November 23, 2020

Summer in Nosara, Costa Rica

By Peter "abuelito" Lewis



Some years rainy season lingers longer into November than expected, and without question 2020 takes the cake. After an unseasonably dry and sunny October, November tropical rains came on strong. Living up to its billing as the worst hurricane season in the last 170 years. Central America took a double blow from back to back major hurricanes in early November, hitting in almost the exact same location in Nicaragua within a 10-day span. Costa Rica received record rainfalls, resulting in el crecimiento de los rios (growth of the rivers) and severe flooding of low-lying areas. I used to say that “by the end of a long rainy season in Nosara, you have things growing out of your ears”.

But summer is coming soon, I promise! My dad was a meteorologist for the U.S. Air Force, so weather was a familiar topic around our household. Longtime die-hard surfers generally become handy with weather and wave forecasting lingo, citing low pressure systems, ground swells, and isobars resulting in perfect wave-grooming offshore winds.

As the Northern Hemisphere winter season mechanics begin to churn, persistent frozen cold front air masses descend from Northern Canada, and the Jet Stream plunges South with penetrating frigid air reaching deep into Florida and the Caribbean Sea. This phenomenon creates tight pressure gradients that decisively shut down the ITCZ (Inter Tropical Convergence Zone) cyclone machinery and ushers in the glorious “Summer Season” in Costa Rica.

So, in a nutshell, when Old Man Winter blows icy snow in our direction, by the time it reaches Nosara, it is now a warm, blustery, soothing offshore breeze. Known by various terms; Summer Winds, Guanacastes, Papagayos or simply “howling offshores”, they are all synonymous with Verano (summer) down South. The seasons change suddenly and are commonly referred to in reverse in Central American, (i.e. winter becomes summer).

It is astounding how quickly this transformed super dry atmosphere converts the way of life in Playa Guiones. Standing water puddles left over from last weeks’ torrential rains dry up and soon become crusty sand banks. The air is fragrant and spicy and everything around you has a scrubbed and fresh feeling.
The beach becomes irresistible. Town begins to fill up with a colorful, diverse international crowd along with families, surfers, yogis, and explorers. Yoga retreats, surf camps, restaurants, tour companies, ATV and kayak rentals, and a myriad of shops and fruit stands come to life.

There is an agua de pipa (coconut water) stand on every corner. A tangible ‘lightness’ embraces the scene, and a refreshing and lifting sense of harmony and wellness overtakes peoples’ spirits. PURA VIDA ignites!

This incoming ‘high season’ is an important one for the community of Nosara as the whole globe processes our world’s challenges. Our eyes are open, and hearts are full. We are anxiously awaiting your return. HAPPY THANKSGIVING and see you soon!

Winter blowing the wind in Nosara
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