Having only booked my ticket to Costa Rica about a week before I left, I didn’t have much time to research where I was going. I knew I needed bathing suits, and I knew we would be surfing, but I was picturing a trip similar to what I’ve experienced in Mexico. I was thinking beach, tacos, margaritas, and maybe some good hikes and snorkelling. At best — I thought I would get a cute little town to walk through with some traditional architecture and souvenir shops.
Nosara, Costa Rica has all of that, but in the remote, jungle village yoga and surfing are the way of life. Vegan and gluten free are common words on menus. And fresh pressed juice can be found almost anywhere.
In even the most unsuspecting of places, like a casual spot tucked into the trees called Beach Dog Cafe (which also has a hostel), I found kombucha and raw energy balls. And when we ate there for lunch, I had a kind of tacos I’ve never even heard of — pesto tofu with spinach and sliced almonds.
And items like this are just standard on menus at higher-end spots, like the Harmony Hotel.
This random sign says it all…vegan, gluten free, preservative free, ‘the healthiest popsicles on the planet’.
But best of all, if you acclimate to the true way of life in Nosara, you’re either surfing or swimming for most of the day on Playa Guiones — one of the best surf beaches in Costa Rica. Or, your at one of the many yoga studios for a class or a full-on multi-day retreat. Below is the yoga studio at the Harmony Hotel. You’d be hard-pressed to find a hotel in Nosara that ISN’T equipped with a yoga studio.
The white-sand beach of Playa Guiones is where you can learn to surf with one of the many surf schools in the area, but the break also brings out experienced surfers as well. Just remember not to leave any of your belongings on the beach, especially not anything of value, as thieves have been known to even steal beaten up sandals. It’s best to leave your flip flops, hat, towel and whatever else you brought in the trees rather than out in the open on the sand.
Life in Nosara is the epitome of what I understand to be the meaning of the Costa Rican phrase ‘pura vida‘. You’ll see this decades old adage, that literally means ‘pure life’, everywhere. People will say it to you in conversation, it’s printed on t-shirts and stickers for cars, but it is so much more than that. Depending on who you’re talking to it can mean many different things, but my interpretation is that it’s living your best life, it’s being true to yourself and others, and it’s being connected with your environment.
Take the shops in Nosara, for example. Each one is unique in it’s own way, and many of them are filled with products sourced from small, local companies, creating an earthy vibe and a real sense of community.
Love Nosara sells local, fair-trade products and is adorned with hammocks and swings.
Nosara has become an oasis for creatives, yogis, surfers, and those following a path of healthy living because of the environment that’s been created here by expats and locals. Take this shop, Bazzar, filled with ethically sourced and organically produced fashion.
But if you’re looking for it, there are the stands selling more traditional Costa Rican souvenirs as well…
In this tiny village surrounded by lush, tropical jungle I’ve found the people to be extremely friendly, but more than that, they are also surprisingly trusting. Don’t have any cash for your fresh pressed juice? Don’t worry. A local will buy it for you or the juice guy will just tell you to pay next time.
Even the accommodation in Nosara isn’t what I was expecting. There are more traditional homes, like ours, Casa Verano Eterno…
Or this one I came by while exploring…
But then there are much more modern accommodations…
Whether you’re renting a home or staying in a hotel, you will find that Nosara is a little spread out, but it’s still small enough that you can walk pretty much everywhere. But, if you want transportation that is a little more breezy and quick in the heat, a lot of people use bikes, golf carts, or ATVs. I mostly walked or rode a rented bicycle. You can rent whichever you’d like at one of the hotels, surf schools, or tourism companies.
And don’t forget, no matter where you’re staying or how you’re getting there, you are in the middle of a jungle and there is an abundance of wildlife.
This was a visitor to our backyard. He’s a tropical raccoon known as a pizote, or coati in English, but we named him Randy.
We’ve also seen howler monkeys…
And iguanas and different kinds of lizards are everywhere, but watch your step at night…
There are tarantulas and snakes, and you may come across one of these…
It’s hard to tell in the picture, but this guy was about as long as my forearm.
Just don’t forget bug spray (for the mosquitoes), and come prepared with an open mind, an open heart, and a body ready to be pushed to new limits.
Pura vida 🙂