Nosara, Costa Rica is a small, modest and straightforward tourist destination. Tucked into the jungle, with three of Costa Rica’s most beautiful beaches at its edges, Nosara’s natural beauty and year round consistent world class surf make it a destination for those who seek simplicity and quiet as much as those who seek surf. A two and a half hour drive from the Liberia International Airport, down what is basically a long dirt road, secluded behind coastal mountains and tucked into the Nosara River Valley, lies a paradise. Nosara is not the destination for people seeking an Americanized version of jungle paradise. The unpretentious yet deceivingly upscale little town is populated mainly by expatriate surfers. Unlike many of the other Costa Rican beach cities that have been highly developed with upscale and modern amenities and are typically built smack dab on the beach, Nosara has strict environmental and social laws forbidding building and development right on the beach. Because of these laws, the area is very spread out and there are no amenities right on the beach. Houses, hotels, restaurant and all other tourist and town attractions are located about 1 kilometer off the beach. Committed to preserving the simplicity and natural environment of the area, the residents have long made sure that the land is put above the profits. The majority of jungles and forests are protected and therefore cannot be logged or developed and basically ruined, as many of the smaller Costa Rica neighboring villages have.
Nosara has three different beaches all tranquil and all perfect for nature lovers and surfers alike. All three beach areas are speckled with private vacation rentals, hotels, and cheap surfer style hostels. Playa Guiones, a six mile stretch of white sand beach is a world renowned surf destination with a long beach break. Having both lefts and rights that can accommodate the beginner and the expert with the same break, is a rare luxury as surf spots go. At the northern end of Playa Guiones, past a rocky outcrop is the shell-sand beach of Playa Pelada. Playa Pelada is protected with an offshore barrier reef that makes it wonderful for swimming and snorkeling and a perfect spot for children. There are plenty of tide pools and caves towards the north end of the beach, one of which houses a very large bat community. During low tide a number of rocks are exposed and Pelada’s famous blow hole comes to life. It is quite an impressive site. Just past the northern end of Pelada and a rocky cliff which is passable at low tide, is Playa Nosara; a black sand beach located just past the River Nosara. It is the most remote & desolate beaches of Nosara. Playa Nosara is backed up by thick jungle vegetation and lines up to Ostional Refuge or “turtle beach”. The waves at Nosara are among the largest in Costa Rica and for experienced and advanced surfers only; not even swimming is advised at this beach as currents are incredibly strong.
The small serene village of Nosara is virtually unspoiled. The lush lands produce some of the freshest fruits and vegetables, many of which you can find at the weekly organic farmers market. The dense jungle filled with howler monkeys, iguanas, parrots and pizotes (badger/raccoon things) gives a plethora of wild wares like tropical fruits and seeds. The food and cultural offerings here are as simple as the land itself. Basic, small local grocers and restaurants with surprisingly upscale and organic straightforward food make up the food scene here. Most of the hotels have restaurants and all serve very similar fresh foods highlighting local ingredients. There are a few key restaurants where one can grab a good, simple and fresh meal. Most notable in the entire town, is the little breakfast venue called Rosie’s Soda Tica, open daily from 8 am-3 pm and cooking up fresh, local authentic Costa Rican food in an open kitchen. The restaurant seats only about 25 people and is famous for serving up breakfasts after the morning surf. This place is truly the highlight; not only in flavor and authenticity, but also in prices. The surfers flock here for Rosie’s fresh banana pancakes, gallo pinto and huevoes breakfasts, but the fresh array of juices is pretty alluring as well with fresh watermelon lime juice, fresh banana milk juice and tamarindo. This tiny open air local fueling depot is the place to go for after surf meals!
As many of the tourists rent vacation houses here, the local grocers are the real full time food source. Fresh fish markets serving the daily catch each afternoon, and the local fruit & vegetable truck driving around each morning are the highly sought after food musts here. One of the most notable fruits is the mandarin lime, a lime and mandarin combination that is sour with a hint of sweetness and has a beautiful orange color. It makes for the tastiest of all margaritas! Outside of the mandarin lime, the fruits are abundant and tropical, and the flavors are as intense and pure as they can be. The watermelon as simple as that sounds, is some of the best ever tasted, and the pineapple sweet and perfectly tangy. The vegetables as well have a flavor that seems “real”; the tomatoes are perfect in their acidity while remaining succulently sweet. The salsas are tremendous and the chili spicy hot yet flavorful. Even the meats are incredible, fresh tasting chicken and beef, clean and ultimately pure. The flavors of Nosara can be described as nothing less than fresh and this freshness lends itself to the simplicity and overall serene feeling of Nosara.
So whether you are looking for kayaking, canopy tours, world class yoga, fishing, snorkeling or the ever mighty awesome surf, Nosara offers a relaxing & easygoing vacation spot that is truly off the beaten path.
For more information on Nosara try www.surfingnosara.com, it’s a pretty comprehensive website dedicated to all things Nosara, including the surf!
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