Halfway down Central America’s Pacific Coast is a sleepy village surrounded by lush jungles and virgin beaches. Nosara in the province of Guanacaste is quickly becoming one of the top surfing and yoga capitals in Costa Rica and beyond. All year-round, backpackers and your standard tourists fly in to explore one of the country’s best-kept secrets. Some even settle down for good, as Nosara is also known for its large expatriate community. Wall Street Journal claims they’re responsible for modern mansions being built in the village. Still, Nosara manages to uphold its zen-filled and down-to-earth charm that are enticing foreigners the world over.
Whether you’re just passing through or considering staying for a long time, keep these 5 travel tips in mind that will make your visit to Nosara much more enjoyable.
As with any travel destination, it’s best to pre-book your accommodation in Nosara because you never know how crowded it can get. Seasoned traveler Dzmitry Urbanovich told PartyPoker that booking a hotel upon arrival is not usually the cheapest option. You might even be presented with less than ideal choices. Having a cozy room to rest in should be one of your priorities. Choosing the right accommodation is more convenient than ever especially since a lot of hotels can be found online. You can check for room and pricing at Olas Verdes Hotel on their reservation page any day of the year.
Eat, surf, yoga, sleep
In a district that’s only about 52 square miles and has 5,800 people living in it, there’s only so much to do, making Nosara a perfect destination for people craving relaxation. A typical day in the village can be described in five steps: eat, surf, yoga, sleep, and repeat. The cuisine is mostly organic with a farmers market that locals flock to every weekend.
There are five beaches in Nosara, and all of them provide a sense of tranquility. Travel writer and Pulitzer Prize winner Eric Lipton states that beachfronts remain untouched by new developments as part of the natural preservation ethos of locals. Anyone can set up blankets by the seaside while surfers catch waves in the Pacific. Playa Guiones in particular has a recorded 330 days of rideable conditions in a year making it the ideal surfing spot.
As for those who want to find inner peace, practicing yoga against a backdrop like Nosara can be a very uplifting experience. Olas Verdes previously noted that this is actually where the practice first came to all of Costa Rica and it is now a world-renowned yoga capital.
Bring a bottle or two of sunscreen
Nosara’s tropical climate can be harsh, especially for those not used to the sun or the humidity. Most of the activities will require you to be outside and the sun rises as early as 5:15am, so bring a reliable brand of sunscreen and aloe vera soothing gel to avoid getting sunburn. Depending on the length of your stay, it’s best to pack two bottles as they can be a pricey purchase in the area.
Keep your eyes on the road
Riding a quad or an ATV is almost a rite of passage in this laid-back town. The roads in and out are mostly unpaved which is why most people choose to rent four-wheelers instead of bicycles. The most important tip for anyone operating a quad is to keep your eyes glued on the road because it can be rough and covered with potholes. Secure your helmets, go slow, and take in the exciting scenery of Nosara. Due to the conditions of the road, it is also recommended to pack goggles, a mask, or a scarf for makeshift protection even if you’re just walking. Don’t worry about looking like an overly-paranoid tourist because everyone else will more or less be sporting the same dust-proof gear.
Watch out for wildlife
Adding to Nosara’s appeal is the abundant wildlife and small critters in particular are not shy of tourists. Snakes rarely make an appearance, but bugs and insects are everywhere; even scorpions are a fairly common sight. Before leaving, do some research about how they look and try to avoid them at all costs. If you can find any anti-insect or anti-mosquito salves, pack it as one of your essentials.
Nosara is also home to some of the most adorable species of sea turtles. The Ostional Wildlife Refuge has been set up to protect millions of olive ridley and leatherback sea turtles that nest along Playa Nosara every year. Although, local journalist and wildlife enthusiast Emiliana Gracía adds that some find their way to the more crowded Guiones. No matter which coastal part of Nosara you’re exploring, it’s best to keep your eyes peeled for hatchlings.
Nosara is a surf town and a yoga capital but it appeals to anyone looking for simplicity. Pura vida, as we say in Costa Rica, is not a vacation – it is a way of life.