#sharethestoke

by Derek Dodds September 09, 2016 2 Comments

Surfing Nosara Costa Rica Surf Guide

Surfing Nosara Costa Rica Surf Guide

 

The Basics

As far as the complete Costa Rican vacation is concerned, Nosara may be one of the most up-and-coming vacation destinations in the entire country. Central America, and Costa Rica for that matter, are slowly becoming more and more developed and this town is no different.

Surfing Nosara Costa Rica Surf Guide Though there’s tourism and an expat community Nosara has remained a little off the grid in terms of vacation hotspots.

Nosara combines top of the line style accommodations and eateries with the remoteness of a Tico beach town. You won’t be charged an arm and a leg for a meal, but don’t expect the prices of southeast Asia street cuisine—how I miss me some Gado Gado from the stalls of Bali.

The town of Nosara is small, but there’s a ton to do, regardless of your surf abilities or interests. Obviously you’ll probably be visiting Nosara to catch some gnarly beach breaking waves, but a session or two of yoga while you’re there is a smart decision.

Surfing Nosara Costa Rica Surf Guide

Nosara doesn’t have the heavy rage atmosphere of Tamarindo or Puerto Viejo, you’ll actually get some really solid days of surf in while you visit and might even heal your chakras from all that debauchery from last week. After a great night sleep, you might be able to get two sessions in a day—depends on a 5 or 6 a.m. high tide; two sessions every day, that's what we all love, wake up to the brisk Costa Rican morning (well, not that brisk), watch the sun rise and surf until breakfast.

Nestled in the northern peninsula of Costa Rica in a region called, Guanacaste. Guanacaste is known for is “cowboy country” atmosphere, gnarly waves, and pristine beaches, though it hasn’t been overrun with thousands of tourists. Although you’ll find ridiculous crowds and hundreds of tourism companies in nearby Tamarindo, Nosara delivers a much more relaxed and chill-out vibe than any other beach I’ve visited in Central America.

There’s tuk-tuk taxis rolling all over town, the food is out of this world, and everyone in Nosara embraces life in the most positive of fashions. If you’re trying to surf Costa Rica on a budget, then Nosara isn’t the best option, but it can definitely be done if you know the right places.

One of my favorite parts about Nosara is the way how the town in general operates. If the swell doesn’t hit or the wave isn’t working, people find ways to entertain themselves.

Another huge plus of Nosara is that it’s home to the majority of the beach yoga institutes, which means in shape vacationers. It’s a whole lot better to a bunch of babes on the beach than the typical overweight American vacation slug.

Surfing Nosara Costa Rica Surf Guide Badass waves plus badass babes will always make for an incredible surf trip.

Nosara Costa Rica The Town

Surfing Nosara Costa Rica Surf Guide

Nosara is definitely one of Costa Rica’s best kept secrets, for it may attract a lot of surfers, but the majority of them are fairly strong riders. There’s two different beaches in Nosara, so you won’t get caught in too big of a lineup, but on the weekends, expect a few dozen surfers.

From my experience in Nosara wasn’t your typical party surf town, but you can probably find something happening if you hit any of the bars on the main strip. This town is set up very well, everything is convenient, but it isn’t packed with tall buildings or fancy resorts.

Not to say there aren’t great accommodations, but it’s much nicer when the hotels are more boutique style as apposed to enormous all-inclusive ones. As you enter town from the highway, you’ll see tons of surf shops, surf schools, yoga studios, Tico souvenir stores and tiny little bodega style grocery marts.

The majority of the vibe in Nosara is based around surfing, yoga, and escaping from the business of your life.

Surfing Nosara Costa Rica Surf Guide Everyone I met in Nosara was so awesome, it was a great breath of fresh air.

From the highway, you’ll find the main strip of the town, where you can find most of the things you’ll need during your trip. You can wake up, head to Café de Paris, where a cute french couples dishes out French pastries and killer drinks at the barista—they also have some rooms for rent but it would drive me crazy to wake up to French pastries every day.

Or you can head to Tibidabo, where you’ll find authentic Mediterranean style foods and an upscale cocktail bar. At the end of town is where this place called the Beach Dog Cafe is located and is a great local hangout for people looking to catch natural lunch and stiff buzz.

With the majority of shops and restaurants owned my Expats, the town functions pretty smoothly. You can most definitely find Tico cuisine all over town, it’s cool how so many people from around the world have moved to Nosara and called it their new “home”. You really get that international vibe when so many cultures come together and it works super well in Nosara.

Nosara Costa Rica Surfing

Surfing Nosara Costa Rica Surf Guide

Nosara is made up of three different beaches, all serving up a different style of wave. There’s Nosara, Pelota, and Guiones—Guiones is by far the best. If you’re just learning, I’d recommend Playa Nosara or Pelota, but a beginner will hold up just fine at Guiones (as long as the swell isn’t huge).

Surfing Nosara Costa Rica Surf Guide

Guiones is an enormous, un-crowded, white-sand beach, which dishes out glassy, clean, and forgiving waves.

Surfing Nosara Costa Rica Surf GuideThe beach is surf-able almost 365 days a year, with about 250-300 days of shoulder to overhead size waves.

Because the beach at Guiones is huge and there’s a ton of points, every skill level of surfer will find what they’re looking for. The best times to rip here is either in the early morning, or just before sunset, arguably the best times to ride anyways.

As far as Costa Rica is concerned, Guiones has potentially the cleanest and most well developed waves in the country, which is why I find myself returning every few months. As a short boarder, low tide is probably my favorite time to rip Guiones, as the waves have much steeper faces when there’s less water.

I’ve found the wave barreling at low tide, while high tide and mid-tide are much better for beginners or badass old timing long boarders.

Surfing Nosara Costa Rica Surf Guide

Much like most of Costa Rica, the locals are cheerful, friendly, and an energetic bunch. They’ll be happy to share waves with you as long as you can respect there presence. I wouldn’t recommend dropping in on a veteran Tico, but he’ll definitely give you the head nod to rip that slow rolling right if you just give it a little time.

As one of the chillest places in the whole country, locals tend to be pickier with their waves and won’t drop in on every set that rolls through. Now, let's check the surf . . .

Surf School Recommendation Nosara Costa Rica

There are a few surf schools around the entire town, so finding a lesson is super easy. A lot of the surf schools throughout the town, there are there I’d recommend Nosara Tico Surf School, Nosara Surf Academy (www.nosarasurfacademy.com) or the Safari Surf School (www.safarisurfschool.com) for they have the best instructors.

Tim the CEO of the Safari Surf School reports that it is one of the longest running surf programs in all of Costa Rica—since 1999, and for good reason, these guys are the best at what they do! They offer all inclusive surf packages for all budgets and do a lot of custom packages as well.
All the staff are locals from the Nosara area. They are all ISA certified and lifeguard certified. They also have 2 instructors who are the only ISA level 2 instructors in all of Costa Rica.
With sustainability as their core principal (Wave Tribe likes that) Safari is well connected with in the community development projects and strives to make a difference to keep Nosara, well—Nosara!

As an avid surf backpacker who’s been all over Central America, I whole heartedly believe that Nosara is one of the best waves I’ve surfed. It may not have the power or height of somewhere like Salsa Brava, nor will it have the remoteness of Playa Grande, but Nosara is awesome.

It’s a great beach for short boarders, long boarders, old timers, veterans, virgins, intermediates, chicks, dudes, bros, weirdos, the whole goddamn shebang. Head to Nosara, surf Guiones, and throw in a yoga session; trust me, you won’t regret a visit here.

Here’s a video to show you what’s up in Nosara:

Nosara Costa Rica Hotels & Places To Stay

Surfing Nosara Costa Rica Surf Guide

Surfing Nosara Costa Rica Surf Guide Nosara Beach Hostel

It all depends on what type of vacation or surf trip you want to have. Nosara is a little bit on the pricier side, but can easily be conquered by surf backpackers if they choose the right accommodations.

If you are traveling with a crew, you will probably want to rent a house somewhere and avoid staying in a hostel. But if you are traveling solo or with a small group, then theres a bunch of hostels and surf camps that cater to people trying to live on a budget.

Nosara Beach Hostel: This is one of the places I stay when I’m surfing Nosara, because it’s like a 2 minute walk from the southern point of Playa Guiones. Bunks here range from 10-15$, usually have air conditioning, and are super modern.

You walk into this hostel and you’ll feel like you just walked into a millionaires kitchen. The hostel is very spread out, so you feel more comfortable than a standard backpacking hostel.

This is the most popular hostel in Nosara, so it brings in people from around the world. The majority of people here are either surfing, yogaing, or looking for some peace in Central America.

I have only good things to say about this hostel and would recommend it to anyone who wants to surf the break for a few days and needs a place to live cheaply at. http://www.nosarahostel.com

4 You Hostel: Another great hostel choice, perfect for backpackers. You pay 13-18$ per night here, but are housed in an extremely luxurious hostel.

Surfing Nosara Costa Rica Surf Guide There’s a room to lock your board in, there’s badass keypads for the doors (so you won’t have to worry about losing your hostel keys), an enormous shared kitchen, and plenty of area to lounge.

This hotel is definitely the cleanest in Costa Rica, so you can actually feel clean while you sleep. http://www.4youhostal.com

The Gilded Iguana: A stapled landmark in the town of Nosara, the Gilded Iguana has been housing backpackers, surfers, and vacationers for years. This place has a super chilled-out vibe, a great seafood restaurant, and is located a few yards from the beach.

There’s a pool, clean rooms, air conditioning, and a bunch of different room styles. I’d recommend this place for any surfer who has a little bit more dough to spend on accommodations, or even if you want a great bite to eat, a trip to the Iguana is a great idea. http://www.thegildediguana.com/rooms/original-hotel-room/

To Sum it Up

Surfing Nosara Costa Rica Surf Guide

Nosara is without a doubt one of the most beautiful parts of the country. I’m not sure whether it’s the people, the waves, the town, the vibe, or the overall happiness of the locals, but Nosara has a distinct atmosphere.

The people are friendly, everyone’s in great shape, and everything is very clean and warming. If you want a place that feels like a less crowded, smaller, more homey version of San Diego, then Nosara may be the best place to visit.

Everyone wants to meet you, everyone wants to surf with you, and everyone wants you to get stoked out of your gourd. Enjoy Nosara.

Nosara Costa Rica Maps

Surfing Nosara Costa Rica Surf Guide Surfing Nosara Costa Rica Surf Guide   Surfing Nosara Costa Rica Surf Guide



Derek Dodds
Derek Dodds

Author


2 Responses

Louise
Louise

December 31, 2016

Derek- thanks for the article. Just got back from Grande and it was incredible, as you say. I’m planning another week-long trip as we speak with about five buddies, mostly couples in their 20s. Partying not required at all, just good food, cold beers, and a laid back town. Trying to decide between going back to Playa Grande or trying out Playa Guiones in Nosara. Everyone in the group is a beginner or rather low intermediate. Know you’ve been to both so would love your thoughts!

Cynthia
Cynthia

September 21, 2016

Excellent Article about Nosara. What is the cheapest / easiest way to get there from SJO?

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Size Chart

Surfboard Leashes

You Break It We Replace It in First Year. 

Buy a leash closest to your board size—i.e. for 6'4 surfboard you need a 6' leash. 

All leashes are 7mm thick, competition leashes which are lighter/thinner 5.5 mm. 

Pioneer Day Boardbags - Fits One Surfboard

All boardbags have +2 inches. Thus a 6'6 board fit's perfectly in a 6'6 boardbag. All Pioneer bags have expandable fin gussets, so you can keep your fins on your board in the bag—or you can roll with glass-on fins.

Pioneer Sizes:

All bags have interior pockets (fins, leash and wax), bags fit industry standards. 

Our 8'6, 9'6 and 10' bags have fin slots and round noses. 

Pioneer bags also have an exterior pocket and zip all the way to the nose.

Travel Bags - Fits Two Surfboards

All Global boardbags have +2 inches, so if you buy a 6'2 boardbag, the real length is 6'4—thus you have a bit of room to play. 

Global Travel Bag Sizes:

Travel boardbags are 6'-8' inches deep to accommodate two boards—though you can travel with one in these bags without a problem—there are two interior pockets for leash, wax, and fins.

Surfboard Travel Bag Pockets Fin Wax Leash

Travel boardbags have two padded boards separators and two pockets for your gear. 

* Travel boardbags also have 13mm + 13mm of extra padding in the nose and tail.

Travel Bags with Wheels - Fits Two Surfboards

New in 2016 is the double travel bag with wheels. Sometimes you want a smaller bag with wheels, now you can have it. All Global boardbags have +2 inches, so if you buy a 6'2 boardbag, the real length is 6'4—thus you have a bit of room to play. 

Global Travel Bag Sizes:

Travel boardbags are 6'-8' inches deep to accommodate two boards—though you can travel with one in these bags without a problem—there are two interior pockets for leash, wax, and fins.

Wave Tribe Wheelie Surfboard Travel Bags

Travel boardbags have two padded boards separators and two pockets for your gear. 

* Travel boardbags also have 13mm + 13mm of extra padding in the nose and tail.

Boardbag Material & Hardware - All Bags

Side A of the bag is made from a strong density Rugged Eco Hemp exterior which is one tough fiber and naturally built to last with high impact padding protection with Rebound Foam Dynamics including open-to-nose technology.

Side B is the reflective (rental-car-roof-side) made from Reflective Energy Shield for "Cooler Surfboard Safeguard" protecting your surfboard from the sun's harmful rays made from an alloy-steel mesh weave.

All Sides are guarded by our Japanese Never-Rust-or-Break Nickel Platted Zippers streamline zipper trails and our trademarked Easy Flow Zip System.