Going Green in Nosara, Costa Rica
Nosara is a small surf town on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. I spent a week there in June which is the beginning of the rainy, or green, season, so the town was half empty and the vibe very mellow and laid back. The locals told us it gets crazy during the high season, but I’m not sure what they consider “crazy” since the town is really only a few dirt roads with small hotels, restaurants and private homes tucked here and there in the jungle.
I was a little worried it would be too rainy, but all that really means is it rains once a day either in the morning, or afternoon or at night. I still managed to get plenty of beach and pool time and I also got my first sunburn in ages… total amatuer move!
The best part of going during the rainy season is the hotels and flights are cheaper. I stayed at The Harmony Hotel which is a chill, eco luxury resort right on the Pacific Ocean for about $200 per night. The hotel is one of the best in the area and the rooms are simple with nice linens, fancy natural bath products and huge private patios with outdoor showers. The grounds are beautiful with little paths lined with tropical plants that you follow to your room, pool, beach, restaurant, juice bar or healing center. They also offer daily yoga classes in a cute, thatched roof hut in jungle. (For more yoga options, check out the Nosara Yoga Institute or Bodhi Tree Resort).
Costa Rica has a rep for having lots of options for the adventurous traveler (surfing, zip lining, snorkeling, hiking, sup-ing, kayaking) and Nosara is no different, but other than one very buggy hike through a biological reserve (not recommended in the rainy season!), I was happy to hang by the pool and beach. The Harmony Hotel is located on the best beach in the area called Playa Guiones. It’s also a popular surf break, so you can spend the morning and early evenings watching other people surf. I’d also recommend taking some beers to the beach to watch the sunset. It’s stunning! If you head north from Playa Guiones, you end up at Playa Pelada which is more like a collection of large beach coves and awesome tidal pools you can sit in like a natural hot tub. This is also a fishing beach, so there’s a little more locals action and a beach bar called Bar Olga that’s good for a beer and a snack. Both beaches are connected by a jungle path, so you can easily visit both in the same day.
In Nosara the Costa Rican mantra of “Pura Vida” rings loud and clear and most of the restaurants I tried all seem to pride themselves on fresh, local food made from scratch. Also, weirdly they love tacos and pizza there, probably due to the large ex-pat community. For breakfast or lunch, hit up Rosie’s Soda Tica for traditional Costa Rican fare in a diner like setting; the Beach Dog Cafe for eggs, fish tacos and burgers apres surf; Al Chile for some tacos with homemade hot sauce and fun tonics and juices; or you could go super healthy and visit the Go Juice food truck for an acai bowl and ginger shot. Also, the coffee in Costa Rica is on point. I didn’t have a bad cup anywhere, but I did like the strong cold brew at Nosara Coffee House.
For dinner, 10 Pies served the best fresh fish and chips (their wood fired pizza oven was out of commission because of the rain); Il Basilico was a more traditional Italian style restaurant and served great pasta dishes and thin crust pizza; El Chivo was good for Mexican food and cocktails, but I kind of prefered Al Chile; Harbor Reef was fun and cheap for Taco Tuesday; the restaurant in The Gilded Iguana was nice and casual and the fresh fish of the day was great; and for a more Brooklyn-style experience, try the ½ lb burgers and a local Costa Rican draft beer (they have a lot!) at Burgers and Beer. And lastly, you have to eat at La Luna. It’s the most popular spot in Nosara because it’s the only oceanfront restaurant in the area and the sunsets are insane. It’s a bit pricey, but worth it to make a reservation for an outside table, get a bottle of wine, and have a two or three hour Mediterranean-style dinner.
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