Interesting Facts about Nosara That You Probably Didn’t Know

An enchanting and enigmatic place

A hidden shipwreck on the outer shores of Playa Guiones

Ask most people whether they know of the shipwreck that sits a short way off the shoreline at Playa Guiones and the reply will very likely be negative. Although rarely visited by other than a few snorkeling tours, or the odd scuba or free diver, there is indeed the dilapidated carcass of an old sunken steamboat on the ocean bed. Why it’s there, where it came from, and how long it’s been sitting there will likely remain a mystery.

The Gilded Iguana was Playa Guiones first ever building

In 1973, a barge dropped anchor on the Southern end of Playa Guiones. It’s cargo consisted of bricks, cement, and other construction materials, all of which were stored in wooden barrels. Upon arrival, the wooden barrels were jettisoned over the side of the boat, after which they drifted down-shore and were eventually carried to the beach by the ocean surf. After being transported a short way up the road by oxcart, these construction materials would become the foundations of The Gilded Iguana Hotel and Restaurant. The Gilded Iguana would become Playa Guiones’ first-ever properly constructed building.


It’s been written that Costa Rican bull riding began as a pastime for farmers, and agricultural hands looking to test their mettle. Although the modern-day riders enjoy high status in Costa Rica, it’s the bulls that reign supreme. And it’s the animals most skilled at tossing, bucking, goring, and yes, killing, that is the most celebrated of them all. Among this elite group of creatures one name stands out above all – “Malacrianza,” which in Spanish pretty much translates to “badass.”  The name appears throughout the country on T-shirts, bars, storefronts and even the sides of school buses. However, the home town where it was raised was right here in the surrounding Nosara pastures, Playa Garza to be exact. If you’re ever driving past Playa Garza and wondering why there’s a large statue of a bull standing proudly on the hill now you know why.

Turtles solely responsible for the evolution of Nosara

In 1981 the Costa Rican government acknowledged that the turtle breeding activity that takes place at Ostional was subject to legal safeguards. It subsequently declared the area between Nosara river mouth and Punta India a designated wildlife refuge. This move would have crucial implications for the future development of Playa Guiones. Four years later. The Costa Rican Ministry of Agriculture extended the refugee status to cover Playa Guiones and Playa Pelada. The result of this was that no construction would be permitted near the shoreline. In practice, what this means is that the next time you’re wandering the pristine, deserted shores of Playa Guiones wondering why the coastline lacks the building and construction of so many other beaches in Costa Rica, you know exactly who you have to thank – the turtles!!

Playa Guiones very nearly became a golf course

Nearly 5 decades ago, when Playa Guiones was only just becoming known to the outside world, development plans included the construction of a full-sized, 18 hole golf course. Luckily the town escaped this fate leaving in place many acres of beautiful jungle and woodland to enjoy. The fact that the plans never came to fruition means Nosara and Playa Guiones may have dodged a huge ecological bullet. However, visitors who can’t do without hitting a single golf ball during their stay should check out the 18 hole mini-golf course on the grounds of a local restaurant, bakery, and hang-out spot: Cafe de Paris.

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