Top Things to Do and See in Nosara, Costa Rica

Ride the waves at Playa Guiones in Nosara, Costa Rica
Ride the waves at Playa Guiones in Nosara, Costa Rica | © robertharding / Alamy Stock Photo
Jenn Parker

Nosara is Costa Rica’s wellness capital, with surfers and yogis uniting on Playa Guiones, spa resorts that help restore you to health and a big dose of nature to feed the soul. From sea turtle conservation to surf lessons, Culture Trip can help you book these activities.

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1. Book a retreat at the Bodhi Tree Yoga Resort


© Bodhi Tree Yoga Resort

As one of the yoga hotspots in Costa Rica, Nosara has many hotels that offer yoga classes. At the Bodhi Tree Yoga Resort, you can drop in for a class or stay for a dedicated retreat, practicing in six yoga shalas, including open-air and air-conditioned studios. All-inclusive meal plans are available to help you nourish both your body and soul. Between the yoga sessions, treat your tired muscles to a spa massage, or sip green smoothies around the infinity pool.

2. Arrange a block of surf lessons

Sports Center

Surfers on Playa Guiones beach, Nosara, Nicoya Peninsula, Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica, Central America
© robertharding / Alamy Stock Photo

Nosara is a great place to learn how to surf – the more advanced waves break a long way out from the beach, making the smaller waves and white water that break closer to the beach ideal for first-timers and beginners. Book a batch of lessons with Nosara Surf School, in Playa Guiones, a company that gives back to the community and cares for the beaches, as well as gets you riding those waves.

3. Help protect turtles at Playa del Ostional

Natural Feature

A Massive turtles nesting of Olive Ridley sea turtles in Ostional beach; Costa Rica, Guancaste
© Francesco Puntiroli / Alamy Stock Photo

Drive 20 minutes north from Playa Guiones in Nosara to Playa del Ostional, one of the best destinations in the country for a wildlife experience. A 656ft (200m) strip of the sand is a protected zone here, and between July and December each year, huge numbers of olive ridley, leatherback and green sea turtles come ashore to lay their eggs. Programs such as WorkingAbroad offer the chance to volunteer as a conservationist at the beach.

4. Head out on a river safari

Natural Feature

GENERIC IMAGE Tourists taking a boat tour on the Tortuguero River, looking for local wildlife such as crocodiles, birds, and monkeys. Tortuguero National Park, Cost
© ARCTIC IMAGES / Alamy Stock Photo

Hop aboard a small ecofriendly motorboat, and explore two rivers, Rio Nosara and Rio Montana, with an experienced guide. River safari tours are a leisurely way to experience the abundant flora and fauna of this biodiverse region – keep your eyes peeled for howler monkeys, crocodiles, parrots and iguanas during your two-and-a-half-hour tour. If you’re looking for a more active experience, join a four-hour group kayaking excursion on the waterways.

5. Hike through the biological reserve

Park, Natural Feature

Lesser anteater (Tamandua mexicana) Corcovado National Park, Costa rica
© Nature Picture Library / Alamy Stock Photo

At Nosara Biological Reserve, you can safely trek through the jungle, as across the 90 acres (36ha), there are a series of well-maintained and marked trails. The reserve is owned and protected by the Lagarta Lodge, which borders Rio Nosara. Venturing into this protected zone is a chance to see a range of wildlife up close; look for howler monkeys, anteaters, coatis, iguanas and raccoons amid the tropical dry forest and the mangrove forest.

6. Visit the Sibu Wildlife Sanctuary

Park, Natural Feature

Howler monkey Alouatta in the wild Monteverde Costa Rica
© Renato Granieri / Alamy Stock Photo

The Sibu Wildlife Sanctuary rehabilitates and releases injured or abandoned native animals. Take a tour to see creatures such as squirrels, raccoons, peccaries and coatis. The most common species you’ll encounter here are howler monkeys – and you may well hear them before you see them, as their calls can travel 3mi (5km) through the dense jungle. Tour fees and donations go directly to helping the animals and keeping the sanctuary running.

7. Take Spanish lessons


Fancy learning some Spanish while you’re in Costa Rica? Book into the Nosara Spanish Institute, which offers 10- or 20-hour courses in either a private or a group setting. There’s also the possibility to combine your language lessons with activities such as yoga and surfing. The Bodhi Tree Yoga Resort is just a five-minute walk down the jungle path from the campus, while surf lessons consist of two-hour group sessions at Playa Guiones.

8. Send the kids to camp


Red-eyed Tree frog (Agalychnis callidryas) on childs hand
© Rosanne Tackaberry / Alamy Stock Photo

If you’re traveling with little ones, the Nosara Day Camp for Kids will give them a real sense of adventure. It runs Monday to Friday, for children aged 5-15, and activities range from snorkeling and exploring hidden tide pools to jungle walks and throwing hand-lines with native fishermen. First-aid trained counselors lead the sessions while dropping Spanish words into the conversation so kids can pick up local lingo as they go.

9. Eat at the best soda in town

Restaurant, Authentic

In Costa Rica, a soda is a small restaurant that serves home-made traditional food. Rosi’s Soda Tica in Nosara, across the street from the beach, is the most popular one in town. Try the gallo pinto (rice and beans) or complete casado (set meals, such as rice, black beans and grilled chicken fillet). An exposed wooden interior, blue gingham tablecloths and eclectic crockery give this joint a homey feel.

10. Join a community beach clean-up

Natural Feature

GENERIC IMAGE Tambor, Costa Rica - June 25: Hotel employees cleaning up the beach after a strom. June 25 2016, Tambor, Costa Rica.
© Charles Wollertz / Alamy Stock Photo

If you hadn’t already guessed, Nosara is a remarkably environmentally conscious community – particularly at the grassroots level. Spending time here, you may well feel inspired to give something back. The Harmony Hotel makes this easy, by running beach clean-ups for volunteers every third Wednesday of the month, starting at 8am. During high season, such clean-ups are a regular fixture on Playa Guiones – see the Nosara Civic Association for details.

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