Nosara, Costa Rica
Some places grab you quick, like love at first site or a snake bite. Others creep up on you slowly, whispering in your ear like a ghost and tickling your neck until there's nothing you can do except say, okay, I get it, and I'll be definitely be back.
Nosara — or, rather, the beachside communities of Playa Guiones and Playa Pelada and the inland village that make up what is collectively known as Nosara — is one such place, sneaking into your heart quietly and grabbing hold tight. Though there's a lot going on in this old expat community, it isn't always easy to see — and it's exactly that mystique that will make you want to extend your stay indefinitely.
We did. Well, not indefinitely, obviously, but the first time we visited we got so hooked we ended up tacking an extra week on to what was originally supposed to be a quick Christmas trip. Blame the laid back vibe and the excellent surf: The break at Playa Guiones is so consistent and fun that you can surf it 365 days a year.
Nosara is on the Nicoya Peninsula, south of Tamarindo on the Pacific Ocean side of Costa Rica. Fly into Liberia and hire a driver to take you on to Nosara — it's about two hours on mostly dirt roads. Alternatively, fly into San Jose and continue on to Nosara via small plane. Just don't expect a full-on airport upon arrival; There's not much more than a landing strip.
Once in Nosara, the best way to get around is definitely via quad; you can rent them by the day or week at several spots in town. During high season (around Christmas), be sure to reserve your quad in advance as they are in high demand and short supply. Golf carts — though not as efficient on the rough dirt roads — are also available to rent.
good to know
The Nicoya peninsula is one of the world's few magical Blue Zones, where people live longer and happier. You can feel the good vibes. The tap water tastes like Evian and is definitely safe to drink, so don't bother with bottled. While everything else you could ever want is available in Nosara — from hemp milk to organic almond butter — imported food and beverage can be pricey, so budget accordingly. We recommend buying alcohol at duty free in Liberia airport and bringing it on to Nosara with you if you're renting a villa — sometimes it can be difficult to get good wine or liquor in town.