With some of the most consistent surf on the Pacific coast, Playa Guiones attracts a lot of surfboard-toting visitors, but the breezy beach, with vegetation rising up from the high-tide mark for its length, is also a haven for sun lovers, beachcombers, and anyone who wants to connect with nature. The only building in sight is the bizarre Hotel Nosara, which was originally the only choice for lodging in town but is now a rambling private residence complete with an eccentric observation tower. Otherwise, this glorious Blue Flag beach has 7 km (4½ miles) of hard-packed sand, great for jogging, riding bikes, and saluting the sun. Because there's a 3-meter (9-foot) tide, the beach is expansive at low tide but rather narrow at high tide, when waves usually create strong currents that can make the sea deadly for nonsurfers. Most hotels post tide charts. Guiones is at the south end of the Nosara agglomeration, with three public accesses. The easiest one to find is about 300 meters (1,000 feet) past the Harmony Hotel, heading straight at the intersection. Amenities: none. Best for: surfing, walking.
Nosara, Costa Rica