Published: July, 2018
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Nosara, Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica

— Courtney Celeste Fisch
  • More about your oliver guide:
  • Trip type: Adult, Family, Group getaway, Solo, Beach
  • Activity level: moderate
  • Ideal length of trip: Minumim 5 days. . . Some people never leave!

to & from

Southwest, Delta, American all fly into Liberia. Direct flights are available from Miami and New York City.

  • The drive from Liberia to Nosara is roughly 3/3.5 hours. I have visited three times in the past two years and each time there is more paved road. Locals say with the development in Nosara the “main road” will be paved in the near future as well. Regardless, be prepared for some bumps and if you suffer from car illness come prepared. It is all part of the adventure!
  • There is a small airport in Nosara. Nature Air provides flights during high season. If you traveled with a large group you could most likely arrangement a private flight from Liberia or San Jose to Nosara. Checkout Carmon Air.
  • For a splurge- stop at the Four Seasons Peninsula Papagayo. It is roughly 40m from the airport and breaks up the travel to and from Nosara. I recommend stopping on the way back to the airport as the resort is one of the best in the world and you will never want to leave! That being said, it is a RESORT- so it is a different type of experience. But, it is a great way to break up the drive from Nosara to Liberia and indulge in some of the most scenic coastal and real estate views in Costa Rica.

Where to Stay

Option to go VRBO route or stay at one of the hotels. Nosara Hotel is a wise choice, good balance of Nosara hippy and Nosara nice. The Gilded Iguana also recently opened in Spring 2018 and is ideally located on a happening part of downtown Guiones where food and shopping are abundant.

  • For yoga- Bodhi Tree Resort. Their yoga shala’s offer sweeping views of the jungle and ocean. Expect to have a howler monkey come close to observe your “down dog.” Personally I am also a fan of their food as well- it is mostly vegan and vegetarian options although their chicken plates always left me yearning for more.
  • Casa Gloria Nosara. The house is approximately 20 minutes outside of downtown Guiones, but the view is BEYOND! It really does look like the photos you see on AirBnB. Come with your family or with friends (I have been lucky to experience both!). I have enjoyed evenings with girlfriends sitting outside by the pool drinking wine and taking “yoga photos” as well as early bedtimes after playing with the kids all day on the majestic property. The owners are accommodating and will ensure your trip is comfortable, enjoyable and memorable.
  • There are numerous hostels in town and everyone just wants to give you the opportunity to experience PURA VIDA. I would go out on a limb and suggest any place in Playa Guiones would be suitable for someone looking to “drop in” and live like the locals. There are numerous homes and apartments available on AirBnB.

Where to Eat and Drink

Sunset and dinner at La Luna. MAKE A RESERVATION! You will never forget this experience. Arrive 30 minutes before sunset so you will have time to get settled and order a bottle of wine. Even takes their glasses down by the water to experience the pure magic of the sun setting into the Pacific. After the sun says it final goodbye for the evening, meander back to your table for a long and leisurely dining experience with delicious Italian fare. The clothing, bags and jewelry in their gift ship are always worth gazing over as well!

  • Dinner at Al Chile– Taco Tuesdays are not to be missed and it is the place to be on Friday nights.
  • Harmony Hotel– I hear the sushi is great although I have only been to the juice bar. There is a breakfast “cookie” made with almonds and everything delicious.
  • Beach Dog Cafe– Great for a quick lunch. Don’t let the “bar menu” fool you, there is plenty of delicious and healthy options. Also a great stop to grab a margarita when leaving the beach.
  • GoJuice– The Kawabunga smoothie is my favorite. There is also a selection of juices and açaí bowls.
  • Organico– Stop in for quick grocery shopping or to grab a poke bowl from the back. There is a great selection of Kombucha and other fermented drinks as well. There is also a selection of breakfast wraps (the egg and avocado is my favorite) and baked goods near the front door. You will pay higher prices here than the average “super”- it is the “Whole Foods” of Nosara.

What to Do

Chico Lopez- Surf and Tours. Chico’s energy is infectious. I reach out to him every time I am in Nosara. Let him take you on a quad ride to the waterfall- he shows you the true meaning of PURA VIDA! (Best way to reach him is DM on Instagram- @chicosurfnosara)

Agua Tibia Surf School– The “boys” at Aqua Tibia know how to surf and love sharing their passion with their students. Come to learn or advance your surfing skills. They also do a great job with the little ones and its easy to line up a group lesson with other kiddos looking to ride the waves.

Nosara Day Camp (for the 5-14 kids)- Drop them off with NO WORRIES and enjoy some alone time! I would leave mine from 8-4, head to 430 surf, feed them dinner and tuck them into bed. Cinthya runs a great staff and you can enjoy your day knowing your kids are safe and happy.

inside scoop

Pack- then remove half of what you packed from your suitcase. Bring one pair of rubber flip flops for everyday (they will be covered in mud and dirt) and a second pair to wear to dinner. Leave your fancy clothes behind! Dine in a caftan tossed over your bikini and with sand in your hair. Don’t worry- everyone is doing it!

  • Although July is considered the “off” and “rainy” season- the humidity is low (lower than in Florida!) and the real rain has not kicked in yet. Rates will be lower and you can enjoy the beaches with less of a crowd.
  • March and April are most expensive and terribly crowded. Avoid if you can.

skip it

I have not found a thing yet!

What to Pack

A Dakine duffel bag will fit all that you need and more.

  • Reef and Ocean Friendly Sunblock- BeautyCounter is my favorite.
  • Havianas or similar flip flops. Perhaps a pair of Tevas for any hiking.
  • RASHGUARDS! In the US I buy O'Neil and BillABong but you can also purchase locally form the surf shops.
  • If you are prone to bug bites- spray to keep them away and tea tree oil and aloe to treat the ones that get you.
  • Native shoes are really good for the kids- waterproof and covers their toes during activities.


YOU CAN DRINK THE WATER FROM THE TAP! There is even a surcharge on bottled water. Costa Rica is at the forefront of being environmentally conscious and it all starts with the overuse of plastics. The water is completely drinkable. If you are weary about it- just bring a legimate probiotic with you.

That loud grunting noise at night and as the sun comes up? Yes, it sounds like a giant ape, but it is really the adorable howler monkeys chatting with each other.

The little green tree frogs also make a LOT of noise as well.

Nosara, Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica - Suggestions from the Oliver Community

  • Cynthia Pillsbury Says

    Doing research on Nosara and discovered via a friend’s recommendation the collection of villas called Batik Costa Rica
    There are 7 charming villas that families can rent. It’s a close walk to town and beach. Elena ( who coordinates bookings is lovely and easy to work with.

  • Courtney Celeste Fisch Says

    Via AirBnB – the LilyPad is the most adorable casita. You literally have you own compound with a personal nightguard!

    Also, The Gilded Iguana now has their surf club on the beach. Inquire about a weekly membership. The best deal has been to do a family membership and add your “friends” if you don’t have family with you on the trip. Enjoy surf rentals, a juice bar and a locker and shower- all on the beach. Rates were going up in 2020-

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