If you’re looking for a beach in Costa Rica, you don’t have to look far. Being that the country has two bountiful coasts, there are endless options – truly, there is a “playa” for everyone.
And if you’re looking to do yoga on the beach in Costa Rica, the options are still endless.
Lining northwestern province of Guanacaste is Costa Rica’s “Golden Coast” – beach after beautiful beach of golden sand and stunning Pacific sunsets, along with towns that alternate between all-inclusive resorts and bachelor parties. A 12-hour drive to the east lies Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast, where backpackers, Rastafarians, European immigrants, and the indigenous BriBri alike enjoy coral-filled turquoise waters, coconut rice and whole fish, and the non-stop parties of Puerto Viejo.
But tucked away from these more popular destinations lie two peninsulas along Costa Rica’s southwestern Pacific coast: the Nicoya Peninsula and the Osa Peninsula. These are the best places in Costa Rica for a yoga retreat if you truly want to get away from it all and enjoy a peaceful, tranquil experience.
Though both see tourists, they are a little quieter and more remote given that the roads are unpaved to Nicoya and often flooded, and the best way to get to Osa is a short flight from San Jose. But travelers are rewarded for their extra travels with tranquility, wildlife, undeveloped coastline, eco-friendly food and accommodations, and what many consider to be a more “authentic” experience of Costa Rica.
The two peninsulas share many similarities, but they definitely have their differences.
Nosara v. Osa: Yoga Retreat in Costa Rica On The Peninsulas
While there are many beaches and things to see on both peninsulas, when it comes to yoga, there are two main yoga centers to decide between: Nosara, where the Nosara Yoga Institute is located, and Puerto Jimenez on the Osa Peninsula, 20 minutes from where Blue Osa Yoga Retreat and Spa is located.
Here are their differences.
If you’re looking for yoga on the Nicoya Peninsula, Nosara is a fantastic option.
What is Nosara, Costa Rica like?
The town has been aptly called “Costa Rica’s chic surf town” by Conde Nast Traveler. While it’s tucked away from more loud, boisterous beaches and surf towns like Tamarindo and Jacó, it’s still largely made up of tourists (albeit the more quiet type who’d rather sip green smoothies than guaro and tequila).
Photo credit: ajdoudt on Flickr
This health-focused, mellow town is made up mostly of American ex-pats, ranging from young yogis and surfers to retirees, to families, even to the founder of BuzzFeed as well as other wealthy American and European families. Admittedly, the town is all but made for gringos, but it is beautiful, eco-friendly, health-conscious, and tight-knit.
At the same time, it’s been experiencing rapid growth recently. Its most popular beach has grown from having six to 22 restaurants in just the past two years. Luckily, the area strictly prohibits large resorts and any development along the beach, so it will always maintain its small-town, environmentally responsible free.
Nosara is generally hotter and more dry and dusty than the Osa Peninsula, and also more surf-focused. Although, surfing is everywhere in Costa Rica!
Nosara Yoga Institute
Nosara Yoga Institute is up on a hillside, a little removed from the mellow bustle of the town of Nosara, but thus also a little removed (though still walkable) from the beach. It’s on a main road and part of a smaller village. It is a yoga center rather than a retreat, so they offer individual classes and teacher training but no lodging or food.
The obvious destination for yoga on the Osa Peninsula is Blue Osa.
What is the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica like?
You’re unlikely to find the Osa Peninsula lining the pages of Conde Nast, but you might find some write-ups on its Corcovado National Park, called one of the best national parks in the world, in the National Geographic.
The peninsula is truly one of the best ways to experience rural Costa Rica, natural beauty, and Costa Rican wildlife (it is one of the most densely bio-diverse places in the entire world), and offers abundant options for those looking for either tranquility or adventure, or a mixture of both. It’s dotted with a couple fishing villages and ex-gold-mining towns (the practice is now illegal due to the denigration of the area’s rivers and wildlife).
Though the population is mostly local Costa Ricans, you will encounter some tourists there to visit the stunning Drake Bay and world-class Corcovado National Park (though not a lot, as the park limits visitors to 50 each day), and perhaps even a yogi headed to Blue Osa (which has an intimate capacity of 28 guests per night).
The charm and loving hospitality of the small Blue Osa Yoga Retreat and Spa community is immediately apparent upon arriving. Guests, yoga teachers, and staff (and even a handful of on-site pets!) feel like a family – they even gather around the table each night to dine together on Blue Osa’s delicious and healthy, farm-to-table, internationally-inspired cuisine.
The eco-resort is directly on the beach, and one can watch the sunrise over the ocean from lounge chairs on the property. It is a quiet, secluded area and there is rarely anyone else on the beach for miles, aside from the occasional fisherman (or family of monkeys!). It is far more remote than the options in Nosara; even the “road” it’s located on is made up mostly of farmland and jungle, a 20-minute drive from the closest restaurants.
The property is also beautifully designed and complete with a stunning lap pool, a temple, a 2nd floor yoga studio with ocean views, gardens for the food, a spa, and hammock-lined bungalows.
It is an all-inclusive eco-resort, so it includes all meals as well as daily yoga and tours or spa treatments depending on your package. Blue Osa offers a variety of retreat and yoga teacher training options as well.
So, as you can see, each place has its own special qualities. If you like the sound of the Osa Peninsula, book your stay with Blue Osa today.
About The Author
Elizabeth Aldrich is a lifelong traveler and freelance writer specializing in arts and entertainment, travel and lifestyle, and finance and business writing. She’s written for outlets as varied as Rawckus Music & Arts Magazine, Credit Karma, Sweden Tips, and Engadget. Elizabeth has a knack (read: obsession) for finding the best deals, travel hacks, and hidden gems everywhere she goes, which she blogs about at Temporary Provisions. You can find her playing the urban romantic in NYC, downing Stumptown coffee in her hometown of Portland, OR, or retreating from the madness in the rain forests of Costa Rica. To see more of her work, visit her at www.elizabethaldrich.com.