Nosara, Costa Rica – the “pura vida” lifestyle like no other

Nosara embodies the “pura vida” lifestyle more than any other place that I experienced in Costa Rica. Things move at their own pace, it is a surf and nature community, and everyone honestly seems to be very earth-friendly.


Like many places in Costa Rica, you will find accommodations of every price and ilk, so it will be a matter of what you want and what you want to pay.  I chose to stay at Tierra Magnifica (, a hotel perched high above Playa Guiones and the Nosara coast. The staff are incredible, the common spaces so well thought out and considered, and my goodness, the food truly divine.  Whether or not breakfast is included, it is worth the price: although slow paced, so don’t be in a hurry, the fruit salad, coffee, and “mains” are so well prepared and bountiful that I wasn’t hungry for the rest of the day.  That said, I will say that the room left something to be desired.  I stayed in Vista 2, which is below the rooftop terrace and restaurant and although you could hear some noise, it wasn’t bad.  But the room is just average and with a bit of effort, could be so much more, and definitely more inviting.  (Oddly, it really bothers me that there are no bedside tables and the left side of the bed is a foot from the wall.)  I know we only sleep in the room and are meant to get out and about, but with a balcony that looks toward Playa Guiones, and over the trees, I wanted better.  So, if you don’t care about the room, this is the place for you.  But if rooms matter – which they do for me – you might want to look elsewhere.  And remember: the hotel is on a hill top so it will take a bit to get down to the village of Nosara.


Huacas Restaurant at Tierra Magnifica is gorgeous!  If I only had one night, I would honestly eat here, whether staying at the hotel, or taking a $10 tuk tuk up from the village.  And if you can dine at sunset, just to see the view, bonus points.  Like much in CR, the restaurant isn’t cheap, but the food is truly tasty and well thought out.  There is one vegetarian option available on the menu, but the staff told me that the chef would happily swap out the meat or fish with tofu or mushrooms.

Another place that I would recommend for the view alone is La Luna (located at the Nosara Beach Hotel  At sunset, this place was crowded as the restaurant sits right on the beach with virtually unobstructed views of the ocean and the sunset.  Service was pretty slow and I did have to get up and beg for a pitcher of water before I melted, but the food was good and there were a couple of options for this vegetarian.


The beaches of Nosara are gorgeous and I particularly loved Playa Guiones, as it is a protected beach which means not beach clubs, or restaurants, just nature, white sand, and surf.  Play Pelada, closer to the “town” of Nosara, has more going on and a natural surf break so the waters are little more calm and beach chairs are permitted (but no beach clubs, just what you bring with you).

I was trying to find a tour to see howler monkeys but none exists, as far as I can tell.  You will hear them, and if you pay attention to that above you – especially if something unexpectedly falls near you – you’ll see them.

WHAT I WISH I KNEW IN ADVANCE: for some strange and baffling reason, many of the roads in the Guanacaste region are unpaved.  Yes, dirt roads with all their pits, potholes, and washed out gullies.  The initial rental car I rented would have fallen in some of the smaller of the potholes that you try to navigate to miss the bigger potholes.  Thankfully, I upgraded to something a little bigger, which was better, but still not enough.  It may be expensive, but a 4-wheel drive car is the way to go.

I found the roads to be stressful, especially as I tried to avoid the various car-destroying lumps and bumps everywhere, and not a lot of parking, perhaps because most people here seem to either ride mopeds, 4-wheelers, or use tuk tuks in order to save the suspension of their own cars.  You have to go slow and take your time, and if it were me, I’d avoid driving at night: it should come as no surprise that with unpaved dirt roads, there is a serious lack of any street lights.  (And don’t even ask about sidewalks, but I guess with the roads being in such horrible condition, you’ll be able to dodge any cars that are coming your way!)

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