To get the most out of your stay in Nosara, we recommend that you rent a car or an ATV (All Terrain Vehicle) – unless you come solely to enjoy the pool, beach and restaurants within walking distance.
The roads in Costa Rica are (in)famous for being bumpy at best as soon as you leave the main highways. In the dry season, a regular car will get you to most places, but during the green season and if you want to explore just a little bit, 4-wheel drive is strongly recommended. If you can drive a stick shift, it will serve you better in this terrain and it is usually cheaper. If you are not used to manual transmission, this is not the place to learn.
Crossing La Montaña in a “Daihatsu Terio”. Don’t do it until you have seen somebody else do it, so you can gage the depth and the best path to cross. Be very careful crossing rivers in a small lightweight car, and be aware that gasoline engines stall easily in water.
For links to several car rental agencies, go to
You can also have somebody else try to find the best deal for you http://www.1costaricalink.com/eng/transportation/rent-car.htm
Note: renting a car from a company located at the airport in Alajuela (San Jose) will add en extra airport tax. Some companies located not far from the airport do not charge this extra tax. Be very cautious about renting from semi-private or little known car rental companies!
For those traveling by GPS, our coordinates are W85° 45.756, N9° 57.798 or longitude -85.673 and latitude 9.96. A very good map of Costa Rica is available for GPS now. For the rest of us, directions by car, airplane or bus might be easier.
Whether you fly into San Jose (SJO) or Liberia (LIR) and plan to drive to Nosara, you should follow directions to Nicoya and from there head towards Nosara. Getting from the San Jose area to Nosara used to take anywhere between 4 and 6 hours, depending on number of big trucks on the two-lane road, weather, time of day or week, etc. etc. Fortunately, in late January 2010, a new stretch of (toll) highway from the San Jose area to Caldera, near Puntareñas opened, and this has shortened the drive with at least one hour. For the latest information on the new road, make a search for “Autopista del Sol Costa Rica ”
There are several flight connections into Liberia, and the drive from Liberia to Nosara is only about 2 ½ hours.
Regardless of where you are coming from, you should find your way to Nicoya. Go all the way through Nicoya and follow the road toward Samara and Nosara. After about 30 km/18.5 miles, you come to a gas station - La Bomba - on your left. (This is a good time to fill up the tank, because the next gas station will be in Nosara.) Shortly thereafter, you will come to a Y intersection. Going straight, you will end up in Samara; to go to Nosara, veer right and continue another 27 km/17 miles on a hard surface and dirt road. Depending on season, this road varies between OK and awful, but at least there are no waterways to cross anymore.
If you look on a map, you will see a more direct route from Nicoya to Nosara. Unfortunately, parts of this road are only passable at the end of the dry season, with four wheel drive, and knowledge about driving in a river basin.
No matter where you drive, watch out for “killer pot holes”. If it is your first time driving to Nosara, we do not recommend that you do this in the dark. There are few street lights and holes and narrow bridges/places where part of the road has washed away are difficult to see. Shortly after sunset, many Ticos are on their way home, most by foot or bicycle with no kind of lights or reflectors! Meeting cars and trucks with no lights on is not uncommon. Single lane bridges are very common, and most of them have a readable Yield sign on one side, please look for the sign. If in doubt - Yield. Also many busses and trucks assume that they always have the right-away. Please be careful!
Some helpful words when driving:
Having somebody else drive for you:
If you arrive in San Jose and do not want to drive to the coast, even if you are going to have a car in Nosara, we can recommend Alberto and Carlos as your taxi drivers. Ask for contact and pricing information.
Verify the cost of a taxi ride with your driver before leaving. You do not need to tip taxi drivers in Costa Rica.
Another option is a shuttle bus www.costaricashuttle.com: http://www.1costaricalink.com/eng/transportation/shuttle.htm http://www.anywherecostarica.com/transportation
Shuttle prices are generally for an entire van, no matter the number of passengers. Vans usually seat at least 6-8 passengers, so if you've got a larger group it can be a very affordable option.
Finally, there are the busses:You can get just about anywhere in Costa Rica by bus, provided you aren't in a hurry. Prices are cheap, but travel can be long and uncomfortable.
The express bus from San Jose to Nosara leaves daily at 6am - Travel time- 6 hours. The express bus Nosara to San Jose leaves at 12:30 pm
This option means that will have to spend a night in Alajuela or San Jose at both ends of your trip. But, you can’t beat the price!
Daily busses from Nicoya to Nosara at 5am, 10am and 2pm - Travel time- 2.5 hours. Daily buses from Nosara to Nicoya at 6am, 12:15pm and 3pm
Alfaro Busses: 2-682-0297. All busses leave from the bus station in the village of Nosara, in front of the pharmacy. The bus to Nicoya has more stops along the way, one being at the bottom of the hill, at “5 Corners”.
This link contains tons of information about seeing Costa Rica by bus. http://www.costaricabybus.com/
Finally, if you do not want to travel the ground when going to Nosara, regional airlines offer service to Nosara.
Both Sansa and Nature Air offer regional flights throughout Costa Rica. Their schedule change with season, so please check their web sites. Flying directly from San Jose to Nosara (NOB) is by far the easiest way to get to Nosara, assuming you can time a connecting flight in San Jose. Often, you'll have to come one way with Sansa, and the other with Nature Air. Also note that these small planes have luggage and carry-on weight restrictions.
Sansa flies from San Jose International Airport (SJO). Nature Air flies out of the Pavas Airport, which is a 1/2 hour cab ride from San Jose International.
Nature Air sometimes offer flights to and from Liberia International Airport (LIR). The Liberia Airport is smaller than the San Jose Airport, and quite a bit easier to get in and out of. Only drawback is that they strictly limit how much luggage you can carry.
If you have a group of people traveling, chartering a plane might be cheaper and definitely more convenient http://www.flywithparadise.com/index.html
When arriving in Nosara, there are always taxis waiting at the air strip. We can also arrange for a taxi to meet you there.
To find your way to
On the top map, Casa-Banda is part of the white “smudge” under the name for Lagarta Lodge, near the mouth of the Nosara River.