Surf Spot Guide
Nosara, Costa Rica
Photo by Pureline Surf
We spent a lot of time in Costa Rica checking different spots, surfing every wave we could, and timing swells trying to be in the right place at the right time. During our visit we went to Pavones, Jaco, Dominical, and Nosara for surf. For the reasons explained below, Nosara was overall our favorite spot. It wasn’t that the wave was the best, that’s a personal preference, it was that Nosara was the happy medium amongst the locations we just mentioned.
Nosara, Costa Rica is known to be a destination for yoga teacher trainings, meditation retreats, organic restaurants, and lots of hippie expats. Because the local economy does so well off of health centered tourism, the tiny town sustainably grew into a small city over the last couple decades. There is a distinct culture in Nosara that exists beyond the waves. Sure we want to play all day in the surf, but it’s nice to have options when visiting a new place.
Located in the northwest coast of Costa Rica, Nosara has every kind of accommodation you can think of. From luxury tree house villages to shared rooms in a hostel, you will surely find a place to stay within your budget as well as preference.
If you’re renting a car on your Costa Rica trip, the drive to Nosara is beautiful and only 5 hours from San Jose Airport. There are shuttles to Nosara both from Liberia and San Jose Airports. If you set up accommodation at a hotel, resort, or retreat setting, airport pickup is likely included. There is also a small airport in Nosara to which you can take a local flight from San Jose. A Shuttle or Taxi to Nosara from the airport starts at $200USD one way or from Liberia starting at $100USD one way.
Costa Rica generally has a warm climate all year. In the daytime you’ll want to sport your Platinum Sun gear because the sun is flexing all day. At night however, being that Nosara is in the north, it does tend to feel chilly. Maybe we think so because we’re from Miami but it’s recommended you bring along your Neoprene jacket.
Like the rest of the Costa Rican coast, there are many surf spots in Nosara. However our guide will include the most accessible spots in Nosara which are Nosara, Pelota, and Guiones. All are beach breaks. Beach breaks like Jaco are usually really fast but in Nosara the coast is formed a certain way that waves are fat, slow, and very friendly and forgiving. Obviously certain swells can change everything. The lower the tide, the faster the wave breaks. Playa Guiones is arguably the most consistent break in the country. It fairs well with both north and south swells and you can surf there in the morning and afternoon.
As a wave that breaks 300+ days a year, it’s safe to say Nosara waves are always good. As a beginner, Nosara undoubtedly is good year round for learning to surf. According to locals, Nosara is firing mid-November to April during the dry season when wind is offshore all morning.
Pros and Cons
- more than just a surf town
- healthy food
- Nightlife on the main strip
- artsy vibes everywhere
- lots of activities
- not a lot of local costa rican culture
- lots of windy roads makes it hard to navigate
- surf schools seem to be away from the beach
- felt like we needed a car to get around
If you have been to Nosara, share the love with your fellow surfers and shout out your favorite hotel or hostel in the comments.