While driving down the pothole-ridden dirt road that connects Nosara, Costa Rica, with the outside world, you’d be right to wonder if there really will be civilization when you get to the end of it. But if you can weather the bumpy dirt treks, you’ll be treated to a hidden paradise.
Unlike some of the more popular beaches —which are all accessible by asphalt—you’ll hardly find any beach-front construction here in Nosara. The entire stretch of sand is a protected area, meaning that, save a few ancient beach houses at the far south end, there’s nothing to take away from that feeling of being in a truly untouched environment.
These difficult-to-navigate roads are also one of the reasons that Nosara has its own magic: it takes a certain type of person to drive this far along endless dirt treks, mostly ones who are looking for their own type of peace.
Unsurprisingly, surfers and yogis top the list.
The Best Surf Spots in Nosara, Costa Rica
“When you’re surfing, you’re looking back, and it’s a jungle,” describes Gary Edwards, a Canadian entrepreneur and one of Nosara’s many transplants. “It’s just a natural beach without all the glitter and the glare and the commercialism that comes with having a nice beach.”
There’s even a kid-friendly skate park with a climbing wall (La Esquina) and the well-loved Nosara Kids Club to keep the groms entertained while mom and dad are in the waves.
Nosara has plenty of adventure options for non-surfers as well. Nature lovers will get a thrill out of a paddleboard or kayak tour through the Nosara river and mangroves. Or, if you really prefer dry land, head over to Boca Nosara Tours for some unforgettable horseback riding through the sandy trails that interconnect the entire Nosara area. Plus, Costa Rica is one of the best places to spot sloths in the entire world.
Health & Wellness in Nosara, Costa Rica:
Nosara draws people in for more than just its beauty: the town is an ecotourism and wellness haven, with some of the best yoga and health travel destinations around every corner. The Nosara Yoga Institute (NYI) was the first studio to bring serious yogis to Nosara’s shores, and while the studio closed in 2016, its legacy continues on. There’s nearly an infinite number of studios to choose from and many of the faithful yogis have transitioned to one of the two major ones: Bodhi Tree and Harmony.
Having opened in 2014, Bodhi Tree is a 4-star yoga resort with impeccable gardens, a tasty juice bar, and an array of especially breathtaking yoga studios. Bodhi was originally built to serve as lodging for the Nosara Yoga Institute (NYI) next door, with solar panels on every roof and a septic recycling plant to reuse water for the gardens. This eastern-themed, plastic-free yogi paradise now offers six or seven yoga classes a day, along with extras like TRX and Pilates.
Across town, the Harmony Healing Center at the Harmony Hotel is another hip yogi hotspot. Their spacious, open-air studios look out onto walls of green jungle, where the occasional lizard, monkey, or even tucan might stop to visit. There are usually six or seven classes to choose from along with special classes, such as guided meditation, pranayama, and even aerial yoga.
Where to Eat in Nosara, Costa Rica:
It’s time to eat, and in Nosara you’ll be spoiled for options. For Costa Rican fare, try Rosie’s Soda Tica, or if you’re after some alternative latino flavor, El Chivo in Playa Pelada will fill your Mexican fix. El Basilico is the best known Italian joint in town, however if you’re on the go, grab a deliciously cheesy slice from Pura Pizza, right by the grocery in North Pelada.
If you’re really after a magical night, find your way to La Luna — we recommend taking the jungle trail from Guiones North for a truly dramatic arrival. As the only restaurant with a beachfront address (it was grandfathered in), La Luna would be special enough. However, dramatic sunset views, gypset chic decor, and truly delectable food really set this place apart. When the sun sinks low and the fairy lights come on, you’ll want to put down your phone and simply soak up the experience.
Where to Stay in Nosara, Costa Rica:
This little guesthouse, just meters from the waves in Guiones, might be Nosara’s best kept secret. Owned by long time Aussie residents, this classic tropical-style home is a perfect base for enjoying everything Nosara has to offer. Their two token great danes, Maggie and Ruth, are always on hand to make sure you’re having a great day.
This little soul-surfer hotel opened its doors in 2017 and has been flooding with guests ever since. Its airy, tropical modern design, comfortable rooms, and artsy atmosphere are what attract guests, along with the possibility of connecting with some of the other amazing people similarly drawn to this hipster hideaway.
Juan has several local-style apartments right near the beach, which are the perfect low budget stay for surfers. What they lack in contemporary design they make up for in price and location.
How to Get Around in Nosara, Costa Rica:
Getting to Nosara requires a 4×4 or a seasoned transfer driver. Once you’re there, you might opt for walking through town via the extensive network of jungle trails that connect everything together or renting a bicycle (just make sure it’s got fat enough tires to get through the sandy sections). For those without their own truck, opt for an ATV rental; iQuad has reliable ones at reasonable prices.