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Nosara Costa Rica: Why It Is So Popular with Expats

By in Costa Rica, Lifestyle, Nosara on June 10, 2013

There is no denying that Nosara Costa Rica, in particular Playa Guiones, is a popular place for expats to stop and rest their traveling feet.

Exactly why has this beautiful area on the Northern Coast of the Nicoya Peninsula become so popular with expats?

Photo: Viva Tropical

Photo: Viva Tropical


The surf is consistent, easy to learn on, and fun and challenging for experts. World class yoga classes and teacher certifications are everywhere. Health food is plentiful and accessible, unlike many other parts of Costa Rica and Central America. International schools with excellent academic and cultural programs are available for those with children, making it a great place to raise a family. It is a safe community without a drug culture, unlike many other beach towns in Costa Rica. The beaches are some of the most beautiful in Costa Rica and easy to explore by foot, bus, or car. It has many of the luxuries from home making a transition towards living there relatively easy.

With all of that, what more could an expat ask for?

Surfing for All Levels in Nosara Costa Rica

Playa Guiones, a popular beach town in Nosara, has some of the most versatile surfing in all of Costa Rica.

Close to the beach there are rows of clean white water, which are perfect for beginners. In the town of Guiones several surf schools including Kaya Sol and Coconut Harry’s. Board rentals are everywhere for those looking to practice on their own. Slightly further out is a break for intermediate surfers where they can easily practice turns. On the outside big waves that will challenge seasoned surfers.

Another great thing about Playa Guiones is that the waves are surfable at any tide level, which means practicing and learning to turn is possible at any time of the day.

Playa Pelada, a short walk from Guiones, has a volcanic reef point break that is a great option when Guiones is too windy to surf.

The Nosara Rivermouth, about a mile north of Playa Pelada, is not at all crowded likely because it is the most challenging break in the Nosara area. The Rio Nosara empties into the ocean and the rocky break produces some of the best waves in the area. The waves are for intermediate to advanced surfers only.

For those with a car tons of nearby beaches have incredible waves for you to explore including Ostinal, with heavy hollow breaks, and Playa Marbella with hollow but softer waves.

Nosara Offers World Class Yoga

The Nosara Yoga Institute not only put Nosara on the map as a popular travel destination in Costa Rica, it put Costa Rica on the map as a popular place to practice yoga. For years the NYI has offered world-class yoga classes and teacher trainings. Sitting up on a hill in the forest, the NYI is a peaceful, intimate place to practice whether for one afternoon, during a week long retreat, or for a month long teacher training.

Following the Nosara Yoga Institute’s lead, several studios now exist, offering incredible drop-in classes and teacher trainings. The Harmony Hotel hosts a lovely space tucked in the garden across from a pond with twice daily classes taught by many of the same teachers as classes at Nosara Yoga Institute.

Blue Spirit yoga is another popular spot that offers yoga and meditation retreats and Yoga Teacher Trainings.

Unique styles of yoga difficult to find elsewhere are in Nosara including 5 Rhythms Dance, which is a type of moving meditation and aerial yoga where yogis practice their asanas while suspended.

It is not uncommon to see groups practicing yoga on the beach and you may feel inspired to get playful with some acro yoga.

Pilates courses are also available at Pilates Nosara which offers daily drop-in classes, workshops, retreats, and teacher trainings.

Nosara’s Health and Wellness Culture

In harmony with the spectacular and plentiful yoga there is a very dedicated health community in Nosara.

Playa Guiones has one of the only organic grocery stores in Costa Rica. Organico Deli-Market has organic produce daily, healthy staples like bee pollen and quinoa, a bulk spices, nuts, and dried fruit section, local cheeses and other goodies, and delicious ready made soups, salads, and sandwiches.

Every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. is an organic Farmer’s Market selling organic meat, fruit and veggies, and homemade bread and pastries.

Naked Foods, also in Playa Guiones, has an incredible healthy juice and snack selection. Amazing juice combinations like coconut water, ginger, cayenne, cucumber and honey are bottled and available from their cooler. They sell glass jars filled with dehydrated bananas you can top with incredible cacao butter, spirulina fruit snacks, and other raw goodies. Jars of fresh spices are also for sale.

Most of the yoga studios offer body work, as does Tica Massage, further supporting your wellness transformation.

Nosara Is a Great Place to Raise a Family

With two private schools with international students, Nosara is a great place to raise your children. The schools have small class sizes, a diverse curriculum, and are taught bilingually to teach your children Spanish while continuing to cultivate their command of the English language. Because the schools are international, kids learn not only about Costa Rican culture, but about the many different cultures of the other students in their classes.

Del Mar Academy has a summer program that lasts only a couple of months for families looking to test out the area.

It is also full of fun activities for kids. Aside from playing at the beach and exploring the jungle, there are surf lessons safe for kids of all ages, yoga classes for kids, and boxing, ballet, swimming, and tumbling classes.

The many other expat families who have already chosen to call Nosara home make this community very family centered. It is easy to meet other families in Playa Guiones simply shopping at the market, eating in a café, or playing at the beach because it is such a small town.

Bringing your children closer to nature is a great reason to move in Nosara. In this small town in the jungle it is not uncommon to interact with wildlife daily. Howler monkeys, lizards, and beautiful birds are as common to see as squirrels and pigeons in North American cities.

Nosara Is Safe

When deciding to live abroad, safety is often a concern. Nosara is known to be one of the safest beach towns in all of Costa Rica. Because it is a small community, everyone looks out for one another keeping the town protected. Playa Guiones and the surrounding beach towns have a complete lack of party scene, which means no drug culture or scene. This keeps most unsavory individuals and activities away which contributes to a very low crime rate.

Expats and locals will tell you it is completely safe to walk at night all over Playa Guiones.

It Is Beautiful

Nosara spans over several beaches that have dramatic rocky cliffs, tropical palm trees, and big expansive sand shores. Walking from one beach to another you see how beautiful this area truly is.

A short drive from Playa Guiones is San Juanillo, with clear water and white sand. Beachcombing is excellent with incredible shells all over the shore and the water is clear and calm enough for some snorkeling around the nearby rocks.

Between June and December it is possible to see one of the most incredible sights in all of Costa Rica at the Ostinal Wildlife Reserve less than a half hour from Playa Guiones. Thousands of sea turtles run onto the shore to lay their eggs and in later months you can see these eggs hatch and make their pilgrimage out to sea.

It is undeniable that watching the sun set over the ocean and the sky light on fire is one the most incredible sights in the world. Overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Nosara has some of the most beautiful sunsets anywhere. So much so that watching the sunset is a daily community activity in Playa Guiones. Surfers come in from their session, families perch on the hill, travelers and expats sit in silence for an hour to watch the descent of the massive orange sun.

It Is an Easy Transition

Compared to the rest of Central America, Costa Rica can feel very North American. Compared to the rest of Costa Rica, Nosara feels particularly North American. In fact, at times Playa Guiones may feel like a small California beach town. This makes transitioning into life abroad much easier.

Restaurant workers, hotel staff, and shop clerks all speak English and many foods we are accustomed to in North America, like health food, pizza, and fusion, are all available in Nosara. High end hotels like The Harmony Hotel and other retreat centers offer many first world luxuries.

That said, it is entirely possible to have an authentically Costa Rican experience here. If you desire to, locals will speak Spanish with you. There are also Costa Rican style cafes. However, if you long for some of the comforts from home, they can certainly be found in Nosara which can make taking the leap a lot less scary.

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3 thoughts on “Nosara Costa Rica: Why It Is So Popular with Expats

  1. 1

    Please update me with any advise for renting or buying a home and educating 2 school age children in Cost Nosara:) Megan

  2. 2

    Hi,

    I’m in my mid-30s and my husband and I are considering moving to Costa Rica for a year or so. Would you mind sharing how you made the move and/or general advice on going from the idea to the actual physical move? Anything you wish you knew before you came here?

    Many thanks in advance!

    Cheers,
    Kari

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