One of the last beach communities for people who want to get away from it all, Nosara's attractions are the wild stretches of side-by-side beaches called Pelada and Guiones, with surfing waves and miles of sand on which to stroll, and the tropical dry forest that covers much of the hinterland. Regulations here limit development to low-rise buildings 180 meters (600 feet) from the beach, where they are, thankfully, screened by trees. Americans and Europeans, with a large Swiss contingent, are building at a fairly rapid pace, but there appears to be an aesthetic sense here that is totally lacking in Tamarindo. Hotel owners and community members have started an ambitious reforestation project along the beachfront to create a lusher biological corridor. The town of Nosara itself is inland and not very attractive, but it does have essential services, as well as the airplane landing strip. Almost all the tourist action is at the beach.
For years, most travelers headed here for the surf. The wide range of surf schools and waves varying from beginner to expert levels makes Nosara one of the best places to learn to surf. Along with surfing, the Nosara Yoga Institute, which offers instructor training and daily classes for all levels, is a major draw for health-conscious visitors. Healthy-food options, spas, and exercise classes abound. You’ll see lots of yoga practitioners on the beaches around sunrise and sunset.
Bird-watchers and other nature enthusiasts can explore the tropical dry forest on hiking trails, on horseback, or by floating up the tree-lined Nosara River in a kayak, guide boat, or paddleboard. The last leg of the access road to Nosara is abysmal, and the labyrinth of woodsy roads around the beaches and hard-to-read signs make it easy to get lost, which is why most hotels here provide local maps for their guests. Don’t get in your car without one—especially at night. For local news and tourist information, pick up a free copy of the excellent monthly newspaper Voice of Nosara(www.vozdeguanacaste.com).