Nosara Surfing Guide: Your Guide to the Most Consistent Surf Break in Costa Rica
Nosara, Costa Rica has some of the best and most consistent surf in the entire country. This break is not by any means the best surf in the country. However, you can pretty much surf here every single day out of the year. At least once per day. Usually twice.
I spent the first few months of this year in Nosara surfing pretty much every single day, and I learned quite a bit about this beautiful beach break. Honestly, Nosara was my absolute favorite surf town I visited in all of Costa Rica.
Only Dominical came close. I spent months here, but honestly I could spend YEARS in Nosara. And I’m definitely not the only one who thinks that…. Nosara has a massive expat community that is rapidly growing every year. But there are reasons people like it so much. And I want to share that all with you, so you can be equally stoked for your next surf trip to Costa Rica!
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How to Get There
The closest international airport to Nosara is the LIR airport located in Liberia. It is about a 2.5 hour drive from the airport. There are a few ways to get from the airport to Nosara, including:
- shared shuttle ($40-$60 pp)
- private shuttle ($75-$110 pp)
- Rental car (prices vary)
- Taxi $150
Where the Best Nosara Surfing is Located
When people talk about “Nosara” they’re usually referring to the entire area encompassing Playa Guiones, Playa Nosara, Playa Pelada, and Nosara town, which is a small tico town slightly inland. The main surf break in the Nosara area is called Playa Guiones, which will be the focus of this post.
Playa Guiones is a long, sandy beach break with three separate entrances that signify the different “breaks”. These three entrances are South, Central, and North, and it is about a 10 minute walk between the three breaks.There isn’t a huge difference between the the different beach breaks, although typically, the further north you go, the bigger it gets, making Guiones North the largest place to surf on the beach.
The surf here is incredibly fun. What makes it so special is its consistency. Seriously, you can probably surf here 360 days out of the year. And these waves are pretty solid.
On an average day, waves here are usually 3-4 feet with glassy faces that are just perfect for intermediate level surfers to work on turns and progress. Another thing that makes Nosara surfing so special is that you can pretty much surf Playa Guiones at any tide. Around high tide the waves are softer, and low tide steeper with the potential for barrels. Offshore winds are usually in action every morning until around 11, but sometimes it blows offshore the whole day! Check out the live cam here.
Who will like Nosara Surfing:
The short answer: everyone! There is really something for everyone surfing here. Longboarders and short boarders alike can rejoice in knowing that they will be able to surf here.
Where to stay for Nosara Surfing:
There are a number of options out there for accommodations in Nosara. However, they book up insanely fast.
If you’re planning a surf trip to Nosara, especially in the winter, I recommend booking a place ASAP!
With that said, my favorite place to stay on a Nosara surf trip is the Nosara Beach Hostel. It’s clean, cheap, and a great way to meet other travelers!
For more awesome accommodation options in Nosara, check out the 13 best hotels in Nosara for every budget.
Best Nosara Surfing Seasons
Dry Season (late November-April):
This is the most popular time for surfing Nosara. Waves are usually around head high, it rarely rains, and conditions are super clean. If you want clean, consistent surf and sun every single day, the dry season is the perfect time to plan your Nosara surfing trip. That being said, it does tend to get very crowded during this time, and it is best to book accommodations far in advance, as options are limited in the dry season. Luckily, the beach at Playa Guiones, the main break is quite large and can handle a crowd.
Rainy Season (May-November):
If you’re looking for bigger swells and fewer crowds, the rainy season is the time to come to Nosara to surf. The waves are considerably larger in the rainy season, so expect lots of overhead days and some brutal paddle outs. However, the rainy season lacks the dry season crowds, offering up more waves for everyone. It is also much easier, and less expensive to find accommodation at this time. The biggest downside of the rainy season is well… the rain, and thunder/lightning. While there’s usually sunshine in the mornings/early afternoons, evenings bring tropical, torrential downpours, with so much lightning it isn’t safe to surf. The roads often flood during this time as well.
What Equipment to Bring for your Nosara Surfing Trip
I recently spent months surfing in Nosara, and can confidently tell you exactly what you need to bring for your surf trip:
Surfboard: Yes, it’s possible to rent here, but rentals can be up to $20/day, and not all rentals are quality. Especially if you are surfing here for an extended period of time, it is WELL worth it to bring your board from home.
Surf friendly bikini/ swim trunks
Spare Leash: My leash snapped while I was in Nosara, and I ended up having to pay $55 for a replacement. It’s so much cheaper to just bring one from home, and it’s definitely worth the extra luggage space.
Extra Wax: You can buy wax here, but it’ll be much more costly than just bringing a few extra sticks in your suitcase.
Sunscreen: Sunscreen is pretty expensive in Costa Rica, you’ll save some money by bringing extra.
Rash guard: The sun in CR is gnarly. A rash guard will not only offer UV protection, but also will save your skin from getting shredded by surf rash.
Surfing Hat: A solid surfing hat is great to have, and protects your face and eyes from the extra powerful sun.
Waterproof surf watch: While not necessary, can be super useful to have.
Ding Repair Kit: this is super useful to have, and gives you the freedom to fix small dings yourself rather than having to pay a ton of money at a surf shop.
Hazards of Nosara Surfing
Word is out on this surfing paradise. That’s not to say that you can’t have an absolute blast surfing here, but just be ready for crowds, and watch out for rogue boards and beginners.
Accidents happen, leashes snap and boards break. This is a relatively safe break but the ocean is nevertheless very powerful. If you’re paddling out here, be confident in your swimming ability!
There aren’t often crocodile sightings here but they do happen, particularly between July and November. Keep an eye out, and trust your intuition.