Hostels - These are the cheapest places to stay in town - popular with backpackers and younger surfers. Staying in one of these can be a great way to meet other travelers or find out about the best local parties, but don't expect to get tons of sleep.
Vacation Rentals - If you are planning to visit for more that a week or two, or are traveling with a group of friends or family, vacation rentals are the way to go. Most have fully stocked kitchens and offer a little more privacy than a hotel. Amenities vary with price, and locations range from walk to surf to isolated jungle retreats.
Dry Season - Dry season typically begins in mid-November. High temperatures are most often in the upper eighties and the skies have very few, if any clouds. Occasional rain showers last into mid-December, and begin again in April. Otherwise, there is no precipitaion at all. Dry season is the busiest time of year in Nosara, as many tourists from colder climates seek sunshine and warm temperatures.
Green Season - Green, or "rainy" season typically begins in late April. High temperatures are most often in the lower eighties and afternoon showers are common. Most of the rainfall occurs in late September and October, when roads are the muddiest and flooding is possible. For the most part, green season is a very nice time to visit Nosara. Mornings are usually sunny, crowds are minimal, and lodging prices are discounted. The month of July is often a "mini dry season", when sun prevails and town is full.
What to Bring:
Clothing - Shorts, skirts, tee-shirts, tank tops, bathing suits and flip-flops are about all you need. Bring a pair of long pants if you plan to spend any time at higher elevations, and a rash guard if you plan to do much surfing.
Other - Sunglasses, sun hat, camera, binoculars, walking shoes or strap sandals, beach towel, Spanish dictionary, flashlight or headlamp, small umbrella (rainy season).
Documents - Make copies of your passport to carry with you (leave the original in you hotel). Print out and bring any other travel documents you have, or useful travel info you think you might need. We highly recommend binging copies of our Nosara road map and tide chart.
Extras - Some things, like sunscreen and aloe vera lotion, are very expensive here. If you have a brand you like and can get it before you come, do it. You will DEFINITELY need lots of sun protection here. If you have room in you suitcase or board bag, bring a sun umbrella too.
Surfing - Many, if not most, people who visit Nosara come here to surf. Whether your an old pro or a newbie looking to learn, Nosara is a fantastic spot.
Relaxing - Sitting on the beach, soaking up some rays, and watching waves and surfers is an activity in itself. Explore the areas beaches and tide pools, look for shells or sip on a cold cocktail.
Wildlife Viewing - It is hard to spend more than a few hours in Nosara without seeing lots of interesting wildlife. Monkeys, parrots, iguanas, pizotes and more...
Fishing - Fishing trips can be arranged on boats from Garza or Pelada. Catch your own Ahi Tuna, Dorado (Mahi Mahi), or Snapper and have one of the local restaurants cook it up for you and your friends.
Horseback Riding - There are a couple of horseback operations in the area that will take you along the beaches and through jungle trails. You are sure to see lots of wildlife and some fantastic views.
Kayaking - A kayak tour is another great way to see local wildlife, and the only way explore the Nosara rivermouth estuary. Lots of birds and the occasional crocodile await your visit. Experienced paddlers can also sign up for open ocean sea kayak tours.
Canopy Tour - Nosara is now home to one of the longest zip-line canopy tours in the country. Soar through the tree-tops on a series of cables strung high above the Nosara river valley.
Yoga - The Nosara Yoga Institute provides training for professional yoga instructors and offers classes to the public. Yoga classes are also available through the Harmony Hotel.
Ostional Turtle Refuge - Visit the Ostional wildlife refuge during an arribada and see thousands of Ridley turtles come ashore to lay their eggs.
Rio Nosara Biological Reserve - Walk through over 40 hectares of protected land bordering the Rio Nosara, where you'll see beautiful plants and tons of wildlife. Access the reserve through the Lagarta Lodge. Go on your own or take a guided tours.
Hiking, Biking, and Adventuring - There are a few walking trails that meander through the jungle and along oceanside cliffs here in Nosara. For a little more adventure, ride a bike at low tide on the beach to the South end of Playa Guiones, or go North on Playa Nosara to Ostional. To find more remote trails, visit area waterfalls, or go on a mountain biking trip, you'll probably want a guide.
Snorkeling - At very low tide, there are some great snorkeling pools on the Southern end Playa Guiones. If you have a car, take a half hour drive up the coast to San Juanillo for the best snorkeling in the area.
Shopping - Nosara is not a destination for the serious shopper, but there are a variety of stores which sell clothing, souvenirs, jewelry... and more shops are opening all the time. Many tourists bring home at least some coffee, local hot sauces and a hand-made pot from one of the guys on the beach.
Rodeo & Fiestas - Guanacaste summers (Dec-April) are rodeo time! The rodeo comes a couple of times a year to Nosara, Ostional and Esperanza. If it is happening while you are here, go check it out. The highlight is the bull riding, but there is lots to do and see.
Salsa Dancing - At the Tropicana Disco in Nosara village. Friday and Saturday nights, this is the place to be for local flavor, dancing and late night partying.
Useful Info Money - The Costa Rican currency is called the Colone. The exchange rate changes regularly, but it hovers around 500 colones to $1.00. It fluctuates between 500-535 Colones to $1.00. Almost every business here will except both US Dollars and Costa Rican Colones.
Banking and ATM - There are two banks in Nosara. Banco Popular is located on the main street in Guiones, next to the Surfing Nosara Real Estate Office. There is an ATM located next door to the bank's entrance. This machine ONLY accepts cards with a VISA symbol, and will not work with a MasterCard. If your ATM or credit card is a Mastercard, you'll have to go to the Banco Costa Rica, which is located next to the Bomba (Gas Station) on the way into Nosara Centro.
Credit Cards - Most hotels will accept credit cards, but there are still a handful of restaurants that will not. Those that do often charge and additional fee. Plan on paying for meals with cash whenever possible. The Mini Supers in Guiones and the Super Nosara will all accept credit cards for grocery purchases.
Travelers Checks - Local businesses will not accept travelers checks. They can only be exchanged at the bank.
Restaurant Bills - Legally, when you get your bill in Costa Rica it is supposed to include both 10% service(tip) and 13% tax. Some restaurants include these costs in the price of the meal, but most add it on when they total your bill. If you aren't sure, expect that your bill will be 23% more than the prices you see on the menu.
Tipping - You are not expected to leave a tip beyond the included 10% service charge, but most people leave extra change or small bills (as much as another 10%) if their service was good . A few local restaurants will tell you that tip is not included in the bill, hoping that tourists will leave more than the usual 10%. Use your best judgment in these situations and leave what you feel is appropriate.
Phones - There are public phones at Cafe de Paris in Guiones, the Mini Super Las Delicias and the Nosara Super. You can pick up a phone card at either the Guiones Mini Super or Cafe de Paris - make sure to specify if you'll need an international card. For calls to the US, dial 001 + area code + phone number. Calls within Costa Rica do not need an area code (don't dial 506, just the seven digit phone number). International calls can also be made from the Frog Pad in Guiones and the Nosara Office Center.
Doctor and Pharmacy - There is always a doctor available during business hours at the Paradise Medical Clinic in the town of Nosara, and an emergency number to call if necessary. There are well stocked pharmacies located both in Guiones and in Nosara. More info
Safety - Nosara is generally a very safe place to visit. There is little violent crime, and local Ticos are most often friendly to tourists. That said, use your head and avoid dangerous situations. Like anywhere, Nosara has a few unsavory characters and trouble can be found if you are looking for it.
Theft - Theft is a problem throughout Costa Rica. As a general rule, never leave anything of value inside your vehicle or unattended on the beach. Keep passports, credit cards and extra money locked up inside your hotel room or house. If you follow these simple rules, you should never have a problem.
Police and Security - If you do have something stolen, need to report a crime or need some help, there is a police station in the town of Nosara as well as the Policia Turistica in Guiones. You may also see the local police cruising the area on a motorcycle or in a small 4x4. There are paid security guards stationed at some restaraunts, hotels, businesses and private residences in Guiones as well.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to speak Spanish in Nosara? - Many tourists get by just fine without a word of Spanish, but a little knowledge of the language will definitely help. Many restaurant and hotel employees, as well as quite a few locals, speak excellent English. Lots of others know at least enough to communicate the basics with you. If you do know some Spanish, use it whenever possible. When ordering at a restaurant, try to ask for your meal with the Spanish pronunciation. At the very least, be polite, and don't assume that everyone will understand you when you speak English.
How much money do I need? - Nosara, and Costa Rica in general, are not cheap. It is possible to vacation here on a tight budget, but most people plan on spending about $30/day after lodging. Accommodations range from $10 to $400/night - meals from $3 to $25 a plate - beers are $2.00 to $5.00 - surfboard rentals are $15 to $20/day - souvenir pots from the guys on the beach are $5-$20.
Will I need a rental car? - If you plan to stick close to your hotel in Guiones or Pelada, you won't need a rental car. You can get to everthing you'll need on foot or by bicycle. If you want to explore beyond the Beaches of Nosara, a rental car is recommended. You can also trent quads/ATVs or Golf Carts to get around in. There are some great restaurants in Esperanza and Nosara, snorkeling in San Juanillo, turtles in Ostional etc....
Where can I get groceries? - There are three supermarkets. The Super Nosara is in the town of Nosara and so is Super La Paloma, Dos Lorenas Super Market is in Esperanza. These stores have the largest selection and best prices in Nosara. If you don't want to go that far, everything you need can be found at Guiones Mini Market or the Delicias del Mundo Mini Super
Where can I rent a surfboard and other things I need? - Surfboards can be rented at a variety of locations in Guiones.