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WELLNESS + ECO GUIDE TO NOSARA, COSTA RICA

nosara wellness yoga travel guide playa guiones

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Ultimate Wellness + Eco Travel Guide for Nosara, Costa Rica

If wellness and sustainability are top of mind when booking a vacation, this travel guide to Nosara, Costa Rica is for you.

Nosara is a small region on the pacific coast of Costa Rica. It’s still somewhat off the beaten path while still having the perfect amount of shops, hotels, restaurants, surfing, hiking, and nightlife that will have you saying “Pura Vida” all vacation long. You will also be happy to know that Nosara is situated in the Nicoya Peninsula which is considered a Blue Zone (a place where many people live past 90 and 100).

IMPORTANT TO KNOW BEFORE GOING TO NOSARA, COSTA RICA:

  • The roads leading to Nosara and in Nosara proper are currently not paved. The road is bumpy and can be hard on the stomach. Driving in smaller vehicles VS a large bus can help those prone to car sickness. Or you can fly Sansa airlines from San Jose to Nosara for roughly $200 USD round trip.
  • This area of Costa Rica can experience major droughts in the dry seasons. Please be mindful of your water usage.
  • There are a lot of excellent yoga retreats in Nosara. You might want to consider booking a yoga retreat for all or part of your stay.
  • Because the roads are so bumpy and cabs aren’t always easy to find, some people choose to rent ATV’s as their mode of transportation throughout their stay.
Nosara Costa Rica Wellness Travel Guide Things to do
Enjoying the peaceful beachfront at our yoga retreat

HOW TO GET TO NOSARA:

  • Fly into San Jose and take hopper flight with Sansa Airlines to Nosara.
  • Fly into Liberia and take hopper flight with Sansa Airlines to Nosara.
  • Fly into Liberia and take a 3 hour drive to Nosara. We recommend booking the  transfer with your hotel.
Nosara Costa Rica Wellness Travel Guide Blue Spirit Yoga Retreat
Our eco-cottage at Blue Spirit Retreat Center

WHERE TO STAY IN NOSARA, COSTA RICA:

There are a lot of Nosara Costa Rica Hotels to choose from. However, we like to promote hotels that have sustainable initiatives such as using renewable energy, reducing plastic waste, and giving back to the local community.

ECO-CHOICE: BLUE SPIRIT RETREAT CENTER

note: you can only stay at Blue Spirit if you are attending a yoga retreat, they don’t offer standard room bookings.

Why we love it:

  • 3 spacious yoga studios for daily practice
  • gourmet buffet-style vegetarian food served at every meal (fish served 3 times)
  • food is organic when possible and sourced locally
  • juice and smoothie bar
  • the grounds are beautiful and close to the ocean
  • non-toxic cleaning materials used throughout the entire retreat
  • recycle and compost program
  • all hotel rooms are free of single-use plastic toiletries
  • no above ground electrical cables for the safety of local fauna such as birds, sloths, and monkeys.
  • the roof of our eco-cottage is made from recycled plastic banana plant covers
  • FSC wood from local farms used during construction
  • some rooms (like our eco-cottage) did not have hot water or air conditioning to cut back on energy use but there are rooms with these luxuries should you desire them.
  • luxurious salt water pool
  • healing centre – highly recommend seeing one of their massage therapists/healers while you’re there.
  • Blue Spirit is investing in tree planting programs and adds $10 to each guests stay as an optional carbon offset for their stay
nosara wellness yoga travel guide yoga retreat blue spirit
Yoga Studio at Blue Spirit

HARMONY HOTEL (3-star hotel):

  • 1 complimentary yoga class per day
  • spa for restorative treatments
  • farm to table: use fresh, local ingredients whenever possible and source some of their produce from their nearby farm
  • vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options are readily available
  • juice bar: twenty-five percent of the foods they now serve at the Juice Bar are sourced from their farm.
  • support local projects that promote the sustainable development of the community
  • hire and train 60% of our staff from the surrounding area
  • treat the wastewater without using chemicals and re-use the water for irrigating the hotel’s lush tropical gardens
  • use environmentally friendly and organic pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers
  • use all-natural, biodegradable bath products by Red Flower in reusable glass dispensers
  • recycle 85% of the hotel’s waste
  • compost raw food waste from their restaurant and Juice Bar to make organic fertilizer for their gardens
  • use bamboo straws
  • calculate and compensate for the hotel’s carbon emissions with their “Plant a Tree” project where guests and staff plant trees in the local community
  • use solar panels to provide a renewable energy source that heats hot water for all of the guest rooms

BODHI TREE YOGA RESORT (5-star):

  • salt water infinity pool
  • stunning indoor and outdoor yoga studios
  • spa for various treatments such as massage, reiki, acupuncture, thai massage, cupping, shamanic energy healing, sound bath’s, and more.
  • fully equipped gym with spin classes, lap pool, and pilates
  • built their own water treatment plant, so no water is wasted. The water from their treatment plant is used to irrigate the gardens, keeping their lush grounds green without draining subcutaneous water supplies.
  • utilize the sun with solar panels to heat all the hot water required for the resort.
  • plastic free facility.
  • Hires locally. 
  • Gold sponsor for Costas Verdes Organization. Costas Verdes is a non profit organization dedicated to coastal restoration. 

OLAS VERDES HOTEL:

  • LEED platinum certified hotel
  • yoga deck
  • salt water pool
  • massages
  • 20% powered by solar
  • sponsors local non-profit organizations
  • compost and recycling systems in place
  • biodegradable cleaning and bathroom products are refilled by vendors to avoid single-use plastics
  • rainwater storage
nosara wellness yoga travel guide playa guiones
Grab a fresh coconut at one of the produce stands at Playa Guinoes

WHERE TO EAT/DRINK/DANCE IN NOSARA, COSTA RICA:

We like to promote farm to table, plant-based, locally-inspired, and sustainably-minded restaurants when possible.

ROSI’S SODA TICA – BREAKFAST, LUNCH OR DINNER

  • Go here for traditional Tico food

LA LUNA – DINNER AND SUNSET

  • Barefoot luxury dining experience on the beach
  • Located at Playa Pelada
  • recommend arriving around 4:30 for sunset and booking your table for 5:30

NAKED FOODS – IF YOU WANT A FULL VEGETARIAN ORGANIC MENU

  • Has cold-pressed juice, salads & bowls, burgers, smoothies, raw treats and desserts

BEACH DOG CAFE – LUNCH AND LIVE MUSIC IN THE EVENINGS

  • post-surf lunch spot at Playa Guiones
  • lots of vegan and vegetarian options
  • live music in the evenings

NOSARA’S BAGEL HOUSE – COFFEE

  • Grab an espresso or americano on the patio
  • you may just be greeted by the resident pup

GO JUICE – HEALTHY TREAT

  • Stop at this food truck for a healthy afternoon treat
  • Go Juice serves smoothies, juices, and bowls

SELINA HOTEL – DRINKS, DANCING, SLACK-LINING

  • Head to Selina for a mezcal margarita and a live DJ set
  • The music stops around 11 to be kind to the neighbours and sleeping guests
  • from that point on, ask a local where the party is at (it changes from night to night)

SHOPPING IN NOSARA:

We didn’t do much shopping during our stay but we fell in love with one shop in particular.

LOVE NOSARA

  • locally owned fair trade shop. The owner is also the fashion designer of the apparel sold there.
  • bonus: cute swings, jewellery and top notch service.
Nosara Costa Rica Wellness Travel Guide Things to do surf lessons
Try surfing at Playa Guinoes

WHAT TO DO:

Things to do in Nosara Costa Rica:

SURF:

  • Nosara is known for its surfing. There are a handful of locally owned surf shops and I’m sure all are great. Since we only surfed one day, we only had the chance to try Selva Surf School. It’s also only a few minute walk to the beach so it’s easy to grab a board after parking your car in the lot at Playa Guiones.

SEE TURTLES (hatching at Ostional Wildlife Refuge):

  • There is an extremely high population of Oliver Ridley Turtles (in the tens of thousands) who lay eggs in Nosara each month.
  • When the turtles come to lay eggs, the government shuts down beach access to everyone except for the rangers and some locals who harvest some of the eggs. They also allow tourists to pay to see the turtles laying eggs and to see the eggs hatching.
  • The whole experience was quite ethical and well managed to prevent mass tourism.
  • We visited the beach while the babies were hatching. It was a once in a lifetime experience that had some people in tears.
  • We booked the tour with our hotel (Blue Spirit)
nosara wellness yoga travel guide playa guiones
Watching baby turtles emerging from the sand had us in tears

 

STAND-UP PADDLEBOARD TOUR:

  • There are several mangroves where you can take a 1-2 hour paddle board tour.
  • You will likely see birds and may even see a crocodile
  • If you’re not too keen on SUP you should also be able to rent a kayak
  • You can book through one of the local surf schools in Playa Guiones or through your hotel.

ZIPLINE (the longest canopy tour in the world):

  • take an 11km canopy tour through the forest and waterfalls of the Nicoya Peninsula 

WHAT TO PACK:

Unique items to pack for a healthy, active, and eco-friendly week in Nosara Costa Rica:

  • “Zero waste” reusable food items like straws, cutlery, and tupperware if you plan to eat on the go.
  • Reusable bags – Bring your own bag if you plan to shop at the local markets.
  • Natural bug repellant – the mosquitos can get bad at night and in the morning near forested areas.
  • biodegradable sunscreen – chances are you will swim or surf in Nosara. Conventional sunscreens can kill off coral so opt for a reef-safe option instead.
  • Water bottle – Some eco-hotels provide clean drinking water in large jugs or glass bottles. We always suggest emailing your accommodation in advance to find out what kind of water access you will have. If you’re worried about the tap water, we suggest getting a water bottle with a built in filter or a LifeStraw. Check out our 6 zero waste travel items for more ideas on how to cut back on travel waste 
  • Quick-dry towel or Turkish towel – instead of using a new beach towel every day, consider bringing your own towel to cut back on water consumption from excess towel laundry. Nosara does deal with droughts in the dry season.
  • For a full beach packing list, check out our  Our ultimate sustainable beach packing list.
zero waste plane essentials
Zero waste essentials to avoid single-use plastics

GIVING BACK IN COSTA RICA:

PACK FOR A PURPOSE:

  • Save some space in your carry-on and bring some supplies to support not-for-profits in Costa Rica. Olas Verde Hotel and Safari Surf School in Nosara are both accepting items for the Pack For a Purpose program.

HELP GET DOGS TO THEIR FOREVER HOME:

  • Costa Rica Dog Rescue are in constant need of volunteers flying to California or Toronto who are willing to take up to 5 dogs with them. They will cover all the expenses for the dogs, get all the necessary documentation & crates.
  • Save Our Scruff is looking for volunteers flying out of San Jose or Liberia. Airlines they most commonly work with: The most common airlines they work with are; Air Canada, AirTransat, American Airlines, and WestJet.

DO A BEACH CLEAN-UP:

  • Yes, there was trash and micro-plastics on the beach in Nosara (although much harder to find in the tourist areas). Bring one of your reusable bags and collect some trash on one of your beach walks.
  • Our hotel had a large recycle bin at the beach to properly dispose of items we found on the beach. Check with your hotel to see if they have a waste bin to dispose of items from your cleanup.
  • Check out or tips for doing a beach clean up here

BRING A SUITCASE OF MEDICAL SUPPLIES:

  • Not Just Tourists is a not-for-profit that gets tourists to bring medical supplies to the countries they’re visiting. There is a drop-off location at a medical centre about 1 hour from Nosara in Puerto Carrillo 

*For Canadians only

SHOP LOCAL:

  • If you’re thinking of buying art, clothing, or other souvenirs, make sure you’re buying from local artisans to directly support the local community.
Nosara Costa Rica Wellness Travel Guide Beach Clean Plastic Pollution
Beach clean ups can help marine and coastal wildlife

 

So what do you think? Do you feel ready to book a trip to Nosara? Get $50 off your first booking with Wellness Travelled. 

Help spread the word about conscious travel in Costa Rica – pin this post or share on social media.

Nosara Costa Rica Wellness Travel Guide Things to do surf
Pura Vida!
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