Nosara is a charming little surf town on the Pacific (West) Coast of Costa Rica. There is Nosara proper which is where most of the locals live and then there are the beach areas called Playa Guiones and Playa Pelada which are mostly tourist hangouts.
This town is honestly epic if you are a good surfer and still a lot of fun if you’re not.
What we'll cover
Getting To Costa Rica
You can fly into either San Jose or Liberia airport. Liberia is closer to Nosara, but depending on where you fly from San Jose is often cheaper.
Before entering Costa Rica you either need a vaccine or you need to fill out a health questionnaire online. Once completed, it’ll display a QR code that you need to download.
You also need to have travel insurance that covers COVID – you should print out / have access to a letter from the health insurance company that details that the policy covers COVID related issues. If you keep all of these documents downloaded on your phone, you won’t have any trouble when you arrive to Costa Rica in the airport. Sometimes people try to use the airport’s WiFi to get access to their documents and show to immigration officials, but it’s much easier to just download them in case you don’t have data yet on your phone or the airport’s WiFi is weak.
Getting To Nosara
Once you’re in Costa Rica, to get to Nosara itself you have a few different transportation options.
By Plane: There is a local airline called Sansa Airlines which flies from San Jose to Nosara in a small plane that seats around 8-10 people.
You can fly from SJO to the Nosara airport and it takes around 1 hour depending on the conditions.
Rent A Car: You can rent a car in San Jose and then drive to Nosara. The drive lasts between 5.5 – 6 hours although Google Maps shows the driving time as a bit shorter.
Take A Shuttle: If you don’t want to fly or drive yourself, you can also take a shuttle to Nosara from San Jose.
Where To Eat: Restaurant Recommendations
A bit fancier and has a gorgeous view of the ocean and sky – highly recommended during sunset. You can also walk down to the beach from the restaurant. It’s just a very tiny hill that takes five seconds.
An Argentine steak house. The steak is great and so are the burgers (the meat tastes great)!
The rolls (maki) here are just OK, especially if you know your sushi, but the sashimi and nigiri are solid.
The tuna tataki is also SUPER delicious and is our top recommendation. The meat tastes great and it also comes with a bit of a salad and some diced mango.
Selina is a great place to stay and it also has great food at the Nosara location. The burger with fries at Selina is awesome (we recommend medium-rare) and the Golden Poke is also SUPER yummy. It comes as a beautiful art creation in layers and includes tuna, mango, tomatoes, diced onions, and avocado.
Where To Stay In Nosara
You can look for a place to stay on Airbnb in Nosara. The areas you’re looking to stay in are either of the beaches – Playa Guiones or Playa Pelada. There are lots of unique stays, and if you’re with a group of friends you can rent a larger house with a pool.
However, the cost of Airbnb’s in Nosara does tend to be pricier than other Nomad locations.
Pelada Studios is a great spot in Playa Pelada, one of the two popular beach areas in Nosara. It has a narrow pool which is very aesthetically pleasing, though it’s so narrow that you probably won’t do much real swimming in it. You can book one of the studios through Airbnb. Studio #1 which has a loft bed, and kitchen with a fridge, and a really nice gas powered stove for cooking.
It’s only a short walk (literally 30 seconds) to La Bodega for groceries or sandwiches and coffee.
Selina is like a mix between a bougie hotel and a backpacking hostel. There are options to stay in shared / community rooms if you’re on a budget, or really nice rooms like the Suite+ or Rockstar room as they called it locally.
It’s a great place to stay because they have a co-working space on the premises, a restaurant and bar, and there are parties during the spring on Fridays that are a ton of fun with an outdoor DJ. The staff are warm and friendly, and it’s a great place to meet other travelers or digital nomads.
Getting Around Nosara
We recommend that you try to find accommodations close to the beach so you can just walk to it within 2-5 minutes! If you’re staying at Selina, which is awesome by the way, it is a bit of a trek to the beach especially if you have a surfboard. If that’s the case you have a few options:
Rent An ATV
These are a ton of fun to drive around and are very common in Nosara. Make sure you use a helmet and are careful when going around turns! We recommend MonkeyQuads for ATV rentals. If you rent longer term ask them for a discount.
Rent A Car
Economy Car rental is a great option for car rental in Nosara. They are located on the main road up a small hill beside the organic grocery store (Orgánico Grocer & Café) and close to Café De Paris. If you’re coming from Café De Paris you go up the hill and turn left and then it’s on the right just past the organic grocery store.
Driving around in an ATV is really fun, but the advantages of renting a car is that are:
- You can drive to nearby surf towns along the coast
- The road’s can get dusty around Nosara, so while an ATV is fun, if dust bothers you, a car is a good alternative
Take a TukTuk
A third option is to take a TukTuk. These are smaller vehicles with local drivers you will take you around. They are the Nosara alternative to a Taxi / Cab and are the same style as what you’d find in India (though thankfully Nosara has way less traffic). If you’re staying at Selina you can ask the front desk to order one for you and the TukTuk will come to the parking lot where you can give them cash (colones).
TukTuk drivers also hang out across from the Organic Grocery store near the main road in Playa Guiones, so if you’re staying nearby that’s a good place to walk to for a ride.