Surfing first arrived in Costa Rica in the 1960s when American surfers traveled to the country’s Pacific Coast in search of uncrowded waves. With the discovery of world-class surf in Costa Rica, it wasn’t long until it became a go-to destination for traveling surfers. Aided by the classic surf film, The Endless Summer II, Costa Rica rose to stardom as a top-notch surf travel destination by the 1990s. Today, Costa Rica ranks as one of the top surf travel destinations in the world. In addition to near-perfect surf, Costa Rica is home to rainforests, cloud forests, stunning beaches, exotic wildlife, and a welcoming and hospitable culture. To learn How Nosara, Costa Rica Became an International Surf Destination for all Levels of Surfers, continue reading below.
The Early Days Surfing in Nosara, Costa Rica
What’s now a convenient location just 2 hours away from Liberia’s relatively new international airport was once an off-beaten-path destination far from the country’s capital and only airport. For this reason, Nosara developed more slowly than Jaco and other further south Costa Rica surf destinations. While much of Nosara’s surrounding land was owned by expatriate American ranchers in the 1970s, the town lacked modern conveniences like roads, electricity, and telephones. An early surf trip to Nosara usually involved camping on the beach. At the time, a lot next to the beach was $3,000, electricity was only available by generator, and trips to town involved a long ride on horseback. Nosara’s first dirt road appeared in 1979, and other developments followed shortly.
A Commitment to Sustainability
By the 2000s, Nosara and Playa Guiones had a blossoming ex-pat community that would continue to grow through the first decade of the new millenia. As the parts of Costa Rica faced overdevelopment, Nosara remained a quiet retreat for those who wanted to escape the noise of other surf towns like Jaco and Tamarindo. As Costa Rica’s popularity as a global travel destination boomed, development in Nosara was imminent, but the town’s newly formed Civic Association fought to ensure it was done with the environment in mind. Making reforestation a priority, the Civic. Association established a buffer zone of 250 linear meters to protect the beach at Playa Guiones from development. Today, Nosara’s homes, hotels, and businesses are each set back from the beach, leaving the beach and its surrounding wildness as a protected wildlife zone.
Fostering a Love of Surfing in Nosara
Because some of the earliest businesses in Nosara were surf schools, the area developed a tolerance and respect for new surfers that stands in contrast to highly localized breaks around the world. Thanks to the over 4 miles of sandy beach in Play Guiones, new and experienced surfers have room to spread out and surf comfortably within their abilities. Playa Guiones offers surfers safe sand bottom waves that peel gently with a sloped face, making them perfect for progression.
Along for the Ride
Tim, our founder, first traveled to Costa Rica in 1995 with his wife and a few friends. They were chasing surf, but they found their future home in the tiny fishing village of Garza instead. After a four-day stay, they knew they would be back. Upon returning home to the States, Marsi and Tim sold their possessions and moved to Costa Rica with their two pugs, living in the back of the market in a tiny room with no computers, no telephones, no TV, and no internet. They made the most of their time and operated a deli catering to fishermen and traveling surfers, but the slow season forced them to return to the states, where they eventually found jobs and fell into the old routine. It wasn’t long before Tim and Marsi were drawn back to Costa Rica. After a run-in with an old friend who started a surf school in California, the idea for Safari Surf was born. Tim called his brother Tyler, and the pair went to work, making their dreams a reality.
Today, Safari Surf operates the gold standard of surf schools in Costa Rica. Developed with sustainability and the local community at the center of our operations, we believe we’ve created the ultimate local team that’s been with us for years. Fall in love with surfing with Safari Surf School in Nosara, Costa Rica.