K+E Escape: Costa Rica Hideaway
May 9, 2017
After a little over a 5 hour direct flight to Liberia, Costa Rica, we found our way to Budget Rent-a-Car and got our SUV rental. With the GPS and Google Maps turned on our cell phone, we started our drive to the sleepy surf town called, Nosara.
It’s about two hours to get to Nosara from Liberia and the drive takes you through some small towns (some with asphalt, some without), scattered farms, tico’s homes, little sodas (local restaurants) and the most prevalent event of the whole drive is the famous dirt roads. …Complete with bumps, holes, and more bumps and more potholes and when I say dirt roads, I mean “DIRT ROADS” and in the high season (from November until the beginning of May), it is very dry with no rain and that makes even more dirt (and yes, it is airborne and dirt is all over the trees, leaves, cars, people, motorcycles, you get the idea). It’s a good idea to make sure your rental car is equipped with a good suspension; otherwise your kidneys get an incredible workout with all those bumps.
This dirt road leads you into the town of Nosara and leads you out of the town of Nosara – there’s no other way in or out.
I think due to the dirt roads in and out of Nosara, it makes you feel like you’re cocooned in a remote part of the world. Isolated. No tour buses. No parades of people from all-inclusive resorts. This undeniably adds to the beauty of it all for me.
Nosara is located on the Nicoya Peninsula and its uniquely protected beach does not allow for any new development within 200 yards of the ocean (just a note that Nicoya is recognized as one of the five Blue Zones in the world – along with Sardinia, Italy, Icaria, Greece, Loma Linda, California and Okinawa, Japan.). This protection of green space is such a plus for me as I love nature and am an advocate for protecting animals’ habitats. There are no high-rises or fast food restaurants, no masses of people, no chaises longues on the beach – in effect, it’s an anti-resort, chill-out town full of health-minded surfers and yogis. This is what it is known for.
Imagine the sounds of only some exotic birds warbling their unique songs and the constant roar of waves. As you walk towards the beach, along the meandering sandy path, through the protected green space of Nosara, you begin to feel the ocean breeze and the salt-water air on your face. It’s early morning and the Zen energy is in full force as the wind cools you down, you still feel the intense warmth of the sun permeating the sky and the Pacific ocean is beckoning you to step closer.
Once on the beach, there are all walks of life here from barefoot, bikini-clad joggers running by, to elderly couples (very fit) power walking, there are bicycles peddling along on the beach and the surfers… Yes, the surfers! This is a surfer’s paradise and they come from all over the world to catch their groove here. They start before dawn and end after dusk and it is such an amazing experience to watch the show. Click on the video below to see the sunset waves.
You can’t help but feel the intense health vibe and energy radiating from here.
I experienced my first try at surfing and must say, it was totally exhilarating! Low tide was my favourite time to play as high tide was much more powerful. I always managed to find the perfect surf and baby waves for me. I called it ‘foam surfing’. The most fun I had was ‘wave jumping’ and getting knocked over the odd time. It was a great way to cool off from 38C sunshine.
It’s no wonder that Nosara is ranked in the top 20 surf towns in the world to surf with it’s perfect rolling waves.
But for me, it is Nosara’s embrace of an eco-friendly, all natural, organic lifestyle that rounds out its appeal. No polished clothes, high heels or make up is necessary. I wore the same flip-flops every day and no makeup except for waterproof mascara and some SPF 50 pink tinted lip balm. I walked everywhere in a bikini. Everyone does it – even on the roads to get to your hotel or a smoothie for lunch. For dinner out, you can throw on a sundress or a pair of cut-off jean shorts.
Nosara’s energy is home to a dozen or so yoga retreats like Blue Spirit (on my ‘to do’ list), day spas, natural healing classes and a culinary scene that emphasizes super-fresh ingredients like local farm fresh produce.
This is the kind of place where a crowd assembles at the beach for the sunset each day, in a Zen-like tribute to Mother Earth and the respect is given for our day worth living. This is the magic of Nosara.
The Nosara dogs….
So, this part I had to share! I wasn’t sure if I could convey the bizarre observation that I had seen day in and day out. After two weeks of hanging out on the on the beach daily and most of the time it was multiple times a day, I witnessed an incredible, undeniable energy coming from the dogs of Nosara. Yes, the dogs – these pets of the locals in Nosara. These animals were magical and human-like and there were many dogs from small mixed breeds to Great Danes. No leashes are required (unlike back home) on this beach and these dogs acted like it would be very odd to put a leash on them – as it wasn’t needed. They didn’t come and greet me and sniff me or bother me by running on my towel and toss around sand and shake their wet bodies on me. They knew beach etiquette. We would watch them frolic in the water and do their wave jumping (!!) and on the beach they maybe chased each other or strolled side by side. And yes, they surfed too! They simply cared about hanging out with each other and where their human was. These brilliant dogs were walking the beach like they got, ‘places to go and other doggies to meet’, and they were literally being in the moment and experiencing their present moment of joy.
As much as it sounds crazy, but the way that dogs lived there – with loving kindness and an equality to humans made my heart melt.
Restaurants? We had so many to choose from but my favourites were Burgers and Beers(great Portobello mushroom burger), Harmony Hotel had a fantastic restaurant and very (consistently) good with very healthy choices. Harmony Hotel also had a juice bar too for juices and smoothies (for after yoga) and raw vegan energy balls too. I really enjoyed Jasmine’s kitchen but there is a disclaimer with this place and you have to be prepared to wait for your food. It’s delicious and I would have eaten there every day and it is plant-powered and lovingly crafted and everything I LOVE everything about it – but go when there is no one else is waiting for food or buy a ton and it will keep in your fridge for the next day. Ken and I also enjoyed La Luna restaurant for the most spectacular sunsets and hummus plate and a bottle of Chianti wine. Go Juice, (a food truck) was an easy walk and perfect for an acai smoothie bowls and a juice through the day.
Tuesday morning was the local organic market and that’s where we would pick up fresh kale, avocados, cacao beans, Guanabana (better known as Soursop and is a powerhouse for its cancer-fighting properties), and organic local coconut yogurt (flavoured with vanilla bean and cardamom) and fresh made almond milk to bring back to our hotel room. I was in love! It was so incredible to be able to support local ticos and ex-pats (a ton of Canadians living there) trying to make a go of it in another country like Costa Rica. Of course my wheels were turning in my head to try figure out how we could do this too.
I did yoga on most days at the Harmony Wellness Center, located at the Harmony Hoteland they had a variety of instructors every morning – I loved this space. Harmony Hotel also had meditation a few times a week that Ken really enjoyed. I also did yoga too with the lovely Melissa, at the Moana Surf Resort, where we stayed and it was perfect too. Surfing instruction can be had at various surf shops in the town but by far the best place to get a surfing instruction was one-on-one, at the Moana Surf Resort (ask for Alejandro). The kindness and generous spirit from the Moana Surf Resort is second to none!
(here is a video I did on the first day in Nosara and unwinding from the stressors back home. I take you on a walk from our hotel room to the beach – Facebook LIVE)
I was happy to spend my days here simply reading and planning out the next stage of my life and getting to know me again. That is sometimes a crazy thing to do as we get so caught up in our chaos and routines and drama. Sometimes we simply don’t have the opportunity to spend time alone with ourselves and for me this was a welcome break.
Nosara has a magical effect on people and what I find is that because it’s so remote and isolated from the rest of Costa Rica, (because of the dirt roads and green space), there is without a doubt, this transformational vortex power that emanates from it. It attracts a certain vibe of people that are more healthy and chill and spirituality is on their mind. After the first week of being there, I felt like I had been gone for well over two weeks, and after two weeks, it was like I was gone a month and any longer? Well, you can only imagine how long it would have felt like I was gone for.
This is why I love going to Nosara. It is magical, transformational and the secluded feeling I get here ensures that I will get the downtime needed to reboot my heart and my body, and my mind, my spirit and my soul. I was so excited to spend hours on our covered deck, extended from our hotel room, overlooking the ocean, or chill on the beach and simply watching the dogs play. Life is so beautiful and is ours to find our very own unique, deep joy – whatever that may be.
With love, magic and daily smiles,