Ecotourism in Costa Rica – A Trip Through Gorgeous Nosara
While not being much into yoga or surf, I didn’t know what to expect from my first trip to Nosara, a beach town in Guanacaste dominated by the two activities. After having lived in the country for several years, I traveled to the idyllic beach known for big waves and good vibes in search of other ways to enjoy sustainable tourism in Costa Rica. Maybe few countries are as well known for their commitment to ecotourism and sustainable development as Costa Rica. Afterall, the tiny country in Central America has famously protected a quarter of its lands into nature reserves and national parks to prevent overdevelopment on the country’s mesmerizing jungles and beaches.
Having attracted loads of international visitors and residents in recent years, Nosara (“the perfect vacation spot”) has now reached the rarified air of being considered one of the go-to beaches on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast. On that first trip to Nosara, I took a guided tour through the Nosara Biological Reserve where the German-born host took me through the lush, 90-acre reserve. The whole time she pointed out unique-looking birds jetting through the mangroves. My guide had me note how low the water level was in the historically lush mangroves, saying a 2012 earthquake that reached a strong magnitude of 7.6 on the Richter scale has contributed to lower water levels. “Ever since then, the water level has been extremely low and never recovered,” she said. We then kayaked down the Nosara River, as I tried to snap pictures from my phone of the tropical birds and small crocodiles rested on the river’s edges.
Horseback tours and stand-up paddling are other great ways to traverse both forest and water at the Nosara Biological Reserve. Another must-do ecotour when in Costa Rica is ziplining. Also known as canopy tours, there are countless opportunities across the country to soar through the green jungle-tops, and Nosara is no exception. The local company I went with boasts 21 lines that each traverse lengths up to 750 meters, looking down below on the reserve that I had just kayaked and hiked through.
I went along with a group of seven other U.S. tourists as we were loaded on the back of a large truck and were carried up into the hills surrounding Nosara. The view that looked down on the Pacific was worth the price of the tour alone. Then our young local guides gave us a quick walkthrough on the few simple steps we needed to know for ziplining, which basically amounted to using the glove on your right hand to grab hold of the line and slow down when coming upon a platform. The two-hour canopy tour was a great way to get an intimate view of Nosara’s stunning nature, while also sharing an entertaining time with both locals and travelers alike.
As mentioned, no trip to Nosara is complete without surf lessons or yoga classes. Though I wasn’t in town long enough to try my hand at either, both industries are well-embedded in the town. Surf lessons are easy to come by on the main street in front of the beach where locals are happy to provide tourists with a day out on the perfect waves. Though I didn’t opt for lessons myself, a surf pro in the area told me that what makes the swell off Nosara’s coast so sought-after is because there is deep water right offshore from large canyons that jet down below the ground and open up space for huge waves above the surface. Nosara also has the laid-back feel of a quintessential surf town to match its gigantic waves. These relaxing vibes cross over into the yoga industry, as well, as Nosara is home to many retreat centers that attract travelers interested in sustainable tourism and leaving low environmental impacts.
This video will give you a few more reasons to consider Costa Rica for your next holiday. Check back to the blog soon for more ecotourism adventures as we keep making our way through Latin America.