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Nosara is a special place | © James Anderson/Flickr
Nosara is a special place | © James Anderson/Flickr

An Insider’s Guide to Nosara: Costa Rica’s Wellness Capital

Picture of Jenn Parker
Updated: 3 May 2017

Playa Guiones, which is the coastal part of the Nosara, is located in the Guanacaste Province on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. It has a well-deserved reputation for being an environmentally- and heath-conscious expat beach community. For years, it has drawn yogis, surfers, and nature enthusiasts from around the world. Some people come for a week, some keep coming back, and some just never leave.

Construction has been kept off of the beach, local businesses and residents actively participate in environmental conservation and protection efforts in the area, such as coastal restoration projects and anti-plastic movements, and everyone does yoga (or so it seems). Playa Guiones, Nosara is the wellness capital for more reasons than one.

Eat, sleep, yoga

While there is a vast selection of accommodations ranging from hostels and budget-friendly hotels to boutique resorts and luxury property rentals, two in particular are prime examples and embodiments of what Playa Guiones is all about: The Harmony Hotel and Bodhi Tree Yoga Resort.

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. It is also perfectly situated, steps away from the beach for those looking to get out on the sand or in the surf. The food served in the restaurant and juice bar is all locally and sustainably sourced and beyond delicious. There are multiple yoga classes offered daily in the beautiful open-air shala and an impressive selection of spa treatments and body work options. With their own private path to the beach, you might not even actually leave the Harmony Hotel during your stay.

Bodhi Tree Yoga Resort is a relatively new, green, boutique resort that offers the best of everything Nosara. This wellness sanctuary offers guests yoga, pilates, spa treatments, healthy dining options, fresh juices, and divinely comfortable and modern accommodations. This is a place where you can truly escape, reconnect, and revive your mind, body, and soul. There are also surf camps and yoga surf retreats offered throughout the year. Bodhi Tree Yoga Resort has an incredible boutique where you can pick up accessories, bikinis, yoga wear, and other yogi-beachy inspired items.


The Harmony Hotel, Guiones Beach, Nosara, Guanacaste, Costa Rica


Bodhi Tree Yoga Resort, Bodhi Street, Nosara, GuanacasteCosta Rica

Settle in at the Harmony Hotel © James Anderson/Tartan Group

Sustain on affordable, local, and fresh made food

While there are dozens of dining options dotted around the Nosara area, two in particular offer budget-friendly, homemade, fresh, and lip-licking delicious food. Both have the kind of food that makes your belly smile and will properly fuel you up to do yoga, go for a surf, take a long beach walk, or just soak in the Nosara lifestyle. The two spots are Beach Dog Café and Rosi’s Soda Tica.

Beach Dog Café offers a delicious assortment of fresh smoothies, homemade pastries and breads, burritos, wraps, sandwiches with in-house roasted meats, and cold refreshments and snacks that are just perfect for a midday recharge. Most menu items are under $5, which makes this one of the cheapest places to eat in Playa Guiones, with the quality of the food far exceeding its affordable price. Some say that the Beach Dog Café was the one thing that Nosara was missing.

Rosi’s Soda Tica is a traditional Costa Rica soda that serves up 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. As a visitor in Costa Rica, it is imperative that you experience traditional Costa Rican food; it is part of your wellness experience. Rosi whips up some tasty cascados, divine banana pancakes, and a variety of other home cooked creations. Make sure you try the special dressing that 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. With a belly full of this food, you can do anything.

Beach Dog Café, Seadoggy Road, Provincia de Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Rosi’s Soda Tica, Provincia de Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Fresh local goodness © James Anderson/Tartan Group

Walk your way to wellness

The main beach of Playa Guiones is two miles (three kilometers) long. At a lower 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 amount of calories, and promotes a happy mood. Playa Guiones is a beautiful beach and since there are no buildings on the beach front, it feels incredibly secluded. The immense size allows everyone their own personal space. To the north of the main beach is Playa Pelada, which has a lot of tidal pools which are lovely for dipping in during the heat of the day.

Beach strolls are good for the soul © James Anderson/Tartan Group

Step out for a surf

Playa Guiones is well-known for its year-round waves. There are lefts and rights all up and down the beach. It is a great beginner spot, but can also hold some big swells, which makes it world-class for those more experienced surfers out there. Most of the time, you can find your own peak to sit on since the beach is so vast. As a visitor, remember to always respect the locals and the rules and etiquette of surfing. If you don’t know what those are, it is probably a really good idea to take a surf lesson. There are lots of great instructors and schools located in Playa Guiones to get you started on the right foot to shredding those Nosara waves.

Sunset surfs are magical © James Anderson/Tartan Group

Spend time with nature

The Nosara Biological Reserve is home to 270 species of animals, including monkeys, armadillos, bats, iguanas, and many species of birds. This beautiful reserve is 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 do at your leisure after gaining access to the reserve. The number of visitors is limited in order to minimize human impact on this precious and thriving ecosystem.

Howler monkey © James Anderson/Flickr