Costa RicaCosta Rica

nosara beach and biological reserve view
 - Costa Rica



    Nosara Snapshot

  • Summary: Quiet beach town; excellent surf; wildlife refuges and tours to many nearby hotspots.
  • Landscape: Beaches, Rainforest, Tropical Dry Forest
  • Attractions: Nosara Biological Reserve, Ostional Wildlife Refuge, Surf, Wildlife
  • Activities: Bird & Wildlife Watching, Surfing, Turtle Tours
  • Caters to: Budget Travelers, Families, Nature Lovers, Surfers

Nosara’s motto, no shirt no shoes Nosara, could not be more apt. Both locals and visitors flock here to soak up the sun and become one with their surf boards. With seemingly never-ending sandy stretches of coastline and an abundance of wildlife, it is no wonder this laid-back beach town has attracted such a tight-knit community of proud and permanent expats – mostly from the U.S., Canada and Europe.

read more close

Located in Guanacaste province, Nosara is just south of what is considered Costa Rica’s ‘Gold Coast’ of beautiful beaches. Perhaps most famous for its yoga retreats and stellar surf, Nosara's appeal extends to travelers of all ages and interests. Kayaking, horseback riding, ATV excursions, or hiking through Nosara’s Biological Reserve provide ample opportunities to see some of the 270 species of birds and other wildlife that inhabit the area. Snorkeling and sport fishing are also popular pursuits; common catches include snook and mahi-mahi.

The Nosara area is composed of three beaches: the long and surfable Playa Guiones to the south; the serene and swimmable Playa Pelada in the middle; and the deserted, dark-sand Playa Nosara to the north. Just five miles north of Nosara is a fourth: Playa Ostional. This beach attracts thousands of nesting Olive Ridley sea turtles in recurring phenomena called an arribadas. The Ostional Wildlife Refuge, an area of land that exists to protect these grand creatures, stretches all the way to Playa Guiones.

Nosara's tranquil, forested roads are winding and steep, which has helped the community retain a rural air. Almost all bars, restaurants and other establishments are located on side streets off Nosara’s main drag, causing the place to seem much smaller and sleepier than it actually is.

The name ‘Nosara’ has become a catch-all term for the beaches and towns of Playa Guiones, Playa Pelada, and the village of Nosara – a tiny hamlet located four miles inland along the Nosara River. The actual town of Nosara is far from the ocean, distant from all the commercial activity associated with tourism. Visitors, especially those without a car, should consider staying in Playa Guiones where Internet cafes, convenience stores, restaurants and the beach are all within walking distance.

Nosara in Pictures