Nosara is a small beach town located in the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica. With beautiful, untouched beaches, lush green jungles, and home to some of the friendliest people on the planet, Nosara is truly a little slice of paradise.
Over the last two years, I’ve spent several months in Nosara. While that certainly doesn’t give me local, or even expat status, I learned a thing or two about what the best things to do in Nosara are.
Since I was there for so long, I even met a few locals who showed me some of the better, non-touristy things to do in Nosara. And I’m very excited to share those things with you!
This beautiful place has a lot to offer, and even if you’re not a surfer or a yogi, you’ll surely enjoy your time in Nosara, Costa Rica.
Now, without further ado, here is my list of the 22 best, most authentic things to do in Nosara:
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1. Go Surfing
This is a surfing blog after all, what kind of surf blogger would I be if I failed to mention surfing when talking about things to do in Nosara?
All jokes aside, Nosara is probably the best place in the world to learn to surf.
The water is warm, and the beach is not rocky.
The waves are slow, soft, and consistent, and excellent for even beginner surfers to catch an actual green wave.
Planning a surf trip to Nosara? Check out my new guide to the best surf camps in Nosara.
If you don’t bring your own surfboard to Costa Rica, there are plenty of places in town to rent a board.
Trust me on this one, if you’re visiting Nosara, don’t miss out on the Nosara surf.
Even if you don’t know how to surf, you should still give surfing a try, which brings me to my next point…
2. Take a surf lesson!
Like I said earlier, Nosara is probably the best place in the world to learn to surf.
There are plenty of awesome surf schools around where you can get 1 on 1 instruction, and learn how to actually catch and ride green waves, rather than simply being pushed into white water waves like many other surf schools do.
3. Take a Yoga Class
Right up there with surfing, yoga is easily one of the best things to do in Nosara.
Nosara really is a wellness capital, with lots of people flocking to this lovely place to further develop their practice.
There are many different yoga studios in Nosara, and my absolute favorite is Bodhi Tree.
They have several lovely yoga shalas, and many incredible instructors.
Some are open air, set amidst the lush greenery.
My personal favorite shala is the ocean shala, set high above the water with sweeping ocean views.
While yoga classes here aren’t cheap, they are still about half the price of many yoga classes in the United States, so it’s well worth the price.
Looking for a place to stay in Nosara? Check out the 13 best hotels in Nosara for every budget .
4. Take Spanish Classes
One of the most worthwhile things you can do while visiting Costa Rica is to learn the language.
By learning Spanish, you’ll be able to have deeper levels of communication with the local people, and your trip will likely be a far more fulfilling experience.
The best place to take Spanish classes in Nosara is at the Nosara Spanish Institute.
You’ll have your choice between private and group instruction, and can take either 2 or 4 hours of spanish class 5 days a week.
I took 4 weeks of Spanish classes here, and my Spanish went from zip to very conversational.
Alejandro was my instructor, and he was incredible!
Plus, enrolling at the Nosara Spanish Institute is one of the best ways to meet people in Nosara, especially if you travel alone.
I honestly can’t recommend it enough.
5. Go to Open Mic Night
Going to open mic night at Beach Dog Cafe is definitely one of the most fun things to do in Nosara.
It’s every Tuesday night, and whether you want to get up on the stage and sing, or enjoy the music of others, this is a super fun experience.
6. Go to the Waterfall
One of the lesser known things to do in Nosara is to explore Mala Noche Waterfall.
The exact location is a bit of a secret, so the best way to get there is to book an ATV tour and ride there with a local guide.
The waterfall is smaller than others in Costa Rica, like the Rio Celeste and Nauyaca falls, but one of the perks is you can swim in it!
7. Watch the sunset from Lagarta Lodge
No trip to Nosara is complete without watching the sunset from Lagarta Lodge.
Lagarta Lodge is a big hotel in neighboring Playa Pelada.
Set over the Rio Nosara, the view from their upstairs bar is incredible.
If you’re visiting Nosara, don’t miss out on the best sunset view in town- go ahead and make a reservation for a table in the bar (arriba) for sunset, and you won’t regret it.
8. See the Ostional Sea Turtles
One of the best things about Nosara is that the entire coastline here is a wildlife refuge.
This means that nobody can build anything within a certain distance from the beach. This law is what protects Nosara from becoming built up with skyscraper hotels that are common in other beach/ resort destinations.
Every month, hundreds of Olive Ridley Sea Turtles flock to the shores in neighboring Playa Ostional and lay their eggs.
Which also means, once a month, those eggs hatch, and you can watch those baby sea turtles hatch and try to make it to the ocean.
This is a once in a lifetime, unforgettable experience, and I highly recommend watching it on your trip to Nosara.
The only way to witness this natural phenomenon is to book a tour, and it’s well worth it.
To learn more about the Ostional Sea Turtles, check out my comprehensive guide on it here, where I also have a list of phone numbers for local tour guides!
9. Eat Gallo Pinto
While Costa Rica isn’t known for its cuisine, I think Costa Rica is home to some of the freshest, healthiest, and most delicious food!
The staple breakfast in Costa Rica is known as Gallo Pinto, and one of the best, most authentic things to do in Nosara is to indulge in some of that delicious Gallo Pinto.
I LOVE Rosi’s Tica. They have three locations in the Nosara area, and have the best breakfast around.
10. Catch the sunrise
While the sunsets in Nosara are breathtaking, catching the sunrise on the beach is easily one of the best things to do in Nosara.
At sunrise, the usually crowded Playa Guiones is empty, the air is brisk and light, and the rest of the world hasn’t quite woken up yet.
Catching the sunset in Nosara is a very special experience, and you should try to wake up for it at least once, if not more times on your trip to Nosara!
11. Experience Nosara Nightlife
Nosara is well known for surfing, yoga, and wellness. Unlike neighboring Tamarindo, and even Santa Teresa, it is not known for its nightlife.
With that said, if you know where to look, the nightlife in Nosara can be very, very fun.
The hostel Selina often hosts parties, and there are a few other groups in the area that host parties in remote locations with a hefty entrance fee.
12. Watch the sunset from El Sabor de La Montaña
There are a few different sunset views on this list, and that is because watching the sunset is one of those things you simply CANNOT miss out on in Nosara.
El Sabor de La Montaña is a restaurant located in the hills above Nosara town, about a 30 minute drive from Playa Guiones.
It is set so high that the view is absolutely INCREDIBLE.
Not only is the view great, but the food and cocktails here are unmissable.
The change in elevation happens quickly, and the mountain air is much cooler than at sea level, so don’t forget to bring a light sweater. Some bug spray isn’t a bad idea either.
13. Paddle Board down the Rio Nosara
The Rio Nosara (Nosara River) is gorgeous, and paddle boarding down it is a great way to experience all the beauty and wildlife the river has to offer.
Book a tour to paddle through the mangroves here!
14. Spend some time in Nosara town
Wait what, I thought this whole list was about things to do in Nosara?
A common misconception when talking about this area of Costa Rica is to call the area that encompasses Playa Guiones, Playa Pelada, and Nosara Town, all “Nosara”.
The actual town of Nosara is a small, local town located about a 15 minute drive from the main touristy area known as Playa Guiones. These are different places entirely!
However, when talking about travel in Costa Rica and planning a trip, these areas all tend to get jumbled together into Nosara. That’s okay, but for the sake of directions while you’re there, it’s important to know they are different places.
Now that that’s all cleared up, you should absolutely visit Nosara town. There are amazing restaurants like Los Celajes and Mary’s Cevicheria, and the entire town has a local feel that is absent in Playa Guiones, and even neighboring Playa Pelada.
15. Listen to Howler Monkeys
Howler Monkeys live in the Guanacaste trees located all over Nosara, and one of the best things to do in Nosara is to sit back and take in the sounds of the jungle- including the howler monkeys!
These little monkeys may be small and cute, but they are in fact the loudest land animal in the animal kingdom!
Howler monkeys are particularly active in the dusk and dawn hours, and their calls are one of my favorite things to listen to in Nosara.
16. Watch the sunset from Olga’s in Playa Pelada
If you want a truly local feel, go and watch the sunset from Olga’s Beach Bar in Playa Pelada. Compared to Playa Guiones, Playa Pelada has much more of an authentic vibe, and the change of pace and scenery is quite nice.
Olga’s Beach Bar has tasty cocktails too, although you can never go wrong with a Pilsen, the national beer of Costa Rica!
17. Cook up the Catch of the Day
One of the best things to do in Nosara is to eat the delicious fresh seafood! While you can do this at many of the restaurants in Nosara, it’s also quite fun to buy and cook it yourself.
Located in the houses directly behind Olga’s Beach Bar in Playa Pelada, there is a local fisherman who sells fish caught fresh that day. Here, you can get some delicious fresh fish for a great price, while supporting local workers at the same time. It’s a win win!
If you’re not sure exactly where to go, feel free to ask around, the locals in Costa Rica are very helpful and friendly.
18. Take Salsa Classes at Selina
Selina is a large, boutique hostel located in the Nosara area that hosts fun events almost nightly. Once or twice a week, they host salsa dancing classes!
This is a fun way to not only learn how to salsa dance and listen to some fun Latin music, but also to meet people!
19. Take a sunset sailing cruise
While this is probably the most pricey item on this list, it is easily one of the best activities in Nosara Costa Rica.
I booked my tour last year with Kaya Tours, and it was incredible.
The boat was gorgeous, the crew was helpful, and it was a really beautiful and different way of experiencing the surrounding coastline from what I was used to.
We went to a special pink sand island, had snorkeling equipment, and the boat also had an open bar and delicious snacks!
20. Check out Playa Garza
Playa Garza is a beautiful beach located about 7km south of Playa Guiones. More so than Playa Pelada, this is a local beach!
Unlike Guiones, Playa Garza usually has very mellow and gentle waters, and is great for swimming and snorkeling in.
This is one of my favorite beaches in the Nosara area to come and chill for a beach day.
There is also a delicious restaurant right here called Soda Playa Garza.
21. Check out the new bike park
One new and cool nosara costa rica things to do is check out the brand new bike park in Playa Guiones Norte!
It’s a huge, dirt, biking arena that is very well maintained. The course is very nice, and you can rent a bike here and take a few laps if you love biking, or want to try something new!
There is also a tasty BBQ place here where you can get ribs, mac n cheese, and other foods that you won’t typically see from other Nosara restaurants.
Since this bike park is kid friendly, this is also a great thing to do in Nosara with kids!
22. Go to the rodeo
The Nosara rodeo is without a doubt one of the coolest things to do around Nosara Costa Rica.
The Guanacaste region of Costa Rica is well known for its ranching, and the Nosara rodeo reflects that cultural aspect of the region.
The rodeo is complete with bulls, music, and what essentially turns into a giant party.
If you’re in Nosara when the rodeo is taking place, it’s definitely something to check out.
22 Things to do in Nosara Costa Rica- Final Thoughts
Well that’s a wrap on my list of the 22 best things to do in Nosara Costa Rica!
Whether you’re a yogi on a spiritual journey, a backpacker, a family, or a surfer, I hope there are a few things on this list that catch your attention and make your trip to Nosara that much more fun.
Nosara is really one of my favorite places in Costa Rica, and I spent months there while backpacking the country.
If you can, it’s well worth it to spend longer than just a few nights here. Slow travel really is the way to go, especially in Costa Rica where the way of life is much more relaxed and laid back.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this list of the best things to do in Nosara.