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Hi there! Welcome to the Magdalena Studios blog, a journal where we share weddings, travel, resources for brides & entrepreneurs, and a glimpse of our lives. When we're not photographing some of the most romantic weddings around the world, we're either fixing up our beach bungalow, surfing and swimming in the ocean, or cooking up veggie burgers. Alongside my (soon-to-be) husband Scott and our trustworthy team of creatives, our life mission is to capture joyful love stories and effortless real-life moments.

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Nosara, Costa Rica Travel Guide

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Nosara is a magical place – and there aren’t many words to describe just what I mean by this. You have to be here to feel and see it for yourself. There’s community, there’s good food, good waves, good people, and just… a good vibe all together. It’s one of the few, if not only, places I’ve ever been that I feel I could truly live in. It’s relaxing and restoring, but entertaining all at the same time. Nosara is known for a destination for surf and yoga, and it embodies the best of both of those worlds. We’ve traveled here many times over the years, and we’ll continue to return for all the years to come! Below you can find our Nosara travel guide and tips, which includes an ever-expanding list of recommendations. You can expect chilled out vibes, amazing plant-based food, good waves, and incredible yoga classes.

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Nosara, Costa Rica Travel Tips

Nosara is definitely not the easiest place to get to… But when I say it’s worth it, I mean it! You can get to Nosara by flying into Liberia or San Jose airports, and from there you can either take a bumpy car ride on dirt roads (about 5 hours from San Jose and about 2.5 from Liberia) or you can take a puddle jumper flight via Sansa, which lends beautiful aerial views and is about 45 minutes all together. The puddle jumper flight gets you right into Nosara and you avoid all the bumpy roads – and for that reason, we can’t recommend it enough!

Cash and Tipping

Most places in Nosara take credit cards, but for places that don’t, you can use your American dollars. You might receive small change in Costa Rican colons, but you’ll quickly use it up on smoothies and acai bowls! Don’t worry about exchanging money to Costa Rican currency if you don’t have to. Bring extra cash for activities, as ATM’s are limited and you are limited in the amount you can withdraw on a daily basis (usually $100-$200 – this is a CR bank restriction). As of this writing the US dollar is $1= 566 colones. When trying to work out how much something costs we usually just think about multiplying by 2. So if something is 5000 colones it is “about” $10, and 10,000 colones is about $20.  Many places will list their prices in USD. Some places will give a discount for cash payment!

A 10% service charge is usually added to your bill in even the smallest restaurant. Due to the high influx of tourists, it is usually expected that you would add to that 10%. to equal what you would normally tip at home.  Tour guides, drivers, etc. all work off tips, so if you can afford to tip them it is much appreciated.

Precautions & Notes

Last but not least, as a travel precaution, we always recommend being aware of your surroundings. While we’ve never had any issues (knock on wood), Costa Rica is a third-world country and you don’t want to flash your jewelry or cash unncessarily. Where travel jewelry, put your cash and passports in your safe, and don’t get drunk and wander the streets late at night – duh.

Packing wise, make sure to bring a flashlight or headlamp for at night, bug spray and sunscreen! You’ll want to pack shoes that can get dirty, and you may also want to pack a poncho depending on the season. Our favorite time of year is end of July/ beginning of August where there is a lapse in the rainy season – everything is lush and green, and the rain is more sparse. Ponchos and umbrellas help during this time of year! In December and our winter, you won’t need to worry about this as much. If it’s the dry/ dusty season, you may want to pack a bandana or scarf for your face as you ride around town!

Be sure to download “WhatsApp” to communicate with local Costa Rican numbers as well as family and friends via WiFi while you are traveling abroad, without incurring international rates and charges.

Important Note: Your passport must be good for AT LEAST 6 months beyond your arrival date in Costa Rica.

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Where To Stay in Nosara

There are SO many amazing places to stay in Nosara! Whether you rent a private house or villa, or stay in a luxury, boutique hotel, you’re bound to swoon over the style and peacefulness each place embodies. We recommend looking for hotels or rentals in the K or J section, that way you’re close to all the shops and restaurants.

Rentals

If you want to rent, there are tons of cool properties. Some include multiple houses or villas around a pool for larger groups, and others are smaller private homes and villas. We recommend checking out Nosara Beach Management and Surfing Nosara for your rental properties! You’ll want to make sure you stay in the K or J section so you’re close to all the action 🙂

Hotels

Harmony Hotel
Gilded Iguana
Nomadic

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Where To Eat in Nosara

The food! My heart! I think half the reason I keep coming back is the food. Healthy, hearty, nourishing, soulful food all around you. From acai bowls and smoothies, to veggie burgers and vegan ice cream – I’m in foodie heaven every time I come back. Check out some of our favorites below!

Harmony Hotel
Gilded Iguana
Beach Dog Cafe (be sure to check out The Surf Club too!)
Rosie’s (best authentic tico food for breakfast/ dinner)
Go Juice (acai bowls and smoothies)
10 Pies
Burgers and Beers
Naked Foods
Pacifico Azul (must try for dinner)
El Chivo (Taco Tuesday $2 Tacos!)
Robins Ice Cream
La Luna (make sure you make reservations for before sunset)
il Peperoni

*Last but not least, you must try a local “Trits” ice cream from the local market!

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Getting Around in Nosara

Nosara is a cute little town full of shops, hotels, restaurants and homes in the K and J section. The whole area is walkable, but you may want to rent an ATV (iQuad Nosara) or golf cart (Limo Dan) so you can get around more easily. You can also grab a taxi or local tuktuk, or holla at our friend Abel for shuttle rides and arranged transportation.

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Things To See & Do in Nosara

Rent a Surfboard and/or Beginner Lessons – Coconut Harrys or Gilded’s Surf Shop
Professional Surf Coach – Maikol Alvarez, Nosara CR Surf School
Local Surf Guide – Marcos (+506 8708-7685‬)
Fishing (all kinds from inshore/offshore/spearfishing/snorkeling and boat cruises) – Local Captain Marcos (+506 8708-7685‬) // Sport Fishing – Juan Mora (‭+506 8816-2696‬)
Ziplining – Miss Sky Canopy Tours
Yoga – Bodhi Tree, Harmony Hotel, or Nalu
Horseback Riding – Playa Ponies
Snorkeling – Go to San Juanillo and rent equipment from beach shops
Monkey Sancturies – SIBU or Nosara Wildlife Refuge
Kayaking – Gabriella’s Nature Tours
Massages & Spa – Harmony Hotel
Jungle Mini Golf
Nativa Shop for jewelry!
The beach at sunset and the stars at night 🙂

We hope you love Nosara as much as we do. It’s a lovely, little gem of a place with a chilled out vibe. Everyone is welcoming and friendly, the food is delightful, and the surf and beaches are amazing. If it’s your first time in Nosara, or one of many trips, we guarantee this is a location you’ll want to return to! As Jacquelyn Clark put it, “the town of Nosara checked all of the right boxes and then some. Slightly off the beaten path (check), quiet (check), sleepy (check), with live music and delicious food on various evenings each week (check!)” We agree my friend!

 

Photos by Magdalena Studios & Lauren Fair

 

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