Why Nosara, Costa Rica Is Not Your Average Surfing Town
A deeper look at Nosara and its history will quickly reveal that this long-time mecca for surfing enthusiasts offers so much more than just the sand and sea. The increasing interest in the area as a destination for families looking for a healthier lifestyle has helped Nosara evolve from its early beginnings into a place where both body and soul can be nurtured.
The town’s metamorphosis from surf haven to an established community immersed in sustainability, healthy living, and dedicated to the “green” lifestyle continues to draw both visitors and expats looking to find a destination that can help body, mind, and spirit thrive in concert with each other.
Discovering Nosara: A Brief History
From their arrival in the mid to late 16th century, the Spanish converted much of the Nicoya Peninsula, including the area that we know now as Nosara, into large cattle ranches. It remained in that state until 1962 when Alan Hutchinson, an entrepreneur and developer, purchased a large tract of land (roughly 3,000 acres) that he hoped to transform from pasture land into something more desirable.
It was his concept to build a sustainable upscale resort community known as “The Beaches of Nosara.” Hutchinson’s idea, which became known locally as the “American Project,” never materialized although it did lead to the creation of the Nosara Civic Association. This local organization has dedicated itself to reforestation and the preservation of the natural and ecological beauty of the region and directly to the growth of the Nosara of the 21st century.
Ironically, it was a short time later when surfers began to discover the great potential for surfing in Playa Guiones and the surrounding beaches. The combination of great surf breaks, a laid-back vibe, and the “off the beaten path” location made Nosara the perfect place to find that “endless summer.”
Fast Forward to the Present
As the 20th century drew to a close, Nosara transformed itself into the focal point for expats desiring an all-natural lifestyle with an emphasis on healthy living. The proliferation of yoga retreats and alternative healing centers has merged well with the surfing community.
For those discovering Nosara for the first time, there are a number of yoga surf camps that combine the best of both worlds. In addition to the surfing schools in the area, the Nosara Yoga Institute has gained worldwide acclaim as one of the premier training centers for yoga instructors.
Nosara and the Nicoya Peninsula have also gained prominence as one of the “blue zones” for longevity thanks to Dan Buettner’s popular book of the same name. This aesthetic mixture of lifestyles found in and around Nosara is unique, not only in the Latin Tropics, but across the globe as well.
Merging Sustainability and Planned Growth
The Nosara Civic Association has worked tirelessly to ensure that real estate development can occur in a planned fashion that will not sacrifice the environment and ecological beauty of the region. The permanent 170-acre “Green Zone” and the Ostional National Wildlife Refuge are two prime examples of the importance given to balancing nature with growth in the area.
Finding property that can be developed, or purchasing an existing structure is still an affordable option. While there are a number of upscale owners seeking to build higher-end homes in the Nosara area, there are also opportunities for those with more modest budgets.
The Desirable Intangibles of Nosara
Beyond the surfing and the yoga, Nosara has many other, less obvious, features that commend it as one of the most desirable expat locations in the Latin Tropics. Nosara’s intangible benefits are equally important considerations for those considering relocating to the region.
One of the biggest draws of Nosara, Costa Rica is the family-centered community in and around Nosara. Unlike many surfing communities, Nosara is not a “party town” but features a close-knit sense of belonging that welcomes families with children and retirees as well as outdoor sports enthusiasts.
The creation of two bilingual schools has helped foster this type of lifestyle that offers more time for parents and children to interact. Additionally, the wide variety of outdoor activities (beyond surfing) helps to nurture young bodies in concert with educational growth.
Language Is Not a Barrier
One of the intangible benefits of the growth of the expat population in Nosara is the increasing use of English in the area. Being able to shop, make appointments, and even interact with your neighbors, without constantly needing a translator, can make adjusting to your new expat life much easier.
Nature and Art: Two Forms of Beauty
The Nosara region combines the natural beauty of the environment as well as a growing arts community. The hamlet of Montezuma, a short distance from Nosara, is home to the annual Costa Rica International Film Festival as well as a number of artist communes and craft shops.
The Ostional Reserve (mentioned above) is home to olive ridley and leatherback sea turtle populations that are known across the globe for their ecological importance. Nosara’s beaches are recognized annually with the Blue Flag award for cleanliness. Its water table is the cleanest in Costa Rica, thanks largely to the commitment of community leaders to maintaining this standard for quality of life.
Nosara Is Waiting for You
With everything that it has going for it, discovering Nosara should be at the top of your list if you are considering a move to the Latin Tropics. Visit, experience and immerse yourself in this eclectic tropical location and find out if Nosara, and all it offers, are right for you.