Nosara is an idyllic Pacific beach town located on the Nicoya Peninsula in northwestern Costa Rica. As the saying goes in Nosara:–no shoes, no shirt, no problem—it’s a laidback place to live. The Nicoya Peninsula is one of only five Blue Zones in the world, and Nosara is included in this. As defined by National Geographic, a Blue Zone is a region of the world where people live much longer than average—these areas have more centenarians than anywhere else. Living longer here is attributed to natural eating habits, physical lifestyles, strong familial bonds, and good friendships.
Retire in Nosara
The area around Nosara has numerous beautiful beaches. © Antonio Roldan/Istock
Nosara town has grocery stores, pharmacies, a post office, a police station, a clinic, and a small airport. As one of the last beach destinations in Costa Rica with unpaved roads leading to it, it has traditionally been kept a hidden gem as tourists tend to flock to the more accessible Gold Coast to the north. The local economy here offers well-paying jobs in the tourism and crafts industry and crime is almost non-existent. Nosara is also a perfect place for expats who want to escape the brutal winters of North America, with average tropical temperatures of 75 F to 90 F.
The main beaches in the area include Playa Guiones, a surfer’s paradise, and Playa Pelada, a scenic family beach. Playa Ostional further to the north is the main nesting beach for the endangered Olive Ridley sea turtles, and is protected in the Ostional National Reserve. Most of the expat communities, homes, and developments are in Guiones and Pelada.
As this area is surrounded by the Nosara Biological Reserve (over 90-acres), the zoning will never change to allow the sort of development seen elsewhere in popular beach towns in the country. And the nearby mangroves, dry forest, and beaches are passionately protected by Nosara’s residents. This lack of development directly on the beach makes Nosara desirable for locals and visitors alike.
Lifestyle in Nosara
The family-friendly expat community here is proactive about protecting the land and nature, and work hard to keep the beaches clean of any debris. There is also a focused effort for ecotourism, sustainability, and recycling. These attributes set the stage for exemplifying how a community can work together. The Nosara “Blue Zone” lifestyle and vibe has become a dream come true for hundreds of expat families who choose to live a tranquil and relaxed lifestyle overseas. Parents can immerse their children in a more organic way of living within nature, while taking advantage of bilingual school options and learning about a different culture.
Nosara is known mostly for perfect surfing conditions on Playa Guiones. Guiones is one of the only places anywhere in the world where you can surf consistent waves, all day, every day, regardless of the tide. The sand bottom and the tidal range create an ideal situation for any level of surfer. There are dozens of surf schools in the area with instructors for every level. And, with a perfect water temperature of 75 F to 85 F year round, there is never a bad time to hit the swells.
The expats in Nosara tend to be spiritual and adventurous. Yoga, meditation, and wellness centers are a huge part of the relaxed Blue Zone vibe here. If you are looking for a yoga retreat, or you want to adapt a healthier option for your mind, body, and soul, you don’t need to look any further than this laidback town. Besides the dozens of options for every style of yoga, the world-renowned Nosara Yoga Institute has been training yoga instructors in various curriculums for years. If you are not a surfer or a yogi, nature watching and nearby adventure sports round out the many things you can do in the area.
With a registered population of only 5,800 people, Nosara swells in winter with tourists and seasonal residents. They are well catered for with over 30 restaurants—from local sodas (small Costa Rican family restaurants) to fine dining options.
Since Nosara has become a hotspot for real estate, prices now compete with North American rates. Deals in Guiones and Pelada can still be found on small, moderate homes for around $300,000 to $400,000. A nice family home with three to four bedrooms and all the modern amenities can be found for around $600,000 to $800,000. And like anywhere, luxury in Nosara has no limits, with palatial home prices ranging from $1.2 million to $6 million. There is, however, a complicated land dispute over some of the territory here, which was double titled. So, it is important to have a local Costa Rican attorney verify clear title if you are interested in buying property.
Because there is less development in Nosara, not many apartments and condos exist like in other beach communities. Therefore, if you are looking to rent, it will most likely be a house. Smaller homes or studio apartments are available on long-term contracts for $1,200 to $2,000 a month. For a larger family home, you can expect to pay closer to $3,000 to $4,000 a month. Due to a conscious effort not to allow more development, if the economy continues to grow, this can only mean increased values in the area.