Nosara, Costa Rica Travel Guide

Before my husband and I got married, we spent a lot of time trying to decide where to go on a honeymoon. We wanted somewhere relatively close to the U.S. so that we didn't have to travel for too long immediately after the wedding, and a place that would still offer us the fun, adventurous experience that we typically seek. After changing our minds multiple times, we finally decided on Nosara, Costa Rica. It was the best of both worlds--not too far from the U.S. and filled with so much beauty and adventure. The adventure that awaited us ended up being even more intense than we initially expected (or wanted), but the memories we made and stories we collected made our time completely worth it. This was one of those trips that we still look back on and think, "did we really do that?!" 

A couple things worth noting: we went to Nosara in the beginning of June. By this point in time, Costa Rica is in its rainy season. While traveling to Costa Rica is cheaper at this time, expect rainfall probably once a day. There was maybe one day when we were there that it didn't rain. Every other day it rained (and when it rains, it pours!) On the bright side, it only rained for a couple of hours or it rained at night, so our days were still nice enough to go adventure outdoors. The other important thing to know is that the sun sets around 6pm. Once the sun went down, it was absolutely pitch black in the area we were staying. For us, this meant that we had to plan our days accordingly so that we could get to our house before it got pitch dark or have a ride ready to take us back. 

How to get to Nosara: 

There are multiple ways to get to Nosara. To save money, we first flew into San Jose and took a bus to Nosara the next day. The bus ride was maybe $10, and it took approximately 5.5 hours. There are also private shuttles that you can book for much more money, or you can book a reasonably priced local plane ride. The 5.5 hour bus ride to get to Nosara was a bit much for us, so at the end of our stay, we bought $75 plane tickets from Cafe De Paris (cafe in Nosara) to get us back to San Jose. The plane ride, while slightly sketchy (absolutely zero security to get on), was way better than taking a 5 and a half hour bus ride. One other alternative way to get to and from Nosara is to fly first into Liberia. Liberia is much closer to Nosara than San Jose, but it costs more to fly there. 

BIG TIP: I would highly, highly recommend knowing some Spanish (or going with someone who speaks Spanish) if you go to Costa Rica. I found that not very many people spoke English in San Jose, so communication could get a bit tough at times. Also, for your own general safety, it's good to understand a bit of what is going on when everyone around you only speaks Spanish. A lot more people in Nosara at least speak a bit of English, so once you get to Nosara, communication gets easier. 

Yet another tip: bring cash! We encountered quite a few places that didn't accept card payment, so it's better to have some cash on hand than to get caught in a situation where you can't pay. 

Where to stay:

We rented Casa David through Airbnb, and it was a really great option! There are other villas in the area that would have been great as well. Casa David was a beautiful, modern home, and it was just a 3 minute bike ride from the beach! It's also within walking/biking distance to some good restaurants and shops. Heads up, the roads all over that area are not great and are filled with holes. We didn't have too much of a problem with walking/biking everywhere, but if you want to be able to explore farther and faster, I would recommend renting an ATV once you get there. 

What to do:

  • Zip-lining

Zip-lining was by far our favorite thing to do in Nosara! We did our zip-lining experience through Miss Sky Canopy Tour, and it was a blast! It was our first time zip-lining, and the instructors were super helpful and made everything easy to understand. They say that the Miss Sky zip-line is the longest in the world, but after some research, I don't think that's true. It is, however, comprised of 21 runs and has a total length of over 11 km. Seeing the forests, rivers, and waterfalls by zip-line was such a fun, exhilarating experience!

  • Surfing and boogie boarding

Nosara is such a lazy, little surf town so you must go surfing or boogie boarding while there! There are numerous places where you can rent boards for the day or hire an instructor to teach you. The surf was a bit strong while we were there, so we ended up renting boogie boards for a couple days and spending our time alternating between boogie boarding and relaxing at the beach. 

  • Boat ride

I love making new friends whenever I go to new places, and Nosara was no exception. We ended up making friends with a couple of local guys who offered to take us on a boat ride and cook us carpaccio at a more distant beach. When someone offers me food and adventure, I typically don't say no. The boat ride was bumpy (what you can expect from the ocean), but we got to see sea turtles and what Costa Rica looks like from the water so it was worth it! Random little tidbit, I usually try to experience every place I go by air, land, and water. 

When we arrived at the beach, we did some exploring of the rock caves and formations while our friends got the fresh carpaccio going. Once the carpaccio was done, we all sat around on tree stumps and logs and ate our delicious, fresh meal on the beach. It was such a fun, unique experience and by the end of it, we realized that we were the only tourists on that entire beach. Everyone else there was a local. Those are the experiences that I love--the abnormal, off the beaten path experiences with people who actually live there and want to help you have a genuine experience of the land and culture too. 

Somewhat of a side-note: if you're interested in ocean fishing, a lot of places offer fishing excursions. If you catch anything edible, you can bring it to just about any local restaurant, and they will cook it for you there!

  • Relax at the beach

There are a couple of pretty beaches in the Nosara area and both are really nice. If you're looking to relax and have a chill day, then bringing some towels and lounging at the beach is a great way to do it. Bring a book, a boogie or surf board, some tunes, a soccer ball, or whatever else you need to help add some activity to your day. If you're in the mood to explore, walk down to the rock formations at the end of the beach for a very pretty, unique view of the land. 

  • Horseback riding

Horseback riding had been on my bucket list for long time, so, of course, we had to book a ride while we were in Nosara. There are numerous places that offer rides in the area, so if this is something you want to do, it won't be hard to figure out. During our ride, we ended up going through the forest and down dirt roads until we finally made it to the beach where we galloped through the surf. My butt was very sore after that, but it was still a lovely experience. 

Where to eat:

  • Rosie's

We ate breakfast at Rosie's every single day. It's delicious, inexpensive, and close to the beach! I would highly recommend eating breakfast here at least once (you'll probably go more often than that, though). If you go, make sure to try the juices! So yummy. 

  • La Luna

La Luna is a more expensive dining option, but you will not regret it. This place is situated right on the beach, is beautiful inside and out, and has absolutely delicious food. If you're looking to dress up and splurge a little, this place is a must. 

  • Burgers & Beer

We were curious about this burger place, so we had to stop by and try it. Be warned, the burgers are on the pricier side. However, I really really liked mine. It wasn't an average burger, but more of a gourmet, fancy burger. While we were there, we overheard a couple guys talking about how they liked the burgers so much that they had been eating there everyday for a week straight. 

 Okay, quick story, and then I'm done. One evening when it was pitch black outside and raining like crazy, my husband and I realized we were hungry and wanted some food. We had no food at the house, so my husband got on one of the little single-speed bikes we had been using and rode down the road, in the pouring rain, in the darkest of night, over giant holes, to get us quesadillas. It's safe to say that I was freaking out the entire time he was gone! Everything ended up working out alright, and the quesadillas were pretty dang good, but that gave me such a scare! Things like this where we had nervous moments or inconveniences ended up happening semi-frequently on this trip. It's part of the reason why we say that this trip was a bit more adventurous than we even wanted. However, it was all so memorable, and we're incredibly glad we did it. 

Have any questions or comments? Comment below or contact me! I'd love to hear your thoughts.