This trip has been in the planning stages for quite some time. The wife and I paid a visit to the Costa Rica Yoga Spa in Nosara, on the Nicoya Peninsula. It’s an outstanding resort, and the food was incredible. The retreat was organized and taught by one of my local yoga instructors, so I knew most of the people in attendance. There were a couple people there I had not met before, however, and enjoyed spending time with them.
The Nosara area is a pretty significant surfer/American expat community. There’s a sizable Tico population, but most of them can speak at least some English. Still, my rusty Spanish came in handy and I found that by the end of the week, I could communicate pretty well in Spanish with a lot of locals. The town of Nosara itself has fewer expats. Most expats are closer to the beach in communities like Guiones.
The area has this really interesting dichotomy going on. There are a good number of amenities available – cell service for those who have international plans, good running water and sewers, reliable electricity, widespread recycling, etc. Many of the stores in Guiones and nearby are ultra-modern and look like they belong in any big American or European city. But paved streets are rare here. There are some paved roads in the towns themselves, but the pavement is pretty rough. The roads between towns are rather rugged dirt roads. Some of them are quite steep at times, require river fords, and flood out entirely during the rainy season.
Food available at a lot of restaurants in this area is incredible. The fruit is, of course, amazing, and the fish is pretty awesome. But more unusual is the fact that there’s very good vegetarian food, some vegan options, and really good pizza. There are even a few ethnic food options out here. Finding these places can be tricky. It’s hard to just show up and find a place to eat. Some in the little towns themselves have signs around pointing the way, but others are tucked off the beaten track in the forests with views of the beach.
Robin’s Ice Cream in Guiones, La Luna in Pelada, and La Bahia near San Juanillo are three places I visited with outstanding food. There are more options, but these are the ones I visited. Miss Sky zipline tours (recently mentioned in this article as being the longest in the world!) is a pretty awesome company. The staff was a lot of fun, and they run tours on a network of ziplines with 13 zips as of spring 2012 and plans for expansion. The longest they have is over 850m long and takes over a minute. The tour also includes a stop to swim in the river.
We booked our kayak tour with Drifters Kayak Tours with DK. DK is an American expat from Georgia and has quite a pedigree of guiding folks on whitewater tours in the States. We did a wildlife viewing kayak trip on the Rio Montaña followed by a short visit to Playa Nosara. It was a great float.
I still need to compile video footage and GPS data from the trip. That will come as an update to this post so stay tuned.