Western beaches


Nosara is a small village about 26 km north of Sámara without much to see or do in it - which makes it ideal if you like lying around on beaches. Indeed most people come for the three unspoiled beaches which are a few kilometres from the village.
Playa Nosara
is to the north of the village across the Nosara river, and a site for nesting turtles .
Playa Pelada
, the prettiest and smallest, south of the river between rocky headlands, is a popular spot for surfers and has a bat cave at one end which is good to explore - ask locally for details.
Playa Guiones
is a long expanse of white sand backed by low dunes and forest, with good, long surf breaks. Note that it's about 5 km from Playa Guiones to Nosara village heading north - a long, hot walk. There is no bus but hitching is possible if you're prepared to do it in sections.

Nosara is one of the few places where there is no development on the beach and that contributes in large measure to the appeal of the area. Much of the property backing Pelada and Guiones is owned by North Americans and Europeans, and the hills above Nosara are dotted with the holiday homes of the rich and famous. Some of the expatriate community have joined together to form the Nosara Civic Association, www.nosaracivicassociation.com, which keeps control over development and protects the habitat and wildlife.

The main local attraction is a visit to Ostional to see the mass nestings of the Olive Ridley sea turtles . Other activities include hiking in the privately owned Reserva Biológica Nosara, www.lagarta.com/reserva.htm. Most hotels arrange horseback tours along the beaches, through hills or to a nearby waterfall. Boat and canoe trips ride into the mangrove swamps of the Nosara River. Of course fishing is possible and all beach-related equipment - surfing, boogie boards, snorkelling gear - can be hired.

Refugio Nacional de Vida Silvestre Ostional

North of Nosara is
Playa Ostional
a wide beach accessed from Nosara, protected for the natural spectacle of the
when tens of thousands of Olive Ridley turtles arrive en masse in frenzied acts of nest building. Along with Playa Nancite to the north, Ostional is one of the most important nesting sites for the
(Olive Ridley turtle) in the world.

Ostional is also interesting in that locals are permitted to harvest turtle eggs under a strict, and now well developed, programme that incorporates conservation goals with the genuine needs and requirements of the local community.


Sámara is a smallish village that has managed to maintain some of its regular way of life alongside steady tourist development. It also has one of the best bathing beaches in Costa Rica. The place is gradually becoming more developed, but it still has a relaxed pace and, with a gentle trickle of international residents from around the world, the place is genuinely cosmopolitan and a good excuse to get away for a few days and relax by the sea.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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