I don't know where to start. I just loved Costa Rica so much.
I knew that I would connect with it deeply and it was to be a minimalistic healthy holiday. I fell in love with the country. It was just so amazing on so many levels.
The beach, the health-conscious foods, the vibe, the hola and hello's, the design, the laid back life, the monkeys, all of it. It was also a super clean country. I didn't see any garbage.
I chose Nosara, Costa Rica because a few of my friends highly recommended it. The information I received prior to my trip was super helpful.
So now I am sharing what I learned about my experience in the little sleepy surfer town that we stayed in called Playa Guiones. It has a large expat community, consciousness galore, amazing real estate, and the coolest beach/surfer/yoga vibe.
I rented a small little balinese style house that was a 5 minute walk to the beach. Walking to the beach was a priority. I didn't plan to rent a car as we wanted to stay near to Playa Guiones as much as possible and there is so much within walking distance. Since we had the baby and stroller we just walked everywhere, aside from a few Tuk Tuk rides.
I didn't love the house, mainly because it wasn't as advertised, we had a neighbour on the same property directly behind us which meant we had little privacy, and it wasn't really safe or conducive to a family with a toddler.
Since the vacation was over the Christmas holidays my rental options were limited. I hadn't been to Nosara before so I wasn't exactly sure waht to expect or where to look.
Playa Guiones (Nosara beach area) has a lot of nice rental properties. Check out VRBO, AirBnb or contact Wanderlust Realty.
Now that I know what's available there and how to go about booking, I'll be going through a realtor.
One of the best parts of Nosara was the beach. It was the first time I had experienced a beach like this.
It was wide and long and compacted so you could easily walk it with the right stroller. We were constantly walking it. It was also phenomenal for Ava. She could run for so far and be safe. The water was shallow and clear. I usually prefer to sit pool side, but since experiencing this beach, I can definitely say that I'm a beach convert.
A lot of the time we were the only ones close by, and at other times the beach was the gathering place to watch the sunset.
There aren't any hotels or high rises along the beach and oh what a difference that makes.
The beach was so great for Ava. Because the tide went up and down frequently, the sand was compacted and cool, until it's not again. When the tide is just about to rise, the sand is by now, very very hot. There was still so much shallow water that it made just sitting in the water super enjoyable.
There weren't a lot of shells or sharp objects either. It was just soft, brown muddy-type feeling sand.
It was so dreamy. We just sat, played, watched her run. We went down for sunsets, we flew the drone, we fully enjoyed every bit of this beach.
There were so many amazing beaches around that were a lot more private.
Get out your google maps and check whats out there, hop in your car and go discover.
On the weekend, the beach has more Tico children as they are off school. One little group of children were playing by the tidal pools and noticed Ava. They came running over, surrounded her and were just so fascinated by her.
At the time she was naked with a sunhat and loaded up with SPF. Ava stood there kind of stunned and confused and immediately looked over to me. I came over and assured her she was all good, and showed her off to the kids. It was so cute.
AMAZING REAL ESTATE
I love real estate, I love travel, I love dreaming. I've decided that if my interest is spiked I'll meet with a real estate agent to tour me around a bunch of properties. One of the properties was an 'off the grid' farm about 20 minutes outside Playa Guionos.
It had cashew and almond trees, goats, green houses, solar power, and all the things to keep it remote and self-sustaining. The owners were so interesting. A Scottish man, who at one point lived and owned a bar downtown Toronto, and his Tico wife. They had two young daughters, the youngest was Ava's age and had just undergone eye surgery to fix the blind eye she was born with. It was so lovely to meet them and tour their amazing farm.
We also toured a few empty lots and a few amazing modern homes for sale. If you're interested in touring around or real estate in Nosara area, check out Wanderlust Realty. Nathan is awesome and super knowledgable.
THE BODHI TREE
We hung out at The Bodhi Tree a lot! Spa treatments, sipping on green juices and coconut lattes, yoga and pilates classes and just hung out. Ava came and we traded off on her while we each did workouts, pilates, and spa.
I highly recommend the spa - they have some of the most interesting treatments.
All of their facials are amazing, I had two of them.
I also did a few pilates classes, like I mentioned above is separate from the resort, but it's located there.
I would really love to come back to Nosara and spend a few nights here. I think it would be a great place for a solo (or couple) health-focused vacation.
This wouldn't be my first place I would take my kids, it's not super stroller friendly, and well, ya, it's not geared towards kids at all, so that makes vacationing with kids a little extra difficult.
THE FRESH FOOD
Fresh fruits are everywhere. Raw, gluten-free and vegan options are abundant.
Smoothies, smoothie bowls and freshly squeezed juices are available everywhere. Playa Guiones is the healthiest little spot that I've ever travelled to.
All the restaurants serve fresh, amazing food. My favourite was La Luna. One evening we walked along the beach (about 15 minutes) to La Luna for dinner. Ava was at home with the sitter.
It's an amazing restaurant and came highly reocmmended. It was a busy time of the year and it was hard to get through to them to make the reso, so we had our friend get us the reso.
It was by far one of the best dining experiences I've had. The menu was great. The portions were huge, meant for sharing and the food was fresh and clean.
Just everything about this place was great. The vibe, the food, the location and setting, the decor, the staff.
RENT AN AIRBNB / VRBO
I personally suggest within walking distance to Playa Guiones beach. If you're not within walking distance, rent a car.
If you prefer to get a car, it may be worth while to check out properties in Nosara Springs as they can be a little less expensive.
RENT A CAR
If you want to explore or stay farther away from the beach, a car may be necessary. I didn't need one for this trip, but the next time I will definitely be renting a car.
This is something that you will want to do in advance.
A few afternoons we got a babysitter so we could do things, sans Ava. One of those things was a ride towards Nosara City to get groceries. The ride was insane. We knew it would be dusty, so we brought tissues from the washroom we were just at. Dusty season is super dusty and I prefer to be in a car for health reasons, but it was definitely fun.
Drink lots of healthy juices and smoothies, cut out or down on the alcohol, walk a lot, chill a lot, check out the local fitness places.
There are smoothie and juice places around. All restaurants offer healthier juices too. Smoothie bowls are also abundant as are fresh coconuts!
If you get a smoothie or juice, don't forget to return the bamboo straw or keep it for yourself. They're reusable and so great. I ended up coming home with about 10 of them.
Go to bed early and sleep to the sounds of nature. If you're sensitive to sleeping with sunlight, take along some black garbage bags and packing tape to darken the windows.
GO TO THE BEACH AT SUNRISE OR SUNSET
Everyone gathers at the beach for sunset. They are gorgeous. It's such great way to end the day and get grounded. Although it's busy, it's not crowded at all because the beach is just so big. Some people will be crowded around bonfires and others will be jogging or chilling with their family, friends and neighbours.
I really enjoyed Harmony Hotel for dinner or evening cocktails, in my case mocktails they had amazing healthy drinks.
The Gilded Iguana was a great restaurant. Amazing location and a great menu.
La Luna is amazing. The portions are huge, the food is fresh, the atmosphere is gorgeous and chill. Gorgeous for dinner and brunch, we went for both and left Ava at home with a sitter each time.
Cafe du Paris is a restaurant, bakery and great for breakfast and lunch. It also has a pool and mini golf!
El Chivo is owned by Canadians and is a Mexican 'from scratch" restaurant. The food is amazing, they have live music Thursday and Fridays during high season and it also has a playground.
If your looking for Costa Rican food, Rosi’s Soda Tica is the place to go ... they have 2 locations in Playa Guiones.
Pilates Nosara is located at The Bodhi Tree, but it's just rented space. To get more information on pilates, contact Pilates Nosara directly.
Bodhi Tree has lots of options for yoga and meditation.
Nalu has everything - hip hop, Muay Thai, yoga/meditation, TRX, circuits and more.
There are many options for surfing lessons, but Nosara Family Surf comes highly recommended.
CHECK THE WEATHER
Check out the weather and what season that part of Costa Rica will be experiencing. There are many micro-climates in the country. Playa Guiones is dry from November to July.
Some say that the rainy season is the best season!
KIDS CAMPS / BABYSITTING
If you're travelling with your littles, check out Nosara Kids Camp. They offer babysitting services as well for kids under 5. Babysitting can cost anywhere from $10-$22 / hour. If you find someone you like and trust and comes on recommendation, I would keep that number handy. Hiring daytime babysitters can be more tough if not scheduled in advance.
VISIT THE MONKEY SANCTUARY
I didn't get a chance to go but I will be next time for sure. I hear it's amazing. They rescue the monkeys that get hurt on electrical wires and bring them back to health. Unfortunately it happens often in Costa Rica.
RIDE IN A TUK TUK
Get groceries, ride to dinner, or just for fun. If it's dusty season (not rainy season) take something to cover your nose and mouth as it can get quite dusty!
There is so much to explore. The vibe and climate can change from place to place in Costa Rica. Check out some of the adventures, amazing beaches or go for a drive. Whale season is December to March. If you're there during that time, you may want to look into it. They're pretty amazing mammals.
I didn't have the chance to try zip lining, I'm kind of a wimp. But the Miss Sky Canopy Tour comes recommended. It's super safe and kids 5 and up can participate.
GET AROUND ON AN ATV
Everyone gets around on ATVs. Obviously that's not our style traveling with a toddler, but it looked like a fun way to get around.
TAKE COLONES (their currency)
Many places take credit card, all places take US dollars, but I find paying in colónes gives the best value (you just need to know the conversion and how to determine if something is reasonsably priced).
ATMs aren't easily accessible. I suggest taking as much cash as you feel comfortable with. We stopped to re-cash at an bank en route to get groceries at Super Nosara.
Oh and tour companies usually only take cash, so if you're up for any adventure check into this in advance.
Lots of places include gratuity but some don't. The locals don't make much money and rely a lot on tips, so be mindful of when it's included and when it's not.
TRANSPORTATION TO NOSARA FROM LIBERIA AIRPORT
If it's your first time to Nosara, I suggest arranging transportation from the airport as it's a bumpy and dusty 2.5 hour ride. If you're renting a car, you an do that right in Playa Guiones., but you will want to book that in advance.
The company I used and recommend is:
Tel: (506) 2682-0242
It should cost around $140 US each way, if it's a lot more than that, you may be getting ripped off.
USE YOUR GOOGLE MAPS
Playa Guiones has no street names or paved roads. Most people get around by making landmarks or businesses. You can get around by looking at your google maps. I suggest making marks along the way so you can keep track even if you lose reception.
USE WHATS APP
Anyone that I met that I would later need to contact - property manager, transportation, babysitter, Bodhi Tree spa reception, I would add them to Whatss App and message them through there. Make sure you add the proper area code, etc.
BE MINDFUL & CAREFUL
Costa Rica is super safe in my personal opinion. I never once felt eyes on me, or threatened. It's generally a really safe country, however, crime exists everywhere. They warn you most about petty theft. Common sense. Don't leave valuables in sight and things unlocked. It's advisable to lock up your stuff or hide them. Most petty crimes happen at sunset or dinner time.
If you're into all things healthy living, you must add Playa Guiones and Costa Rica to your bucket list. If you get a chance to go, feel free to message for some more tips.
GET GROUNDED & ENJOY
This part of Costa Rica isn't built up. There are a lot of nature sounds, no paved roads, no fancy shopping and no night life, lots of insects and iguanas.
You're here to enjoy all that nature has to offer. Connect with yourself and slow right now. Wifi and service can be spotty and that's okay because there is so much more you can do, or not do. It's really a place of magic and pure zen.
Get barefoot and watch every sunrise and sunset.
TRAVELLING WITH A BABY?
Oh and if you're travelling with a baby or kids - take a stroller like the Bob Revolution and definitely a carrier.
An umbrella stroller here wouldn't last a second. Nor a bugaboo or Uppababy.
As I was to be travelling with my baby, the best tip I got was from a friend who spent 3 months living there with her young family - she told me to stay by the beach and take a Bob stroller.
I did both and it truly did make all the difference.
If you're looking for my favourite travel essentials from my boutique, you can find them here. Everything from sunscreen to snacks, gum, water bottles and Turkish towels.
Or if you're looking for my stroller recommendation or other products from other retailers, you can find it on my favourite travel things page here.
Hi, I'm Jules; a multi-passion business woman, boss babe and entrepreneur; a mindful mom to 3 girls, luxury travel and fitness lover, planner, organizer and lifestyle blogger. I live mid-town Toronto with my daughters. Any chance I can, I'm booking a vacation. I appreciate quality and love natural products!