Situated for surfing

April 24, 2013

Nosara’s Playa Guiones, in the northwestern province of Guanacaste, is legendary among surfers for its long breaks and year-round consistency. But high rates and long treks to the beach make most hotels inconvenient for the perfect surf-bum vacation. As the area’s only “surf resort,” Harbor Reef caters to those who want serious hang time. 

Harbor Reef Surf Resort

The lobster at Harbor Reef is pretty fantastic.


Lindsay Fendt

The closest hotel to the beach in Nosara, Harbor Reef is a sanctuary ready-made for surfers. While the hotel does not rent its own surfboards or offer lessons, it partners with Coconut Harry’s right up the street, as well as Surf Diva, a school specifically geared towards women. It also allows guests to store surfboards year-round.

For those looking for a pre-planned surf vacation, Harbor Reef and Coconut Harry’s have a package deal for $1,450. The 7-day package includes everything a Costa Rican beach vacationer needs: accommodations at Harbor Reef, daily breakfast and lunch, daily surf lessons and board rentals, a zip-line tour, a stand-up paddle board tour, a massage, a gift bag and a surf video of one of the lessons. 

While not at the beach, guests can find many ways to relax back at the hotel. Laden with palm trees, the hotel’s grounds provide much-needed shade from the hot sands on Playa Guiones, and plenty of comfy, secluded hammocks. The hotel has two pools on either end of the property, each serving a distinct purpose. The first, set in a sunny opening and surrounded by hammocks, features a playful fountain and is perfect for kids to splash around in. The second, out of the sun, is right by the restaurant and includes a swim-up bar. 

Though Nosara is certainly not hard up for good restaurants, Harbor Reef’s food was some of the best I ate in the tiny beach town. While the included breakfast was just a simple fruit plate, a dinner of lobster and a juicy steak was the perfect ending to a long day in the sun. 

Rooms and Rates

Harbor Reef has a variety of different rooms for groups of different sizes. Standard rooms run from $75-$130 for a single and $85-$140 for a double, depending on the season. Suites vary from large rooms for four people maximum to the newly built Surf City Suites, with two bedrooms and a loft that can comfortably fit six. Suites range from $110-$320 depending on the suite, season and the number of people in the room. All rates include a continental breakfast.

Getting There

Nosara is located in the Guanacaste province on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast. It is easily accessible from the Daniel Oduber International Airport in the provincial capital of Liberia.   

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