Kaya Sol, Playa Guiones, Nosara, Costa Rica

We are constantly asked by travellers “Where is your favourite place that you’ve stayed?”

We’ve had all sorts of answers prior to this, and they tended to vary from day to day. But, after our experience in Nosara, we can safely say, “Kaya Sol!”

P1030317Kaya Sol has been on our radar since the start of the trip. It seemed that any time we mentioned Nosara to people they would recommend Kaya Sol. The further along in our trip we got, the more excited we got about our stay. So much so that we kept extending our booking and deciding to stay longer. By the time we arrived, we had decided we would be staying for 3 weeks.

This turned out to be a fabulous decision.

No matter what kind of traveller you are, Kaya Sol has an accommodation option that will work for you. They offer everything from hostels, and private rooms to apartments and houses. Oh did I mention a “real good time” is also included in your stay?

The hotel is located in the northern part of Playa Guiones. It’s about 200m from the beach and 40m from the local grocery store. There are several restaurants and coffee shops that are super close, and then its about a 10-15min to the heart of Guiones. That being said, once you are at Kaya Sol, you’ll find that there isn’t much need to leave.

I would describe Kaya Sol as an oasis. The property is deceivingly large, but built around P1030280the existing trees and greenery. You’re more likely to feel like you are in the a tranquil jungle then on the property of a hotel. The hub of Kaya Sol is their restaurant and pool area. Their pool is shaded, and includes a waterfall. The shade makes it nice and cool all day. It’s the perfect way to get away from the heat, which was regularly creeping over 40 degrees during our stay.

Although their amenities are great, it’s the people that truly make Kaya Sol amazing. We have, of course, already heard about Neal, the bartender, but the rest of the staff is just as wonderful and helpful. From Judy in reception to J.C and Emerson at the restaurant, everyone is there to make sure you are taken care of.

The bar

The bar

I can’t mention the restaurant without talking about their food. Seriously now, we had some epic meals while we were there. They are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and if I were you, I would partake in all three. Jorge knows his way around the kitchen and whips up some amazing food. My favourite was the chipotle platter. A veggie and rice dish in a miso cashew sauce with your choice of meat. Get it with brown rice and the fish of the day and you won’t be disappointed. Then there were the pancakes. Not just pancakes, but Eytl’s famous coconut, oatmeal, ginger pancakes! Don’t worry, there is a whole post on those coming later!

The restaurant offers live music two nights a week, as well as Trivia Night on Mondays. But regardless of what day of the week it is, there are always great people at the bar. We met so many wonderful people during our stay, including three girls from our hometown of Victoria, and one guy who helped us become Trivia Night champions on our last night (thanks Chris!). Despite the activity at the bar, everything winds down by 10, so you don’t need to worry about the noise. Nosara is all about getting up early for surf. Perfect for early birds like us.

Rocking the self-timer in one of our apartments

Rocking the self-timer in one of our apartments

The one tip I would give about Kaya Sol would be to book early! We stayed there for three weeks, but ended up switching rooms four times. It was actually really nice because we got to get a feel for the entire property. We stayed in a couple private rooms that had a bathroom and fridge, as well as full on apartments. Let me tell you, having our own kitchen AND kitchen table was a huge novelty!

So if you are looking a place to stay, or a place to eat, check out Kaya Sol in Nosara. Make sure you say hi to them from the “Zealanders!”

Pura Vida!

Kate

Follow me on Twitter:@caketress

 

Seekretspot, Playa Pelada, Nosara

Like any good traveller, I’m a peruser of Tripadvisor. Since we are travelling on a budget, I always want to do some research to make sure the places we go to eat will be worth our while.

When you look up Nosara on Tripadvisor,  the top recommendation is Seekretspot. This little hole in the wall boasts authentic italian gelato, a full coffee bar, an internet cafe, and reasonably priced room rentals. The only trick is, it is notoriously hard to find.

Needless to say, it sounded like an adventure to me.

P1030070Although I had intended to do some research regarding its location, I actually stumbled upon Seekretspot during our adventure over to Playa Pelada. We were wandering aimlessly when we noticed a vague sign in the bushes that said “gelato” with an arrow. We certainly aren’t the kind of people to turn down a delicious cold treat on a hot day, so we followed the sign.

I was pretty stoked when we discovered that the sign was actually directing us right to Seekretspot.

 

P1030072 The place looks more like someone’s home then a Gelateria, but we walked up to the porch anyways. We opened the door, and the first thing we noticed was their amazing a/c. I know, it seems silly, but it is actually hard to find in Nosara! The next thing we noticed, was of course, the gelato. They had all sorts of unique flavours, and they change every day. During our several visits we tried chocolate chip mint, baileys, chocolate, passion fruit, and caramel. Each one more delightful then the last.

P1030071There is one other very notable things about Seekretspot. In my humble opinion, they have the best quality book exchange in all of Costa Rica. As an avid reader, I’m always looking for good books. Unfortunately, beggars can’t be choosers, and I am often at the mercy of whatever lame spy novel has been abandoned by earlier travellers. There are certainly places where you can go for bigger book exchanges, but they often require you to give them two books to take one of theirs. Not a fair deal if you read books at my rate.

The book exchange at Seekretspot is magnificent. Not only do they let you exchange your books one for one, but their selection was amazing. By amazing, I don’t mean huge, I mean really quality books. I must have sat their for 20 minutes before decided which books to finally take. I’m not sure if its just the type of people that Seekretspot attracts, or a magical twist of fate, but either way, I ended up with an awesome book score that will last me the rest of the trip.

So, if you are in the Nosara area, and like to read, drink coffee, eat gelato and go on adventures, check out Seekretspot. I wish I was there now!

What is your favourite flavour of Gelato?

Pura Vida!

Kate

Follow me on Twitter:@caketress

Exploring Playa Pelada, Nosara

After spending a week being beach bums in Playa Guiones, Shaun and I figured it was high time to adventure over to Playa Pelada, the next beach over.

There is getting by these rocks!

There is getting by these rocks!

So often in Costa Rica you can walk the shoreline for miles, ending up on different beaches without even realizing it. Here it is a little different. Unlike many beaches, a rocky outcrop prevents you from being able to walk along the beach in Guiones over to Pelada. Although there are ways to get there on the roads, our lack of vehicle meant we had to get creative with our adventure.

So creepily amazing

So creepily amazing

We ambled down the beach one morning, hoping to find a way to cut through the forest to get over to Pelada. We had seen a lot of activity at this end of the beach, so figured one would make itself apparent.Sure enough, we were in luck! We found a trail that took us right through.

Now, here is a little tip about this trail. On the right, you will see a crazy awesome looking abandoned resort. In fact, no matter where you are on Playa Guiones, you can see the top most peak of this resort towering in the distance. Interested individuals often get tempted to hike over to it and check it out. Word to the wise though, as tempting as it may seem to go and explore this eerie structure, there is a pack of wild dogs that live in it. Likely put there on purpose to deflect nomadic surfers from squatting. So, as you walk along the trail just be aware that these dogs are in the area. Maybe don’t carry sausages in your pocket.

photo 1Anyways, we made it to Playa Peleda without any canine conundrums and it was beautiful (although I’ve yet to see a beach here that isn’t.) It’s a small beach with white sand and huge splays of lava rocks all over the shore. One of the rocky area has a huge hole in the middle. When the tide is right, waves rush underneath it, and spurt up like a geyser. I snapped some epic photos of Shaun as he found out about the geyser the hard way.

 

photo 2I then made him take a zillion photos of me so I could try and look like I was conducting the water like Mickey in the Sorcerer’s Apprentice. I think we have 20 photos of me holding my hands in the air with nothing happening. (edit: after writing this post, I made us go back to Pelada to re-do my photo shoot. Shaun snapped this beauty first try! I pretty much embody Fantasmic! in this shot)

 

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Sunset at La Luna

There are a couple of bars right on the beach, La Luna and Olga’s. Although we never went to Olga’s, it sounds like a hoot. Lots of people we spoke with in Guiones recomended checking it out. We did pop into La Luna one evening for a beer. A gorgeous place to lounge and enjoy the sunset.

If you are in Playa Guiones for a couple days, tear yourself away from beach bumdum (that may be the best word ever), and hike over to Playa Pelada. It’s a short little adventure, and well worth it.

Pura Vida!

Kate

Follow me on Twitter:@caketress

 

 

4 You Hostel, Playa Guiones, Nosara, Costa Rica

I’m going to let you in on a little secret travel delight of mine.

I absolutly LOVE to book things in advance on the wrong day. The joy of waiting for a shuttle that never comes, or arriving at a hostel on the wrong day is totally thrilling.

Well, obviously I’m joking, but this does tend to happen to me often while travelling. No matter how many times I double check, I am the queen of booking things for the wrong day. So I really wasn’t ALL that surprised when we arrived in Nosara only to learn that our reservation had been made for the next day.

P1030056Being the solution oriented couple that we are, we quickly decided that Shaun would stay with the gear, while I trucked down the road to find somewhere to stay. Based on the difficulties we had trying to make a reservation in the first place, we knew that Nosara was filling up fast, so there was no time to waste.

Let me tell you, the lucky horseshoes we had been carrying around since our debacle in Nicaragua continued to be present. The very first place I stumbled upon, 4 You Hostel, had one room left. It was a private room, with its own bathroom, and it was within our budget. I told the owner that I didn’t even need to see it, and that we would take it. She insisted, and frankly I was amazed. It was honest to goodness the nicest room I had seen on our entire trip.

Our room

Our room

We checked in and were in awe of the amenities that 4 You had to offer. Our room was not only immaculate, but felt like it was brand new. Had it not been for the Costa Rican heat, I could have easily mistaken it for a boutique hotel back home. Shaun and I both had long showers in what we dubbed “the best shower in Costa Rica”.

The VERY clean kitchen

The VERY clean kitchen

Across from our room was the shared kitchen, which was amazing. Unlike many of our accommodations, it was evident that 4 You Hostel was built with the intention of being a hostel. The shared kitchen has two of everything, including sinks and stoves as well as tons of storage space and every piece of kitchen equipment you could possibly need. It is perfectly designed to accommodate lots of people making lots of meals. Aside from being well equipped, the kitchen was also immaculate. Another rarity in the land of hostels.

One of the communal living spaces.

One of the communal living spaces.

Aside from the kitchen, the communal living space at 4 You is all outdoors. They have multiple couches ,chairs and benches set up so guests can lounge, relax and enjoy the free WiFi. They also have a deal with the Coffee shop next door, so between 8-10 you can pop over and get a free coffee and a discount on the delicious crepes they make. Can’t beat that. And, if you are looking for some beach time, it’s only a 10 minute walk away.

Although 4 You Hostel wasn’t in our initial plans, we certainly felt pretty fortunate that we got to stay there. If you are looking for accommodation in Guinoes and don’t mind a little bit of a walk to the beach, I would highly suggest checking them out!

Do you have any reservation error stories?

Pura Vida!

Kate

Follow me on Twitter:@caketress

 

Casa Rebecca, Nosara, Costa Rica

After our busy travel time inland, our accommodation in Nosara provided us the perfect backdrop for a little rest and relaxation.

P1020703Nestled in the south end of Playa Guiones, Casa Rebecca is a boutique hotel/hostel. They offer shared rooms in the main house, but also a few private rooms near the pool. They are about an 8-10 minute walk from the main surf break, and a few minutes away from the famous Nosara Yoga Institute.

Our room was large, had an ensuite bathroom and was about three steps to the pool. Not to shabby if you ask me.

The main house of Casa Rebecca iP1020704s both unique and gorgeous. The furniture has almost a Mediterranean vibe to it, white walls, wicker and gorgeous artwork.There are several couches and sitting areas that offer the perfect space to read, practice yoga, or just relax.

P1020706The best part of the main house though was the kitchen. The house was obviously run as a B&B at some point, as it is fully stocked with everything you could possibly need to make delicious meals. After dealing with some very poorly equipped, cramped, unfortunate kitchens in our past, we were delighted with what we had available. In fact, Shaun and I ate in every night during our five days here.

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The kitchen is attached to a communal dinning area, and living room, as well as a few of the dorm rooms. After being fairly secluded in our last couple hostels, it was nice to have a common space to meet and chat with people. Plus, one of the guests shared a pineapple upside down cake she had just baked, so seriously, what’s not to love.

Our room tucked in the back!

Our room tucked in the back!

I made our reservation through their website, and the owners were awesome in helping us find a room that fit both our budget and needs. At the time of our visit the owners weren’t on site, and the property was being cared for by two young Costa Rican girls. They were very sweet, and Shaun and I managed to wrestle our way through the language barrier during the check in and check out process. Other then that, we were pretty much on our own, which we didn’t mind at all.

As I was Googling Casa Rebecca, it looks like it is actually for sale. So if anyone is interested in a fabulous place with some serious B&B potential, you should buy it…and let me stay for free for making the referral of course!

If you want to read about any of the other places we’ve stayed in Costa Rica, check out our Hostel Review Page.

Pura Vida!

Kate

Follow me on Twitter:@caketress