The Ultimate Guide To Surfing in Nosara

By David Bolaños on Jan 28, 2021

Tucked away on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, Nosara has become increasingly popular with local and international travelers who are looking to ride waves and enjoy a laid-back surf atmosphere. With long stretches of white-sand beaches, fantastic waves, and surrounded by tropical forests, this relatively quiet beachside town ticks all the boxes. If you’re hoping to get down to business and stay far away from large crowds of tourists: Nosara is definitely. That’s why we’ve put together a guide to surfing in Nosara.

When to go, where to go, and what to do after you’ve unzipped your wetsuit, keep reading for some of our best tips!

In this guide, we'll take a look at:

  • 1. How to get to Nosara, Costa Rica
  • 2. The best time to visit Nosara, Costa Rica
  • 3. Where to stay near the beaches of Nosara, Costa Rica
  • 4. The best surf spots in Nosara
  • 5. Tamarindo vs. Nosara, Costa Rica: which is the best option for you?
  • 6. Experience Nosara, Costa Rica, in true Selina style!

How to get to Nosara, Costa Rica

Although it might not be one of Costa Rica’s most heavily-visited destinations, you’ll have no trouble reaching Nosara from wherever you might be in the country. Here are a few tips on how to get to Nosara, Costa Rica, depending on your budget and where you’re starting your trip.

Getting to Nosara from San Jose, Costa Rica
It’s very easy for travelers in San Jose to get to Nosara. If you’re flying into Costa Rica, chances are you’ll arrive at Juan Santamaria International Airport in San Jose (SJO) – this is the closest international airport to Nosara. Once you’ve landed in San Jose, you can either take a private shuttle or rent your own vehicle. Personally, I recommend hiring someone else to do the drive for you: the roads aren’t always in the best conditions when trying to reach Nosara – you might need a specialized 4×4 vehicle – so it’s best to let someone with more experience take care of it.

A one-way shuttle from San Jose to Nosara will set you back about 200 USD. These usually fit up to four people, so if you’re traveling with friends or family the cost will be much lower! The ride takes about 5 hours and goes across some of Costa Rica’s most beautiful landscapes. Keep your eyes peeled out the window for a glimpse of it all!

Getting to Nosara from Liberia, Costa Rica
Travelers can also fly directly into the Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport in Liberia (LIR), located in the Guanacaste province of Costa Rica, and just 2.5 hours north of Nosara. This drive is much shorter than the one from San Jose, and a private shuttle should cost around 130 USD for four people.

Getting to Nosara from other destinations in Costa Rica
Although small, Nosara does have its own domestic airport with flights coming in from both San Jose and Liberia – to name a few. Travel time between San Jose and Nosara by plane is about 45 minutes. Check with the local airlines and local airports to see if flying is a good option for you depending on your budget and future travel plans!

The best time to visit Nosara, Costa Rica

Although surfing conditions are relatively consistent all throughout the year, the best time to surf in Nosara, Costa Rica, is from March to November. This coincides with the end of tourist season, which means lucky surfers can count on mostly empty beaches, better prices, and a much more relaxed atmosphere.

During this time, visitors will enjoy an average temperature between 26-28ºC (78-82ºF) and sporadic rainfall with September being the rainiest month of the year.

Where to stay near the beaches of Nosara, Costa Rica

Because moving around between beaches generally requires a 4×4 vehicle, your best shot at enjoying the best of Nosara’s surf conditions is by finding accommodation near one of the most popular beaches in town: Playa Guiones, Playa Nosara, and Playa Pelada.

If you’re looking for a hostel near Playa Guiones, in Nosara, Selina has different room options that accommodate to every budget: from luxurious suites to comfortable shared accommodation, you’ll never be too far away from the action. Located just 3.5 kilometers from Playa Guiones, 5 kilometers from Playa Nosara, and roughly 2 kilometers from Playa Pelada, Selina Nosara’s central location will be especially helpful when it comes to testing the water at all three of these magnificent beaches.

Plus, with on-site access to the popular Selina Surf Camp in Costa Rica, you also have access to private board and wetsuit rentals, as well as group and solo lessons for all-levels.

The best surf spots in Nosara

Home to some of the best surfing beaches in Costa Rica, Nosara is a much-needed and refreshing step away from the loud bustle of beach destinations like Tamarindo that have grown increasingly popular with tourists year-round. This hidden gem is still considered one of Costa Rica’s best kept secrets – and it’s no surprise that local surfers and eager enthusiasts want to keep it that way. If you’re looking for pristine surfing conditions and an authentic vibe, Nosara will win you over and over again.

Curious as to where you should start? No worries – I’ve got you covered! Here are some of our favorite spots for surfing in Nosara.

Playa Nosara
The least crowded of all of Nosara’s beaches, Playa Nosara is great for intermediate to experienced surfers. Playa Nosara has both a beach break (with some powerful barrels and high peaks) as well as a reef break (with shallow swells that veer off to the left).

Depending on where you’re at, Selina Nosara offers different surf lesson packages and guided surf tours you can book directly at reception. These packages include a great deal on accommodation, rentals, and even meals!

If you’d like to learn more about the surfing conditions at Playa Nosara, I suggest you check out this detailed Playa Nosara surf report.

Playa Pelada
Located north of Playa Nosara lies Playa Pelada. With a rocky reef located on the north side, surfing conditions here aren’t as consistent as they can be at the other beaches. However, when the waves are good, Playa Pelada can get quite crowded. With a choppy and rocky reef break, Playa Pelada is at its best during high tide.

The beach is more popular with other tourists who come to explore its caves, coves, and tide pools. If you’re looking for a break from surfing, I suggest you check out Playa Pelada’s blowhole: it’s perfect for a natural shower and the reef is great for a quick swim.

To learn more about Playa Pelada’s surf conditions, check out this handy Playa Pelada surf report.

Playa Guiones
This beautiful white-sand beach is, without a doubt, one of Nosara’s most popular spots. The surf conditions at Playa Guiones are consistent, making it a great year-round destination for wave riders looking to show off their skills and perfect their moves. The break at Playa Guiones is consistent both left and right over a sandy floor that’s perfect for everyone. Although the swells can get pretty big (up to 10 feet!), the waves at Playa Guiones are usually accommodating to beginners as well.

As such, it’s no surprise that a lot of the surf schools in town are based out of Playa Guiones. The Selina Surf Club, for example, has different surf packages available for visitors who want to soak up as much of the surfing experience as possible. From group lessons to guided tours and wellness classes, there’s a little something for everyone.

To stay on top of everything happening at Playa Guiones, I suggest you check out the Playa Guiones surf report.

Playa Ostional
Located further north, Playa Ostional is popular with surfers because of its consistent beach break and hollow waves. Surfers can enjoy great swells coming from all directions, but they’re best from the northwest, west, and southwest. Plus, experienced surfers can ride waves for up to 300 meters, making it one of the most consistent in the area. Playa Ostional is visited mostly by surfers looking for waves, but there are some surprise visitors: Olive Ridley Sea Turtles!

Check out the Playa Ostional surf report for more information about surfing conditions!

Playa Garza
This quiet, heaven-like beach is great for surfers looking to truly disconnect from the rest of the world. Mostly deserted, Playa Garza has both inside and outside reefs that break in both directions. However, the beach can be quite inconsistent. Playa Garza is best enjoyed at high tide, when waves can reach chest-high and are fun to ride.

Tamarindo vs. Nosara, Costa Rica: which is the best option for you?

Choosing a great surf destination can be tough, but it really all depends on what you’re hoping to get from your trip. When it comes to picking between Nosara or Tamarindo, the choice is ultimately whether or not you mind a higher influx of tourists.

While Tamarindo, Costa Rica, is more recognized for being a better party destination, the town of Nosara enjoys a relatively quiet popularity. This has made it the perfect destination for people who are merely there to enjoy the surfing conditions.

Surfing is possible in both Tamarindo and Nosara; however, the experience can also be different. While most places are walking distance in Tamarindo, moving around Nosara usually requires a car because of the terrain and the distances that need to be covered. However, if you stay at a popular surf hotel in Nosara, chances are you’ll have transportation readily available to take you where you need to go.

Experience Nosara, Costa Rica, in true Selina style!

With great options available for all-level surf enthusiasts, finding a place to stay in Nosara shouldn’t be difficult! Selina Costa Rica has countrywide accommodation that can be adapted to every need. From cozy community rooms to glammed-up teepees, private suites, and even small apartments, it’s up to you to choose your next stay!

The Selina hostel in Nosara is no different. Plus, with on-site amenities like an outdoor swimming pool, shared kitchen, private wellness area, and even a state of the art coworking space, you’ll have plenty of options to find the perfect balance between surf, work, and everything in between!

Once you’ve had your fill, why not explore the rest of this incredible country? From the stunning greenery of Manuel Antonio, to the buzz of Monteverde, the authentic charm of Puerto Viejo, and the urban landscape of San Jose, there’s plenty of excitement waiting for you in Costa Rica!

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