Nosara Costa Rica: Popular Yoga and Surfing Town
Nosara Costa Rica is a relaxed surfing & yoga town on the Pacific coast
The Nosara Costa Rica Vibes
Nosara, Costa Rica is a cute seaside town that exudes a laid-back and bohemian atmosphere.
The town has a rustic charm, but unfortunately, I think it is starting to lose that a bit as the town becomes more popular with tourists and more roads get paved.
With its world-class surfing beaches, yoga retreats, and wellness centers, Nosara fosters a holistic and mindful vibe.
This area tends to attract backpackers and individuals seeking relaxation and self-discovery.
The community has a strong emphasis on sustainability and eco-consciousness.
Background Info About Nosara Costa Rica
Nearest International Airport
Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport in Liberia
Popular Things to Do
surfing, yoga, turtle tours, rent an ATV, snorkel or diving tours
Best Way to Get Around
Rental car, walking in the downtown area
Best Time of Year to Visit
Dry season is from late December until mid-April
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Thomas (the German) and Sarah (the US-er).
We met in Virginia, moved to Germany, and have called sunny Costa Rica home since 2016.
We are on a mission to help you plan the perfect Costa Rican vacation.
Map Of Nosara
Nosara is located on Northern Pacific coast of Costa Rica.
It is between the larger beach towns of Samara and Tamarindo.
The Neighborhoods of Nosara Costa Rica
I was recently looking at a map of Nosara and was thinking how confusing it is as a tourist to actually know where to stay in this area.
See, the main town is called Nosara. But, the town of Nosara is actually located a bit inland. It is more of a bustling town. If visiting this area you actually most likely want to stay in the Playa Guiones or Playa Pelada area.
These two areas have more hotels, restaurants, and shops geared towards tourists.
Plus, by staying here, you will be almost directly on the beach.
There is also a beach as you are coming into town from the south called Playa Garza. There are a few hotels here, but I definitely think you are better of looking at places in the Playa Guiones area.
On that same note, if you are interested in surfing, you want Playa Guiones. Playa Nosara is actually very remote and hard to get to.
Flights to Costa Rica
The easiest way of getting to Nosara is by flying in to the Liberia International Airport. From Liberia, it is about a two hour drive to Nosara. From San Jose, it is about a five-hour drive.
That being said, we will go through how to get here from each airport to clear things up a bit.
If you haven’t booked your flight yet, we suggest using Skyscanner. We consistently find the best rates through their website.
Driving to Nosara
From San Jose
The drive to Nosara is long, but fine. The first two hours of the drive are on a main toll highway. If you are a somewhat experienced driver you should have no trouble with this.
The tolls do not accept credit cards. They will take dollars or colones.
You will then drive on a main road that can feel like it take foreverrrr. A lot of big trucks drive this road and it is often hard to find a place to pass them.
Eventually, you will turn off on a smaller main road called Paso de Tampisque.
If you need to stop for a quick meal or bathroom, there is a small plaza with a Subway, Papa Johns, and Taco Bell located just before you make a left-hand turn on to Paso de Tampisque.
Other than that, there are not many quick food options along the way.
However, there are several gas stations if you need a bathroom break. Most of the gas station bathrooms are actually fairly decent.
From the turn on Paso de Tampisque, it is usually smooth sailing until you reach downtown Nosara.
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Just not that police tend to hang out in the first few miles of your turn onto Paso de Tampisque controlling speeding.
We suggest downloading the free app Waze for directions in Costa Rica. It is the best and often other drivers are really great about inputting where the police are hanging out.
In other words, this drive is doable. We’ve done it many many times. However, after a long flight, driving for five hours might be the last thing you want to do.
Renting a car and driving to Nosara on your own is a great option if you would like to have a car for fun day trips.
The drive is on main roads most of the way and if you are a somewhat experienced driver you shouldn’t have any trouble.
Keep in mind that the roads near Nosara are not paved. Also, there are river crossings in some spots. In the dry season this will be no problem. During rainy season some of these roads can be difficult to cross.
We suggest renting an SUV no matter what time of year you visit for the clearance. Bonus points if you can rent a 4×4.
We work exclusively with a local car rental company called Adobe for all our rental needs.
They are the best company and we could rave about them all day. Plus, they have given us a 10% discount and other great perks to pass on to you.
You can find out more and book your car here.
BOOK YOUR COSTA RICA RENTAL CAR AND SAVE 10%
The Adobe Rent-A-Car discount includes…..
– A 10% DISCOUNT
– FREE SECOND DRIVER
– FREE ROOF RACKS TO USE
– 0% DEDUCTIBLE ON LIABILITY PROTECTION
– DISCOUNTED SMARTPHONE USAGE WITH UNLIMITED DATA
Private Shuttle to Nosara
A private shuttle is the most comfortable way to get to Nosara from anywhere in the country.
You and your group can just enjoy looking out the window. Your driver will be happy to stop for pictures or food along the way.
Public Bus to Nosara Costa Rica
From San Jose
There is a public bus that will take you to Nosara. This trip will take about six hours.
To get to Nosara from Liberia you will have to first take the bus to Nicoya and then switch buses to Nosara.
In our opinion, this is just a total pain. However, it is doable if you are really trying to stick to a tight budget.
You can find out more about routes from both San Jose and Liberia with this bus schedule.
Domestic Flights to Nosara
There is a domestic airport located in Nosara. It is possible to take a domestic flight from San Jose here.
Just keep in mind that this is a more pricey option and if you are scared of small planes this might not be the best for you.
The pro is that this is a super fast transportation option and the views are amazing.
Transportation In Nosara Costar Rica
If you only plan to surf and want to just stay in town, you really do not need a rental car. There are some tuk-tuk-style taxis you can take if you need to get around.
However, if you would like to explore other beaches or make day trips, having a rental car is always the best way to get around in Costa Rica.
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Nosara Costa Rica Weather
The most popular time to visit Nosara Costa Rica is between the end of December through early May. This is dry season in Nosara. You can expect extremely hot weather and no rain.
We like to visit this area between May through mid-August. At that time of year, you will likely have a daily afternoon thunderstorm, but there are fewer tourists,
From mid-August through mid-December you can expect the temperature to cool off a bit and more rain.You can find out more about the weather by month here.
Things to Do in Nosara Costa Rica
Go Surfing or Take a Surfing Lesson
Nosara is a surfer’s paradise and taking a surfing lesson from a surf school is a must do while here.
There are several surf shops along the main road which offer lessons and rent boards if you are more experienced.
Pro tip: Rent a board from the shops closest to the beach so you don’t have to lug the board as far.
Take an ATV Tour in the Mountains
We love this half day ATV tour that includes a delicious traditional Costa Rican lunch and the opportunity to learn about local fruits.
Walk the Beach
Playa Guionese is really long and perfect for a nice beach walk. Just don’t forget to load up on sunblock!
Take a Yoga Class
There are several yoga studios in the Nosara area which offer drop-in classes. We personally like Bodhi Tree because it is seriously beautiful. Plus they have areal yoga.
Also, if you would like a more intense experience you can sign up for one of the many yoga retreats in the area.
Go Horseback Riding
There are almost always people walking the beach with horses offering rides for a fee. We like to take a sunset horseback ride for a really enjoyable experience.
Turtles in Playa Ostional
Near Nosara, there is a beach called Playa Ostional which is home to the Ostional Wildlife Refuge.
Olive Ridley sea turtles use this beach as a nesting ground. This is one of the absolute coolest things you can experience in Costa Rica.
The best time of year to experience this is usually in the fall, but you can find out more in our complete guide to Ostional.
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Luna Azul Restaurant– A great place for quality seafood. The service and atmosphere are also amazing.
Restaurant Chirriboca– Such a beautiful restaurant with an amazing ocean view. All the food is delicious and fresh.
10 Pies – Really good quality food. A great lunch or dinner spot.
Burgers & Beers – Delicious burgers! Plus, they have quality beer, which is always important. 🙂
Dolce Vita: Amazing Italian food! Definitely try a pasta dish.
La Luna – Delicious fresh food and amazing atmosphere. It is always nice to have a great meal while watching the ocean.
Rosi’s Soda Tica – Great typical Costa Rican food at a good price. This place is super cozy and cute.
Go Juice – Great juice and poke bowl stand in town.
Nosara Costa Rica Hotels
The Gilded Iguana– Located 300 meters from the beach, this hotel has a pool and restaurant. The hotel has beachy modern vibe.
Hotel Boutique Lagarta Lodge– This hotel offers amazing ocean views from above. Relax in the beautiful pool or enjoy a delicious Mediterranean meal in the restaurant.
Tierra Magnifica Boutique Hotel– Enjoy the beautiful gardens and view of the ocean. This hotel has an on-site spa, pool, restaurant, and more!
Villa Mango: Nice hotel that backs up to a wildlife reserve. Guests can enjoy the on-site pool, restaurant, and amazing views.
The Sunset Shack– Located 50 meters from the beach, this hotel offers an on-site restaurant, pool, and simple (but modern) rooms.
The Nomadic Hotel– This hotel has private rooms as well as a mixed dormitory. There is a private pool, yoga classes, and a complimentary breakfast every morning for guests.
Green Sanctuary Hotel– Have you ever wanted to stay in a shipping container converted into a living space? You can at this hotel. There is also an outdoor pool, wellness center, and a spa on-site.
Airbnb and VRBO in Nosara
We always love renting a home or villa for our vacation in Costa Rica. This gives you more privacy and allows you the flexibility to cook your own meals.
Note: We try to only ever suggest places with good cancellation policies, but always double-check before booking.
Villa “F” – A secluded and modern 4 bedroom home that can sleep up to 10 guests comfortably.
Casa de Alces – This home is located just south of downtown Nosara on Playa Guiones. It can sleep 20 guests in 8 bedrooms. It would be the perfect spot for a family reunion or a group of friends.
Elements Villa – Also on Playa Guiones this home sleeps 20 guests in 7 bedrooms. This home has everything you would need for a fun trip.
Nalu Nosara Pool Villa – A 3 bedroom villa that can sleep up to 10 guests. There is a private pool on the property.
Nosara Travel Tips
-We’ve gotten some questions on Nosara versus Samara. If you are looking for a really small town with a super relaxed feel, Nosara is the best option. If you would like a bit more going on, Samara is a better choice.
Both towns are located on the Nicoya Peninsula within one hour of each other.
– Please be aware that Nosara Costa Rica is not the best for swimming. There are consistent waves and this area is known for rip currents.
Packing for Nosara Costa Rica
In Nosara you will probably either be enjoying yoga or surfing.
For yoga we like to bring our own travel yoga mat, and very lightweight breathable clothes for yoga. It is hot here!
For surfing, don’t forget a rash guard shirt that has UV protection. We usually opt for long sleeve because the sun is so powerful.
If possible, we suggest packing your stuff in a large backpack instead of a suitcase. The roads aren’t paved here so sometimes rolling a suitcase around is not ideal.
Also, there are a few cute shops in the downtown area. Save some space in your bag if you think you might want to buy some stuff.
Check out our Nosara Packing List on Amazon for all the essentials.
Nosara Costa Rica FAQ
Is Nosara Costa Rica worth visiting?
Yes, Nosara is worth visiting for the relaxed atmosphere, great surf, and nice beaches.
Is Nosara or Tamarindo better to visit?
That really depends on what you are looking for. Nosara is more geared towards backpackers that want to surf and do yoga. Tamarindo is a lot bigger. It is also a good surfing destination and is popular with families.
Can you swim at Nosara Beach?
It is usually best not to swim at Nosara Beach because the rip currents can be very strong. Always ask someone and pay attention to red flags before getting in the water.
Is Nosara Costa Rica safe?
Generally, Nosara Costa Rica is safe. However, it is always best to exercise caution. Petty theft sometimes occurs.
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You Might Also Like Visiting
Samara: A family-friendly beach town on the upper Nicoya Peninsula
Montezuma: A small beach town with tons of fun things to do
Tambor: A small fishing village and home to the Nicoya domestic airport
….if none of those appeal to you, check out our Guide to the Nicoya Peninsula for more ideas of places to visit in this area.