Nosara, Costa Rica
Filled with expatriate enclaves and communities, Nosara, Costa Rica offers some of the best chances to escape onto the beach, into the wild, or to the bar for an afternoon drink. Time at a standstill yet accommodations full of luxury and amenities, the beaches and town are a fusion of tranquilo surroundings, pura vida atmosphere and simpatico people.
Nosara is straight south and west to the Pacific Ocean just as the Nicoya Peninsula begins. A road connects the centrally located town of Nicoya before heading west to Nosara. Nosara proper is less than four miles (6 km) from the Nosara Beach, so a bike, dirt bike, quad, 4x4 or strong legs are advised. Nosara is part of the Guanacaste province and is south along the coast from Playa Grande, Playa Tamarindo and Playa Negra. It can take five to seven hours driving time to Nosara after landing in San Jose. There is a domestic airport nearby.
Activities on and in the water include scuba diving, snorkeling, Jet Ski riding, sport and deep-sea fishing and surfing. Activities near the water include turtle watching, sunbathing and wading, walking along the beach, hiking into the jungle, and exploring the little towns and talking to the local fisherman. There’s quite a few expats living in the area, so bars and restaurants are plentiful if not a little scant but charming. Kayaking or canoeing up the Nosara River makes for a day of endless adventure.
The turtles do make it this far north up the coast, with Tamarindo being the most popular turtle nesting area. The right timing brings hundreds of turtles to till deep holes in the sand to deposit their eggs. Additionally, snorkeling along the coast and estuaries illustrates a rainbow of Costa Rica’s renowned marine life while birding inside the jungle and forests embellishes a cacophony of exotic birds.
There are beaches strewn both north and south of Nosara Beach. Other smaller beaches perhaps overlooked by visitors are Playa Garza, Playa Guiones, and Playa Carrillo. Playa Guiones is where most expats live or hang out, from as far west as Switzerland, as far north as Canada and as far east as Japan. There’s a small community vibe to Nosara.
When the surfing is flat, locals head to Tamarindo and Malpais beaches. Longboarders will have some long, sandy rides into shore while shortboarders will have to wait for the bigger swells and mixture of winds. There is no predictable forecasts for the waves here, though luck and patience can bring amazing, solo rides. Playa Guiones, however, creates more dependable long rides with beachbreaks and soft, sandy landings.
Guanacaste statistically has the lowest rainfall per annum of any other province in Costa Rica. However, the dirt roads become muddy fields during the slightest rains, with bridges and crossings and signs completely missing. The dry season is dry and always sunny. The wet season is during the US summer months, and brings bugs and humidity and, as said, impassable roads. Temperatures during the dry season are dry with peaks around 90 degrees Fahrenheit (35 Celsius).
Though Nosara is off-the-trodden-path in terms of road conditions and tourism, it doesn’t mean that there are not a fair share of mega-luxury resorts and sweet suites. The accommodation here is as ritzy as tourists can afford, with hotels right on the beach or right around the corner from other divergent activities. The more pricey places to stay, though, parallel the beach and are mere feet from the sands.