Nosara FAQs: everything you need to know for your vacations!

Weather

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.

High season, or dry season tycpically kicks off around mid-late November, and brings with it rapidly increasing numbers of tourists. This is the time when Playa Guiones is at it’s fullest, with many holiday makers comign to take advantage of the beautiful weather, and the lush green surroundings  created in the wake of the previous rains of September and October. Although rain showers have been known to occur as late as December, after that, it’s safe to say that there won’t be a drop of rain until green season begins the following April.

Green Season.

Green season begins in either April or may, and is marked by sporadic bouts of rainfall throughout the day and night. Although there is no hard and fast rule concerning what to expect, generally, 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 prgoresses.

Rainy Season.

September and October can be the time of torrential rains. Although 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. As well as being muddy, getting in anad out of Nosara or Playa Guiones, which requires trekking through some usually shallow rivers can be a challenge. So heavy can the rains be at this time fot year, that in recent years, significant damage has been caused by flooding. Those most affected live in low lying areas in and around the banks of the Rio Nosara. Recent years have seen huge flooding, resulting in loss of property, and in a few isolated cases, loss of life.

What should I bring?

Documents: Obviously, it’s always handy to have copy of ones passport when traveling anywhere. Additionally, although it is readily available on arrival, bring any information you have concerning activities. Other than that, should anything unfortunate happen, you’ll be expected to produce a travel insurance certificate to cover your costs and your needs./

Clothing: Although the answer to this question depends on the season, the rule is generally to pack light, comfortable functional clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty. These include t-shiirts, day shorts and boardshorts, bikinis, light dresses, and flip flops. If you are visiting outside of high season, plan to experience some rainfall and pack accordingly.

Extras: Remember You are journeying close to the equator where it gets extremely hot. Sunscreen, after sun lotion, and soothing rememedies sucjh as aloe vera can get really expensive, so pack these in advance. If you are an experienced surfer, and particular about the board you ride, then bring that, but remember many flights from the US will hit you with charges. Begginer surfers are better off renting. Yoga fans need to bring clothing, but won’t need to worry about mats and other accessories. Other than that, bring sunglasses, a sunhat,  a flashlight, a beach towel, walking shoes if you plan on exploring on foot, and an umbrella if comeing in rainy season.

Activities

surfingSurfing: Surfing has been one of the main draws for visitors to Nosara ever since the place hit the radar back in the 1970s.  It’s consistency, relatively mellow temerament, and proximity to town makes Playa Guiones the place where the vast majority of surfers will spend their time. 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 in different placees around town.

Yoga: Besides surfing, yoga is the activity that put Nosara on the map. Consequently, a number of high quality schools and practice places have sprung up to cater to the large amounts of yoga afficionados coming to Nosara to find their bliss in the ambient jungle surroundings.

Fishing: The Pacific coastline of the Nicoya peninsula is considered one of the best places in the world to go after the catch of your dreams. Tuna, Mahi Mahi, snapper, along with sport fishing prizes such as marlin and billfish are among the varied species you can expect to reel in. Neighboring Playa garza is home base for a good number of charter vessels ready to take you into the big blue, and get you fishing.

Horse riding: Costa Rica is home to some of the most skilled equestrianists you’ll find anywhere. Consequently, horse back riding activities and tours can be taken through a variety of skilled experienced operators in the local area. Trails include mountains, jungle and coastline.

Canopy tour: Miss Sky Canopy tour has become a firm favorite for adrenalin starved visitors looking to whizz through the treetops of the surrounding jungle. The speed, exhileration, and birds eye view of the surrounding terrain make this activity a must do. The Zip line in Nosara is one of the longest in the country, and staffed by trained, knowledgeable professionals.

Wildlife:  Given the location, it’s pretty difficuly to go more than a day in Nosara without running into some form of exotic local fauna. Usually, this will be a coati , iguana, or a howler monkey, and if you’re lucky, the odd harmless snake.  For those looking to get closer, and also learn about some of the issues facing the local wildlife, trips can be arranged to one of the local animal sanctuaries.

Rio Nosara Biological Reserve: Along the banks of the Rio Nosara there is over 40 acres of untouched jungle and mangrove area. This place is home to thousands of species of flora and fauna that you would otherwise not get to observe 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: Hiking, biking, horse riding and ATVing are a fun and popular way to get out and experience parts of the local landscape many visitors never get to see. Outside of Playa Guiones there a re literally hundreds of mountain and coastal trails that take in some of the regions most spectacular scenery. Additionally, there is a fun network of trails directly in Playa Guiones. Look for the signs.

Snorkeling: The surrounding coastline of Nosara is rimming with all sorts of marine life. Although a an inshore snorkeling trip is unlikely to bring you face to face with a manta ray or dolphin pod, there are still a colorful array of fishes and marine creatures to be observed. Snorkeling from the beach is best done at the tide pools, which can be found at the Southern end of Playa Guiones. If you don’t mind traveling, Playa San Juanillo is 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: Rivermouths, rivers, bays, and beaches are all part of the Nosara coastline, and kayaking through these bodies of water is a great way to explore the environment and cosatline.  Particularly popular are the tours through the Rio Montana, where you’ll encounter birds, wildlife, and maybe even crocodiles.

Turtles in Ostional Costa RicaOstional Turtle Refuge:  Playa Ostional is famed as one of most important nesting grounds on the planet for Olive Ridley turtles. In rainy season, these creatures can be seen coming ashoure in their thousands to lay eggs. Tours can be arranged through some local operators based out of Playa Ostional.

Absolutely nothing: 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

Currency: The national currency of Costa Rican is the Colone. Traditionally the exchange rate has been around 2 dollars to every 1000 colone, however this fluctuates. At the time of writing, the exchange rate is around $1.75 for every 1000 Colones. Almost every business accepts both Colones and Dollars.

How much will I need?

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 $20 per night, with meals at local restaraunts available from as little as $6 per dish.

Credit Cards:  Other than the roadside vendors, there are extremely few businesses, stores, and restaraunts in and around Nosara that do not accept credit cards. Remember that some restaraunts may charge an additional fee for using a credit cards. All grocery stores in Playa Guoines and Nosara accept credit cards without a problem.

Banking: There are two banks in the Nosara are. The bigger one (BCR) is located at the gas station en route to Nosara town. It has an ATM. 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.

Restaraunt Bills: 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 ones bill. If you are unsure, then ask.

Tips: 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.

Travelers Checks: These can be exchanged at the bank for cash. Very rarely can they be used as a direct form of payment for goods and services.

Medical: 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. Sun burn, and infections  are also common complaints. 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, Nosara Town has a well stocked pharmacy. It is highly recommended that all visitors to Nosara purchase travel insurance prior to arrival.

Shopping

If its a Gucci store your after, then you’re in the wring town. Still, Nosara has a good range of boutique, souvenier, 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.

Groceries: If it’s a big grocery shop, then the best bet is to head towards Nosara centro and visit eith 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.

Night life

If its night life you’re seeking then the best time to visit Nosara is during Rodeo and Fiesta season, which 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 top experience some local flavor, and at their busiest 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, firm local favorite.

Communication

Internet: The vast majority of accommodations in Nosara, both hotels and rental properties, 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.

Telephones: 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. With the advent of the cellular revolution, that all changed. Internet is everywhere, making whatsapp or similar services the best choice for calls. For those without global roaming services who wish to make standard calls, 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 Guiones is no exception. Restaraunts, 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 Giuones to other places. At the very least, learn polite phrases such as please and thankyou etc.

Security: Generally speaking, Nosara is a safe place to visit. There are very few recorded instances of violent crime. Nevertheless, it doesn’t hurt to be cautious at night time. Carry a flashlight, and if you intend to walk around do so accompanied by a friend. The biggest problem Nosara faces is theft, which can range between petty, opportunistic stealing of flip flops on the beach, to organized, heavy hitting home burglaries. After the usual security precautions such as hiding valuables, and making sure the house is locked before leaving, the best way to ensure total immunity from burglary is to hire a security guard. If you must bring valuables to Nosara make sure they are kept somewhere safe, and never left  in the open. This applies even more so if you leave you valuables in your car.

Police and Security: If you  need to report a crime there is a police station in Nosara and a Policia Turistica (tourist police) in Guiones.

Transport: 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. In regard to transport once in Playa Guiones, you have a choice between walking, bicycles, golf carts, ATVs and rental cars. If you want to explore beyond Guiones a motorized vehicle is recommended. Additionally tuk tuk taxi services are available.

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