Below: Nosara links

From homesites in Bosque Verde, you can look down on all five beaches which collectively gave the name "Beaches of Nosara" to this special part of Costa Rica.

This clean, unspoiled strip of coastline is about 100 miles west of San Jose between Tamarindo and Samara, on the Nicoyan Peninsula. It is renowned for constant sea breezes, stunning sunsets, and miles of protected beachfront where the tropical jungle meets the sea.

It's a haven for naturalists, home to howler monkeys, resplendent birds, iguanas, sea turtles, and exotic plants.

There are several small hotels, more than a dozen open-air restaurants, and a multicultureal community of Costa Ricans, North Americans, and Europeans, among others.

Popular activities, in addition to the world-class surfing, include sport-fishing, bird-watching, hiking, tennis, kayaking, horseback riding, and snorkeling. The Nosara Yoga Institute offers classes for locals but also gives instruction to yoga teachers from all over the world. Read more on yoga in Nosara here.

Each of the five beaches area has unique appeal. Here, in order as you approach the area by car, are descriptions of the five "playas" or "beaches":


Garza is technically a "bahia" or "bay" more so than a "beach". Local fishermen and charter boat captains anchor their boats here, in waters protected from the Pacific waves by an offshore reef.

The beachfront is sprinkled with coconut palm trees, small restaurants and bars. You can easily picture yourself in an Ernest Hemingway novel scene here, sitting at a table in the beach sand, sipping a "bien fria" (ice cold) beer, snacking on world class fresh ceviche, listening to the small waves lapping the shore, enjoying gentle sea breezes.

You can buy fish in Garza fresh off the boats when they return in the afternoons. At low tide, you can skirt the edge of the bay and explore "playa rosada," the "pink beach," a little cove made up of seashell sand. Or, you can access the pink beach by a short hike on a jungle path, which the locals can show you.

PLAYA GUIONES (pronounced gee-yo-nays)

This is the longest of the beaches, about three miles, with clean, white sand. It's part of a natural wildlife refuge, which insures that no homes or hotels can be built on the waterfront.

Guiones is a hotspot for surfers from around the world. Because of the beaches large "swell window," it has the most consistent surf in the country. There are waves here which can challenge the most experienced surfer, yet others are safe enough for the beginner. Waves around 10 feet are common.

Most of the area's open air restaurants and bars, and several small hotels, are tucked into the jungle behind Guiones.


"Pelada" means "skinned" in Spanish, but don't worry, it's not a nude beach.

Pelada offers lots of tropical vegetation. It's popular for swimming, has a spectacular "blow hole" and seven caves, carved by centuries of pounding surf. A local fisherman can take you in a small boat called a "panga" to observe dolphins, turtles, and occasionally, whales.

Snorkeling here is superb when the swells are down. There is a landmark bar/restaurant here, "Olga's," with a sand floor, where you can enjoy great fresh fish soup (it comes with a bowl of rice on the side) or whole fried snapper, and watch the local fisherman head out into the sunset in their small boats for a night of fishing.


Playa Nosara is noted for its black sand, which comes from the dark, ancient volcanic rocks surronding the area. This is where two of Costa Rica's longest rivers, the Montana and the Nosara, meet and flow into the sea. To access the beach itself, you need to wade or take a small boat across the mouth of the river.

You can observe and learn the local fishermen's techniques here. Kayak and guideboat tours offer unique views of the tropical vegetation and wildlife.

This area also boasts a 125-acre Nosara Biological Reserve. From a convenient starting point at Lagarta Lodge, visitors can take a self-guided, 2-hour walking tour, with a map and short description of the trees. The huge mangroves here have a magical "Harry Potter" quality. Take binoculars to see some of the 270 different bird species. And keep an eye out for monkeys, coatimundis, raccoons, armadillos, anteaters, and crabs. Avoid high tide times and the hottest part of the day. There is a small admission charge to the reserve, payable at the lodge when you pick up your map and tree guide.


National Geographic has documented Ostional's claim to fame, the monthly arrival of up to 150,000 Olive Ridley turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs. Local residents can tell you the time of the month when this phenomenon, know as the "arribada," is most likely to occur.

Going to Ostional means crossing two rivers, the Nosara and the Montana. This is easy in a 4-wheel drive vehicle in the dry season (December to April) but can require a horse or ATV (quad) when the rivers are high in the green season.


Here are some links to other websites with a wealth of information about the Beaches of Nosara and great photos from the area.

Nosara Lodging Links

Nosara Information Links

Ostional Hotel/Dining

Other Assorted Links