Nosara Trip Planning Essentials

At first glance, the town of Nosara might seem like little more than a tangle of dirt roads, some winding their way through lush jungle, others dead-ending or bringing you right back where you started. But take a closer look and you’ll see why so many people fall in love with this quirky beachside town. With a landscape of secluded coves, serene rivers, and vast tropical forests, Nosara is a place to escape, recharge, and discover where the next road leads.

This past year, we spent a couple of months living in Nosara and exploring everything this famous yoga-surfing destination has to offer. In this post, we’ll give you the essentials for planning your own visit, including our favorite activities, restaurants, and hotels.


Playa Pelada Nosara | Two Weeks in Costa Rica


Nosara is located about halfway down the Pacific coast in a remote section of the Nicoya Peninsula. The closest international airport is Liberia (LIR), at about 2.5 hours away. Costa Rica’s largest airport in San José (SJO) is about 4-5 hours. From either location, the drive is along well paved highways for most of the way until about an hour outside Nosara when the road turns to rough dirt (four-wheel drive recommended).

Tip: If you’re flying into San José and aren’t up for the adventurous drive, you could always take a small plane directly to the airstrip in Nosara. Nature Air offers daily flights starting at $80 that will get you there in less than an hour.

Once you arrive, it won’t take long to discover Nosara’s unique layout. Unlike many of Costa Rica’s coastal towns, Nosara doesn’t have a main strip along the beach. Instead, the roads and businesses are set back from the ocean by a buffer of thick jungle. To get to the beaches, there are numerous offshoots that run perpendicular to the main road. One of the major ones brings you to Playa Guiones. This stretch has the largest concentration of shops and restaurants and you can walk to most places, including the beach. Other roads off the main way lead to Playa Pelada, another beach community just north, and the “Boca,” where the Nosara River empties into the sea. These sections are smaller and more spread out than Guiones but have some of Nosara’s best restaurants and hotels hidden among them. Following the main road inland toward the airstrip, you will find more practical amenities like a gas station, hardware store, and a larger grocery store. This area was the original town center and is still where a lot of the locals live and work.


Nosara Roads | Two Weeks in Costa Rica
The main road in Playa Guiones leading to the beach

Getting Around in Nosara

Because Nosara is so spread out, many travelers prefer to have their own transportation. When selecting a vehicle, keep in mind that the roads in and around Nosara are very rough. You’ll no doubt notice during your visit that most of the locals get around by motorcycle, ATV, or sturdy SUV. ATVs can be rented in town and if you need a rental car, be sure to check out our rental car discount.

Tip: If you’d rather not rent a vehicle, opt to stay in Playa Guiones, close to the center of town, to have the largest selection of restaurants and shops. If you want to venture out to Pelada or elsewhere, tuk-tuk taxis are always available and are by far the most fun way to travel!


Tuk-Tuk in Nosara | Two Weeks in Costa Rica

What to Expect

Nosara might feel wild and remote, but it boasts an impressive array of amenities. Built into the thick jungle, you’ll find gourmet health food shops, bakeries, surf schools, yoga studios and wellness retreats, spas, boutique hotels, and restaurants serving cuisine from all around the world. Because these businesses cater to travelers and the large expat community, prices tend to be on the higher side for Costa Rica.

Activities in Nosara

As for activities, Nosara is best known for surfing and yoga, but offers plenty of other things to do as well. Here’s a short list of some of the most popular activities and attractions.

Surfing and SUP

If you’re coming to Nosara for the waves like a lot of people do, your first stop will probably be Playa Guiones. Guiones is Nosara’s most popular beach because it has a beach break that can be surfed almost any time of day. Another good spot for the more experienced is Playa Pelada. If the tide is right, Pelada has a nice wave that breaks off the rocky point and sometimes the locals will even jump right off the rocks and onto their boards to catch the waves.

If you’d rather spend some time relaxing on the water, take a SUP tour up the beautiful Río Nosara. Along this calm river, you can paddle through thick mangroves to see birds and other wildlife.

Horseback Riding

With its roots in farming, and some cattle ranches still in operation today, it should be no surprise that horseback tours are one of Nosara’s most popular activities. Several operators offer these excursions, and the view of the jungle and beach from atop a horse is an experience you won’t want to miss.

Tip: We went riding with Boca Nosara Tours and loved it. They take great care of their horses and the guides are super friendly. Check out our post the Pure Life Pace: A Horseback Tour in Nosara for more.


Peaceful rainforest surrounds, singing birds, waves lapping the shore, and outstanding sunsets are some of the key elements for the ultimate yoga escape—and all can be found in Nosara. Whether you’re a full-on yogi or are just giving it a try, work on your mind-body connection at one of the many studios in town. Nosara helped put Costa Rica on the map as a top yoga destination.

ATV Tour

Join the locals and kick up some dust of your own in an ATV. These tours are available through many different operators in town and take you into the nearby hills, through rivers and to waterfalls, all while giving you some great ocean views.

Wildlife and Bird-Watching

Wildlife, especially howler monkeys, can be seen throughout town, but if you want a closer look, there are a few places to check out. The Nosara Biological Reserve is a private 35 hectare (90 acre) reserve managed by the Lagarta Lodge and is a great place to see monkeys, lizards, land crabs, and up to 270 species of birds, including the Long-tailed Manakin and Turquoise-browed Motmot.

Nosara also has a couple of amazing wildlife centers that help howler monkeys and other animals that have been injured or abandoned. Refuge for Wildlife and Sibu Sanctuary, together as the Nosara Wildlife Center, offer tours of their facilities. Recommended donations are $50 per person (Refuge for Wildlife) or $65 per person (Sibu Sanctuary). All proceeds go towards helping the animals.


Monkey in Nosara | Two Weeks in Costa Rica
Howler Monkey hanging out in Nosara

Restaurants in Nosara

Il Pepperone

As the name implies, this open-air restaurant on the way to Playa Pelada is the place to go for delicious Italian cuisine. The wood-fired pizza is memorable and the seafood and homemade pasta dishes (try the gnocchi!) are very good as well. Il Pepperone also makes a strong margarita for those looking to let loose.

Pacifico Azul

For the freshest seafood, head to Pacifico Azul. The main menu has many standard dishes, but the daily specials are what make this restaurant stand out. Check the chalkboard to see what the local fishermen have brought in that day, and get there early for the most choices. Pacifico Azul is now the space at the Guilded Iguana Hotel, near the northern end of Playa Guiones, so look for them there.


Locals Fishing in Nosara | Two Weeks in Costa Rica
Fishermen down at the Boca bringing in the local catch


Rancho Tico

If you want a taste of authentic Costa Rican cuisine, head to Rancho Tico. This restaurant and bar in the original part of Nosara (near the airstrip) is a popular hangout for locals and tourists alike. Rancho Tico is great for larger groups and they have a huge menu that will please everyone, even the kids. Traditional dishes like casados (rice and beans with meat and salads) are typically enjoyed at lunch, and beef, chicken, or fish dishes with delicious sauces are popular for dinner.

Burgers and Beers

Costa Rica’s craft beer movement is still in its infancy, but Burgers and Beers has some delicious brews that you’ll be hard-pressed to find anywhere else in the area. This place is a little pricy, with burgers around $14 apiece, but they’re huge. If you’re on a tight budget, you could always split one and order an extra cerveza or two.


Burgers and Beers Nosara | Two Weeks in Costa Rica



Right on the beach at Playa Pelada, Olga’s is a local favorite that has been around for years. It’s super casual, but is a great spot to grab a beer and watch the surfers and beachgoers cruise by. We highly recommend the patacones (fried plantains) with guacamole.

Seekret Spot

For a cool treat in the heat of the day, check out Seekret Spot on the road to Playa Pelada. This tiny place makes homemade gelato in flavors like maracuyá (passion fruit), coco (coconut), tiramisu, and deep dark chocolate. As a bonus, on Saturday afternoons there is an organic farmers market right across the street.

Hotels in Nosara

Below we give our recommendations for hotels, B&Bs, and lodges. Keep in mind, though, that Nosara also has a wide selection of vacation rentals, which might be a better option for families and groups. Something else to consider when deciding where to stay in Nosara is location. Like we said above, you don’t need a car if you’re in the main area of Playa Guiones, but you will probably want one if you’re in Playa Pelada or Boca Nosara.

High-End Hotels

L’Acqua Viva Resort and Spa

Built in a style that pays homage to Costa Rica’s indigenous cultures, the structures and architecture of L’Acqua Viva are what make this resort unique. Lofty ceilings, open and airy gathering places, beautiful natural feeling pools, and native wood all around give a simplistic, back-to-nature feel. And even with its elaborate furnishings and air conditioned rooms, L’Acqua Viva still ties seamlessly into its jungle backdrop. $165-700. Check Availability and Prices Here.


L’Acqua Viva Resort and Spa, Nosara, Costa Rica
Inside one of the airy bungalows at L’Acqua Viva. Photo Credit: L’Acqua Viva Resort & Spa Resort


Harmony Hotel

Eco-luxury might be the best way to describe the exquisite Harmony Hotel. Using sustainable practices but still devoted to keeping things upscale, it’s the little things at Harmony that will make you feel pampered. Cocktails served with bamboo straws, shampoo and bodywash made from local flowers, organic cotton sheets, and native tropical gardens surrounding the pool are just a few examples. $250-700. Check Availability and Prices Here.

Mid-Range Hotels

Bodhi Tree Yoga

If you’re coming to Nosara for yoga, this is one of the best places to stay. Bodhi Tree offers yoga retreats and also many daily classes. The upscale jungle resort has spacious bungalows, more affordable single and double rooms, and if you’re on a budget, you can stay in one of the nicest dorms we have ever seen. A juice bar serves up healthy smoothies and the on-site restaurant is known for its innovative cuisine. $75-400. Check Availability and Prices Here


Bodhi Tree Yoga Resort in Nosara, Costa Rica
Thick tropical forest surrounds the property at Bodhi Tree. Photo Credit: Bodhi Tree Yoga


Teak Pacific Hotel

Conveniently located near Playa Pelada and some of the restaurants listed above, Teak Pacific has a great location and nice setup. The roomy casitas are fully equipped with kitchens and comfortable living rooms. The property is also nicely landscaped and there is a pool if you don’t feel like strolling down to the beach for a swim. $139-209. Check Availability and Prices Here.

Hotel Luna Azul

Luna Azul is located about 15 minutes north of Nosara, closer to the famous turtle-nesting beach of Playa Ostional. This boutique-style lodge has 7 private bungalows, each with an outdoor shower and large terrace (some with ocean views). The owners are what make this place special, though, with their gourmet cooking and personal approach. Since it is outside town, a rental car is recommended. $120-215. Check Availability and Prices Here.

Budget Hotels

Giardino Tropicale

A good choice for surfers, Giardino Tropicale is an affordable option within walking distance to Playa Guiones and the center of town. The hosts are known for their friendliness and willingness to give local recommendations. There is also an Italian restaurant on the property that has delicious wood-fired pizza. $75-120. Check Availability and Prices Here.

Villa Mango B&B

Located on a hill near Playa Pelada, Villa Mango has sweeping jungle and ocean views, a saltwater swimming pool, and warm décor throughout. This charming B&B is definitely a great deal for the area. $49-125. Check Availability and Prices Here.


Villa Mango B&B in Nosara, Costa Rica
The saltwater pool at Villa Mango B&B. Photo Credit: Villa Mango


Nosara might not seem like an idyllic vacation getaway right away, but spend some time exploring and you’ll start to discover small pieces of paradise. Hidden beaches, secluded jungle trails, gorgeous lookouts, and even gourmet cuisine. The road, though sometimes long and dusty, really does lead to paradise.

Are you planning your trip to Nosara? Let us know if you have questions in the comments below.

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Post Updated: December 31, 2016



      1. I will be in the Nosara area for about half of the summer with my husband and 2 girls, 11 and 12. One is nuts about sloths! Any suggestions on where to go? And are there horseback riding camps or other kids camps that you know of?

        1. Hi Ruth, Sloths are very rare in Nosara. They live more in the rainforest (as opposed to the tropical dry forest) so you would need to take a trip to see one. They’re more common to the south, Manuel Antonio, Dominical/Uvita, and Osa Peninsula.

          Not sure of any horseback camps, but Nosara does have a kids camp. They call it an eco camp and do a lot of cool stuff like visiting farms, gardening, SUP, fishing, surfing, tide pools, hiking, cooking, etc. Here’s a link to their website. Your girls should have a great time in Nosara- there are a lot of expat kids there, plus all the local kids too.

  1. Aren’t the howler monkeys awesome? Between them and the parrots, you have a natural alarm clock. Glad you enjoyed your time in CR. You should definitely come back to check out Nosara- you’d love all the howlers, and yes, there are lots of peaceful, hidden beaches. Most people just go to Guiones or Pelada but there are tons more smaller ones to discover. Cheers!

  2. Jenn and Matt, thanks for highlighting our favorite spot! My wife and I spent 11 days in Nosara two years ago and can’t wait to go back. We stayed at Casa Romantica in Playa Guiones and loved it. The food is awesome in such a small location that seems out of the way after the adventurous drive from Liberia. We rented mountain bikes from Limo Dan rentals and had a blast! So much to do like you said. In addition to visiting Playa Ositional on our bikes we took a horseback tour in the jungle, went zip lining, hiked in the nearby reserve, took a fishing tour, enjoyed yoga on the beach, and saw green turtles laying their eggs on the beach among many other adventures. Don’t forget the awesome sunsets too! Our favorite event though was attending a local rodeo in a nearby town. The ticos were so welcoming everywhere we went and we immediately fell into their happy and slower lifestyle. Keep up the good work guys. We are planning a trip to Puerto Viejo next year and stumbled across your book on Amazon.

    1. Hi Ken, sounds like you had a blast in Nosara and packed a lot into your eleven days. The local rodeo’s are really fun if you happen to be around when one is going on. So true about the locals being welcoming and inviting, definitely one of the reasons we love Costa Rica so much! Glad you’re planning another trip, Puerto Viejo is also a really cool place and different in many ways than Nosara. It will be great for you guys to see another area and compare. And thanks for checking out our book too!

  3. Hi Jenn and Matt,
    I just stumbled across your site. Nice work! I will be traveling with my husband and two teenage kids in December to Nosara for the first time. Since we’re booking so late, our options are limited. Do you think staying right in Guiones is the best choice for a first time visitor so that we can do more walking? Or do you think staying up toward Playa Azul (where we found a lovely house right on the beach) is equally as nice and we’ll just do a little more driving. Husband and kids surf, and I will be doing yoga. Thanks for your input. It is much appreciated!

    1. Hi Diane, Not sure exactly where the house is so we’ll send you a message, but if it is somewhat close to Guiones or Playa Pelada, we’d say go for it. Nosara is very spread out so you’ll have to do some driving anyway.

  4. Hi Jen & Matt,

    Thanks for the information! This is a great resource as I plan a two week trip to Playa Guiones in Dec/Jan. I plan to fly into Liberia and rent a house via VRBO. Also planning to rent a quad for the extent of my stay. Plan to do yoga and relax. Mostly I am heading to CR to research and write. How much would you recommend budgeting for food and entertainment for two weeks? Also, the VRBO house says that it has wifi. Do you know if the wifi is reliable?

    1. Hi Jamie, You can get an idea for how much things will cost in our Cost of Traveling post. Nosara is on the high end for Costa Rica, but you can still keep spending on food fairly low if you cook at home and avoid the more expensive restaurants. Entertainment will really depend on how much you want to do. There are lots of cheaper or free activities like the beach and yoga, which it sounds like you’re into. Nosara has cable internet (Cable Tica), which is pretty reliable, so your VRBO most likely has that, but it would be a good idea to ask the homeowner just to make sure it doesn’t have a 3G connection. 3G is hit or miss depending on the provider and speed.

  5. Hi! I am glad that I found your blog. Never been to CR before and my husband and I are headed to Nosara in 2 weeks. Staying at Bhodi Tree yoga resort. Looking forward to exploring the area and definitely going to check out the horseback riding!!

    1. Hi Andrea, That sounds amazing. Bodhi Tree looks great. I think our friends at Boca Nosara Tours started offering kayak tours along the river/mangroves too (another beautiful spot), but their horseback tour is fabulous. Enjoy!

  6. Dear Jenn and Matt, we are travelling next week to CR with our two surfing crazy boys, age 12 and 10. We will drive from SJO to Nosara but need to find a spot to spend the night of the 23rd as our accomodation in Nosara is only available from the 24th. Would be nice to drive a few hours and get that under our belt. Many thanks

    1. Hi Sue, There isn’t much mid-way on the drive from SJO to Nosara. Your best option is to stay either closer to the airport and explore that area or closer to Nosara. Near the airport after you get out of San Jose are Sarchi (town known for handcrafting oxcart wheels), Zarcero (kids might like running around the topiary gardens here), or Grecia and Atenas (nice mountain views and surrounded by coffee fields). Alternatively, you could spend the night in the beach town of Samara. This isn’t far from Nosara but has a very different feel. We have a post about it here.

  7. Hi Matt & Jen,

    It appears your research is quite exhaustive on the Nosara area–much appreciated as we are planning for our 2-family (total 13 people, including 9 “kids” ages 15-25…7 boys/2girls) over Christmas. The boys will surf, the girls will yoga and all want an adventure-filled trip. Ideas on who can accomodate such a large group for activities (not interested in horseback riding)? Not sure if there are more reputable Tour groups that I should deal with. BTW, Our family of my husband, me & our 5 boys have traveled to CR for about 14 years, but mostly to the Osa area (Lookout Inn–GREAT place) and at Playa Nicuesa (another FANTASTIC place across the Golfo Dulce), as well as Santa Teresa last December. We are familiar with CR living, but have never stayed in Nosara so just trying to get some tips for this large party. Thanks for any guidance!

    1. Hi Amy, How great that you are able to combine family trips and spend the Christmas holiday in Costa Rica together. Also really cool that you have explored other areas of Costa Rica in the past. We love the Osa too. Yes, for a big group like that, you’ll want to make sure the tour operators can accommodate you. Christmas is really busy too, so it’s good that you are thinking about it early. If you are interested, we could help you figure it out. We’d charge a small fee for our time but can talk with our contacts in the area and find companies that will give you the best experience. We’d probably be able to arrange some group discounts for certain things, so you’d save money overall. If that’s something you’d be interested in, just reply by email to this comment and we’ll talk further about the specific activities your group would like to do.

  8. Great post guys. I will be in Playa Paleda for 5 days in October, have a car, so I was wondering if you could recommend a few day trips to do when I’m in the area.

    1. Hi Cynthia, All the activities we listed in the post are some ideas for good day trips. It will also be prime sea turtle nesting season, which is a really unique experience if you’re interested in that. The turtles come about once per month during the rainy season in the hundreds to lay their eggs on the beach at Playa Ostional about a half hour north of Nosara (this mass nesting event is called an arribada). The association of guides in Playa Ostional makes announcements when the turtles are coming – here is a link to their Facebook page. Maybe you’ll be lucky and be there at the same time as the turtles!

      If you’re interested in hiking, the guided tours of Samara Trails to the south are really fun and informative or there’s Diria National Park a little farter away, near Santa Cruz. Diria is much more rustic/off the beaten path. Make sure you have 4×4 for day trips like these in October because the roads could be rough depending on recent rain. Hope you have a wonderful trip!

  9. Love your blog! We’re looking at this as a day trip from the Tamarindo area. Do you know if the biological reserve is open to non-guests? I don’t see any info on their site. Also, I see that the yoga institute is no longer offering public classes. Any recommendations on good studios to try in the area.

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Pamela, We are fairly sure the biological reserve is open to the public, but you could contact Lagarta Lodge to be sure. I’m sure they would arrange a guided tour for you as a non-guest. For yoga, Bodhi Tree is really popular and they do offer public classes. Here’s a link to their site. Hope you enjoy Nosara!

      1. Update: We just heard back from Lagarta Lodge. They are currently renovating the hotel so the reserve is closed but they expect to open it again on January 9, 2017 when they reopen the hotel.

  10. Hi Jenn and Matt.
    Thanks for your information on this nice blog.
    My name is Luiz and I’m from Brazil.
    I’m interested to go to Nosara and surrounding beaches to improve my paddle surfing skills while my wife is a yoga lover.
    I’ve looked into staying with Nosarra Paddlesurf Camp, but it’s a bit too expensive for us. It’s about all inclusive $2,500 per person.
    I wonder if you’d recommend I’d travel to CR and if you could recommend a couple of good $150 range hotels for us to stay? Also, is there an equivalent paddle surfing instructors or schools available, so I can arrange contact from here?
    Many thanks!!

    1. Hi Luiz, Most hotels in Nosara are below or above the $150 range so there aren’t a ton of choices, but here are some ideas:

      (1) Olas Verdes– Newer hotel just outside the main area of town (Playa Guiones). Relaxed atmosphere. Close to beach; staff is very friendly. Suites around $165.

      (2) La Negra Surf Hotel – Modern hotel with spacious, airy rooms. Private path right to the beach (Playa Guiones). $150-200.

      (3) Bella Vista Mar– Less expensive option. Small bed and breakfast outside town with nice ocean views. Around $90.

      We don’t know much about paddleboarding schools in Nosara, but Blue Zone SUP is another option. Other than that, you have you’re regular tour operators that do day trip type things, but it doesn’t sound like that’s what you’re looking for.

  11. We are two families trying to decide between Nosara and Samara. I know they are both small but I would prefer to stay it whichever one might have more options for restaurants and bars and safe swimming beach for teens.

    Thank you

    1. Hi Nan, Nosara and Samara are similar in number of restaurants and bars, but the choices are more concentrated to one location in Samara near the beach if that makes any difference. Samara is better for swimming. The water isn’t quite as calm, but you can swim at Playa Pelada in Nosara too. If you haven’t seen it yet, we have a detailed article on Samara (click here) that talks about the town, including the restaurant scene and area beaches.

  12. Hi there Love your blog.
    I am planning a trip with friends in Feb. We are planning to drive from The San Jose airport to Playa Guiones. I hear about cliffs with no guardrails, I have a huge fear of that, is it something I will run into or is there a route around that?
    Thank you for any suggestions.

    1. Hi Laurie, You won’t have to worry about that for the drive from San Jose to Nosara. You will take Route 27 to 23 to 1 to 18 to 21. Then in Nicoya you’ll get on 150 and then take a dirt road for a bit. Highway 27 cuts through the mountains but there are no steep drop offs without guardrails so don’t worry! We have a post all about the road conditions in Costa Rica if you want more info.

  13. Hi Jenn and Matt,
    How accessible is Nosara from the La Fortuna region via tourist coach/local bus?
    Would you recommend going via Liberia and then getting public transport down?
    If not are there any other beach resorts along the Nicoya Peninsula which are more easily accessible but with the same feel as Nosara?

    Any help would be much appreciated.


    1. Hi Melissa, You can access Nosara from La Fortuna on the public bus via either Liberia or Nicoya, but both are very long trips with multiple connections. (Here’s a link to a site with bus schedule info to give you an idea.) Taking a shared shuttle would be much easier. We don’t know of any companies that do that route but some go La Fortuna to Samara, and then you could easily grab the bus the rest of the way to Nosara. A private shuttle could take you the whole way but would be more expensive.

      Samara is another option that is slightly easier to get to or you could look at some of the towns on the northern Pacific coast like Tamarindo.

  14. Hi Jenn & Matt,Ive been really appreciating your blog. I live in on a small island in the PNW. Nudged on by friends who know how much I miss the salt water and warmth, I booked a trip to Nosara. Now I am nervous. I am an advanced-beginner long boarder …but now I have read about the sting rays! I am a friendly, fit, 56 year old, traveling solo, wondering if I will be the oldest person around? I wonder about where to leave my things while I’m in the water with my rented board! This trip is definitely outside my comfort zone. But as I sit at the end of my gravel road, in front of the wood stove, in many layer of wool I think pushing my comfort level could be good. I am looking to stay at the 4You hostel as I really need more personal interaction than a hotel room. But wonder about the temps without a ceiling fan. Love your 2 cents. Smiles.

    1. Hi Nancy, We say to go for it! You will probably be somewhat outside your comfort zone but Nosara is a great place for surfing and has a nice sense of community. Hostels tends draw a younger crowd, but Nosara does appeal to a mixed bunch in general. You have some things to figure out, like yes, you don’t want to leave your things unattended on the beach, but if it’s just your cover up, cheap sandals, and water bottle, we wouldn’t worry about it too much. As for the heat, Nosara does get quite hot so make sure they have a good fan for you. It will be a fun adventure and the weather will be so nice in March compared to what you’ll have come from!

  15. Hi Jenn & Matt,

    Thanks for all of your great information. My boyfriend and I are planning a trip mid-end march. We will be flying into Liberia, renting a car and spending a couple nights in La Fortuna area. It is then the intent to drive down to one of the coastal towns. My first question is, is this a safe journey for 2 people unfamiliar with the country? Secondly, I am wondering if you could recommend a place to stay. We were originally thinking Santa Teresa, but seems like quite a long drive. Nosara was on the top of list as well. Ultimately we would like somewhere that is safe with lots of activities and beautiful sites (and beaches), as well as great restaurants. I don’t typically like majorly touristy areas but don’t want to be stranded in the middle of nowhere either. Would Nosara be too far removed or isolated for us? Another thought was Tamarindo. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

    1. Hi Jordan, Driving is perfectly safe in Costa Rica. Some people don’t like driving here because drivers can be aggressive and some of the roads are rough or very mountainous, but most people find it not to be as bad as they expected. You can read our Driving post for more information. We recommend planning out your route in advance – you can use our Road Conditions post to get a sense of what to expect once you finalize your itinerary.

      We wouldn’t recommend Tamarindo if you don’t like touristy. Nosara is a very good option, though. It is remote but doesn’t feel like it once you get there because it has a lot of amenities. Samara to the south is another option and doesn’t have the rough dirt roads to get there. Santa Teresa is nice but much farther so only recommended if you have more than a week.

      Hope that helps. If you decide to rent a car, make sure to check out our rental car discount.

  16. Hi!
    Thank you for your great blog! I plan to travel from Nosara to San Jose with the public bus and worry how to get a ticket for the bus. Empress Alfonso’s web page is not working, do you know if they have ticket booth in Nosara and if so where?

    1. Hi Emily, Usually you can’t buy bus tickets online here unless it’s for a multiple-country trip (like TicaBus). You can get them in advance at bus stations but Nosara doesn’t have one. Maybe ask your hotel if they have any ideas. Either way, as long as you get to the first pickup stop early so you’re among the first on, you should be fine. Worst case scenario you will have to stand for a little while but we’ve never seen anyone refused. There’s always room to cram in one more person 🙂

      1. Hi!
        Thanks for you reply! I plan to take the 12.30 bus to San Jose and from what I understand Nosara is the first stop. I can stand, as long as I get on the bus :). One more question, are there tuk tuks or taxi in playa Guiones that could take me to Nosara town? Any idea what that would cost?

  17. Love your Site. We are coming to Nosara in early June. We have never been there and are really excited about it. I have read several things about what to do and expect. I am curious is there a night life there that is fun. We are ranging in ages from mid forties to 60 (four of us, or two married couples if you will) and are young at heart. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi Mike, There is definitely nightlife in Nosara. It’s a big expat town with people living there from all over the world. You should be able to find some live music and if there’s a Costa Rica futbol game on, head to Rancho Tico where all the locals will be. This site has a calendar of local events.

  18. Love your Nosara article…this is super helpful as I’m planning a six-day trip there in late-May. Looks like there are plenty of great options for activities and relaxing.

    My question for you is about travel from San Jose. I’m flying in from the US and it looks like I’ll need to spend a night in San Jose before catching the Nature Air flight to Nosara. Any tips on good places to stay in San Jose for one night?

      1. would you recommend a stop over on the drive from San Jose airport to Nosara?. I don’t like driving at night so it may be best to break it up.

        1. Hi Susannah, Yes, that’s a 5+ hour drive ad we wouldn’t do it at night so a stop over would be good. Not sure how much time you will have to drive before it gets dark, but Atenas outside San Jose would be a good option. There isn’t much closer to Nosara but you could look at Puntarenas. There’s a Doubletree there and some smaller local hotels.

  19. Hello ,
    I would love some advice .We are flying into Liberia and I want to take my kids to visit one of the volcanos, hike and zipline for 2 nights. From there we are headed to Nosara. I would love a recommendation on somewhere thats not more then 3 hours from a volcano to Nosara and also if theres anywhere cool we should stop in between the drive from the volcano to Nosara.


    1. Hi Natalee, You can hike and zip line out of the Rincon de la Vieja area and it fits with your three-hour drive limit. Here’s a link to our post about hiking the national park there.

      For a good place to stop, you could check out Guatil. This is a tiny village where they still make pottery in the original Chorotega (indigenous) style. They have free demonstrations and you can buy pieces very affordably. Just be careful to watch your car since you will have everything with you.

  20. Hi Jenn and Matt – love your site! I’m planning to be in Costa Rica for a week in late-May and was planning to spend the whole time in Nosara surfing, yoga in the afternoons, etc. I’m planning to have a rental SUV, but wanted to ask if you thought I should spend a few days in Samara, or if I could get there for a day trip at that time of year? I’m interested in doing a hike or two, and saw you recommended Samara Trails. Or are there good hiking options closer to Nosara?

    Look forward to hearing your thoughts!

    1. Hi Chris, We would definitely recommend checking out Samara as it’s a lot different than Nosara. Nosara doesn’t have too many hiking options. Lagarta Lodge has a small reserve (mentioned above), but that is it. The Samara Trails hike is really nice and worth the drive if you want to do a good hike. If you decide do it, we would be happy to help you with the booking. We are a travel agent and don’t charge anything extra to make the arrangements. Just a let us know. And you should have no problem getting to Samara by car in May. The road south of Nosara is bumpy dirt but fine all times of year. Just don’t take the shortcut along the coast once you get closer to Samara because there is a river crossing here and it gets muddy. Go north a bit to stay on the better road.

      Also, another good option for hiking you could look at is Diria National Park. We have done that hike from Nosara.

  21. Hi guys!
    Planning a trip to CR for end of April. I’m a chef so would like to eat the most authentic food, do a cooking class, a tour of a cacao forest, etc…Any suggestions? I’m also into the beach, horseback riding, just everything. I’m most likely gonna fly into Liberia, spend one night then find a ride to Samara, then Nosara. I’d also like to see Manuel Antonio. Do u think I’m planning to do too much visiting 3 places? I’ll only be there a week or 8 days.
    Thank u!!

    1. Hi Joanna, If you want to do a chocolate tour, you might want to add a couple of nights in either La Fortuna or Monteverde. Monteverde actually has a lot of farm to table type restaurants and I bet you could find some cooking classes too. Nosara has a big food scene as well. So maybe those two destinations with a day trip to or night in Samara?

      1. ok cool! Thanks a million!
        If u guys have any restaurants you would recommend, preferably local food, feel free to recommend!

  22. Hi guys,
    I appreciate this website! My husband and I are headed to Costa Rica in a few weeks. We are flying into San Jose, and plan on possibly driving up to Nosara area for 3 days, and then to Arenal, and then Monte Verde. Do you have any advice as to what beach town would fit the driving route best? Would Nosara be it? Trip would start from San Jose Airport-then to a beach town- then to Arenal, then to Monte Verde and back to San Jose Airport. What beach town would fit that driving route best? My husband likes to scuba, we love to hike, eat lots of local food, and possibly snorkel, and a few excursions.

    Any help would be so appreciated!!


    1. Hi Katie, Nosara is a little out of the way if you’re flying out of San Jose. It isn’t good for scuba or snorkeling either. To pair with Arenal and Monteverde, we would recommend the Central Pacific Coast if you only have 3 days for beach time because the drive isn’t bad. Look at Jaco (more developed; scuba and casual snorkeling is possible here) or Manuel Antonio (good hiking nearby, more of a rainforest feel, scuba is possible but conditions aren’t great). The best place for scuba and snorkeling is Drake Bay (Cano Island). If you are willing to take a small plane, this would speed up the trip and be doable with a few nights. We don’t recommend Northern Guanacaste this time of year because it is very, very dry and desert-like.

        1. The estimate Google Maps gives for those routes is correct. Just be sure to take Route 606 to get from Monteverde to Highway 1 (and not Route 605). Also, we have a whole post about driving to Monteverde, which you can find here.

        1. Hi Katie, If you’re talking about the Playa Azul north of Ostional, we have never been there, but we have driven on the main road that runs in that area (Route 160). This area has really small, rural beach towns. There isn’t much at all for amenities in this area. Not sure what you mean about the weather but it will probably be pretty dry still since the rainy season doesn’t start until May and this is one of the drier areas of the country.

  23. Hi! Thanks for all this info about Nosara and Costa Rica, it is so helpful!! We are planning a move to Nosara at the beginning of August with our 3.5 year old and 6 month old sons. (Hopefully staying for at least a year) We are excited to check out Del Mar Academy for our older son. We want to come for a week in June or July to scope out the scene before we do the big move (we’ve actually never even been to CR, just heard amazing things and love the idea of the laid back expat lifestyle we’ve read so much about in Nosara). Do you have any advice on the easiest way to get to the town from the airport, Liberia is closest I guess. We will want a car while we’re there, does it make sense to rent it at the airport? You mentioned there were roads leading to the town which were hard to access with a car, what would we do in that case? Also for small children, is there an area in Nosara that you would recommend we focus on? We’d love to be around more families with small children, safe beach, etc. Any advice would be most welcome!!! Thanks a lot!

    1. Hi Laura, If you are already planning on having a car during your visit, it would be easiest to rent one at the airport. Be sure to check out our rental car discount as you’re shopping around.

      Yes, LIR is definitely the closest airport. What we meant about the roads is that they are slow going on rough dirt road but if you have a 4×4 SUV, you will be fine. Be sure to drive the inland highway route, going from Liberia to Santa Cruz to Nicoya down towards Samara and then up to Nosara. Only the last stretch is dirt going that way.

      I think you will find families all around Nosara, but as far as beaches, it has a lot of surfing beaches with waves. Playa Pelada usually isn’t too rough, though. Hope that helps with your questions. Good luck on your big scouting trip!

  24. Hey guys,
    Thank you for this beautiful account of Nosara. I’m heading there in a few weeks and I was wondering if you had any recommendations for budget accommodation. Private rooms, but nothing fancy. Is Nosara quite expensive, even in the rainy season?
    Thanks so much =)

    South Africa

    1. Hi Donné, Nosara is quite high end, even in the rainy season. Private rooms are generally $50+. You could look at a standard room at La Negra Surf Hotel, which is in a very good location near downtown Guiones so walking distance to the beach, restaurants, etc., the Living Hotel (also right in Guiones), and Mamma Rosa Aparthotel (similar location). Another option is Surf Bikini B&B. It is a little more expensive but people really love it. Hope you have a great visit!

  25. My daughters really want to see turtles. We also enjoy snorkeling. We are coming in June.
    Can you recommend which beaches would be the best for those two activities? Should we stay near Samara or Nosara. I didn’t see to many options for Ostional hotels, but I’ve read that is a great place to see turtles. We are flexible with our dates in June can you recommend when would be the best time to try to see the turtles. I know nothing is a sure thing. Thanks so much for your help. We will have a car.

    1. Hi again Amy, I think we mentioned before that Playa Ostional would be a good option for turtle watching. The timing can be hard to predict, but a lot of times, arribadas happen about a week before the new moon so you could look up when that is happening next June. Nosara is much closer than Samara so stay there, or right near Playa Ostional. Ostional is a very small town so it doesn’t have much for accommodations, but Luna Azul is one good option. Unfortunately, this area isn’t great for snorkeling, especially in the rainy season. There is a kayak-snorkel tour out of Samara that goes to Isla Chora, but visibility depends on water conditions. If you are going to Drake Bay or Uvita, Cano Island is an excellent choice.

  26. Thank you for your very informative Costa Rica site. We are planning to arrive in Nosaro on December 23 and will stay in a vacation rental. Please let me know if you think there will be any grocery stores open on Christmas Eve and whether there would be any restaurants open on Christmas day. Thank you.

    1. Hi Nicole, The Super Nosara should be open on Christmas Eve. It may close early, but probably not too early. Restaurants should all be open. This is the busiest time of year in Costa Rica so most businesses are open.

  27. Any additional info available on Lagarta Lodge? My wife and I just booked a week there this coming February. Looks like it’s been renovated. Any word on how it’s being received? Also, any mountain biking in the area?

    Great blog!

    1. Hi Brady, People love the new Lagarta Lodge. They did a nice job with the renovation. The infinity pool overlooking the ocean and outdoor restaurant are awesome. We think you and your wife will be happy with the choice. There are a lot of hills around Nosara, so it’s a good spot for mountain biking. You can rent a bike or we know of a good company if you want to do a tour. Let us know and we can respond by email to help you with the arrangements.

  28. Thanks for the great article! My husband and I are planning a last minute trip for January, in serious need of some rest and restore. The flight we are looking at arrives in Liberia @ 6:45pm.. what would our best options be for getting to Nosara at that time or should we stay the night in Liberia? My husband really wants to rent a quad to get around in Nosara so we are leaning towards taking a taxi or shuttle to Nosara, but budget wise maybe its better we just rent a car for the week and forgo the quad.

    1. Hi Alyssa, If your flight arrives at 6:45 pm, your best bet is to stay overnight near the airport and get an early start the next day. The Hilton Garden Inn is a good option. To get to Nosara, you could either rent a car or take a shuttle (we would recommend arranging a shuttle in advance over taking a taxi to get the best price) and then rent a quad in town. Quad rental prices are available online so you should be able to get a sense of the cost for a car vs. an ATV.

  29. Hi Matt and Jenn,

    My husband, two daughters (ages 5 and 2) and I are landing in Liberia at 4pm in 12/24. We are taking a taxi to nosara where we are renting a house, steps from Playa Guiones. We just realized that we’re not sure whether anything will be open restaurants/grocery stores to feed the kids dinner and breakfast (early risers, usually around 6am). Any suggestions? Do you think anything will still be open for dinner – hotels or restaurants? Any idea where to get breakfast/coffee early Christmas morning, just Incase we can’t find groceries?

    Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Renee, The Super Nosara (largest grocery store) should be open on Christmas Day, we think, but with limited hours and probably not early enough for you. We would have the taxi driver stop at a grocery store on the way so that you have some back ups for breakfast. For dinner that night, most restaurants in Nosara will be open even on Christmas Eve (and Day), since this will be the busiest time of year, so you will be able to get food for the kids no matter what. Hope your family has a great trip!

  30. Hi Matt and Jen
    My husband, our two children (3 and 6) and I are going to a Costa Rica trip for 4 weeks in February. After Alajuela, we are going to be in Fortuna for 3 nights, and are then traveling to Nosara, where we have rented a house. After Nosara we are heading to Dominical, where again, we have a rented a house. We have rented a car for the whole trip. How long will it take us to drive from Nosara down to Dominical and what route is best? Since we have our children with us – what place on our way south would you choose to take a longer break? thanks so much for your help. Your site is extremely helpful!

    1. Hi Barbara, It takes about 6 hours to get from Nosara to Dominical. The best route is Route 150 to Nicoya, then Route 21 to 18 to Highway 1 to 27 then 34. Here’s a Google Map. For a stop, a good short one is the Tarcoles River Bridge north of Jaco. You can pull over here and see the giant crocodiles that live below. If you need a good lunch spot, El Pelican restaurant is right on Playa Herradura so has really nice ocean views. With kids, another great spot is Jaco Walk right on the main strip. This a newer development with several awesome restaurants. It’s set back from the road so the kids can run around while you eat. It also has a playset and fountains. Our son loves this place!

  31. I was planning on staying at the 4 you hostel just so that I could meet some new people. I am a yogi traveling solo to Nosara for 11 days and would love some advice on how to pack for the trip, nice places to read and lay out in the sun, and meet cool people! Thank you so much in advance 🙂

  32. I will be staying in Nosara in June and then will be heading to Playa Negra. What route do you recommend? We will have our own 4WD car.

    1. Hi Sara, In June, you should be able to take Route 160 north up the coast to get to Playa Negra. There are some river crossings along this stretch. Usually the rivers are low enough to cross in June but be careful if there has been a big storm recently. Otherwise, you will have to go all the way around, taking Route 150 to 21 in Nicoya to 160 near Santa Cruz. People in town will also know the latest conditions based on how much it has rained, so asking around before you go is also a good idea.

  33. Hello Jenn and Matt! Thank you for sharing all of your valuable insights. I will be in CR for only 8 days, flying in to and out of Liberia. I definitely want to visit Nosara, plus one other location–either Puerto Viejo or Manuel Antonio. What would be the fastest/easiest itinerary? Can I fly from Nosara to MA?

    1. Hi Mary Anne, We aren’t recommending small planes right now for a number of reasons, but basically, they are not reliable. So you will want to think about drive times when figuring out your second destination. With that in mind, Manuel Antonio would be the faster option. It’s still a decent drive, but it will be nice to see another region of the country since you will be here for 8 days. The itinerary of LIR to Nosara to MA to LIR would work. If you’re thinking about driving yourself, check out our rental car discount page to save 10% or more and get free extras. Or if you prefer taking a shuttle, we have more information in our Shuttles post about shared and private options.

  34. Hi we are staying in Nosara for 4 days in July, we land in Liberia and we are renting a car. After our stay in Nosara we plan to drive to La Fortuna is this a doable drive for first timers.

    1. Hi Michelle, The last part of the drive to Nosara is a rough dirt road but fine with a higher clearance 4×4. You’ll want to take this route and not what Google suggests. You’ll avoid river crossings and mountains this way. Same on the way out going to La Fortuna. All paved roads except the first stretch connecting to Route 150. The road around Lake Arenal getting to La Fortuna is curvy but paved and scenic. You can read our Road Conditions post for more detailed information about the drives.

    1. Hi Jay, Nosara isn’t known in particular for birding, but great birds can be seen all around the country. Since Nosara is tropical dry forest, you can see species like the Black-headed Trogon, Elegant Trogon, Turquoise-browed Motmot, Long-tailed Manakin, etc. Nosara has some rivers where you can also spot waders. A good book on the best locations for birding is A Bird-Finding Guide to Costa Rica. In one of the chapters, the author covers Diria National Park–not far from Nosara–and what you can see there. Hope that helps!

  35. Hi Jenn & Matt!

    My husband and I actually planning a move to Nosara at the end of the year with our 4-year-old son. We’ve heard such amazing things! We’ve also heard there has been in increase in violent crimes (drug cartels?). Pickpocketing doesn’t bother us much, but the more violent crimes are obviously concerning. Did you feel safe in the area? Have you heard anything like this?

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Leah, We haven’t heard about much violent crime in Nosara. The biggest thing to be aware of there is theft. So make sure that the place you rent has good security (windows and doors that lock well and a secure bodega would be great). We felt fairly safe but did hear about some break-ins at houses so used caution. It isn’t as much of a problem at hotels because they have security, but private homes are more vulnerable.

  36. Hi, i’ve been reading a lot of your posts ahead of an upcoming trip to Costa Rica in November, they’ve been very helpful! I have a question, though. We are travelling to Nosara from San Jose and we are planning on taking a shuttle to Samara and then carrying on our journey to Nosara. What is the best way to get to Nosara from Samara? Is it worth springing for a taxi directly to the hotel?

    1. Hi Matt, It is a short trip so a taxi could work. Just make sure you have the fee 100% negotiated before you get in. Another option would be to arrange a private driver. We work with a company that does this trip for about $70. It’s a little pricey because the drive is longer than it appears due to rough road conditions. If you’d like help arranging this, just contact us through our Private Shuttle Booking page. We can help with the transfer from San Jose to Samara too.

  37. Hi Jenn & Matt

    I ran across your page while doing some research to possibly plan our first trip to Costa Rica (Nosara) for a family vacation. We will be traveling with another family (total of 9 with 5 kids ranging from 4-18) we are planning to fly into Liberia and get a shuttle to a VRBO home to accommodate our party. My husband has two valid concerns, safety and medical care. I read a good many of the comments/replies above however I want to be sure the info is still current/accurate. Have you guys traveled to Nosara recently? Do you feel like it is safe for Americans? Is there adequate medical care nearby in case someone was to get sick or injured? Any advice you can give is greatly appreciated! Thank you

    1. Hi Erin, Yes, the information in the comments above is still valid. Nosara is safe but as we have mentioned, you have to be careful with vacation rentals because they don’t have the same kind of built in security as a hotel does since you are on your own. That means being careful with unloading your cars, keeping the house locked up when you’re gone/windows closed and locked, and not leaving valuables out. For medical care, there are clinics nearby but for anything serious you would probably want to go to Liberia, which has a private hospital.

  38. Hi Jenn and Matt, great article…. So we’ve been to Nosara twice and we are headed back again in Jan. 2020. The first two times we went we flew into San Jose and drove to Nosara and pretty much stayed in the area the whole time with the exception of a day trip to Tamarindo. This time we are flying into Liberia and planning on 6 nights at the Guilded Iguana and 2 nights at the Andaz in Papagayo. That said, we really want to see some more of Costa Rica since we haven’t done much venturing out. Im wondering if we should keep our plans as they are and use Nosara as our home base or should we stay in the Liberia Area for a couple days before heading down to Nosara to see some of the other cool things up there. Anyhow, thanks again!

  39. Hi, Jenn and Matt –

    My daughter will be traveling alone to visit her dad in Playa Nosara. She is 22 and he is having a car pick her up at the airport. Will she be safe? Is a shuttle bus with other people safer? Please advise!

    1. Hi Brenda, As long as she’s booked through a professional driver/company, which we would assume she is, she will be fine. Drivers are supposed to be fully licensed and insured in Costa Rica.

  40. Hi-

    Love your post! We are thinking about going to Nosara at the beginning of May for my birthday. I read it’s their rain season. Would you avoid that time of year?


    1. Hi Julie, Early May is the very beginning of rainy season so it’s usually not too bad, with sun in the morning and then sometimes rain in the afternoon or evening. It’s usually heavy rain that doesn’t last for more than a couple of hours.

  41. Thanks for your time and info this is helpful. I taught English in Costa Rica for 4 months and have been back several time but believe it or not never to this area. My husband and I and our 4 year old twins are traveling with another family with a 4 yo and infant to this area based on your recommendations on the Samara beach area. We have the ability to visit in early march or early Nov. I wondered what your thoughts were with littles? We don’t want super high temps or high humidity but we also want the ocean to be calm so we can be in the water. What are your recommendations?
    All the best,

    1. Hi Amber, I’d go with early March for the predictability of weather and seas. Early November can be hit or miss and quite stormy some years. It will be hot and dry in Samara in March but nothing that some time in the pool wouldn’t fix!

  42. Hi Jenn and Matt,
    Planning to visit Nosara with our 17 year old daughter in early March. We’ll be staying at Logarta Lodge. Will there be fun things for her to do independently? Just don’t want her to feel caged in by her parents all of the time. We’ve done all inclusive vacations with her when she was young and now really want to offer her different experience. We will be in the area for 1 week

    1. Hi Maria, Yes, just drop her off in the Guiones area and there will be lots for her to check out (cafes, shops, fun beach scene, etc.). Nosara is a good place to bring a teenager.

  43. Hi Jenn & Matt –

    Just stumbled over your blog and it’s fantastic reading – I’m coming to the Nosara area in April (6th – 13th, so over Easter) with my 3 kids (14, 11 & 8).

    I’m a bit torn between staying in Nosara & Samara – I’m going to be without a car so would like amenities fairly close by so I can keep the kids happy. Nosara sounds nice but as it’s quite spread out perhaps Samara is easier to get around? Also, which is the best place to cater for all of my childrens ages?

    Also, finally, a slightly embarrassing question – my youngest is terrified of spiders and has it in her head that she’s going to be surrounded by huge ones 24 hours a day. I know they are a fact of life and shes gonna have to deal with it, but realistically are big spiders an every day occurrence?

    Thanks in advance for your help – can’t wait to check out Costa Rica.


    1. Hi Anil, I know it has been a while since you commented so please let us know if you would still like help deciding on destinations for your trip and we will get back to you right away. Thanks!

  44. Hi Jenn and Matt,
    I have a friend who couldnt wait another minute to come to Costa Rica and she’s coming in 2 weeks. We’re planning to spend 5 days in Nosara and we were wondering a couple of things:
    1- Is a tall car a must? I have a sedan and I was wondering if it will be necessary to rent a car.
    2- How much does it rain in October? We want to make sure that we can take advantage of the sun at least for a couple of days.

    Thanks so much for your help!

    1. Hi Marcela, We would definitely get a car with higher clearance for Nosara in rainy season. Although more of the roads are paved now, many are not, and with all the rain, it can very bumpy/rutty.

      For rain, October is one of the rainiest months as you probably know. But usually there’s still a decent amount of sun in the beach towns in Guanacaste. We are actually on a road trip in Guanacaste now and have only had one day (today) our of nine where is was mostly a washout. Otherwise, mornings have been really nice with plenty of sun and some afternoons too.

      Hope that helps! If you decide to rent an SUV, be sure to check out our discount through Adobe Rent a Car:

      Have a great time in Nosara with your friend!

  45. What a helpful site
    We’re looking to spend 3weeks in Nosara and Manuel Antonio
    Do u have any connections for Pet Friendly accommodations
    Thank you

  46. Hi Jean and Matt,
    Your blog is super helpful! I’m traveling with a friend in a few weeks to Nosara for a total of 6 nights. We originally planned to also cram in Santa Teresa (her idea). While we mainly want to relax on a calmer beach and do yoga, we will want to eat at restaurants and enjoy some of the nightlife. We are booked in Villa Mango. Do you think we’re better off staying in Playa Guiones? I was surprised to read on your blog about how spread out it is as it appeared fairly small to me (3 miles total if I’m not mistaken). My concern is that staying in a more remote part (villa mango) will bar us from enjoying the nightlife on Guiones. Is it not easy to simply walk from one beach to the next? I’d also like to know if you think we should try to visit Santa Teresa. We’d only have 2 nights there. Thanks so much!

    1. Hi V, Yes, Nosara is small in size, but because of how the roads are configured, it can feel spread out. You can walk the beach to get around, but it would be pretty far to Guiones from Villa Mango. We wouldn’t do the beach walk after dark for safety reasons. It’s just not a good idea. It’ll be a short drive to get back to Villa Mango so don’t worry too much. You could also take a taxi if needed. If you do want to be within walking distance to things, you would be much better off staying right in Guiones where most of the action is.

      Keep in mind that nightlife is sort of limited right now since everything closes down at 10 p.m. on weekdays and 8 p.m. on weekends.

      If you have just six nights, I think I’d stick with one destination. It’s a pretty long drive to get to Santa Teresa. There will be plenty in Nosara to keep you busy for 6 nights. Hope you both have a great visit!

  47. Hello! Does Nosara have any beach/sand volleyball nets? I’d love to find a beach in Costa Rica that I can play some volleyball. I am also trying to decide if I should go to Nosara or Samara? Thoughts?

    1. Hi Ellyce, Yes, there is beach volleyball in Nosara. See this group on Facebook. but we aren’t sure they are doing it now with Covid. Contact sports are currently not allowed officially. You could ask in that group, though, to check.

      Here’s a link to our Samara article in case you haven’t seen it. Nosara and Samara are quite different. Nosara is more spread out, super laid back, and draws many surfers and yogis. Samara has a main area of town and a more mixed crowd. Hope that helps!

      1. Thank you!! I’ll reach out to the volleyball group and see if they have any games going on.

        I am traveling with my boyfriend – we are in our 30s and very active. We love adventure, exploring, and really just want to be active. We like to do challenging hikes/activities. Do you think Samara or Nosara would fit this better? Or do you have any other suggestions? We are in Costa Rica for 10 days. The Belen Waterfall looked interesting!

        1. I wouldn’t pick either Nosara or Samara if you want to be active and hike. There’s not a ton for hiking in those areas. Maybe take a look at Manuel Antonio on the central Pacific coast or the Uvita/Dominical area on the southern Pacific. Both have more for hiking and adventure activities. The Uvita/Dominical area has a lot of awesome waterfalls too!

  48. I love all of your articles and they are so well informed! I’m trying to make a decision to stay in either Playa Guiones or Playa Longosta closer to Tamrindo. We live in Florida so want a more authentic feel of Costa Rica, but our main concern is safety and keeping our 3 kiddos age 8,10,& 13 entertained! Any advice or suggestions you might have would be wonderful! Also appreciate your Covid updates!

    1. Hi Samantha, We think Tamarindo has more to offer than Nosara, so we’d go with Langosta. Have you looked at Playa Potrero also? That’s another beach town north of Tamarindo with a more authentic feel. It’s close to many gorgeous beaches and is good for families. Here’s the link to our Potrero post with more information.

  49. Might be a good time to update this site. If 2016 was the last time a lot has changed, as I suppose you know. These folks for example: L’Acqua Viva Resort and Spa seems to be permanently closed according to Google. Treetops too sounds a bit tired and in need of updating, from some reviews I read.

    1. Hi Aaron, Yes, we need to get back to Nosara. We have been hesitant to since it seems like a lot has changed in the five or so years since we’ve lived there. We still have friends in that area and have heard about a lot of development and infrastructure problems in recent years. It’s on our short list for our next trip, though. We’ll be sure to report back after we go.

  50. Hi! We are planning our first trip to Costa Rica and I can’t thank you enough for your amazing information!

    We are debating between Nosara beach and Santa Teresa? We are traveling with 4 adults and kids that age from 9-16. I would love your thoughts.

  51. Hi Jenn and Matt! My wife and I are looking to visit Nosara via Liberia in early May, staying six nights for our honeymoon. If we book a shuttle to town from the airport, do you think we’ll have a tough time getting around Nosara without a rental car? We still need to decide on a hotel, too, so if you have any suggestions on where to stay given our lack of car, that would be awesome! (We’ll be sure to use your Shuttle Booking service, too.) Thank you and and be well!

    1. Hi Jonathan, If you stay right in Guiones, you can get by without a car, no problem. The main road to Playa Pelada also has developed a lot recently with restaurants so in that area would be fine too. You could always rent an ATV once you get there or there are tuk-tuk taxis readily available. Lots of choices for hotels. Just look in those areas we mentioned. Hope you have a wonderful honeymoon!

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