backhouse nosara costa rica fieldnotes

Having four kids with busy schedules (and two of them being out of the house) while running a business full-time it is almost impossible to have extended and uninterrupted quality time all together. My husband, Taylor, and I make it a priority every year to escape with our family and find the time to connect following a busy holiday season at the backhouse. This past year the six of us traveled to Nosara, Costa Rica and to say we fell in love would be an understatement. 

Getting there:  We flew into Liberia, which is an approximately 2 hour drive from the airport to Nosara. Part of the journey is paved and part of it is windy dirt roads. While it may seem nerve-wracking, try to remember that it is all a part of the charm. I promise it will be well worth it!   

We stayed in an airbnb near the infamous Gilded Iguana Hotel in Playa Guiones. We absolutely adored the small surf town vibe that this area gave off. This hotel is definitely worth paying a visit to, but having a home with a kitchen was best for our large tribe. If you go this route, I would highly recommend reaching out to your airbnb host (or us at backhouse) for a chef recommendation. We had the pleasure of having Jessica with us - and she was amazing. From her cut-up fresh fruit (that we couldn’t get enough of), to her chilaquiles for breakfast and her nightly fresh guacamole - this was just such a treat! 

Exploring the different restaurants and cuisine of Nosara was one of our most favorite parts. We discovered so many special gems throughout our time there. I would recommend exploring and finding some of your own! Here are some of our favorites to get you started on the right track. 

  • Coyal Restaurant:  This is a must.  At the top of the list for good reason.  From the sweeping views, to the ambiance and architecture, this restaurant will be one you will never forget.  The food was delish and would highly recommend booking at sunset.  
  • Harmony Hotel Restaurant: Not only is this restaurant a super rad place to stay, but their food is to die for as well and they have amazing service. We were able to walk in and get a table for lunch, but I would recommend calling ahead.- it is a hot spot! 
  • Howlers Beach Lounge: We walked here daily. Loved their carpaccio, tacos and cocktails. We loved chatting with the owner and hearing him share all of his celebrity sightings! Take note of the Howler Monkeys in the trees around sunset…hence the name :) 
  • La Luna restaurant:  Another must.  Such a beautiful location on the beach.  Highly recommend booking at sunset. 
  • Rolling Waves Coffee Shop: My daily spot to walk to and pick up my favorite Chai Latte.  Everyone who worked here was so friendly and had a very local vibe.  
  • Olo Alaia: A super cute surf shop that serves coffee and beer. I love a sip and shop situation! Reminded me of the Almond Surfboard shop in our home town.  
  • Organico Bakery: What a fun place! With a pool, mini golf and basketball this is such a great kid spot to grab breakfast or lunch. The food and cocktails didn’t disappoint.  
  • Organico Market: Hit up this spot as you head to the beach for ready made snacks and hummus. Their freshly baked bread and juices were a hit.  
  • Al Chile: This was a family friendly place with an easy “mexican food” type menu. Same owners as Harmony Hotel. 
  • Destiny Cafe: Get here early for breakfast! They run out of many items early on - but that’s how you know it’s good! Call before heading that way to see if they have run out of certain menu items.  
  • Rosi’s: Amazing local spot to grab breakfast. We tried to go back a second time but they close on certain days and have limited hours so be sure to check. 
  • Posada Margherita:  A little hidden gem.  The service was amazing and the pizza, pasta, salads and cocktails didn’t disappoint.  The garden vibe and neutral pallet of this place made it very inviting.   

There are just so many things to do in Nosara. However, The town is so charming and relaxing that we found ourselves spending most of our time relaxing on the beach.  The rolling surfable waves made it hard to leave. A few of the things we did stood out to us and we will be sure to repeat on our next visit. 

  • Golf Cart Rentals: This is a must. We took the golf carts everywhere and used this as our main form of transportation. They also have TukTuk’s if you can’t secure golf carts and need a quick way of getting around.  
  • La Luna Beach: One of our favorite things to do was pack a cooler and drive our golf carts at 4:30 to La Luna Beach to take a sunset swim. Seriously so dreamy. 
  • Chartering a Boat for the Day: We loved getting out on the water and snorkeling! We used Marco Fernandez at Costa Catch as our boat captain. 
  • Fishing: The boys had such a great time fishing! Our oldest son Race had the best catch of the day - a 30lb Mahi Mahi! 
  • Farmers market on Tuesdays: A great little local market to pick up some fresh fruit and coconuts. This was such a fun way to get into the culture and feel like a local.  
  • Massages: We found a local masseuse named Jennifer.  She was so amazing and came to our airbnb, which was for sure a highlight! There is also a place called Tika Massage, that we have heard is great!  

We learned a few tips and tricks after spending a week here that will help you out and we will follow our next time!

  • Nosara is generally pretty casual.  Don't bring your favorite shoes as the roads are unpaved.  Havaianas were a must have with our group!
  • Frog Pad Surf Shop and Beach Rentals:  We rented beach chairs and umbrellas from here and highly recommend them.  These are a necessity if you plan to spend time at the beach.  We brought a backpack cooler with us that we used daily, but if you don’t have room to pack one, you can rent one from Frog Pad.  
  • Don’t forget to bring plenty of bug spray.  But if you get chosen, the local pharmacy had a great cream with Benadryl and numbing cream that did the trick.  

We hope you enjoy your trip to Nosara as much as we did.  Feel free to reach out to for more info or to share some of your own recs with us for our next visit! Happy Traveling.