Nosara is a town along the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica and considered a hidden gem among travelers to Latin America. Its beaches and forests are protected, maintaining a refuge for visitors and locals alike. Nosara’s large ocean waves entice surfers, while the world-renowned Nosara Yoga Institute draws yoga enthusiasts. Its unique history and planned development by American expatriates have established Nosara as one of the oldest expat communities in the country.

Beaches & Surfing

Beaches & Surfing
Beaches & Surfing  Image: Jordan Klein

There are three main beaches in Nosara, enticing surfing enthusiasts from all over the world. Nearly four miles of white sand makes up Playa Guiones, its long beach breaks and consistent surf making it one of the best surfing locations in all of Costa Rica. An offshore reef protects Playa Pelada to the north, making it better for swimming. It’s sands are peppered with seashells, and its rocky outcrop creates tidal pools, caves, and a blowhole to explore. Beyond Playa Pelada and across Rio Nosara is Playa Nosara, a secluded yet beautiful black-sand beach. Experienced surfers prefer Playa Nosara, as the waves are among the tallest in all of Costa Rica. Swimming, however, is not recommended due to dangerous conditions.

Surfing and swimming are not the only water sports available in Nosara. Kayaking is popular along the Rio Montaña and Rio Nosara. Fishing is also common, including that of local fishermen who use traditional methods for catching sea bass, snook, and shrimp. Snorkeling is especially popular in the tide pools and reefs of Playa Pelada. Between July and December, watch thousands of sea turtles lay their eggs at the Ostional Wildlife Reserve on Playa Ostional, five miles north of Nosara.

Hotels & Resorts

Hotels & Resorts
Hotels & Resorts  Image: Nosara Yoga Institute

Unlike many Latin American coastal towns, Nosara does not offer any mega resort accommodations. The town’s beaches are protected, and no commercial development is allowed. Therefore, the town has become a haven for smaller resorts, vacation rentals, and relaxed hotels. Yoga enthusiasts have especially found a niche in quiet Nosara, escaping to the town’s serenity for intensive Yoga courses at one of the many yoga gyms, including the distinguished Nosara Yoga Institute. Nosara is where many yoga instructors come to receive their training. There are even specialized Yoga classes aimed specifically at Nosara’s other frequent visitor: surfers.

Expat Community

Nosara has been home to a large community of expats for several decades. Prior to 1962, the deforested land surrounding Nosara was used for expansive cattle pastures. However, in 1962, a citizen of the United States purchased all the land along Nosara’s coast and initialized a great land development plan that included 500 residences, commercial zones, and green spaces. His effort’s included the beginning of reforestation, as well as building roads, sewer systems, and electrical grids. After financial issues caused development to stall, a group of individual American investors saved the project. These American expats, now called the Nosara Civic Association, continue to develop and maintain the American Project of Nosara. Their efforts have resulted in 170 acres of pristine protected forest and balanced planned growth. Nosara also boasts the cleanest water in the country and impressive social services for its residents.

Top image: dakine kane (flickr)

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