Frequently Asked Questions
What is the weather Like in Nosara?
The weather in Nosara can be categorized by three different seasons. Although these seasons overlap they generally occur at around the same time annually. They are as follows.
High season weather in Nosara
High season, or dry season typically kicks off around mid-late November, and brings with it rapidly increasing numbers of tourists. This is the time when Playa Guiones is at its fullest, with many holiday makers coming to experience the beautiful weather and the lush green season surroundings created in the wake of the previous rains. Rain showers have been known to occur as late as December. However, after that, it’s safe to say that there won’t be a drop of rain until the green season begins the following April.
Green season Weather in Nosara
Green season begins in either April or May, and is marked by sporadic bouts of rainfall throughout the day and night. There is no hard and fast rule concerning what to expect. However, generally speaking, this time of year sees bright, blue sky mornings, and good surfing conditions. As the afternoon draws in, the rains come. This can vary from light showers, to heavier downpours, increasing in frequency and volume as the season progresses.
Rainy Season weather in Nosara
September and October can be the time of torrential rains. These occur at different periods throughout the day. Often the downpours can be relentless, stretching for a few days at a time. This can be a beautiful time to visit Nosara, particularly for those who enjoy watching the impressive lightning storms exploding over the Pacific ocean. It is also the time when rivers are at the highest.
What should I bring to Nosara?
Documents: Obviously, it’s always handy to have a copy of one’s passport when traveling anywhere. Your stay in Costa Rica is good for 90-days and upon arrival at customs, you’ll be asked to show proof of your departure from Costa Rica that is within 90 days of your arrival date. Travel insurance to cover your costs if you suffer illness, an accident, or theft while in Costa Rica is also a recommended.
Clothing: The answer to this question depends on the season. As a rule of thumb, pack light, comfortable functional clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty. Think t-shirts, day shorts, boardshorts, bikinis, light dresses, and flip flops. If you are visiting outside of the high season, bring a rain jacket.
Extras: Remember, Nosara is close to the equator where it gets extremely hot and humid. Bug spray, sunscreen, after sun lotion, and soothing remedies such as aloe vera can be expensive here. Purchase these items in advance.
Surfers: If you are an experienced surfer, and particular about the board you ride, then bring that. Just bear in mind that many flights from the US will hit you with charges. Beginner surfers are better off renting boards or taking a lesson. Nosara has plenty of surfboard shops with rental options to choose from.
Yogis: Yoga fans should bring comfortable clothing of their choice. Mats, blocks, straps, and other accessories are provided by local teachers, and sold in stores.
Miscellaneous: Sunglasses, a sunhat, a flashlight, a beach towel, walking shoes if you plan on exploring on foot, and tennis shoes if you plan to horseback ride or zipline (no flip flops allowed), and an umbrella if coming in the rainy season.
What are the Activities in Nosara?
Surfing in Nosara
Ever since Nosara hit the radar back in the 1970s, surfing has been one of the main draws. Its consistency, mellow temperament, and proximity to town makes Playa Guiones the lead choice for the majority of surfers.
For veterans, the waves at Playa Guiones can produce size and power in the right conditions. For beginners, one only needs to look at the abundance of surf schools in the local area to know why it’s so popular. Boards of all shapes, sizes, and skill levels are available for rent or purchase around town.
Yoga in Nosara
Besides surfing, yoga training is another activity that put Nosara on the map. Consequently, many yoga practitioners come to Nosara to host retreats and find their bliss in the ambient jungle surroundings. A wide range of high quality schools and classes have sprung up to cater to the yoga market.
Fishing in Nosara
The Nosara coastline is considered one of the best sportfishing locations in the world. Tuna, Mahi Mahi, snapper, along with marlin and billfish are among the varied species you can expect to reel in. Neighboring Playa Garza is home base for a fleet of charter vessels happy to take you into the big blue.
Horse riding in Nosara
Costa Rica is home to some of the most skilled equestrians you’ll find anywhere. Consequently, horseback riding activities and tours are popular, and run by skilled, local horsemen and women. Nosara horse riding rails include mountains, jungle and coastline.
Nosara Canopy Tour
Nosara’s Miss Sky Canopy Tour has become a firm favorite for adrenalin seekers looking to whizz through the treetops of the surrounding jungle. The speed, exhilaration, and birds eye view of the surrounding terrain make this activity a must do. The Zipline in Nosara is one of the longest in the country, and staffed by trained, knowledgeable professionals. Tennis shoes or closed toed shoes are needed for this tour.
Wildlife Tours in Nosara
It’s pretty difficult to go more than a day in Nosara without running into some form of exotic local wildlife. Usually, this will be a coati, iguana, howler monkey, or the odd harmless snake. For those looking to get closer, or learn about local wildlife conservation, trips can be arranged to the local animal sanctuaries.
Rio Nosara Biological Reserve
Along the banks of the Rio Nosara sits over 40 acres of untouched jungle and mangrove area. This place is home to thousands of species of flora and fauna that you won’t see anywhere else. The most popular entry point is via Hotel Lagarta Lodge.
However, this area can also be accessed from the Nosara, and from the North via Playa Ostional.
Exploring in Nosara
Hiking, biking, horse riding and ATV riding are a great way to experience stunning local landscapes many visitors never get to see. Outside of Playa Guiones there are literally hundreds of mountain and coastal trails. These paths take in some of the region’s most spectacular scenery. Additionally, there is a fun network of trails directly in Playa Guiones. Look for the signs.
Snorkeling in Nosara
The surrounding coastline of Nosara is brimming with all sorts of marine life however because of the surf, an inshore snorkeling trip is unlikely to bring you face to face with a lot of marine life. However, there are still a colorful array of fishes and marine creatures to be observed.
Snorkeling in Playa Guiones is best done at the tide pools during low tide, which can be found at the Southern end of the beach.
There are also tours availabe via boat from Garza or via shuttle to Playa San Juanillo, which is about a 30 minute drive south of Nosara and is commonly regarded as one of the best inshore snorkeling spots in the area. For the more adventurous, offshore snorkeling boat trips can be arranged.
Kayaking in Nosara
River mouths, rivers, bays, and beaches are all part of the Nosara coastline. Kayaking through these bodies of water is a great way to explore the local environment. Particularly popular are the tours through the Rio Montana, where you’ll encounter birds, wildlife, and maybe even crocodiles.
Ostional Turtle Refuge
Playa Ostional is famed as one of most important nesting grounds on the planet for Olive Ridley turtles. In the rainy season, these creatures can be seen coming ashore in their thousands to lay eggs. Tours can be arranged through some local operators based out of Playa Ostional.
Playa Guiones is the perfect place to relax in a hammock and just take in the ambiance. Likewise, the beach itself is isolated, relaxed, and a great location to unwind to the sound of the breaking waves.
Money in Nosara
The national currency of Costa Rican is the Colon. At the time of writing, the exchange rate is around $1.50 for every 1000 Colones. Almost every business accepts both Colones and Dollars as payment but you will always receive change in the colon.
Is Nosara Expensive?
Costa Rica is one of the most expensive countries in Latin America, and Nosara is not known as a cheap place. If done right, it is possible to spend time here without spending too much money. Hostel accommodations begin at around $25 per night and Costa Rican style meals can be enjoyed at restaurants outside of the tourist neighborhoods of Playa Guiones and Playa Pelada from as little as $6 per dish.
Credit Cards in Nosara
Other than the roadside vendors,most businesses in Nosara accept credit cards and it’s always a good idea to ask first at smaller eateries. Remember that some restaurants may charge an additional fee for using credit cards. All grocery stores in Playa Guiones, Playa Pelada, and Nosara town accept credit cards without a problem.
Travelers checks may be exchanged at the bank for cash. Very rarely can they be used as a direct form of payment for goods and services.
Banking in Nosara
There are two banks in the Nosara area. The bigger one, Banco de Costa Rica (BCR) is located at the gas station en route to Nosara town. It has two ATMs that dispence money in both U.S. Dollars and Costa Rica Colon. In the main street of Playa Guiones is Banco Popular. Although this is more conveniently located, some may find that certain ATM cards (MasterCard) do not always work.
Restaurant Bills in Nosara
Always look on the menu to see whether the 10% service charge, and 13% tax are included in the prices. If it is not, then one can often expect to have an additional 23% added on top of one’s bill. If you are unsure, then ask.
Tipping in Nosara
As mentioned, the service charge will often be included in the price of the meal. Nevertheless, if you feel that the service and dining experience warrants it, it’s always nice to leave something extra for the waiting staff.
Is Nosara Dangerous?
Many people come to Playa Guiones to engage in pursuits that carry with them inherent risks. Whether it be surfing, mountain biking, hiking or anything else, the fact is many people get hurt. Sunburn and infections are also common complaints.
Medical Facilities in Nosara
Luckily, there is a highly respected medical service in Nosara named, Paradise Medical. Paradise Medical is staffed by trained, highly qualified doctors, and is located on the main street. Additionally, Playa Guiones and Nosara Town both have well stocked pharmacies.
Will I need Travel Insurance in Nosara?
It is highly recommended that all visitors to Costa Rica purchase travel insurance for medical emergencies and theft prior to arrival.
Shopping in Nosara
If it’s a Gucci store you’re after, then you’re in the wrong town. However, Nosara has a good range of boutique, souvenir, and surf shops that sell all you’ll need while you’re here. There’s also an increasing selection of women’s clothing stores to choose from.
If it’s a big grocery shop, then the best bet is to head towards Nosara centro and visit either La Paloma or Super Nosara. Each of these, particularly Super Nosara, stocks everything you could need. They have the largest selection of goods, and arguably the best prices in town. Alternatively, there’s a few good minisupers in Playa Guiones, including Organico, Minisuper Delicias, and La Bodega in Pelada.
Nightlife in Nosara
If it’s night life you’re seeking then the best time to visit Nosara is during Rodeo and Fiesta season. This takes place between December – April. The focus of these events is bull riding. However there is a fairground, a range of bars, and a few dance floors where you can party the night away. In Nosara centro, you’ll find a few bars and clubs. These can be a fun place to experience some local flavor, and get busy on Friday and Saturday nights.
For year round live music, check out El Chivo in Pelada. A great atmosphere, good drinks, fantastic food, and a fun mix of people makes this place a long time local favorite.
What is the Internet like in Nosara?
The vast majority of accommodations in Nosara have a fixed internet service. Although the connection speed may not always be as fast as visitors are used to, there’s usually more than enough bandwidth to do what you need. Cable Tica and Kolbi are the main network providers.
A little over a decade ago, the only way to communicate with the outside world was from one of the few public phones dotted around Playa Guiones and Nosara. This is no longer the case. Internet is everywhere in Nosara, meaning Whatsapp or similar services are the best choice for calls. For those without global roaming services, pre-paid sim cards can be purchased at any of the grocery stores around town.
Do I need to speak Spanish in Nosara?
The short answer is no. The standard of English among Costa Ricans is very high, and Playa Guiones is no exception. Restaurants, hotels, or stores will likely be staffed by someone with good English. Nevertheless, it doesn’t hurt to practice a little Spanish before you get here. Particularly if you intend to head out of Guiones to other places. At the very least, learn polite phrases such as please and thank you etc.
Security in Nosara
Generally speaking, Nosara is a safe place to visit. There are very few recorded instances of violent crime. Nevertheless, use caution at night time, carry a flashlight, avoid the jungle trails at night, if you intend to walk around, do so accompanied by a friend.
The biggest problem Nosara faces is theft, which can range from petty, opportunistic stealing of flip flops, to organized, heavy hitting home burglaries.
It is highly recommended not to bring large amounts of cash or expensive jewelry, and to backup important computer files. We also suggest purchasing travel insurance or checking with your homeowner or renters insurance policy about coverage available in the event of theft.
Be proactive and take the usual security precautions such as not leaving suitcases or valuable in unattended vehicles, using safety features provided at rental homes such as locking up the home, activating alarms, using safes, and any other features provided. Often, the best way to ensure total immunity from burglary is to hire a security guard. With advance notice, your Vacation Rental Manager can arrange guard service for a reasonable fee and peace of mind for the nights that you plan to be at the beach to enjoy sunset or out to dinner.
Police in Nosara
If you need to report a crime there is a police station in Nosara. The officers are Spanish speaking and if language assistance is needed, please consult your vacation rental manager or hotel personnel.
Transport options in Nosara
For getting to and from Nosara and Playa Guiones, the best option is one of the many shuttles that come in and out of town on a daily basis.
For short day trips to Nicoya, or cheap options to get to the Capital San Jose, bus services are available.
Local Transport in Nosara
Playa Guiones local transport options include walking, bicycles, golf carts, ATVs and rental cars.
Nosara Tuk Tuks
Tuk tuk taxi services are available, and can either be called in advance, or simply waved down from the side of the road.