View Surf Spots in Costa Rica in a larger map
Nosara is a coastal city n the Pacific border in the Nicoya canton, in Guanacaste province of Costa Rica. Nosara is one of the oldest residential areas as well as fishing and agricultural communities in the country.
The town is renowned for its remarkable beaches, a large population of Leatherback Turtles and Olive Ridley Sea Turtles at Ostional Wildlife Refuge and several amazing surf points. Despite being a famous tourist destination, Nosara is largely undeveloped that adds to its beauty. It still retains its Blue Flag status. Nosara has a good number of accommodations, restaurants, bars, markets, school, pharmacy and other facilities.
Nosara has a casual atmosphere and lesser crowds than other surf towns such as Jaco. The city is beautiful with pristine beaches and eco conscious environment. Nosara is one of the biggest green zones in Costa Rica. It has dense jungles, rolling green hills surrounding the beaches and clean shorelines. Despite having a good number of accommodations, houses and many facilities, a first time visitor will be awed by Nosara’s tranquility and natural beauty. Talking of accommodations, the city has all kinds of lodging options. There are oceanfront vacation rentals, surf and yoga resorts, charming villas, five star hotels with spas to pretty bed and breakfasts, hostels and cabinas for budget minded travelers. There are many restaurants and diners in the town featuring all delicious kinds of cuisines and beverages. Be it a family vacation, a couple’s retreat or a backpacking adventure, Nosara is an ideal destination for a perfect holiday.
Popular surf spots found in Nosara are described below.
Playa Nosara is a spectacular beach boasting a beach break and reef break. The beach break has barreling waves with high peaks breaking over a sandy bottom while the reef break has shallow waves that peel to the left. There are three amazing surf beaches in Nosara: Playa Guiones, Playa Pelada and Playa Ostional.
Playa Pelada is located north to Playa Nosara. It features an inconsistent reef rocky break which is best surfed at high tides. Nice swells are received from the north. The break is very inconsistent and often gets very crowded. Besides surfing, Pelada is known for its tide pools, rocky coves and caves.
Playa Ostional is located on the northern side of Playa Nosara. The beach is very popular as a nesting site for Olive Ridley Sea Turtles. Ostional has beach break with rapid, hollow and strong waves that are best surfed from December to March. Best swell direction is from Northwest, West and Southwest and best wind direction is from the Southeast, East, Northeast. The size of swells builds up at 1 meter and can hold up to 3 meters. The waves are super consistent and often ride up to 300 meters. The spot is mostly deserted and is suitable for all surfers.
Playa Guiones is a remarkable white sand beach in Nosara spanning over an area of 7 kilometers. The beach is a favorite holiday destination among both locals and tourists. It boasts a great surf spot which attracts numerous surfers. It is a consistent beach break that breaks over a sandy bottom to both direction. The break is known for its multiple peaks found all along the coast. The beach break is ideal for both long-boarders and short-boarders. At low tides, the waves are fast and steep allowing short-boarders a chance to surf while at mid and high tides, smooth waves offer a great platform to long-boarders. The spot is awesome for all levels of surfers. On some days, the waves reach the height of 300 meters which provide a good challenge to seasoned surfers. The break is nicknamed as ‘swell magnet’ because it receives great swells from both north and south. The size of swells starts building up 1 meter and can hold up to 10 feet. Although the beach break is good for beginners, it can get unsuitable when the swells get huge. To the delight of many surfers, Playa Guiones remains deserted most of the times.
Playa Garza is a deserted beach found near Nosara with outside and inside reef breaks that break to left and right. The break is irregular most of the times. However, during the high tide, the waves get chest high. Best time tos urf Playa Garza is at low to mid tide when the swells are received from southwest and south. The beach houses various luxurious resorts, restaurants and five stars hotels. Along with surfing, the beach is excellent for sportfishing and sailing.
Surfing is quite big in Nosara which is why you will find many surf schools and camps. Moreover, various accommodations and retreats arrange surf expeditions as well. Some of the famous camps in the area are listed below.
Agua Tibia Surf School is an eco-conscious surf camp and workshop based in Nosara. The camp is run by a group of local seasoned surfers who deliver excellent customer service and believe in environmental sustainability. They organize amazing surf sessions in Playa Guiones, Playa Nosara and other nearby beaches. The classes at Agua Tibia are held by professional surf instructors who ensure fun, safety and knowledge. Moreover, the school often volunteers for cleaning up beaches, planting trees and even conduct fundraisers to help out the society. On your surf vacation to Nosara, explore the town, meet new people and perfect the art of surfing with Agua Tibia Surf School.
Burnt Toast Surf Camp is a surf camp based in Nosara. The surf camp is well known for its excellent location, professionalism, innovative teaching methods and cordial atmosphere. Burnt Toast conduct surf expeditions for all levels of surfers. Besides surf trips, they also organize ATV tours for guests. Depending upon their wishes, guests are accommodated in private and shared lodging. Each accommodation has a kitchen, bathroom with hot water supply, indoor and outdoor lounges and an ocean view platform. It can sleep up to 6 people. Burnt Toast features few packages as well that include private lodging, transport service, surf lessons and several amenities.
Corky Carroll’s Surf School is a family operated business situated in Playa Guiones. It was founded in 1996 in California and after years of success, the owners decided to grow their business. In 1998, they opened up a branch in Nosara. Corky Carroll’s provide great packages, reasonably priced accommodations, dining services and many adventurous trips other than surfing.
Harbor Reef Surf Resort
Harbor Reef Surf Resort is a luxury surf resort in Nosara. Harbor Reef offer surf expeditions, zip lining and canopy tours, sea kayaking, stand up paddling, snorkeling, scuba diving, boating tours, sport fishing, wildlife and birding watching tours and the list goes on. The surf lessons at Harbor Reef are conducted by professional surf teachers in Playa Guiones. The resort features inclusive package for guests that include daily surf lesson, board rental for the week, transport service, accommodation at the Harbor Reef, daily breakfast and lunch, massage therapy and a gift bag.
Nosara Surf Academy
Nosara Surf Academy is popular surf camp located in Playa Nosara. Offering personalized services and expertise, the academy helps you to learn surfing in the best spots. They offer daily surf classes, access to surf equipment, comfortable accommodations, dining options, transportation and many other fun tours like zip lining, kayaking, sportfishing, waterfall trekking, horseback riding, ATV tours and yoga. The staff is highly skilled and professional with an International Surfing Association (ISA) Certification as well as CPR, First Aid, and Open Water Rescue certification.
There are several surf shops in Nosara. Some of them are described below.
Coconut Harry’s is a surf camp and shop found in the heart of Nosara. Considered as one of the best places for families and backpackers to learn surfing, the school has gained immense popularity in a short time. The shop has a wide range of top notch new and used surfboards and other products such as ding repair kits, leash, wax, wet suits as well as beachwear and souvenirs. Guests can either rent or buy the board. For more information, visit their website and and email them at [email protected].
Iguana Expeditions and Surf School is an adventure charter that have gained immense popularity due to their excellent customer service and offers. The company arranges amazing expeditions to numerous places in Costa Rica. Iguana’s surf shop has a huge variety of things. Be it a surfboard, snorkel gear or kayaking equipment, you will find what you are looking for. To contact them, check out their website, call 011 (506) 2682-4089 and email them at [email protected].
Juan Surfo’s is a vacation rental and a surf shop located in Playa Guiones. The shop is owned by Juan, who is a local surfer and an excellent instructor. If you need a proper guide of the surf spots and high quality equipment, Juan Surfo’s is a place to be. The shop displays a large selection of surfboards, bikes and body board rentals, ding and bike repair kits, surf wax, sunscreens, beach towels, sunglasses, leashes, rash guard, bikinis, hats fins, traction pads and so much more! Email Juan at [email protected] and visit the site for more details.
Nosara Surf Shop
Nosara Surf Shop has a perfect inventory stocked with all kinds of sports gear. You can buy or rent boards and alternatively you can have your board customized and fixed . There are soft tops, high performance boards, long and short boards, snorkeling gear, boogie boards and a colorful range of beach accessories. For more details, email them [email protected] and check out their website.
Nosara has a wealth of adventurous activities ranging from leisurely tours to vigorous ventures.
Rio Montaña and Rio Nosara merge together and create a lagoon with coastal wetlands near Playa Nosara. These mangrove swamps are flourishing with marine creatures and shorebirds. The lagoon is a perfect habitat to explore for nature lovers. You can either kayak through the water or explore on a flat-bottom boat. Sportfishing enthusiasts have a fine time here as well. The water is teeming with game fishes that are best caught during the incoming tide. Boating tours of the ocean are also possible. At Playa Pelada, you will find many local fishermen with boats who will gladly take you on a tour. During the boating trip, you can fish, enjoy the ocean breeze and look for whales, dolphins and turtles.
Nosara Biological Reserve Trip
Nosara Biological Reserve is a 90-acre private nature reserve located south of Rio Nosara. The reserve has many hidden natural jewels of the country such as forested trails, dense mangrove swamps, olden jungles, river estuaries and shorelines. The reserve houses numerous flora and fauna. It is known to be the home of more than 270 bird species. The gate is on the top of a hill at Hotel Lagarta Lodge. You can simply pay the entrance fee, get a map and begin your tropical venture. or better yet, you can hire a nature guide who will take you to the best places. A trip to Nosara Biological Reserve is a must on your vacation to the city.
Playa Guiones, Playa Pelada and Playa Rosada offer several tide pools and offshore reefs rich with underwater wildlife that allow snorkeling. The water is very clear with an awesome visibility range. You will have a superb time gazing at colorful sea creatures such as sea horses, sea turtles, star fishes and some bigger animals like manta rays, dolphins, octopuses and many species of fish. The best time to snorkel in the tide pools is during the low tide.
Turtle Watching Tours
The Ostional Wildlife Refuge is one of the biggest nesting grounds of Olive Ridley Sea Turtles and Leatherback Turtles in the world. The refuge was founded in 1984 and extends over an area of 85.7 km². The largest number of turtles ever seen was in 1995 when about 500,000 turtles arrive. When thousands of Olive Ridley begin to arrive, the word ‘arribada’ is used. The best time to go on turtle tours is between the months of July and December. Along with turtles, the refuge houses many mangrove swamps, estuaries and birds.
For for more information, please visit:
Nosara: Costa Rica’s Hidden Tropical Treasure – A detailed article on Nosara’s beaches on costaricajourneys.com
Nosara Area Regional Surf Guide – More information on Nosara’s surf spots on costaricasurfing.org
Nosara Travel – Learn about accommodations and restaurants on wikitravel.org