An Insider’s Guide to Nosara: Costa Rica’s Wellness Capital
Playa Guiones in Nosara is one of the top surfing beaches in Costa Rica | © Robert Francis / Alamy Stock Photo
Nosara, on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, has a well-deserved reputation for being an eco- and health-conscious beach community. For years, it has drawn yogis, surfers and nature enthusiasts from around the world. Some come for a week, some keep coming back and some just never leave. Here’s our insider’s guide.
Many people pitch themselves in the surfing hotspot of Playa Guiones. And while there’s plenty of places to stay here, ranging from hostels and budget-friendly hotels to boutique resorts and luxury property rentals, two, in particular, embody what Playa Guiones is all about: the Harmony Hotel and Bodhi Tree Yoga Resort.
Courtesy of The Harmony Hotel / Expedia
The Harmony Hotel is the ideal spot for those looking to relax, rejuvenate, reflect and take care of their minds and bodies through yoga, healthy food and spa treatments. If you’re looking to get on the sand or in the surf, it’s perfectly situated just steps from the beach (just take the private path). The food served in the restaurant and juice bar is all locally and sustainably sourced and beyond delicious. In addition, there are multiple yoga classes offered daily in the beautiful open-air shala and an impressive selection of spa treatments.
Bodhi Tree Yoga Resort
Courtesy of Bodhi Tree Yoga Resort / Expedia
Bodhi Tree is a green, boutique resort that offers the best of everything Nosara, including yoga, pilates, spa treatments, healthy dining options, fresh juices and divinely comfortable, modern accommodation. There are also surf camps and yoga retreats throughout the year. It also has an incredible boutique where you can pick up accessories, bikinis, yoga wear and other yogi- and beach-related items.
While there are dozens of dining options dotted around the Nosara area, the Beach Dog Cafe and Rosi’s Soda Tica offer budget-friendly, home-made, fresh and delicious food. Both have the kind of cuisine that makes your belly smile and will give you energy for yoga, surfing, long beach walks or just soaking in the Nosara lifestyle.
Beach Dog Cafe has a delicious assortment of fresh smoothies, home-made pastries and bread, burritos, wraps, sandwiches with in-house roasted meats, and cold refreshments and snacks that are just perfect for a midday recharge. It’s also one of the cheapest places to eat in Playa Guiones, with the quality of the food far exceeding the price.
Rosi’s Soda Tica is a traditional Costa Rica soda that serves some of the best local dishes in town. Each meal is prepared to order and tastes like it was made with love. There is not one bad thing on the menu. Rosi whips up tasty cascados (banana pancakes) and other home-cooked creations. Make sure you try the special dressing she provides on each table; it goes with everything. Rosi’s is definitely a local favorite and a place you most likely will want to eat at more than once.
There are plenty of health-food options in Playa Guiones | © James Anderson / Tartan Group
The main beach in Playa Guiones is 2mi (3km) long. At low tide, the sand is perfectly packed in and ideal for taking a long stroll. Walking is an excellent way to exercise as it helps to improve coordination and balance, strengthens your bones and muscles, burns a surprising number of calories and promotes a happy mood. It’s a beautiful beach and, since there are no buildings on the beachfront, feels secluded. The immense size allows everyone personal space. To the north of the main beach is Playa Pelada, which has a lot of tidal pools that are lovely for dipping in during the heat of the day.
Beach strolls are a big part of life in Playa Guiones | © James Anderson / Tartan Group
Playa Guiones is well known for its year-round waves, with lefts and rights up and down the beach. It is a great beginner spot but can also hold some big swells, which makes it excellent if you’re a more experienced surfer. As a visitor, remember to always respect the local people and the rules and etiquette of surfing. If you don’t know what those are, it’s a good idea to take a surf lesson. There are lots of great instructors and schools in Playa Guiones to get you started on shredding those Nosara waves.
Sunset surfs in Playa Guiones are magical | © James Anderson / Tartan Group
The Nosara Biological Reserve is home to 270 animal species, including monkeys, armadillos, bats, iguanas and many types of birds. It’s also full of mangroves, Guanacaste trees, hibiscus, Panama trees and cedar trees, just to name a few. A two-hour, guided nature tour is available through the Lagarta Lodge. There are also several hiking trails through the reserve that you can take at your leisure. The number of visitors is limited in order to minimize the human impact on this precious and thriving ecosystem.
Nosara Biological Reserve is home to many mammal and bird species | © Michele Falzone / Jon Arnold Images Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo