As a world class yoga destination, Nosara, Costa Rica is THE place to go in Costa Rica for yoga. Situated on the Pacific Ocean side of the Nicoya Peninsula, Nosara is a tranquil escape in a remote lush jungle village. If completely off the grid isn’t in your travel plans, don’t worry, in Nosara, you’re never too far away from a juice bar, latte or wifi.
While Nosara is one of the top yoga destinations in Costa Rica for international tourists, it is also a top surfing stop in Costa Rica. The beaches or playas here are pristine and inviting as buildings and houses are set back off the beaches, hidden in the lush jungle.
When travelers are talking about Nosara, they are usually referring to “Nosara” as the area and not the town. Most tourism and hotels are in the town of Guiones, rather than in the actual town of Nosara, which is further inland. Legend has it that Nosara was originally being developed to be a golf course, which luckily fell through, leaving the Nosara area as a lush, densely green place to escape over-development.
Nosara (and Guiones) is famous for good surf breaks and terrible roads. Probably some of the worst roads in a town in Costa Rica. They are deplorable. Aside from the parking lot of the new grocery store, the closest paved road is at least 30 minutes away, and it only lasts a few hundred feet. And it’s not just your run of the mill dirt roads, it’s bumpy, hope-I-don’t-break-an-axel dirt roads with deep pot-holes.
And Nosara is also famous for famous people. Rumor has it, Nosara is frequently visited by Susan Sarandon, Ethan Hawke, Woody Harrelson, Julianne Moore and more.
WHAT TO DO IN NOSARA
Surfing is the main outdoor activity to do in Nosara. Playa Guiones and Playa Pelada are great for relaxing or surfing. Also, Playa Marbella is good surfing and only about 45 minutes north of Guiones.
For yoga, most of the hotels offer yoga and/or meditation. If you’re looking for the best yoga in Nosara, you’ll probably want to head to the Bodhi Tree Yoga Resort, Lagarta Lodge for vinyasa yoga or arial yoga, the Harmony Hotel or Blue Spirit Costa Rica. And if you’re in search of yoga training in Nosara, check out The Nexus Institute.
SIBU Wildlife Sanctuary is a good place to see Costa Rican animals in Nosara.
Bike Nosara by renting a mountain bike from Nosara MTB near the Guilded Iguana in Guiones. You can rent a bike to cruise around the beaches dirt roads or schedule one of their bike tours in Nosara.
Mariposario Nosara – A visit to Costa Rica isn’t complete without a visit to a butterfly garden. Mariposario Nosara is a Butterfly and tea garden in Guiones.
Jungle Mini Golf is a fun touristy activity for kids and adults in Guiones.
Nosara Escape Room – I don’t know why anyone would want to travel all the way to beautiful Costa Rica to be locked indoors, but if that’s your thing, you should check out the escape room in Nosara. It gets perfect reviews, so travelers seem to love it. I would think that this is the perfect activity for children during rainy season.
Experience Nosara Adventure Tours offers SUP camps and outdoor adventure tours.
And if you are traveling with children ages 5 to 12, they might enjoy a break from you and a chance to play with other children at Nosara Kids Camp.
Hike the Nosara Biological Reserve at Lagarta Lodge.
Take a horseback riding tour with Boca Nosara Tours.
Check out the nearby Ostional National Wildlife Center to see the annual pilgrimage of the Olive Ridley sea turtles. In the Fall months, you can see the Olive Ridley sea turtles nesting (laying eggs) during the arrabada, and 45 days later if you’re still around, you can see them hatch and wiggle their tiny turtle bodies to the Pacific Ocean near Playa Ostional. It is a truly amazing experience if you’ve never seen this.
You can only see these turtles nesting during nighttime hours as they return to the ocean during the day. I recommend getting to the Ostional National Wildlife Refuge about 15-20 minutes before sunrise, so you have a little day break daylight to take photos and videos as they finish their nesting duties and start making their way back to sea. Visitors are required to have a guide to go on the beach during nesting season and there is usually someone waiting there to take you for a small (cash only) fee of around $10 per person.
WHERE TO STAY
I recommend this gorgeous 2 bedroom house on Airbnb called Villa del Paraiso. It is on the top of a hilltop with a private pool. It is like a lush fortress. It’s walking distance to the Costa Rica Yoga Spa and a short drive to Playa Guiones and short drive to Ostional to see the nesting turtles.
There are also several great hotels in the area.
Lagarta Lodge – It is dangerously tempting not to leave once you are here. It also has the Nosara Biological Reserve which is great hiking with your family or with a guide. Large crisp modern rooms, fantastic view and delicious restaurant on the property. It has a beautiful yoga space with an excellent instructor.
Nosara Beach Hotel – This hotel captures contemporary kitsch. Lots of white in this hotel that would be considered minimalist, if it weren’t for the quirky accents throughout. Large oceanfront property with an amazing view. It is wedged in a corner of the coastline between Playa Guiones and Playa Pelada.
The Harmony Hotel – Hotel and healing center has environmentally friendly sustainable bungalows. The hotel boasts a restaurant, juice bar and a farm.
Illuminar Yoga Hotel – Newly built small boutique hotel in the middle of Guiones. Top floor rooms have access to a view of the ocean and bottom floor rooms have a private outdoor shower.
BEST PLACES TO EAT IN NOSARA
There are lots of hidden dining options, but these are the ones I think are the best restaurants in Nosara.
La Luna – Beachfront mediterranean restaurant in a casual chic setting. Great food and excellent ambiance.
Restaurant Chirriboca at the Lagarta Lodge – High on a hill above the ocean, this restaurant has amazing views, phenomenal food and a spectacular view. May be my favorite restaurant in Nosara.
10 Pies – Casual outdoor restaurant that gives you a chance to “taste paradise” with delicious menu options and hanging swings at the table.
Restaurant and Bar at Guilded Iguana – Crisp modern open air restaurant serving spectacular Mediterranean cuisine with a Tico twist.
Seekretspot – Coffee and ice-cream
El Chivo – Great stop for burgers, tacos, tex-mex dishes and cool t-shirts.
Al Chile – In Guiones near Beach Dog Cafe.
Definitely want to stop for either breakfast or lunch at the lovely Cafe de Paris in downtown Guiones.
HOW TO GET TO NOSARA
Any way you chose to get to Nosara is an adventure.
If you are flying in from another country, the only international airports in Costa Rica are in Liberia (LIR) and San Jose (SJO). Liberia is about a 2 1/2 hour drive and San Jose airport is about a 4 1/2 hour drive.
If you are already on the coast and driving from Tamarindo, you can take the flat bumpy unpaved “coast road” that is a dirt road for over an hour before you get to Guiones. You have to drive through some water using this route, and the road is often impassable on rainy days in Oct/Nov during rainy season, but I understand there’s a newly built bridge (2019) that may make this road more viable for travelers.
Or you can take the stunning drive through Nicoya, which takes about 20 minutes longer, but is paved almost all the way to Playa Garza. It is a beautiful drive through the rolling hills. If you go this route, check out the Belén waterfall outside of Nicoya. It is about a 10 minute drive down a one lane dirt road with amazing views of nearby hills. (I recommend doing this on a sunny day.)
The rates may be substantially cheaper in off season (Sept to Nov.) but you should know that many restaurants and stores are closed. I’m guessing over half of the town is closed for the month of October. So, while you may get half off your hotel rates or flights, you should know that the people in the town will be half off as well. However the sleepy fall months are the best time to see the Olive Ridley turtles nesting in nearby Playa Ostional.
Dry season (Jan to April) tends to be dusty, while rainy season (October/November) is muddy. Summers get some rains and can go either way. December/January is probably the perfect time to go, which also makes it the most expensive.
*All of my opinions are my own. I am not being compensated to promote hotels, businesses or services. I’m just sharing the world with the world to promote a global community.
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If you feel like I missed something amazing in Nosara or Playa Guiones that travelers need to know about, please add it the comments below and I will check it out next time I am in the area. Thanks so much for reading!