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Nosara: The Newbies Guide to Finding your Feet.

Part One: Join The Nosara Civic Association

At Nosara Mango Realty, we are proud to be affiliated with the Nosara Civic Association.. For every new client that works with Nosara Mango Realty – whether through a property sale or a new property to manage – Nosara Mango Realty pays for them to enjoy a one year membership to join the Nosara Civic Association. As Nosara Real Estate Agents, we feel it is crucial to get new residents involved with the community and learn more about vital work the NCA performs.

For those who are unaware, here’s something to remember the next time you ramble down a jungle path to enjoy a sunrise / sunset stroll at Playa Guiones, or look to the night stars grateful for a beach unfettered by the oceanfront concrete and commercialism of other Costa Rican beach towns. This didn’t happen by accident. It occurred for one single reason: The Ostional Wildlife Refuge. And principally, The Nosara Civic Association. The short version of the story goes like this:

Turtles in Ostional Wildlife REuge Created by the NCA

The NCA played a lead role in incorporating Playa Guiones and Pelada into the Ostional Wildlife Refuge, thus preserving it’s unique natural beauty.

How was the Ostional Wildlife Refuge Created?

1981: The Ostional turtle refuge, encompassing 85.7 km2 between Nosara River Mouth to Punta India was created (Decree N° 13200-A) to protect populations of nesting sea turtles. It decreed that nothing could be built 200 meters from the high tide line.

1983: These protections were galvanized when Law No# 6919 declared the area a national wildlife refuge.

1985: The Ministry of Agriculture passed Decree N° 16531- which extended the Ostional Wildlife Refuge to include Playa Guiones and Playa Pelada.

Love the Ostional Wildlife Refuge? It’s the NCA you have to thank.

This 1985 decree was an executive action that the NCA fought tooth and nail to have passed. It is the single reason that Playa Pelada and Playa Guiones, unlike Jaco, Tamarindo, or countless other Costa Rican beach towns, never fell victim to its own beauty.

Nowadays, the Ostional Wildlife Refuge is responsible for the abundant natural magic that leaves visitors amazed. It is the foundation on which the community, culture, and tourist industry of Nosara are built, and the single most effective weapon in the arsenal of anyone campaigning to shield the area from over-development.

The Ostional Wildlife Refuge Was Just the Beginning

It’s been almost four decades since the NCA successfully campaigned for the government to include Playa Guiones and Playa Pelada into the Ostional Wildlife Refuge. Since then, the NCA has gone on to become the leading local environmental organization working on behalf of the wildlife.  And, by extension, the quality of life and livelihoods of most everyone who live and work here.

Why You Should Must Join the Nosara Civic Association

As well as being a shield against greedy developers who measure Nosara’s beauty only in terms of capital returns, the Nosara Civic Association are:

Scientific Investigators

In 2020, in conjunction with national and international universities, the NCA became involved in a research program aimed at gaining a deeper understanding of local biodiversity, and making informed decisions as to how best preserve our local natural wealth. Projects included:

  • Camera Traps

Led by the WCA (Wildlife Conservation Association)  the camera traps were installed  to survey wildlife species and document their relationship to the local environment. The data captured greatly helps to understand the strategic measures required to protect local biodiversity, and, crucially, to promote greater awareness of the ecological richness that surrounds us.

nosara civic association camera trap

  • Local aquifer research project

With support from the Central American School of Geology at the University of Costa Rica, this project was carried out in order to better understand local groundwater dynamics, along with the associated risks of flooding, droughts, and water pollutants.

Environmental Conservators

  • The Parklands

240 hectares of pristine wilderness known as the “Nosara Parklands” are owned, maintained, and protected by the NCA. In terms of what makes Nosara truly special, the importance of this unique area cannot be overstated. 

Nosara Civic Association Parklands

The NCA owns, protects, and conserves 240 hectares of.the local natural habitat.

  • Dump closure and new public park. From trash to treasure

For decades, the ever-expanding “Nosara dump” was a foul, albeit necessary stain on Nosara’s “eco-conscious” reputation. In mid-2020, it was decided the dump would finally be closed, and alternative waste management solutions implemented. Currently, the NCA supports studies to determine whether the groundwater that supplies Nosara was contaminated by decades of trash seepage. The good news is that the Ministry of Health recently approved construction permits and designs for a world-class public community park on the former dump site. The creation of this amazing space is set to begin once the closure is official.

Nosara Civic Association Trail System Signpost

The Nosara Trail System is an 18-km network that passes through the Playas de Nosara, NCA parklands and the Guiones and Pelada sectors of the Ostional Wildlife Refuge.


Weaving throughout the NCA-owned parklands exists 18km of trails linking various points throughout Nosara, Playa Guiones, and Playa Pelada. As well as offering people direct, immediate access to the surrounding jungle, the trails were created to promote walking and biking within the community, thus reducing Nosara’s carbon footprint.

This year, the NCA plans to open the Nosara-Pelada-Guiones trail, connecting downtown Nosara with the coastline. In addition to reducing local reliance on motorized vehicles, this trail will promote community connectivity and integration, while reducing traffic (and the associated pedestrian risks) on Route 160.

Government lobbyists (the good kind)

In order to implement effective planning strategies that incorporate nature-based solutions, the NCA advises the Municipality and public institutions. At a government level, it acts as a voice for local wildlife, and a bridge between local government and the Nosara community. Their actions include:

  • Construction regulations

Despite the pressure from well-organized, well-funded real estate developers, in 2021, a set of construction regulations, created to minimize harm to the local environment, were approved. These measures are part of an ongoing legal process that the NCA continues to be a part of, as collaborators and advisors.

NCA building regulations

  • Participation in CIMACO

The NCA holds a seat on CIMACO (Interinstitutional Advisory Council for Advice on the Ostional Wildlife Refuge). This grants the NCA a voice and a say in decisions relating to the future of the Ostional Wildlife Refuge.

Citizen Empowerment

The NCA plays a committed, active role in celebrating Nosara culture while researching and implementing the social change necessary to address community challenges. Activities include:

  • Women’s Protection

The NCA works actively to help ensure Nosara is a safe destination where the rights and personal security of local, ex-pat, and visiting women are supported and defended.

  • Nosara Race

The NCA holds an annual fun run along the NCA trails. This was created to help promote and familiarize tourists and residents with the NCA trail system, and raise the funds necessary to help maintain them.

How Do I Join The Nosara Civic Association?

By joining the NCA, you are helping to protect the abundant natural beauty that brought us here to begin, and which ought never to take for granted. To join the NCA, click here. The NCA offers a range of different packages and a range of attractive member benefits. You can join, or alternatively, you can donate by clicking here

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