Travel Select: NoSARA Costa Rica

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    Thomas BecknerSurf: Playa GuionesIn addition to its abundance of yoga retreats, Nosara’s miles of unspoiled coast are the main draw. Local laws prohibit construction within 550 feet of the shore, resulting in pristine, undeveloped beaches. With one of the most consistent breaks on the planet, Playa Guiones is the area’s most popular beach and a paradise for surfers of all levels. The break is so regular, you can surf here almost every day of the year.
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    Rent: Juan Surfo’sThe first thing to do in Nosara is to get to your hands on a board. Juan Surfo’s is undoubtedly the most fun surf shop—and not just because the store’s owner and namesake is the spitting image of Jeff Spicoli. $75 gets you a board for the week, and you can even swap it out any time for whatever style suits your (hopefully) ever-improving skills. If you’re lucky, Juan—who grew up surfing locally and also offers lessons—might even give you a few pointers.
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    Thomas BecknerDrive: QuadsThe roads around Nosara are mostly unpaved, making for a rather bumpy and dirty commute. While you’ll never escape the clouds of dust, you can beat the bounce by renting a quad (ATV), by far the most comfortable and fastest way to get around. Wear goggles to protect your eyes and bring a scarf to cover your face—and don’t worry about looking uncool: The quad “uniform” is a local way of life and practically a rite of passage.

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    Thomas BecknerStay: The Living HotelThis sweet little hotel—located just a few minutes’ walk from the beach—is about as close to the water as you can get. Not that you’ll want to venture far anyway: With its hammock-filled gardens, cozy rooms, full-service spa, round-the-clock fitness classes, crazy-good cafe, and gorgeous saltwater pool, The Living Hotel lives up to its name—and has plenty to keep you entertained.
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    Thomas BecknerEat: Burgers & BeersDon’t let the name fool you: This is not your average fast food joint. Swing by after surf to try the restaurant’s signature burger, The French (with Béarnaise sauce, bacon, and crushed potato chips) and a pint or two of one of the many Costa Rican craft beers on tap. Just be sure to arrive early—once the sun sets, there’s almost always a line out the door.
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  • Thomas BecknerShop: Love NosaraThis shop, with its graphic sign and open-air concept, is a love letter to Nosara in retail form. The boutique, which opened in November, offers well-priced clothing, accessories, and jewelry, all with a New Age/surfer vibe. Everything is designed by owner Susana Brown and produced locally; best sellers include breezy dresses with thin leather straps and rustic leather and canvas bags. The printed “Pura Vida” t-shirts, hats, and totes make for sweet—and envy-inducing—souvenirs.
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    • Thomas BecknerEat: El ChivoBetween all the surfing, swimming, and yoga, it’s not difficult to work up an appetite. El Chivo is a lively new spot serves up hearty Mexican dishes big enough to share—but you probably won’t want to. Alongside grande veggie burritos and pork belly carnita quesadillas, El Chivo boasts a pretty impressive roster of hard-to-find mezcal and tequila—all the better to fuel the restaurant’s regular live music nights.
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    • Thomas BecknerHydrate: Go JuiceThe food truck trend hasn’t really hit Nosara yet, but thanks to Go Juice, that may be changing. Since opening near the north end of the beach last November, this brightly-colored cart has become the go-to for tropical smoothies, cold-pressed juices, and local coffee drinks. Go Juice’s Tico Poke—a Hawaiian-inspired dish made from just-caught raw ahi tuna, spicy sesame sauce, and sliced avocado—is tasty enough to launch a food craze all its own.

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