful Information

  • This place is actually called Guiones, and Nosara is the little town next to it (10 min away).
  • This beach is a great place for a family vacation, or a yoga or surfing retreat. 

  • A beach really close to this one has some of the most wonderful and unique events of my country: the sea turtle “arribadas” where thousands of them come and nest at the same time, covering the entire beach (over 170.000 turtles )! So you should plan ahead and try to be here on that season (between June and November). 

  • Try to avoid the really low season because many places close on low season.

  • The closest pharmacy depending on the season, is in Nosara, as well as the closest gas station. The nearest hospital is all the way to Nicoya (one hour drive). 

  • The sun in Costa Rica is really strong, so make sure you wear sunblock all the time, and I say this because every time I go to the beach, I see tons of tourists with a painful sunburn. 

  • And remember: If you have never been to a beach with waves, you need to know to be careful with the currents (don’t go too deep).

What is there to do

  • The Beach: It is just perfect! Good and fun waves both for surfing and just to enjoy, some of the best sunsets in Costa Rica, nice looking surfers (both men and women) and it is not so crowded so if you walk a little to the left or right of the main entrance, you have your own private spot. It is a 7 km beach that you can walk or run, where you have the pacific ocean on one side, beige sand and some conchs on the bottom, a blue and sunny sky over you and green vegetation on the other side. Forget about seeing big developments while you are on the beach, and just enjoy the feeling of a natural, unmodified place. 

Surfing: Tides change all year long so you better check your Surfline or Magicseaweed report. The best tide is mid-tide going up or up going mid, but now and then it gets better on the really low tide. The waves are really fun; great and enjoyable for all levels (depending on the swell of course), and if its good and you want to check another surf point, you can drive to Ostional or Marbella where it is usually even better. If you are a beginner, rent a surfboard or even take a surf lesson on Nosara Tico. They are located really close to the main beach entrance and have good prices and great staff. Consider this is a beach break, and get ready to swim a lot! A curious fact, a local company called Surfing Nosara usually upload photos of the people surfing each day, so you better check their website and maybe you will appear in one!

Pink Beach: On the top south point of the beach, after crossing along tons of rocks or paddling hard with a kayak, you find a beautiful little beach where the sand is almost pink and the sea is full of colourful little fishes, and nobody is around so you get to enjoy it all to yourself! There is a small hotel called The Blue Spirit that is on the way (really close to it) but I think it is only for yoga retreats. Anyway, its a nice, not so strong walk you can plan to do one day (with good shoes).

Yoga: Several hotels offer yoga lessons around the village or on the beach. My favourite place is Bodhi Tree Yoga Resort because they have great discounts for locals and ticos, but also because the place is really nice. There is also the Nosara Yoga Institute, where they train yoga instructors and their deck is on the top of a hill, surrounded by nature… it is gorgeous.

Skatepark: There is one really cool skate park on the village called La Eskina. During the day and evening, it is a really family-kind of place, and at night it usually becomes the place to hang out and now and then, party. In fact, sometimes they do concerts, as well as skateboard tournaments. A friend of mine has a picture with Tony Hawk on that skatepark haha. I guess it is also useful to know they have a bar and restaurant… you should try the passionfruit daiquiri! 

Close places to visit: Near guiones, you find a lot of beaches, lookouts and activities to go to. Playa Garza, which is next to it, is not worth it so don’t consider it, Pelada beach on the other side, is nice and has a lookout where you can go see the sunset. A little bit farther away you find Ostional, where you can see the famous Ridley turtles “arribadas” if its season and go surfing if there is swell (but don’t consider staying there because there is nothing to do besides that). If you are willing to go pass Ostional, you can see San Juanillo beach, a a place where you can take some cool photos and where the color of the water gives you a refreshing kind of feeling. Also, driving to the opposite side (passing Garza beach), you can go to Barrigona Beach, but keep in mind you will need a 4X4 car to get there and you shouldn’t go alone. Barrigona is a perfect little beach where Mel Gibson bought almost all the land that surrounds it so there is only one little entrance and if you walk by, there is always a chance to run into him (I know because we have). Sometimes, the swell hits this beach and the waves are PERFECT! but if it doesn’t… they are kind of awful. One of the best surfing sessions of my life was here. We were only 3 persons on the entire beach, perfect waves, crystal clear waters, a turtle swimming around us, and the astonishing natural wall that you find in this beach, illuminated by the sunlight with some green wild colours. I swear.. this happened, and we will never get over that perfect session!! You can also visit other nice beaches like Samara, Camaronal or Carrillo (if you do so, I recommend talking with the Carao Project). 

Diving: If you want to go diving, on the next beach (10 min) has a dive center, Buceo Gavilana. To be honest, I’ve never taken that dive trip before because the only time I coordinated to do so, I had a little accident and had to cancel. But I will let you know how it is whenever I do go!

Snorkeling: You can snorkel on Guiones Sur, on the inter-tide ponds. You see some colourful fishes but its not that good and nobody around will lend you snorkel gear that I know of. If you are a fan of sea life, the best option is to go to those inter-tide ponds and lift some rocks. You will see starfishes, sea urchins, flat worms, sea slugs and many other molluscs. Another option is taking a snorkeling tour to San Juanillo beach.

ATV tours: I have never rented or taken an ATV tour but I always see them. I know the best choice for this kind of tours is Puro Tico, so contact them if you are interested in taking one. 

Rock Climbing: There is one artificial but really cool rock climbing wall. I like to go there at night, because its cooler (since you are avoiding the sun) and it can get really hot during the day. If you are interested, you should contact Climb Nosara and make sure you have a reservation!

Horseback riding: Many years ago I used to go horseback riding in the beach all the time. It was really cool… The horses will take you to the beaches next to Guiones, like Pelada and Playa Rosada, which are really nice as well. Just remember to wear the right clothing (close shoes, socks, and long pants) or you will finish with a friction burn. The best prices you can get are by contacting this local guy Fausto at 26568014.

Shopping: If you are kind of a shopaholic, be careful because there are a lot of beautiful shops and galleries around the village, with local and costa rican products that will drive you madly in love. It is useful to know that there are ATMs of a local bank (Banco Popular), and that they accept credit card almost everywhere. 

Other Activities:  If you like playing Tennis and don’t mind the hot weather, on the town village you find red clay and DecoTurf fields. There is also a Minigolf, a Canopy, the SIBU wildlife sanctuary, a waterfall or river tour, etc. 

Food

If you are driving, Il Basilico is great for pizza and on Thursdays they usually have 2×1. I heard Toñitos Bar and Restaurant is a really good tapas place, and if you like  artisan beer, Burgers and Beers is the best choice!  Robbin’s ice cream parlour is a must if you like ice cream and the coco cookies from Cafe de Paris are to amazingly good. 

The supermarkets downtown are really expensive (Delicias del Mundo, Dos Lorenas, Las Brisas and Organic Minimarket) so the best choice is to drive to Nosara and look for La Paloma (which is also expensive, but less, and has more variety).

Keep in mind that most restaurants and supermarkets close before 10pm so you better eat before that time or you will have to drive all the way to Nosara (there is one small local restaurant next to the airport that is usually open till later).

Transportation

To get there, you can either fly to the Nosara airport with Sansa and then ask the hotel for a transfer (or as I do, just ask around the airport if there is someone that can take you-and you pay them). Or, you can drive or take a bus. Driving is the best option if you are okay with renting a car, but a bus is always an option. There are two different buses that go there, the one that stops at Nicoya, and you can change buses to go somewhere else in Guanacaste, or the one that goes all the way to San Jose. You should check the bus schedules at http://empresaalfaro.com/sanjose_guanacaste.html

While you are there, forget about taxis and buses! This little town will only offer the bus to get to and from Nicoya city or San Jose. So if you want to move around, you better rent a car or bicycle. Another good option is avoiding the necessity to do so by renting a place or room walking distance from the beach and the village.

Acommodations

We usually rent a house, and we book it through Surfing Nosara Real EstateThere are many houses you can rent that are walking distance, and hotels like The Nomadic, La Negra and the Harmony, which are expensive and nice. If you are looking for something, “good, nice and cheap”, try staying at 4You or Green Santuary. The Sunset Shack sometimes gives good prices, and Backyard Nosara is a new one that looks really nice.  Some month ago, a Selina  Hostel opened up and I hear its really fun there. The cheapest place to stay is Nosara Beach Hostel. Try finding a place close to Punta Guiones, the main beach entrance and surfing spot (and where the village is located). 

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