The Nosara Costa Rica area is located on the southern Pacific Coast of Costa Rica and is on the Nicoya Peninsula. It is one of my favorite places to visit on the earth (See Location Map) . Despite it’s escalating beer prices, we plan to visit regularly.
Nosara is known for great surfing, superb fishing, a retreat for yoga enthusiasts, and a laid back life style. I shot the photo above from the balcony of our guest house looking toward the Pacific Ocean and the next door neighbors house. The natural beauty of Costa Rica is incredible.
How to Get There
A lot of the major airlines such as Delta, United, Jet Blue, American fly to Liberia, the hub for the northern portion of Costa Rica. It is a tiki hut type airport but apparently has plenty of runway to service the big guys.
I always rent a 4-wheel drive vehicle and drive to the coast. It is about a 2 hour drive. The last 30 minutes is on dirt roads if you take Highway 50 toward the beach. In fact, many of the roads in the coastal area are still unpaved so the 4-wheel drive comes in handy. There are private shuttles and cabs available if you don’t want to rent a car.
All of the rental car places are reasonable but they make it up on the ridiculously priced insurance which can be almost as much as the rental itself. I have tried to figure out a way shop insurance ahead of time but they won’t accept it at the rental places. I think it is a scam but what can you do? I am open to suggestions! Find out when you book your reservation how much the insurance will be.
I recommend taking a GPS with you because the mapping including the dirt roads is good and at least will get you close to the place you are staying. Don’t drive at night since there are limited street signs and no lights when you get away from the towns.
If you are going to the beach area and the newer part of the Nosara area you probably want to take Highway 50 from the town of Nicoya south. Print out a google map of the route before you leave in case your GPS doesn’t work. Here is a link to a pretty good illustrated map courtesy of Alamo Rental that may help you with the local roads around Nosara. Nosara Map
Favorite Things To Do in the Nosara Costa Rica Area
- Ziplining – Ziplining aka Canopy Tours has really caught on in the area. The Miss Sky Canopy Tour is breathtaking. You pile into the back of a truck and drive for 30 minutes or so up the mountain and then hike up to the launching point. It then runs from Mt. top to other Mt. Tops. If you are in reasonable shape you should be fine regardless of your age. There are other zipline alternatives such as the Wingnuts at Samara Beach which takes you from platform to platform in the treetops.
- Hanging Out on the Beach – The wavescan be really nice for surfing. The beaches are beautiful and the government leaves you alone. No nit-picky rules here. We enjoyed riding along the coast to the north where there are a lot of private beaches with no people.
- Fishing – I have been told that the Nosara area is somewhat removed from the commercial shipping areas and has some of the better fishing in Costa Rica. People in the industry say that the fish have diminished over the years but it can still be pretty darn good. I recommend the company “Fishing Nosara“. They have a good reputation, are professional and have been around awhile.
- Bars and Restaurants – If you can make the 15 mile drive, go north on the Ocean Highway to the community of Marbella. Look for the sign for the Tiki Hut Bar and Restaurant. This place is in the middle of nowhere and a little hard to find. A dirt road leads you down along the beach and to the Tiki Bar. We had an absolute blast along with the small group of people, all who had stumbled upon it due to spotting the sign out on the main highway.
Another really laid back place near Nosara is the Restaurant at Casa Tucan. It has a poolside bar and has bands at night. It attracts the surfing crowd.
5. Reserva Biologica – We found out about the Reserva Biológica from our host at our guest house. The entrance is at the Lagarta Hotel. It is a private nature-reserve of about 90 acres and is located along the Nosara River. It is home to a lot of species of plants, mangroves. crocodiles , howler monekeys and a wide variety of bird species. We spent several hours hiking and photographing the scenery. Howler monkeys were all over the place in the trees and I got the shot below. I suggest not venturing too close to the water due to crocodiles.
6. River Tour – At the Reserva Biologica, there is a boat tour that goes through a mangrove swamp on the Nosara River tributary and a saltwater tributary on the adjacent Montana River. The guide used a a flat-bottom catamaran with a low noise electric motor. Wading herons, egrets, roseate spoonbills, ospreys, and kingfishers are common sights along with howler monkeys, iguanas and crocodiles. We witnessed a crocodile eating a howler monkey. Afterwards we wondered if it was safe being in a little boat with crocodiles swimming around. These beasts are like alligators on high-powered steroids so beware. Have your camera ready as this trip is a great photography opportunity.
- We drove north along the Pacific Coast one day and hung out on this seemingly uninhabited beautiful beach. We would see a car maybe every half hour and no people on the beach at all.
We had our own natural hot tub and our own private beach. Pretty cool!
The northern Pacific Coast is often traveled by Americans and Europeans but you can always find secluded beaches like the one above. There is a heavy ex-pat community in this area and many Americans have built second homes. The vegetation and animal life are extraordinary. If you want to ditch the USA and move abroad without extreme cultural shock, this may be the place for you. On the downside, the heavy tourism for the Nosara area and the Pacific Coast in general has driven up prices for everything. Beer prices in particular are out of control even at the local places. We love it though and will definitely get back to Costa Rica over and over.
The new world meets the old world!
We stayed at a guest house that we found on hostelworld.com. I shot the photograph shown above from the deck at the guest house at sunset.These next few photos are random shots around the beach near Nosara Costa Rica
We ate at this roadside restaurant one day while driving around in our rental truck. As many of the restaurants are, this was a family run operation. They had specials each day. We looked around to see what the local folks were eating and ordered something that looked good. Of course, no one spoke English so I just gestured at the best looking plate of food and the owner understood.
Nosara is known for surfing but now Yoga Retreats have become the trending sport. There is a yoga institute, known as the Nosara Yoga Institure, that trains the teacher during extended workshops.