Hotels and Resorts
- The Best of Costa Rica
- Costa Rica’s Top Spots for WIldlife
- Costa Rica’s Most Beautiful Beaches
- Costa Rica’s Best Beaches for Wildlife
- Best Surfing Beaches in Costa Rica
- Costa Rica’s Unique Retreats & Resorts
- Surf’s Up in Costa Rica
- Off-The-Beaten-Path Eco-Adventures
- Costa Rica Family-Friendly Adventures
- Adrenaline Rush
In the village, Cabinas Agnnel (tel. 506/2682-0142, $12 pp) offers basic rooms with private baths with cold water. Its modern neighbor, Cabinas Gozami (tel. 506/2682-0705), has the luxury of air-conditioning and satellite TV.
Proof that even the budget-minded surf crowd has class, Kaya Sol Surf Hotel (tel. 506/2682-1459, www.kayasol.com), at Guiones, offers something for every budget, including delightfully airy and welcoming dorms ($13–17 pp) with pastel color schemes and tin roofs, plus private economy rooms ($45–60 s/d), and an eclectic mix of more upscale options, from studios to beach villas ($70–120). After the waves die down, it’s time to lounge poolside with a chilled Imperial. Kaya Sol has one of the best restaurants and liveliest entertainment scenes in Nosara
For fancy camping in a tree house, check into Treehouse Gardens (tel. 506/2682-1254, http://treehousegardens.wordpress.com, $20 pp). (Okay, so you’re not in the little tree house itself.) It has an outdoor kitchen and shower, plus WiFi.
The Gilded Iguana Resort Hotel (tel. 506/2682-0259, www.thegildediguana.com, $30–65 s/d low season, $45–80 high season), in Guiones, has 12 spacious, cross-ventilated rooms (six are air-conditioned) and two-bedroom suites with fans, refrigerators, coffeemakers, toasters, and large walk-in showers with hot water. There’s a pleasing open-air bar-cum-restaurant with TV; sea kayaking and ATV rentals are offered.
For grandstand views of both jungle and coast, check into Lodge Vista del Mar (tel. 506/2682-0633, www.lodgevistadelmar.com, $36–90 s, $44–90 d), astride a ridge high in the hills overlooking Guiones. This three-story modern structure has nine cross-ventilated rooms and one suite, all modestly furnished, with fans, cool limestone floors, and private bathroom with hot water. One has air-conditioning. It has an Olympic-length lap pool, laundry facilities, and a simple outdoor kitchen for guests. Rates include breakfast.
Similarly priced, Harbor Reef Lodge (tel. 506/2682-1000, www.harborreef.com) has 21 handsomely appointed and air-conditioned rooms in five types, as well as rental villas. I like its thatched open-air restaurant set amid lush grounds with two swimming pools. It’s handily close to Guiones beach.
In Pelada, a delightfully colorful option is Refugio del Sol (tel./fax 506/2682-0287, www.refugiodelsol.com, $30 s, $40 d, $55 with kitchen), with four rooms and two apartments along a broad shady terrace with hammocks. The aesthetic is simple yet nice, with ocher and orange color schemes, brass-studded hardwood doors, orthopedic mattresses, ceiling fans, and small modern bathrooms.
Also to consider at Pelada is the Swiss-run Rancho Suizo Lodge (tel. 506/2682-0057, www.nosara.ch, $34 s or $50 d low season, $43 s or $58 d high season), with 10 thatched cabinas with small but pleasant rooms and private baths with hot water; and Nosara B&B (tel. 506/2682-0209, www.nosarabandb.net, $30 s or $40 d low season, $48 s or $64 d high season), which has nice hosts and homey accommodations.
If setting is foremost in mind, check out Lagarta Lodge (tel. 506/2682-0035, www.lagarta.com, $50–60 s or $55–65 d low season, $67–77 s or $72–82 d low season), atop Punta Nosara and offering stupendous vistas north along Ostional. Four simple rooms are in a two-story house (the upper story reached by a spiral staircase), and three are in a smaller unit with whitewashed stone walls. The latter, with one entire wall a screened window, have mezzanine bedrooms overlooking voluminous open showers and bathrooms. Some have king-size beds. The lodge has a swimming pool and trails leading down to the river and the Reserva Biológica Nosara; boats and canoes are rented ($10). Rates include tax and breakfast.
Chic barely begins to describe the Nosara Suites (tel. 506/2682-0087, www.nosarasuites.com, call for rates), owned by the French owners of Café de Paris. These five trendy and individually themed loft-style apartments could fit in San Francisco or New York’s SoHo. They offer fabulous views and each has a spiral staircase to two or three bedrooms.
Run by a delightful French-Portuguese couple, Villa Mango B&B (tel. 506/2682-1168, www.villamangocr.com, $49 s or $59 d low season, $69 s or $79 d high season), in the hills at Pelada, is a bed-and-breakfast that enjoys views over Playa Güiones. It has four bedrooms with parquet floors, raised wooden ceilings, and large picture windows, plus WiFi. It has a kidney-shaped pool (monkeys and coatis come to drink!), plus a delightfully rustic restaurant and sundeck with bamboo rockers and hammocks. Rates include breakfast and tax.
Also to consider in this price bracket is the Mexican-style Hotel El Ramal (tel. 506/2682-1060, www.hotelelramal.com), with 10 large, simply furnished rooms; and the Hotel Casa Tucán (in the U.S. tel. 951/667-7726, www.casatucanhotel.com), which was building a three-story block at last visit.
The environmentally sound, if pricey, Harmony Hotel (tel. 506/2682-4114, www.harmonynosara.com, $180–390 s/d low season, $320–650 s/d high season), within spitting distance of the beach, is one of the class acts in Nosara. It offers 24 rooms with king-size beds and simple yet edgily sexy furnishings, as well as 11 one- and two-bedroom bungalows with decks and rinse showers (plus private baths and hot water). Some units have air-conditioning; all have WiFi. The landscaped grounds boast a curvaceous swimming pool, a tennis court, and yoga dojo, plus a large bar and restaurant with rattans and bamboos. Rates include breakfast.
The beachfront Casa Romántica (tel./fax 506/2682-0272, www.casa-romantica.net, $70–95 s/d low season, $80–105 high season), at Guiones, appeals for its 10 rooms in beautiful two-story houses with gracious white and earth tones. Upper rooms are cross-ventilated two-bedroom apartments with kitchens and a wide, shaded veranda. The landscaped grounds contain a pool, ranchito with hammocks, and restaurant. It has a tennis court, and surf- and boogie board rentals. Rates include breakfast.
The sensational Balinese-inspired L’Acqua Viva Hotel & Spa (tel. 506/2682-1087, fax 506/2682-0420, www.lacquaviva.com, $194 rooms, $289 suites, $315–630 villas low season; $205 rooms, $310 suites, $341–745 villas high season) raised the ante considerably at Playa Güiones when it opened in 2008. Let’s start with the jaw-dropping lobby, with a peaked thatched roof and a brilliant contemporary design. Call it tropical post-modernism. Minimalist decor in the 35 spacious peak-roofed two-story guest quarters is tastefully contemporary, blending whites with dark Indonesian hardwood pieces, and bold salmons and stylish original art for color. Bathrooms have large walk-in showers. Sunlight pours in through shuttered windows and sliding glass doors, and sensuous bathrooms have coil-shaped showers. The huge trapezoidal pool begs lingering swims, and there’s a whirlpool. The bar could well be the hippest west of San José. Lovely! The property is hilly but has ramps, plus two units fitted for wheelchairs. There’s WiFi in the public areas, and the Billabong Surf School is here. Drawbacks? Many rooms are up against the main road and traffic noise is an issue, you’re a hefty haul from the beach, and TV reception is hit-and-miss (mostly miss).
Looking for self-catering? Bibi and Arne Bendixen (tel. 540/2297-8485, www.casa-banda.com) rent lovely apartments of various sizes as Casa Banda. And Tiffany Atkinson runs Nosara Beach Rentals (tel. 506/2682-0612, www.nosarabeachrentals.com).
© Christopher P. Baker from Moon Costa Rica, 8th Edition