How to be a Responsible Traveler in Nosara, Costa Rica

While reading this article in TripAdvisor about being a responsible traveler, I decided to comment on five impactful decisions you can make while visiting Nosara in Costa Rica.

The points from the TripAdvisor article apply to any destination, and it is a highly recommended reading for all of us who enjoy traveling, regardless of our next destination.

If you plan a trip to Playa Guiones in Nosara, Costa Rica, understand that this area is a unique destination. Your actions will impact the community more than regular tourist places.

To begin, you should be fully aware that you will be visiting a protected area; the first 200 meters of coastline, which extends from Punta Guiones, across Guiones Beach, Pelada Beach, Nosara Beach, and Ostional Beach, all the way to Vuelta del Rayo, is part of the Ostional National Wildlife Refuge. Created to protect the sea turtles that nest here, the refuge is immensely diverse in sea creatures and coastal ecosystems.

The following information is from the Refuge Administration and other local organizations, including NCA and WCA, who have been working for years to protect this beautiful and fragile area of Costa Rica.

  1. Protect the turtles.

Nosara is one of the best international destinations to observe sea turtles nesting and hatching. Bonfires and umbrellas (that have sticks) are prohibited. Bonfires scare off turtles looking to nest, and worse, they are a threat to existing nests. Since the nests are not visible on the sand’s surface, a bonfire could be burning over an existing turtle nest. Similarly, introducing stakes in the sand to install an umbrella could damage the nests.

  1. Take your trash home.

There are no garbage cans at the beaches. Garbage becomes a source of contamination at the beach, and many animals feed on leftovers dumped in the cans, which can put them in danger. Please bring your garbage back to your hotel or vacation rental to be disposed of properly.

  1. Leave the shells, rocks, and plants for others to enjoy.

Many beautiful shells and minerals exist along the beaches of Guiones, Pelada, Nosara, and Ostional. Luckily for us, the people who visited before you understood that they were part of the ecosystem and leaving them where they belong is essential. Appreciate what nature gives us, and leave it for others to enjoy, no matter how tempting it can be. Yes, one shell or a handful of sand makes a difference.

  1. Reduce your carbon footprint.

We invite you to explore our local trails! Reduce your carbon footprint and move along the beautiful paths of the Asociacion Civica de Nosara. About 12 kilometers of trails allow you to connect between the different points of the community and enjoy fun walks in the middle of nature.

Another great way to reduce your carbon footprint and simultaneously have fun is to ride the complimentary bicycles that some hotels, like Olas Verdes and Harmony, offer for free to their guests.

  1. Be responsible with buying and giving.

As per the TripAdvisor article, adopt the practice of supporting local businesses, hiring local surf instructors, and buying from local shops.

It can be tempting to give cash or toys to children or try to go to a school to hand out what you have brought to the children. We welcome and appreciate your generosity, but please resist the urge to do this, as it fosters dependency or disrupts the school day. Instead, donate to organizations that support local youth and their families, like Guardianes de la NaturalezaSelva Creativa, and Nosara Food Bank.

We also recommend supporting Pack for a Purpose. It lists supplies needed by community projects in the Nosara area. Bring the supplies you would like to donate and drop them off with a partner hotel, such as Olas Verdes, who delivers them to the project.

Paloma Zapata, CEO of Sustainable Travel International, said many protected areas rely on visitors: “wildlife tourism and protected area tourism support local jobs and biodiversity conservation. So go and enjoy nature, respect the communities, the wildlife, and the way of life.”

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