5 Best places to snorkel in Nosara
Although it may be something to do with sublime colors that glint off this sand island during sunset the precise origins of its name – Pink Island – may remain lost to history. This raised sandbar, which is accessible only by boat, sits off Playa rosada – a hidden beach located on the far western shore of the peninsula that divides Playa Garza and Playa Guiones. Geographically, it’s close to both beaches, however a trip out here will make you feel like your far away from anywhere. Pink beach is a great place to hang with friends and relax. It’s also one of the premier snorkeling locations anywhere off the local coastline. Turtles, parrot fish, trigger fish, along with a huge range of colorful tropical fish await anyone who dives in. As mentioned, access to Pink Island is by boat only. Contact one of the local tour providers to find out more.
Ask many locals or long time ex-pats the location of the sunken steam ship off the shoreline of Playa Guiones and you’ll likely receive a bemused look followed by the phrase “I have no idea.” However, although unbeknownst to many, there is indeed a fairly large shipwreck lying not far below the ocean surface. In the many decades since it sank it’s become home to a huge variety of marine life including colorful tropical fish, large grouper, snapper and much more. It sits a few hundred meters from the shoreline at the South end of Playa Guiones, and is a great location for snorkeling, if you know where to look. The problem is, without knowing exactly where this shipwreck is, it’s unlikely that you’ll find it. Consequently, you’ll need to make it part of a boat trip from either one of the local tour providers, or as an adjunct to a fishing trip out of Playa Garza. Swimming out from the beach to try and find this at best fruitless, at worst, dangerous.
Two hours either side of low tide, there sits several large naturally formed tide pools, two of which are larger than your average olympic sized swimming pools. Often missed by tourists these tide pools can be one of the most beautiful, serene, picture postcard locations Guiones has to offer. The calm, crystal clear, turquoise blue waters make an amazing place to chill with the family, hang out with friends, and rejuvenate. They also make an amazing place to go snorkeling. Although it’s highly unlikely you’ll be catching a glimpse of any friendly dolphins, there’s still a huge array of marine life, including a multitude of small to mid-sized tropical fish species. An hour spent snorkeling at the tide pools is definitely time well spent, and can be the ultimate way to unwind in a safe, serene environment.
Reef at Playa Pelada
On a big swell, there exists a reef in the middle of the bay at Playa Pelada. To surfers, the waves that break here – although not necessarily inviting, may well make them wonder just how big this place needs to get before it turns into a legendary big wave. Unconfirmed reports and tales speak of past times in which a few brave individuals have paddled out in an attempt to conquer these peaks, but few if any have seen this with their own eyes. However, on a small day, the same reefs that creates these peaks is home to a wide variety of inshore sea life. Tropical fish, large crustaceans and more all inhabit the rocky sea bed here, and although not nearly as popular with snorkelers as San Juanillo, or Guiones tide pools, many who have returned mask in hand say it’s a great location to get up close and personal with the many species that inhabit the reef. Please note that even on a small day rips and currents can occur in Playa Pelada. As such anyone who’s thinking of swimming out should observe conditions beforehand. The reefs distance from the sand means this place is for experienced swimmers only.
San Juanillo is a small, traditional coastal fishing village a few kilometers north of Playa Ostional, and around a 30-45 minute drive from Nosara depending on road conditions. It’s calm waters, traditional feel, and serene environment make San Juanillo one of the leading picks for tour operators, and hotels and retreat groups looking to take guests on relaxing day trip. With palm trees swaying gently on the on the white, powdery sand San Juanillo is truly a picture postcard destination which for from a little town offers a good range of dining options from delicious, fresh ceviche to high end cuisine. San Juanillo features two beaches. Although equally stunning, easier access to the beach at the north makes it a more popular choice with visitors. San Juanillo may rank as one of the best places to snorkel in Guanacaste. On any given day snorkelers may find themselves face to face with everything from small tropical fish, to large, fast wahoos, to lobster, parrotfish, triggerfish and much more. Additionally, all this marine life can be seen close to the shores, and the waters are clear, calm and ultra-safe. Visitors also have the option of taking an offshore snorkeling boat tour out to offshore reefs where the range of creatures you may encounter is limited only to the visibility of the waters.