From Nosara to Tamarindo, Two Roads, One Destination

17 May, 2019

Traveling from Nosara to Tamarindo is a task I have been doing for several months, let me explain how is the road, driving time, and more.

You have 3 options to go from Nosara to Tamarindo and/or back, but only two are reasonable.

  • On a Public Bus through Nicoya and Santa Cruz
  • On Private shuttle service
  • Driving your own or rented car

Here Are Your Options Explained

There is no direct public bus service between Nosara and Tamarindo. If you are going on a public bus, it is certainly cheaper, but it will take you around 5 hours and must make several transfers.

You have to go from Nosara to Nicoya, and there, take another bus from Nicoya to Santa Cruz, and later take another bus from Santa Cruz to Tamarindo. It is not practical, but it is possible.

If you are going on a Private Shuttle Service, they will take you for the longer, but the faster road, going from Nosara to Nicoya, to Santa Cruz, and then to Tamarindo. Price is $160, and you can make your reservation on our website. Click here.

This is what we call The Cultural Road. Around two and a half hours. This road is also less harmful to the shuttle, and the noblest to the user, that’s why we choose to do it, however, if you are interested in the other road, you can talk to the driver, and if the conditions are right, drivers can take you the other way.

If you are going driving your own car or a rented car, let me explain to you the two road choices, the conditions of the roads, and the beauties each one has.

Driving from Nosara to Tamarindo will take from two and a half hours to three hours, and you will need a 4X4 or just a regular SUV, depending on the road you choose, and even the time of the year you choose to do it.

Even though Tamarindo is north of Nosara, to go to Tamarindo, the faster road, the Cultural Road goes south, and the other choice, the Coastal Road goes north.

The Cultural Road

This is the longest but faster road. From Guiones you take southeast on a dusty bumpy road to Barco Quebrado, where you go northeast to Cruce Nosara-Samara. This road is partially paved, but with holes and bumps.

From el Cruce, you take a left on route 150 which is a paved wavy and winding road to Nicoya. You pass the center of Nicoya to the main way of Guanacaste, and there you take a left northwest on route 21 to Santa Cruz.

Just outside Santa Cruz, you take a left going west on route 160 to Veintisiete de Abril, and there you take road 152 to Tamarindo. We call it the Cultural Road because you pass two of the most cultural towns in Guanacaste.

Nicoya is the first colonial city in Costa Rica. Its church was build in 1644 and houses a museum with ancient religious artifacts. It is now closed due to damage of an earthquake. This town has the best tortillas and Biscochos, and it’s famous for its pottery.

Nicoya is the biggest town near Nosara, and people always come from Nosara to Nicoya to run errands and buy supplies. On Nicoya, they have the municipal offices and have over Nosara political interference.

Santa Cruz is known as La Ciudad Folclórica, (Folkloric city). It is known for its pottery, with origins on the pre-Columbian era. You will frequently find a Marimba entertaining folks on the street, and their fiesta of Santo Cristo de Esquipulas is famous nationwide, with the best “Montador’s” (Bull riders).

Santa Cruz is the biggest town near Tamarindo. It is a bigger town than Nicoya. Although now there is a bridge that brings Nicoya closer to the rest of the country, traditionally almost everything that entered Nicoya came by the route Liberia-Santa Cruz-Nicoya, or by boat from Puntarenas.

The Coastal Road

The other road is going north, you have to pass two rivers through the river bed and the rest of the road is a dusty, bumpy, wavy and winding road, almost all the way to Tamarindo. You go parallel to the coast, and you pass next to what are probably the most beautiful beaches in Guanacaste.

Passing those rivers is what makes it impossible to travel during the rainy season, so probably it can only be done in December, and with a bit of luck, until June or July.

It is a beautiful ride, no much traffic, beautiful scenery, and mountain views. Full of high-end housing projects, you can find lots and houses for sale or places to stay.

About the beaches, let’s start with Ostional, which is a turtle nesting paradise. You can see regularly, some turtles coming out of the ocean to lay eggs on the beach. You have to hire a local tour guide to see them.

Then you get to San Juanillo. Stunning nearly virgin white sand beach and blue sea water. A must see in Guanacaste. Then you get to Marbella. A surfing paradise, almost unknown, less crowded than the rest of the surfing points around.

Finally, the road takes you inland, up to the town of Veintisiete de Abril, where you hit paved roads again. on Veintisiete de Abril, you take a left on route 152 to Tamarindo.

Why Going to Tamarindo

Tamarindo is a larger place than Nosara, with more buildings, bigger hotels, and malls. Usually is a crowded place, with more tourism. It has also great nightlife, with places pack with locals and tourists alike. Tamarindo is known for the laid back ambiance and a Party town

It is a great place for surfing, with a famous break. It has lots of schools to learn how to surf, and places to rent or buy surfing gear. On the main boulevard, there are lots of places with art galleries, boutiques, and craft shops.

You can find Sportfishing boats, and it is high almost year round with Roosterfish, Snapper, and Amberjack. You can also find sunset sailing on a catamaran with a bar and snacks on board.

The river estuary is full of fun with kayaking, Stand Up Paddle, boats, and wildlife. Near Tamarindo, you can find Las Baulas National Park in Playa Grande.

Around Tamarindo, there are lots of beaches, with surfing brakes, and points of tourist interest, wildlife reserves, animal sanctuaries, and wildlife rescue centers.

Frequently ask questions

Is there a shared shuttle between Nosara and Tamarindo? Yes, there is, it is our competitors, with a service at 7:30 am from $50 to $65 per person. For a private service, you can make a reservation on our website, on an air-conditioned free WiFi and complimentary water bottles, for $160 for up to 4 persons, and you will travel on your time and your conditions. Click Here. We also have surfboard racks.

Another way of doing it is taking the Airport shared shuttle for $45 from Nosara to Santa Cruz, and taking the public bus from Santa Cruz to Nicoya. Probably a three-hour ride, and a cheap way of doing it.

Are there other interesting places to go from Nosara? Yes, you can go to Samara, Montezuma, and Santa Teresa on Guanacaste, Monteverde or Manuel Antonio on Puntarenas. Those are places you can go for a weekend from Nosara, as well as Tamarindo.

It is common for people that spend a couple of weeks or more on Nosara, to spend a weekend in other towns. There are dozens of places with Surf brakes, Yoga retreats, wonderful sightseen, and beautiful beaches, from crowded places to more calm towns.

We can take you anywhere you want from Nosara. On our website, you can read about some of the principal towns we go, with detail information about roads, conditions, ride time, and more.

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