June 21, 2024

How to Get to Nosara Using the Coastal Road (Route 160)

Olas Verdes



Nosara, a charming coastal town in Costa Rica’s Guanacaste province, is a destination worth every mile of the journey. While many travelers choose the traditional route from San Jose and Nicoya, an adventurous alternative is the scenic coastal road, Route 160, especially if you’re coming from Tamarindo, Conchal, Langosta, Junquillal, Pinilla, Bahia Culebra, or Avellanas in Guanacaste. This blog will guide you through the ins and outs of this route, providing driving directions, tips, and essential information.

The Scenic Coastal Route to Nosara

Why Choose the Coastal Road?

The coastal road, Route 160, offers a scenic and off-the-beaten-path journey to Nosara. This route is ideal for those staying in Tamarindo, Conchal, and any northern town in Guanacaste, and planning a visit to Nosara or the famous Ostional Wildlife Refuge. Along the way, you will discover beautiful beaches like Playa Venado, Playa Lagarto, Marbella, Playa Pitahaya, and Playa San Juanillo, a small fishing village.

Road Conditions and Accessibility

Currently, when driving from Tamarindo and Flamingo, about 75% of Route 160 is paved until just past San Juanillo. The unpaved section is generally in good condition, accessible to almost any vehicle, making it a viable option for most travelers. However, there are a couple of river crossings to be aware of, especially during the rainy season (June to early November).

River Crossings and Safety Tips

Vuelta del Rayo Creek: Located just before Ostional, this creek has a small and narrow bridge suitable for vehicles up to 3 tons. Be aware that the bridge was built by neighbors and is not certified. If the creek has muddy water, it’s advisable to wait for a local to guide you on whether it is safe to cross.

Ostional River: This river is wider and more challenging during the rainy season. It requires experienced 4×4 driving skills, and even then, you may need to wait for the water level to drop. Always observe local drivers and ask for advice before attempting to cross.

Pro Tip: Drive slowly when crossing the river to avoid damaging your car.

A bridge over the Ostional River is under construction and expected to be ready by early September 2024, which will significantly ease the journey.

Practical Advice

Check Conditions: If you know someone living near Ostional or Nosara, or if you are staying in a hotel in Nosara, ask them about the river conditions the day before and the day of your trip. Water levels can change rapidly during the rainy season.

Dress Casually: Wear casual, comfortable clothing and be ready to enjoy a dip in the ocean at one of the beautiful beaches along the way.

Travel Timing: Plan your travel outside heavy rain periods if possible and aim to reach river crossings during daylight for better visibility and safety.

Discovering Hidden Gems

Traveling along Route 160 not only gets you from Flamingo and Tamarindo to Nosara but also allows you to explore some lesser known but stunning beaches and towns:

Playa Venado: A serene spot ideal for a quiet beach day.

Marbella and Frijolar: Known for its surfing and laid-back vibe.

Playa Pitahaya: A beautiful beach perfect for relaxation.

Playa San Juanillo: A picturesque fishing village with crystal-clear waters, perfect for a swim or snorkeling.

Driving from Tamarindo to Nosara via the coastal road (Route 160) is more than just a trip; it’s an adventure that offers a unique glimpse into Costa Rica’s natural beauty and local charm. While river crossings during the rainy season can pose challenges, with proper preparation and local advice, you can navigate them safely. By choosing this route, you’ll not only reach your destination but also experience the enchanting landscapes and communities along the way. Happy travels!

Need real-time Information about the river conditions? Please contact reservations@olasverdeshotel.com

Aerial view of San Juanillo beach in Guanacaste
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