Normally I write travel guides in order to share all of the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of the destinations that I visit, but my recent trip to Costa Rica was a lot more insular than some of my previous trips. We spent most of our time at our home away from home, Harmony Hotel, doing yoga, surfing, and soaking up the sun at the beach and pool while there. Nosara, the small stretch of beach that we chose as our destination, was not the kind of place where you “make plans” each day, or make dinner reservations each evening. We spent most of our time and ate most of our meals at Harmony, and this was a big departure for me, as someone who creates detailed itineraries and likes to explore. So instead of my usual format (where to stay, where to eat, what to do), I’m going to walk you through the magic that was the Harmony Hotel experience at the beautiful and remote Playa Nosara in Costa Rica.
Check out my Instagram hashtag #caro_in_costarica for a photo diary of my journey!
We found the Harmony Hotel online through travel blogs and recommendations, and could not have been happier about this zen space nestled on an idyllic stretch of beach. It has a focus on yoga, going off the grid, eco-friendliness, and all locally grown food, which could not have been more enticing for us as a getaway spot. The hotel is small, nestled in the jungle, but also right on the beach – best of all worlds. The room we stayed in had a back patio with an outdoor shower that was truly one of the highlights of the trip. Don’t miss the homemade peanut butter cups in the mini bar either 😉
You book your yoga classes (there are a few offered at different times in each in a lovely open air pavilion) when you get there, and you can also book surf lessons in advance through the hotel. We did a surf lesson one morning and had an absolutely incredible experience. We spent the rest of our days soaking up the sun at the umbrella-lined pool, sitting down at the bungalows by the beach, and taking long naps in the hammock hanging in the back patio of our room. Note that there is no umbrella and chair service at the hotel’s beach, so you either need to bring your towels with you, or snag a covered bungalow near the top of the dunes.
You can fly direct (JetBlue offers this) from NYC to Liberia, but know that you will have to roadtrip to get to Nosara, which is quite remote. Rent a car at the airport, but make sure that it is at least a mid-size SUV, as you do not want to be low to the ground for this trip. The road is unpaved for the last half of the journey, and to say that it was bumpy was an understatement. Leave yourself a minimum of three hours for the journey, especially when you are returning and need to catch a flight.
We ate every meal possible at Harmony, and the food was lovely and fresh. No joke, some of the best French Toast I’ve ever had was during the breakfast service here, and I am not the kind of person who orders French toast. It had almond butter in the batter and came with a passionfruit jam and was completely to die for. The sushi, ceviche, and raw tuna dishes were also lovely. Don’t even think about missing out on the outdoor juice bar, which serves insanely delicious oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, as well as some lovely salads.
Our one restaurant excursion was to a local dinner spot called La Luna, which we had read about and heard about as being a don’t- miss. We loved it so much that we went back 2 nights in a row for dinner. The patacones with guacamole, goat cheese crostini salad, and fish tacos were on the table both nights, and we would have ordered the molten chocolate cake the second night had it not sold out. Note that the entrees were much bigger than expected, and almost have to be shared. Make a reservation here if you can, and make sure you bring your bug spray because the seating is outdoors under the stars.
Overall, I would recommend Nosara, and specifically Harmony Hotel, for those looking for a quiet retreat from the modern world. This is a fairly pricey hotel, so I would recommend sharing your room with friends and making sure that yoga and wellness is a focus of yours trip, as this is the heart of this remote space. I would go back in a heartbeat, and already dream about going for a whole week. Because of the time necessary to get to this remote area, I would say that a minimum of 3-4 days is recommended. Just know that the journey is worth it for what’s on the other side.