21 Exciting Things to Do in Nosara, Costa Rica in 2024

Best Things to Do in Nosara Costa RIca surfing

Looking for the lowdown on all the best things to do in Nosara, Costa Rica? This Nosara travel guide’s got you covered.

Nosara, Costa Rica strikes the ultimate balance between boujee and hippie. Attracting health-conscious families, older digital nomads and avid surfers and yogis, alike. Organic grocery stores, dusty roads, trendy new-age cafes, world-class surf schools, tuk-tuk taxis and boutique eco-lodges all coexist to make Nosara Costa Rica what it is today. 

But Nosara’s roots lie with the discovery of one never-ending, friendly surf break off the golden sands of Playa Guiones. When it comes to what to do in Nosara, surfing still remains at the top of the list.

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While neighbouring beach towns like Santa Teresa, grew from an already established local village, Nosara was built from the ground up by an American ex-pat community

Joined by a more international crowd in recent years, you better believe you can find some pretty delicious cafes serving up Tico-inspired brunch, smoothie bowls and one-heck-of-a-good cup of coffee, thanks to the extraordinary Costa Rican bean. 

Plus, what makes a stay at any of the best Nosara hotels, is the added comforts you’d expect back home. Of course, uncoincidentally, this means the price point comes in a little higher than typical – something to keep in mind.

Besides all of the top things to do in Nosara, this Nosara Costa Rica guide also covered how to get to Nosara, the ideal way to get around, the best hotels in Nosara, the most delicious Nosara restaurants, and more!

Planning a Costa Rica trip? Check out this Ultimate 10 Day Costa Rica Itinerary

road in Nosara Costa Rica
The sleepy beach town of Nosara

Nosara Costa Rica: Quick Guide

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*I used the single-trip policy in Costa Rica

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Top Pick | The Nomadic
Families | Living Hotel
Surfers | The Sunset Shack
Digital Nomads | Selina Nosara

Best Things to Do in Nosara,
Costa Rica

Is Nosara worth visiting? That’s a resounding heck yes from me. When it comes to the best things to do in Nosara Costa Rica, you have many activities at your fingertips.

From surfing one of Costa Rica’s best surf breaks to wildlife sanctuaries to gobbling up delicious grub, what to do Nosara options are endless.

1. Surfing in Nosara Costa Rica

Things to Do in Nosara Costa Rica Surfing

One of the best things to do in Nosara Costa Rica is to surf. Nosara is known for its great waves and the town has become a popular destination for surfers. The Playa Guiones break is one of the best spots in Nosara (if not in all of Costa Rica), with year-round waves and warm water temperatures.

The Nosara surf break is one of the most friendly surf breaks I’ve seen around the world, and this is in regard to both the locals and ex-pats that ride there and the rolling smooth nature of the wave itself. It also takes almost no effort at all to paddle out to the wave, making it super accessible and unintimidating.

Book a Private Surf Lesson at Playa Guiones

Beginners, intermediate and advanced surfers will absolutely love Nosara Costa Rica surfing. Grab a board from Nosara Surf Shop just a few minutes walk up the road. Choose from a large selection of premium or standard boards. Standard board rental comes in at $15USD/day or $90USD/week. You can even store your board at the shop in between surfs.

All in all, if you’ve never really had the urge to surf, Nosara Costa Rica surf will change your mind. Or it will do a darn good job of trying. This is my top pick for what to do in Nosara!

Visiting Santa Teresa? Read this Complete Santa Teresa Surfing Guide

2. Yoga in Nosara

yoga is one of the best things to do Nosara
Yoga Class at Bodhi Yoga Resort

Nosara is also known for its yoga scene.

You can find a Nosara yoga or pilates class any day of the week at multiple locations. Large wooden open-air pavilions are the standard here and offer classes suited to beginners and advanced yogis alike.

You can even be suspended from the ceiling in an aerial yoga class! It’s common to see yogis, mat under arm, strolling along the streets in Downtown Guiones, on their way to a yoga Nosara Costa Rica class.

Bodhi Yoga Resort is the most popular yoga studio in Nosara. They offer a multitude of classes on the daily – from kundalini, and vinyasa, to high-energy power classes. They’re located a 5-minute drive away from Playa Guiones, so I’d recommend having a rental car or simply pop into a tuk-tuk taxi to make your way there.

3. Horseback Riding at Playa Pelada

horseback riding is what to do in Nosara
Horseback Riding at Playa Pelada at Sunset

If you’re looking for Nosara things to do that don’t involve a board or yogi mat, then try horseback riding through Nosara’s natural surroundings.

I recommend this top-quality Nosara horseback riding tour for sunset! Imagine hiking up the ridges of the Nosara hills, through the jungle, over rivers, and along the beautiful coastlines. Imagine galloping a horse along the Nosara beach, admiring the incredible views and wildlife. Completely mesmerizing!

Enjoy a 2-hour Sunset Horseback Ride

End your tour along the golden sands of Playa Pelada for sunset. A great experience for couples, families and friends, alike.

So, if you’re looking for what to do in Nosara that involves getting back to nature and taking in Nosara’s spectacular environment, then horseback riding is for you!

4. Hike in Nosara Biological Reserve

hiking the lush rainforest in Nosara Costa Rica
View of Nosara Biological Reserve from Lagarta Lodge

Another Nosara Costa Rica activity that should not be missed is hiking in Nosara Biological Reserve. It’s located just a few minute’s drive away from Nosara center and offers some of the best views in town.

Park your car at the Hotel Boutique Lagarta Lodge and make your way to the reception. Here, you will have to pay a small fee ($10USD) for access to the Nosara Biological Reserve trail (only accessible from the hotel). The staff will give you a quick lowdown of what to expect in the reserve plus a comprehensive map of the trails.

Before beginning your descent down the hill on the trail, make sure to step out onto the restaurant patio for the absolute best views of Nosara Beach and the reserve itself.

The trail will take you through the lush tropical jungle via a dirt path. In the rainy season (April-October), this path can be a bit sloshy so make sure to wear proper footwear! Keep an eye out for plenty of wildlife, including howler monkeys, iguanas and even armadillos.

The trail will inevitably run along or cross the Rio Nosara, the life source for this thriving wildlife community.

If you can, visit the Nosara Biological Reserve in the early morning to see the wildlife at its most active.

Love hiking? Hike the trails in Monteverde Cloud Forest

5. See Turtles at Ostional National Wildlife Refuge

sea turtle at Playa Ostional Nosara Costa Rica
Female Sea Turtle on Playa Ostional

You can’t come to Nosara Costa Rica without seeing turtles! Nosara is home to the Ostional National Wildlife Refuge, a protected beach zone that offers nesting grounds for sea turtles.

Arribadas, when hundreds of female Olive Ridley Turtles arrive at the same time to lay their eggs on Nosara’s beaches, happen here between August and October.

Plan your visit to Playa Ostional Costa Rica in the few days surrounding a new moon, as this is most likely the pinnacle of activity for the sea turtle arribadas.

While you are unable to go on the beach at night (by law), Nosara Tours offers a guided boat tour of the refuge in which you can observe these unique creatures. You will see the turtles nesting and laying their eggs, as well as plenty of other marine life. It’s an unforgettable Nosara experience!

If you aren’t visiting during the arribadas, don’t worry. Playa Ostional is active all year long with at least a few female sea turtles burying their eggs on the beach and making their way back to the Pacific Ocean.

You are also allowed (by law) to walk on the beach at this time. But, please please don’t bother or touch them!

6. Sibu Wildlife Sanctuary

Nosara is home to many wildlife sanctuaries, with Sibu Wildlife Sanctuary being one of the most popular. Here, you can observe and interact with rescued animals like monkeys, sloths, toucans, parrots and more!

Sibu Wildlife Sanctuary offers a few experiences for visitors, such as educational tours that teach you about the plight of Nosara’s wildlife. Each tour is given by an expert guide and usually lasts around an hour and a half.

You can also participate in volunteer opportunities on-site at Sibu Wildlife Sanctuary if you are looking for a deeper Nosara Costa Rica experience. This is a great way to get hands-on with Nosara’s animals and make a difference in Nosara.

Love wildlife? Check out La Fortuna Costa Rica Travel Guide

7. Rainbow Organic Tuesday Market

market sign in downtown Nosara Costa Rica
Tuesday Organic Market in Nosara, Costa Rica

The Nosara Tuesday Market (also known as the Guiones Blue Market) has been a local favourite for many years. It’s held every Tuesday from 8am to 12pm in Nosara center and is usually filled with locals and tourists alike.

At the market, you’ll find plenty of handmade items like jewelry, clothing and knickknacks from the Nosara locals. You can also pick up some delicious Nosara-made snacks like empanadas and tamales, as well as fresh tropical fruits and veggies.

And if you’re looking to pick up a souvenir or two, the Nosara Tuesday Market has plenty of those too! So make sure to bring some pocket change and explore Nosara’s local culture.

Check out this 2-Hour Cooking Class using fresh local ingredients

8. Shopping in Downtown Guiones

Clothing shop perspective in Nosara Costa Rica
Love Nosara

If you’re looking for more of Nosara’s culture and flavour, head to Downtown Guiones to explore the many shops that line the streets. Here, you’ll find everything from souvenirs to artisanal crafts and Nosara-made clothing.

One shop in particular that stands out is Love Nosara. This sustainably minded shop offers up locally made or produced natural-fibre clothing and jewellery in an effort to promote local artisans and help preserve Nosara’s culture. The space itself is unique with large white-washed walls and a circular design.

9. Enjoy a Cup of Costa Rican Coffee

best Nosara restaurants serve up great coffee
Pour-over and cappuccino at Rolling Wave Coffee Shop in Nosara

There’s no doubt that Costa Rica has some of the best coffee in the world, and Nosara is no exception.

It’s true, that you can barely walk a few minutes without finding a coffee shop or cafe that offers up a good cup of joe, but my particular favourites are Rolling Waves Coffee Shop, Olo Alaia Surf & Brew and Harmony Juice Bar.

Rolling Wave sits at the top of the best cafes in Nosara, in my humble opinion. It’s a mecca for coffee aficionados tucked into a simple storefront. You can find friendly baristas who are more than happy to give you recommendations on what to sip on.

Take a seat in their small outdoor seating area and enjoy the Nosara sun. Opt for a pour-over if you want to taste the true splendour of Costa Rican coffee. But, of course, you can find delicious white coffee here, too.

I really loved this chocolate tour in La Fortuna

Olo Alaia Surf & Brew is another Nosara favourite. It’s a surf and coffee shop hybrid, with its own unique vibe. Here, you can find more specialty coffees like cold brews and nitrogen-infused drinks. Plus, they have some delicious acai bowls if you’re looking for something to snack on!

And finally, if you’d like something a bit lighter and healthier, Harmony Juice Bar is the perfect spot. It’s tucked away in Nosara center and is full of delicious smoothies and juices that are sure to give you your daily dose of vitamins! So don’t miss out on exploring Nosara’s coffee scene.

10. Spend the Day at Perozah in Playa Garza

the waters of Playa Garza Nosara

If you’re looking for a beautiful Nosara beach to spend the day at, look no further than Playa Garza. It’s nestled between Nosara and Samara, making it a great spot if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of Nosara town.

At Perozah Beach Club in Playa Garza, you can lounge in one of their beach beds and enjoy Nosara’s stunning views.

The staff here are friendly and will make sure you have everything you need for a relaxing day on the beach. Plus, they offer great food options like fresh seafood dishes and local bites. My particular faves are the cocktails – to die for!

And if you’re looking to get active, Playa Garza is also perfect for stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking and even snorkelling.

11. Dig into a Smoothie Bowl at Go Juice

Go juice food truck one of the best Nosara restaurants
Go Juice in Downtown Nosara

For a healthy and delicious Nosara treat, head to Go Juice Nosara. It’s tucked away in the Nosara town center, and if you’re looking for something substantial but nutritious, this is your stop.

At Go Juice Nosara, you can get your hands on one of their smoothie bowls. Here, you can find flavours like acai (peanut butter acai for the win!), dragon fruit and green bowls with matcha.

Top it all off with some crunchy granola and local fruits and you have yourself a beautiful healthy and filling meal. Plus, they also offer up cold-pressed juices if you’re looking for a quick pick-me-up.

I had to give the local favourite a try, a banana coffee. Coffee, banana, and ice whipped up in a blender. It tastes exactly how it sounds. Yum!

12. Rent a Bicycle and Explore Nosara

man biking along Playa Guiones Nosara Costa Rica
Biking along Playa Guiones in Nosara

If renting a car, ATV or golf cart isn’t in the cards, opt to rent a bicycle to make your way around Nosara downtown. Of course, do be mindful of the bumpy dirt roads.

You can find bicycles at Nosara MTB, operated by The Gilded Iguana. They have a great range of casual beach cruisers to more advanced mountain bikes and fat tire bicycles great for riding along Playa Guiones. Bicycle pricing ranges from $20-100USD/day.

Alternatively, you can grab a beach cruiser bicycle from FrogPad Surf Shop just down the road for $10USD/day.

13. Breakfast and Coffee at Destiny Cafe

sign of Destiny Cafe in downtown Nosara
Destiny Cafe – One of my favourite Nosara restaurants!

No Nosara Costa Rica travel guide would be complete without mentioning my favourite Nosara restaurant, Destiny Cafe & Restaurant.

Destiny Cafe is one of Nosara’s top spots for a reason. With a menu of amazing breakfast options, from local to international new-age cuisine, your mornings are taken care of. My favourite breakfast dish was the El Sabanero, enough food to last you hours!

Don’t miss out on trying a traditional Costa Rica coffee from a sock. Yes, I said sock. Using a natural fibred sock, your server will pour through a rich brew of coffee grounds and hot water as it drips out the bottom and into your cup. Pure heaven.

For something a bit more (a lot more!) indulgent, opt for the cloud coffee – homemade coconut milk with a sweet cloud coffee whip, served cold.

Are you a major foodie? I recommend the restaurants in Santa Teresa

14. Day trip to San Juanillo Beach

San Juanillo's white sand beach 40 minutes from Nosara Costa Rica
Playa San Juanillo – 40 minutes north of Nosara Costa Rica

If you’re looking for Nosara’s hidden gem, San Juanillo Beach is it. It’s Nosara’s deepest secret and a true hideaway spot. Located a 40-minute drive north along Route 160, San Juanillo beach is a true local paradise.

The beach here is perfect for a day of sunbathing, surfing, or just relaxing on the sand. Don’t expect beach clubs or sunbeds for that matter. Bring some necessities with you, including a beach towel, swimsuit, snacks and water.

After a few hours on the beach and frolicking in the waves, make your way to Puerto San Juanillo village and enjoy a healthy meal at Ancient People.

So if you’re looking for Nosara’s best-kept secret, San Juanillo Beach is definitely worth a visit.

Looking for a secluded piece of paradise? Tortuga Island is the perfect day trip!

15. Sip Cocktails at La Luna

people dining at La Luna Nosara
La Luna Restaurant in Playa Pelada

If plonking down on the sand of Playa Guiones seems a bit pedestrian, try sipping cocktails at La Luna on Playa Pelada instead. Located overlooking the plush sands and rolling waves of Playa Pelada, you can reserve a table (highly recommended!) in La Luna’s beachfront dining area.

With living room-style seating arrangements, long communal tables and romantic table tops for two alike, there is something for everyone.

While I didn’t particularly love the food on offer at La Luna, I did thoroughly enjoy their cocktails. A perfect addition to watching the sunset on another fabulous day in Nosara.

16. Enjoy Sunset at Playa Guiones

orange sunset at Playa Guiones Nosara
Sunset from Playa Guiones, Nosara, Costa Rica

One of Nosara’s biggest attractions is the stunning and expansive Playa Guiones. It’s Nosara’s main beach and the place to be for a sunset show. The waters of the Pacific Ocean act as a beautiful backdrop for the sun to dip below the horizon, lighting up the sky in reds, oranges and dusty pinks. A wonderful sight to behold!

Grab yourself a bottle of beer and set up shop on the beach at least 30 minutes before sunset to secure yourself a spot. As one of the top things to do in Nosara Costa Rica, it’s bound to be busy all year long.

Because of Nosara’s location close to the equator, sunset time remains decently consistent year-round landing somewhere between 5:30-6PM daily.

Exploring Nosara Beaches

Nosara is home to some of Costa Rica’s most beautiful beaches. Nosara alone is made up of over 20 individual beaches, making the Nosara coastline one of the longest in Costa Rica. Playa Guiones and Playa Pelada are two of Nosara’s most popular beaches for swimming, sunbathing and surfing alike.

17. Playa Guiones

the long Playa Guiones Nosara
Playa Guiones in Nosara Costa Rica – 7km long!

Playa Guiones is Nosara’s main beach and its longest, stretching 7km along the Nosara coastline. It’s a beautiful beach with compact golden sand (perfect for beach walking!), crystal clear waters and rolling surf breaks. You can even rent a bicycle in town and ride along Playa Guiones’s long stretch.

Park your car at the main Playa Guiones parking lot located at the end of Guiones Downtown street and make your way to the waves. Or for something quieter, use the Baker’s Beach Entrance, a 5-minute drive south.

18. Playa Pelada

Playa Pelada Costa Rica

Playa Pelada is Nosara’s hidden gem located a 12-minute drive north of Playa Guiones (Nosara’s downtown). It’s a beautiful beach with soft golden sand and inviting ocean waters. You can often spot a few local surfers out ripping the break close to sunset at Playa Pelada.

Sip cocktails at La Luna or enjoy a local seafood dish and beer at Olgas Restaurante, both are perfect spots to enjoy the sunset.

19. Playa Garza

Playa Garza in Nosara at sunset
Playa Garza Nosara

This crescent-shaped south-facing beach is just a short 15-minute drive south of downtown Guiones (Nosara’s core). One of the only places in Nosara you can lounge on a sunbed at the water’s edge with a cocktail in hand.

I loved spending time at Perozah Beach Club, a quiet, upmarket restaurant and lounge located right on Playa Garza. Generally speaking, Playa Garza, located in the itzy-bitzy hamlet of Garza, is an undeveloped paradise.

I also really loved Montezuma beaches

20. Playa Nosara

Surprisingly not Nosara’s main beach, Playa Nosara can be found north of Playa Guiones and a 15-minute drive. Playa Nosara itself features beautiful black sand and is backed by the lush Nosara Biological Reserve.

This means that Playa Nosara remains pretty quiet since it doesn’t have any real access to facilities or restaurants. If you are looking for a fun beach day, I’d recommend Playa Pelada, Playa Guiones or Playa Garza, instead.

21. Playa Ostional

Playa Ostional Costa Rica
The black sands at Playa Ostional

Mostly known for being an epic sea turtle nesting ground and wildlife refuge, August-October sees a massive influx of female sea turtles coming to bury their eggs in the black sands of Playa Ostional. During this time, you cannot walk on the beach without a guide.

But, if you are visiting in the low nesting season of November-July (the majority of the year), you can walk the beach at your own leisure and see a few turtles making their way back to the Pacific Ocean. If you want proper beach time though, head to North Playa Ostional where you can join locals taking in the sun away from the precious nesting grounds.

For something even more secluded, try Barco Quebrado – a Nosara local favourite for its privacy and beautiful white sands.

Okay, now that you know Nosara is worth visiting, let’s get into the logistics.

Nosara Costa Rica Map

So, where is Nosara in Costa Rica? Nosara is located on the Nicoya Peninsula in the Province of Guanacaste on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. The town of Nosara Costa Rica can be reached from most tourist destinations, including San Jose International Airport (SJO) and Liberia Airport within 3-5 hours.

Click on the map of Nosara Costa Rica below to interact with Google Maps.

map of Santa Teresa Costa Rica

Where is Costa Rica Located?

How Many Days in Nosara Costa Rica

surfers walking on a road in Playa Guiones Nosara
Surfers walking to Playa Guiones in Nosara

Because of Nosara Costa Rica’s secluded location along the Nicoya Peninsula coastline of Costa Rica, I recommend staying at least 3-4 full days in Nosara. The ideal would be a full week.

For reference, Nosara’s distance from the main Costa Rica airports and closest hotspots:

  • 3 hours from Liberia Airport
  • 2.5 hours from Tamarindo
  • 4 hours from Santa Teresa
  • 4.5 hours from San Jose Airport (SJO)
  • 3.5 hours from Monteverde
  • 5 hours from La Fortuna

If you’ve already decided to visit the hidden gem of Samara, you can make the journey north along the coastline in about 45 minutes to Nosara, Costa Rica. A great joint trip to experience the Nicoya Peninsula off-the-beaten-track.

I think it’s important to dedicate one day in Nosara as a beach day, since Nosara has some of the best beaches in Costa Rica, in my humble opinion. Relax on the main Playa Guiones, or the more secluded Playa Pelada or Playa Garza.

Luckily Nosara has so much more to offer than just beaches, though. Horseback riding at sunset, sea turtle nesting at Playa Ostional, day trips to San Juanillo and wildlife sanctuaries are all at your fingertips. Of course, never forget Nosara’s favourite past times of surfing and yoga!

Simple 3 to 4-Day Nosara
Costa Rica Itinerary

surf boards and bikes at a surf shop in Nosara Costa Rica
So many great surf shops in Nosara

Day 1 in Nosara, Costa Rica:

Day 2 in Nosara, Costa Rica:

  • Hike in Nosara Biological Reserve
  • Sibu Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Beach day at Playa Pelada
  • Sunset Horseback Riding or La Luna for cocktails

Day 3 in Nosara, Costa Rica:

  • Ostional National Wildlife Refuge
  • Day trip to San Juanillo Beach

Day 4 in Nosara, Costa Rica (optional):

  • Penozah Beach Club on Playa Garza

Best Hotels in Nosara Costa Rica

best hotels in Nosara room perspective
The Nomadic Hotel via Booking.com

Okay, let’s take a look at where to stay in Nosara, Costa Rica. The majority of the best hotels in Nosara are located in North Playa Guiones (downtown), South Playa Guiones and Playa Pelada.

There is no hiding that hotel prices in Nosara are a bit higher than in neighbouring Tamarindo or Santa Teresa, due to the quality of the hotel offering here. You can find upmarket boutique accommodation tucked away into large jungled properties. Most offer a more boujee experience.

Albeit, do keep in mind if you want to stay where you have immediate access to the best restaurants in Nosara, amenities and shops, then you are likely to sacrifice ocean views. Although the jungle view is extremely therapeutic and most hotels will be maximum of 8-minute walk to the beach if you are staying in North Playa Guiones.

If ocean views are an absolute must, I would recommend Hotel Boutique Lagarta Lodge for couples or Villa Mango B&B for families located in the hills of Playa Pelada.

Of course, you can find something for everyone here, whether you are a young backpacker, digital nomad couple or family looking for a fun adventure-filled holiday.

Here are my faves:

Best Nosara Hotel (Top Pick!)

The Nomadic best hotels in Nosara
The Nomadic via Booking.com
The Nomadic

Best Nosara Hotel for Families

Best Nosara Costa Rica hotels for families
Living Hotel via Booking.com
Living Hotel

Best Nosara Hotel for Surfers

Best Nosara hotels for surfers
The Sunset Shack via Booking.com
The Sunset Shack

Nosara Hotel for Digital Nomads

Best Nosara hotels for digital nomads
Selina Nosara via Booking.com
Selina Nosara

Best Nosara Restaurants

Al Chile one of the top Nosara restaurants
Al Chile – offering up amazing Mexican cuisine in Nosara

For such a small village, Nosara is packed with delicious restaurants. The best Nosara restaurants can be found concentrated in North Playa Guiones (downtown Nosara).

From some of the best coffee I’ve tasted in Costa Rica at Rolling Waves, to smoothie bowls at Go Juice, Middle Eastern bowls at Falafel Box, top-quality cocktails at Perozah Beach Club and scrumptious vegan burgers at LuvBurger, Nosara really has it all.

I can’t write a Nosara Costa Rica travel guide without mentioning my absolute favourite restaurant in Nosara – Destiny Cafe. I went here multiple times during my week in Nosara, and gosh, I still dream about the brunch there. Destiny Cafe is an absolute must when it comes to Nosara Costa Rica restaurants.

  • Destiny Cafe | Best Brunch
  • Rolling Waves | Best Coffee
  • Fish Bar | Best Fish Tacos
  • Al Chile | Best Mexican
  • Falafel Box | Best Middle Eastern
  • LuvBurger | Best Vegan
  • Go Juice | Best Smoothie Bowls
  • Perozah | Best Cocktails (Playa Garza)

How to Get to Nosara Costa Rica

By Rental Car

The absolute best way to explore Costa Rica is by rental car. Whether you plan on spending 10 days road-tripping around the Nicoya Peninsula or just want to head straight to Nosara from the airport, you will need a means of transportation once you reach Nosara.

My recommendation is to rent your car from the San Jose Airport (SJO) or from the Liberia Airport, upon landing (it’s always smart to reserve early – I use Discover Cars).

Roads in Costa Rica can be a bit tricky. With the majority of the main roads and highways paved and easily navigatable, you will inevitably run into a few dirt stretches with a plethora of potholes. Nosara is no exception. Actually, it’s been said that Nosara has some of the worst roads in Costa Rica! And I can attest, they are pretty darn terrible.

If you are coming from the Liberia Airport, make sure to follow the paved Route 160 along the coast south to Nosara.

If you are travelling from San Jose Airport (SJO), although you will follow paved highways for most of your journey, you will end up entering Nosara down a very bumpy, very dusty dirt road in the last stretch of your journey. A detour is possible though if you go straight to Samara and make your way back up the coast to Nosara, an added 10km (6 miles) up Route 160.

cars line the streets of Nosara
Rental cars galore in downtown Nosara

Renting a Car in Costa Rica

I personally use and recommend booking through Discover Cars. Whether you are looking for a budget Costa Rica car rental or looking to rent a 4×4 in Costa Rica, this platform has you covered. 

What’s great about Discover Cars is they compare local, national and international rental companies to give you the best price. Plus, they give you full insurance coverage for only $7USD a day (30% lower than booking directly with the local company). 

By Shared or Private Shuttle

Costa Rica is blessed with a pretty great network of shuttles that transport visitors from any main airport or hotspot throughout the country, including Nosara. You can find either a shared or private van transfer from either San Jose Airport (SJO) or Guanacaste Airport (LIR) to suit your party size and preference.

Private & shared shuttle from San Jose Airport (SJO) to Nosara | 5-7 hours

Bus, private & shared shuttle from Guanacaste Airport (LIR) | 3 hours

This is a great way to get around the country if you really don’t want to bother with a rental car.

By Plane

plane in the sky in Costa Rica
Twin-prop plane in Costa Rica – used to get to Nosara!

Yes, you can reach Nosara from San Jose Airport directly through domestic Sansa Airlines, which is a 50-minute flight. In high season from December-April, they fly 3 times daily from SJO to Nosara.

While this seems like it would be the most efficient way to get to Nosara, you do have to keep in mind the amount of time it will take to board another plane and get into Nosara town after landing, plus the luggage weight restrictions on their twin-prop airplanes. Make sure to check their site for the latest restrictions before booking. Plus flight and luggage tickets add up quickly.

The Nosara Airport (NOB) is located a 15-minute drive from downtown Nosara. You can grab a taxi there and make your way to your Nosara hotel. The downside is that there is no car rental or parking located at the airport, so you will have to arrange a car or ATV rental when you get into town, which undoubtedly will cost more than picking up your car rental in the San Jose Airport or Liberia Airport.

How to Get Around Nosara Costa Rica

Rental Car

cars in parking lot in Nosara
Rental Cars in Nosara Costa Rica

A rental car is the best way to get around Nosara and Costa Rica for that matter. Some of Nosara things to do are located outside of town, a 15-minute drive or more away, and I would hate for you to miss out on them. Plus, the dirt roads in Nosara are quite bumpy, and an SUV or 4X4 is recommended.

Of course, there are a couple places in town you can find a Nosara car rental but definitely expect a premium price. If you can, reserve your car through Discover Cars and pick it up at San Jose Airport (SJO) or the airport in Liberia before arriving in Nosara.

ATV / Golf Carts

The second best way to get around Nosara is by ATV or Golf Cart. You can find ATV rentals in Nosara Costa Rica at Tico Tours Nosara for $90USD/day (full 24 hours), or $60USD for a half day (6 hours).

Tuk-tuk Taxi

red taxis in Nosara street
Tuk-tuks ready to take you anywhere in Nosara

If you want to forgo renting a car or ATV, you can always get around using the unique Nosara tuk-tuk! You can usually find them parked at the street corner across from Organico Grocer or across from Go Juice by The Gilded Iguana Hotel. Make sure to negotiate the price before getting in and remember to bring cash!


Getting around Nosara by bicycle will be your most economical option. Find cheap beach cruiser rentals at The Frog Pad by Rolling Wave Coffee Shop for $10USD/day. Or you can opt to pick up a higher-end machine from Nosara MTB, run by The Gilded Iguana.


Walking takes the last spot on this list because it really is a last resort when it comes to getting around Nosara. The roads can be dusty, pot-hole ridden and most importantly, things are quite spread out when it comes to restaurants, amenities and shops in Nosara’s downtown core of North Playa Guiones.

Of course, if needed, you can opt to get around with a combination of walking, bicycle and tuk-tuk taxi for those further out things to do in Nosara, Costa Rica.

Best Time to Visit Nosara Costa Rica

Nosara has two distinct seasons, the dry season (November to April) and the wet season (May to October).

Wet (or Green) Season

During the wet season, you can expect daily showers which often last an hour or two in the late afternoon. The upside of visiting during this time is the weather in Nosara Costa Rica is more clear and you’ll find fewer crowds as it’s Costa Rica’s low season. Plus, you won’t get the dusty conditions from the roads during this time, albeit maybe a little mud.

The wet season is also the best time to surf if you are an intermediate or advanced surfer, although you can find a pretty darn consistent break here all year round.

nosara Costa Rica jungle view
The Nosara jungle in dry season

Dry Season (high season)

The dry season is the best time to visit Nosara for most travellers and runs from December to April. The weather is sunny and dry with very little rain. With a high of 27°C (80°F) during the day and a low of a comfortable 20°C (68°F) at night, you can pack light. The downside of the dry season in Nosara is the dusty conditions. Expect most vegetation to be coated with a layer of dust.

The Sweet Spot

While on a day trip to Tortuga Island from our one month spent in Santa Teresa, my knowledgeable local guide mentioned that visiting most of the Pacific Coast of the Nicoya Peninsula, including Nosara, in November is the sweet spot.

The rains from the wet season have subsided but you still get to enjoy the lush green rainforest before it dries out. Plus, hotels in Nosara have lower rates and you can experience fewer crowds.

The Not so Great Time to Visit Costa Rica

Nosara Costa Rica Packing List

Generally speaking, the dress code in Costa Rica is comfortable and casual. Quick-dry, moisture-wicking or airy clothing in Nosara is the ticket here, especially during the dry season (December-April), with its dry rainforest climate.

I lived in athletic shorts, a cotton tank top and a light linen cover-up for most of my trip in Costa Rica. You also couldn’t find me without a trusty ball cap to keep the sun off my head, even when it’s cloudy, you can still be affected by UV.

Since you will be on and off the beach frequently, a pretty surong to quickly cover up is also a great idea. A packing list for Costa Rica should always include mosquito repellent and sunscreen, too.

Teva Women's Tirra Sandal,Black/Grey,9 M US

HIKING SANDALS | I lived in a solid pair of hiking sandals for the entirety of my trip in Costa Rica. These sandals have great grip and strap you in so your foot doesn’t move around. Plus, they look cute, in my opinion.

Columbia Women's Switchback III Jacket, Black, Medium

RAIN JACKET | Because Costa Rica is covered in rainforest, that means the weather can be pretty unpredictable. Make sure to bring a hooded rain jacket with you that can pack up small in your day bag just in case. I definitely used mine.

ZOMAKE Lightweight Hiking Backpack Water Resistant,20L Packable Daypack Foldable Small Backpack for Travel

WATER RESISTANT DAYPACK | Costa Rica is a wealth of adventure and with that comes multiple day trips or days spent in and out of your rental car. Make sure to have a water resistant daypack that can carry your water bottle, snacks, mosquito repellent and sunscreen.

LARQ Bottle Movement PureVis - Lightweight Self-Cleaning and Non-Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle with UV Water Sanitizer, 32oz, White/Pebble

PURIFYING REUSABLE WATER BOTTLE | I travel full time, so I’ve seen the devastation single-use plastic can have on our environment. Once I purchased this purifying reusable water bottle, I never looked back. It’s super stylish and you can recharge it through USB!

Rainleaf Microfiber Towel,Blue,24 X 48 Inches

MICROFIBRE TOWEL | Costa Rica is humid, so a normal cotton towel will take forever to dry. Let’s try to avoid that moldy towel smell. For those day trips to waterfalls, hot springs, rivers and beach, make sure to carry along a microfibre quick-drying towel.

JOTO Waterproof Case Universal Phone Holder Pouch, Underwater Cellphone Dry Bag Compatible with iPhone 13 Pro 12 11 Pro Max XS XR X 8 7 6S, Galaxy S21 S20 S10 Note Pixel Up to 7.0" -2 Pack,Black

WATERPROOF PHONE CASE | Plan on repelling or canyoning down a waterfall? Snapping pics in the hot springs? You will need a good waterproof phone case.

Thinksport SPF 50+ Mineral Sunscreen – Safe, Natural Sunblock for Sports & Active Use - Water Resistant Sun Cream –UVA/UVB Sun Protection – Vegan, Reef Friendly Sun Lotion, 6oz

SUNSCREEN | Y’all, the sun is HOT in Costa Rica as the country is located close to the equator. Make sure to throw on some sunscreen even if it’s cloudy out. That’s what it gets you. There are some great reef-safe sunscreens out there nowadays, so let’s protect our ocean life!

Natrapel 12-Hour Insect Repellent, 6 oz. Eco-Spray Picaridin Bug Spray – Family Insect Repellent for Mosquitoes, Ticks, & More, Black (0006-6878)

MOSQUITO REPELLENT | Yup, there are mosquitos in the rainforest, who would have thunk. I like to use a more natural mosquito repellent.

Nosara Costa Rica Budget

Costa Rica is known for being a relatively expensive country. Why? There are several reasons. With a relatively stable government (rare for Central America), Costa Rica enjoys higher-quality labour laws, a better national health system and generally speaking, higher quality of life. 

It’s important to note, that Costa Rica’s top earning economy is tourism, and the majority of that tourism comes from the USA. Given that, the government decided to price tourism-related amenities closer to American prices. 

Also, the government puts a lot of money into preserving the biodiversity of Costa Rica, making the rainforests in Costa Rica some of the best maintained in Central America. 

You most definitely can do Costa Rica on a budget, just make sure you have extra time built into your Costa Rica itinerary to deal with multiple bus transfers.

Costa Rica uses both the Costa Rican Colones (CRC) and the American Dollar (USD).

Daily Nosara Costa Rica Budget (for 2 people)

*excludes international flights

  • Nosara Hotel: ~$260USD Nightly (on average)
  • Nosara Car Rental: ~75 USD Daily
  • Nosara Food: $50 USD Daily per Person

Total Daily Nosara Costa Rica Budget (for Couple): ~$435 USD Daily Budget (not including organized tours)

Shopping in Nosara Costa Rica
Shopping in Nosara Costa Rica

Travel Insurance for Costa Rica Nosara

Nosara Costa Rica is known for water and jungle adventures, and with that, comes the risk of fall, injury or accident. Don’t be left with huge hospital bills and protect yourself with the right travel insurance.

Travel insurance is one of those things I hope you never have to use. But in case you do, you’ll want reliable insurance on your side. Plus, it’s such a small cost for peace of mind. Please, don’t leave home without it!

I used HeyMondo insurance on my trip to Costa Rica and can recommend it.

What’s great about HeyMondo:

  • No out-of-pocket fees
  • 24/7 doctors available through their handy app to answer all of your questions
  • Covers travellers from any country in the world
  • Offers short-term, long-term and multi-trip annual plans (I recommend single-trip insurance for Costa Rica)
  • Covers trip cancellation – very useful these days!

>>> Find the perfect travel insurance for you. (and get an exclusive 5% discount for being my reader!)

Nosara Costa Rica Travel Guide Conclusion

So there you have it, my Nosara Costa Rica travel guide! Nosara is a small beach town that offers plenty of unique experiences for all kinds of travellers. From surfing and yoga classes to horseback riding and turtle tours – Nosara has something to offer everyone.

Happy travels!

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