Costa RicaCosta Rica

Stellar Sunset at Playa Guiones

Destination: Nosara

Overcast skies help keep the temperature comfortable. Coffee, served in insulated carafes with a buffet style breakfast, including fresh bread, eggs and fruit is available from 7:30-9:30am. Halloween crabs (orange and blue land crabs) sneak along the perimeter of the restaurant, scavenging for their next meal while keeping one eye on you. Hummingbirds visit the variety of colorful flowering plants that surround the pool and restaurant, and iguanas scamper on the pool deck nibbling on fallen hibiscus flowers. All this wildlife already and its only breakfast time!

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Casa Romantica has nicely manicured gardens, a pool and scattered hammocks and sitting areas for relaxing. Each of the 10 rooms are air conditioned, immaculately clean and comfortable. Personalized service and friendly guests make this hotel feel like home. Remo and Silvia, the owners, are not planning to add any more rooms. They do not want to get so big that they cannot learn the names of their guests. Remo and Silvia want to maintain the small, family feeling of their hotel.

The Nosara area is well known for its yoga and massage institutes. There are yoga classes on the beach and several massage spas. Various types of therapies in general are found in the Nosara area.

Big waves and, therefore, surfing, are big attractions here too. The surfing is diverse, with something for everyone. It changes from day to day so if it's too calm one day, chances are that the next, it will be head high. Beginner surfers find windows of opportunity to surf here, but swimmers are left with only the water in front of the breakers to enjoy; the undertow is strong.

Protected beaches in the Nosara area (part of the Ostional Wildlife Refuge) assure safe nesting of the Olive Ridley Sea turtle. These sea turtles arrive throughout the year large numbers known as arribadas. Their arrivals are random and vary from month to month.

A prime spot for snorkeling at low tide is just a 10-minute walk south from Casa Romantica. Other activities in the area include bird watching, horseback riding, sport fishing and kayaking. Various tours are available: kayaking (river and ocean), tours to the Tempisque River Basin and wildlife tours to the Boca River in the Nosara Biological Reserve. Golf cart and 4x4 rentals are also possible. Birding is excellent year round here, but especially great during the migration seasons (Sept- Oct and March- April).

Left with the afternoon free, we tour the Nosara area. Playa Pelada, the next beach north of Guiones, has a small commercial area. Olgas Bar/ Restaurant serves inexpensive Costa Rican style entrees with beachfront dining. The Blue Ecological Flag proudly flies at this beach.

A little further up the road is the Nosara Biological Reserve. Here there are trails for hiking and many species of plants have ID tags. The bird watching is awesome here; there are between 270 and 320 migrant and resident birds in this private reserve.

The actual town of Nosara is very undeveloped and spread out. There are a few stores, a gas station and an airstrip. Most of the restaurants and hotels are not in the town center like in Samara, they are spread throughout the residential area near our hotel.

Evening on the beach is beautiful and the sunset -- stellar!

As the evening settles in and the tree frogs begin to chirp, the candles and aroma of cooking garlic draw us to the dinner table (I've got stroganoff on my mind!) The stroganoff is rich and flavorful and the meat is very tender. It must have been some sort of "Swiss" stroganoff because it lacked the buttered noodles and creamy mushroom sauce I was expecting. But, nonetheless, I was pleasantly surprised.

After a fulfilling dinner and the famous Cafe Casa Romantica dessert, the rocking chairs in front of our room are the perfect place to digest the pleasing meal.

Stellar Sunset at Playa Guiones in Pictures

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