Nosara Costa Rica: The Best Place to Get On a Beaten Path

I have heard a lot of people describe Costa Rica as an “off the beaten path” location.  My favorite little nook of Costa Rica, however, reminds me of the epitome of a beaten path, the kind of beaten path that appeals directly to me. It is the kind of path that is beaten in an endearing way.  In that Costa Rica is just that, a collection of small beach towns with rough and beaten dirt roads.  Paths that lead through jungles, to isolated beaches, to small oceanside shacks habited by surfers.  Paths that are worn down not by the traffic of morning rush hour or 18-wheelers, but by flip flops, bicycles, unleashed pups leaving behind pawprints in the sand, and even the meanderings of crabs at night.  The best place to get ON a beaten path is in Nosara Costa Rica!


Get on a beaten path in Nosara Costa Rica


Disclosure: Below are some affiliate links-these are all products I highly recommend. I won’t make any recommendations on this page that I haven’t tested or personally used!


Early morning walks in Nosara Costa Rica
Early morning walks in Nosara Costa Rica


Playing hide and seek among the local tree life in Nosara
Playing hide and seek among the local tree life


My favorite location in Costa Rica also happens to be the place outside of the U.S. that I have visited the most frequently-Nosara Costa Rica.  I tend to be the type of traveler who likes to have a full schedule of sightseeing and active travel activities planned.  Nosara takes a different approach to those who travel there.  There are no Big Bens, no Great Walls, no Time Squares.  What Nosara offers is something natural and unassuming, but wildly refreshing. 


Nosara: Small Town Costa Rica


My favorite spot in Costa Rica is the tiny town of Nosara, on the Pacific Coast.  Nosara is popular with yogis and surfers, and there is no shortage of both to be found on the beaches, often accompanied by their canine companions romping in the surf. 

On my first trip to Nosara, I went to visit my sister who was studying abroad.  She had told me already about the fantastic beach and the surrounding jungle, and about the fresh fruit and tasty cuisine she had been enjoying.  I didn’t know what to expect as I drove the two hours from the airport in Liberia to Nosara Costa Rica. 

The drive itself is visually stimulating, as you pass through beautiful landscapes, populated by isolated towns and homes built into the sides of hills, and if you are lucky, a stray coati crossing the road.  You can get a feel for the Costa Rica way of life just from a drive through the country. 

After about two hours, you finally leave the paved roads and encounter the dirt roads of Nosara.  You begin to see the Pacific Ocean peak through the trees, and you might even be greeted by the calls of the local howler monkeys. 


What To Do and See in Nosara Costa Rica


When I arrived in Nosara that first time, I met up with my sister and explored the immediate grounds of my hotel.  A single “cabana” style room, surrounded by lush landscaping and zero crowds.  The first thing we did was go to the beach.  The surf was rough that day, but that made it all the more fun to play in the water and watch the surfing.  We enjoyed the first of many fresh, home cooked meals, which are hard not to find in Costa Rica.  I have yet to experience a Costa Rican meal lacking in flavor. 


Ziplining through the Costa Rica Canopy


The following day we experienced one of my favorite adrenaline experiences, ziplining at Miss Sky Canopy Tours.  At some point, this company held some claim to fame in the zipline world, although I believe it has been passed up by longer and faster tours at this point. 

I had never been ziplining, and as they strapped me in and I prepared to run down the hill to the takeoff point, I could not have known what would lie beyond the end of that little slope.  As you launch yourself from the end of that first hill out into open air, you realize for the first time how far below the ground is, and how fast you are going by the feel of the wind on your skin. 

That feeling happens thirteen times, and by the end of the thirteenth jump, the guides are showing you tricks like how to zipline upside down!  All in all, it’s a must when in Nosara, and unlike any other experience!



Beach Life in Nosara Costa Rica


My sister and I followed that outing the next day with a day quite the opposite, and a day that is a true reflection of what I feel Nosara Costa Rica has to offer.  We walked down to the beach in Nosara, played with the crabs, looked at shells, and chased the surf, all while not encountering another individual.  We meandered down the beach through the Reserva Biologica Park until we a found a tangled forest of mangroves perfect for exploring. 


Mangrove forests in the Refugio Nacional Park
Mangrove forests in the Refugio Nacional Park


Tangled in the mangrove trees in Nosara
Tangled in the trees


We continued along the rocky beach to a little alcove with some large rocks, and we proceeded to sit on those rocks for a couple hours and just talk.  We talked about our futures, about our relationships, about the men in our lives who were to become our husbands.  About what we had learned with them and from them, and about our hopes and dreams for the future with them.  The consistent crashing of the waves and the warm sun was a perfect backdrop to what turned out to be one of my favorite days with my sister.

I have often thought, would we have been able to have that moment anywhere else?  Surely not at home with the tv going, or daily responsibilities cutting in.  Probably not even anywhere else we could have chosen to travel together, where itineraries become priority, or taking the perfect picture of that historical landmark becomes the focus.  That empty beach allowed us to be away from the rest of the world for just a little bit, and I think that is what Nosara, and Costa Rica, do best.  I don’t know if I will ever encounter a more perfect empty beach with no agenda than what I’ve encountered in Nosara.


Hiding among the beachside alcoves in Costa Rica
Hiding among the beachside alcoves

Why I Keep Coming Back To Nosara


I have gone back to Nosara twice since my initial trip with my sister, and have since introduced my husband as well!. Each visit continues to build upon the charm of this hidden nook along the Pacific.

Each visit we have walked winding paths through local towns, seaside surf shacks, and endless jungle. Each visit we have stayed in the same charming hotel, the Giardino Tropicale.  Each morning we have woken to the sounds of vocal howler monkeys. 


Local residents of Nosara
Local residents of Nosara


Each visit we have done the ziplining at Miss Sky, and floated high above the Costa Rican canopy!  Each visit we have spent hours just sitting and talking on the beach, chasing the strange bright red crabs and playing with the local’s dogs. 


Preparing to zipline at Miss Sky Canopy Tour
Preparing to zipline!


With colors like that, you can't miss these guys in Nosara
With colors like that, you can’t miss these guys!


The beaches of Nosara are a pup lover's dream
The beaches of Nosara are a pup lover’s dream


Each visit we have enjoyed rainy afternoons on the patio of Beach Dog’s, snacking on apps and watching puddles slowly form on the dirt roads.  Each visit we have walked down the dirt path to Robin’s Cafe and eaten coffee ice cream.  Each visit we’ve had to have at least one smoothie made with fresh exotic juices.  Each visit we’ve gone into the same stores hoping to buy yet another carved mask to hang in our home. 


Intricately carved masks
Intricately carved masks


Each visit we have ordered pizza to go and then inevitably taken it to eat later while lounging in the hammock on our cabana patio. Each visit we meet new people, and every one is among the most friendliest individuals we’ve ever met.  People that truly embrace the Costa Rica lifestyle, and seem genuinely excited to show it off to visitors.


What You Need for Visiting Nosara Costa Rica


Disclosure: Below are some affiliate links-these are all products I highly recommend. I won’t make any recommendations on this page that I haven’t tested or personally used!


This lush, exotic environment is a perfect destination for both active travelers and relaxing reflectors alike.  There are a few things that may come in handy for your ventures in Nosara:



  • Moisture wicking, breathable, and quick drying clothes!  Again with the warm, humid environment.  Wear clothes that will breathe well and keep you comfortable all day, like my all time favorite lightweight, wool tank that I could live in every day!


Why You Need to Visit Nosara Costa Rica


So the next time you are in the mood to travel off the “beaten path”, I would encourage you to travel ON a Costa Rica beaten path.  A path shaped not by tire treads, but by ocean breezes and those in no particular rush to go any particular place.


Paths through the sand in Nosara




Get on a beaten path in Nosara Costa Rica


Get on a beaten path in Nosara Costa Rica



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