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Nosara Costa Rica: 3 Beautiful Beaches!

Nosara Costa Rica is a lovely little town located on the Nicoya Peninsula, just north of Playa Samara and 28km/17mi southwest of the town of Nicoya.

View of Quepos Costa Rica
A quiet and tranquil locale, the town of Nosara Costa Rica is divided into two parts: Bocas de Nosara, a traditional Tico town about 5km/3mi inland, and Beaches of Nosara which is located next to the beach and features a large expat community of Americans and Europeans, with a large Swiss contingent.

The major draw for Nosara has traditionally been the superb surfing at Playa Guiones. However, with the creation of the Nosara Yoga Institute this little town is now drawing in seekers of health and wellness - they can even certify you as a yoga teacher.

The tranquil atmosphere of the town can be attributed to the Nosara Civic Association, a collective of townspeople interested in preventing over-development, which has ensured that construction is limited and no multi-story hotels are erected to blight the beach-front. They've also ensured hundreds of acres are protected from future development. The mellow vibe this creates can be a nice break from some of the more party-centric towns along the Nicoya Peninsula.

The proximity to Ostional National Wildlife Refuge (a bit over 5km north) and the private Nosara Biological Reserve on the outskirts of town contribute to the amount of wildlife you will see in Nosara Costa Rica. Macaws, coatis, armadillos, and monkeys are all common sights here. Nosara even receives Olive Ridley sea turtle arribadas, or mass nestings. At the Nosara Biologica Reserve on the Rio Nosara you can see both crocodiles and caiman.

Playas de Nosara - Nosara Beaches

The three beaches of Nosara are arguably some of the best in the region. Playa Nosara itself lays north of Rio Nosara and is backed by mangroves and marshes. It's a somewhat difficult to access and thus less crowded. It's also where most of the Olive Ridley turtles come to nest.

Playa Pelada is a small curving beach that is on the south side of the river mouth. The tiny beach features a bat filled cave at the north end and a blow-hole at the south end which erupts with ocean spray at high tide. The volcanic outcroppings that create the blow-hole also make for some interesting tide pooling at low tide.

South of Pelada you'll find Playa Guiones, a straight white sand beach that runs for 5km and which features some of the most consistent surf on the Nicoya Peninsula. The beach itself is free of rocks and makes for an excellent place for those interested in taking surfing lessons - there are more than a few surf shops to choose from. There can be strong rip tides though, so exercise caution while swimming.

Activities in Nosara

There are more outdoor options than just surfing at Playa Guiones (the rivermouth of the Rio Nosara is another great surf spot, by the way).

Horseback riding, fishing, kayaking (either sea-kayaking or down the Rio Nosara and through the mangroves), hiking, and atv tours are all available through a few different outfitters.

The Nosara Biological Reserve mentioned earlier is also worthwhile. It's $6 and takes two hours to complete the self guided tour. The Lagarta Lodge on the reserve also offers guided boat tours down the Rio Nosara.

You can even take a canopy tour in Nosara at Miss Sky Canopy Tour which offers 21 ziplines for flying through the jungle. The price is $60 for adults, $40 for children.

Getting to Nosara Costa Rica

If you're driving to Nosara, it's important to have a 4WD vehicle because the roads are pretty crappy. From the town of Nicoya drive south towards Samara and take the very first road marked as going to Nosara - this will be just before you entering Samara. It'll be a bumpy ride.

You can also take a Tracopa bus, which departs from San Jose for Nosara from Calle 14 between Avenidas 3 and 5, daily at 5:30am for $8. The return bus departs at 12:30pm from Bocas de Nosara. From Nicoya the Empresa Rojas buses depart for Nosara at 5am, 10am, noon, and 3pm. They return to Nicoya at 5am, 7am, noon, and 3pm.

SANSA and Nature Air both offer twice daily flights from San Jose which land on an airstrip in Bocas de Nosara.

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