Under our feet is Nosara beach, better known as “La Boca.” In the distance, Ostional beach. The combination of both elements looks like a postcard because of their colors and beauty.
To get here, our mean of transport was a bicycle, which turned the scenery into a reward. It took us an hour and thirty minutes of pedaling for a roughly 10-kilometer (6.2-mile) trip.
The ones in charge of designing this trip are the Tico entrepreneurs from Nosara MTB & Surf, at Playa Guiones beach. That was our starting point, although the zone also offers other options such as Nosara Bike Works and Playa Bike.
Why bike in Nosara? The high influx of foreign tourists and, of course, the beauty of its unexplored corners make it an ideal place to launch businesses and adventures of this type.
At the start, nothing seemed new. We know this sport, we like mountain biking and we know the general workings of a bicycle. But by the end of the trip we had learned better techniques for using the right amount of effort in certain stretches and how to demand more of ourselves without losing our spirits.
Ricardo and Verónica (left to right) were our guides during the tour, in which we went to Playa Pelada.
Ricardo Moraga, our guide and owner of this local business, made us see the seriousness of the experience from the beginning. We even had to sign a document in which we accepted the risks of practicing this sport.
As they would with anyone interested in any of the bike tours they offer, they offered gloves, a helmet, hydration for the ride and, of course, the bicycle.
For biking connoisseurs, the bike was Canadian-brand Norco. The rims were 29-inch aluminum with double suspension, suspension locking, one crankset and 11 speeds, a luxury that marked the difference.
Moraga guaranteed us that no two tours are alike, and that even though they have designated routes they always analyze the physical condition and skills of each one of the participants in order to define the challenge.
“This is for everyone,” Moraga said. “People come and they think that what they already see is Nosara, but we show it to them from within. There is a tour through Zaragoza out to Nicoya that has several drops and is for experts. We also take people on bikes to see the turtles at Ostional.”
In our case, the selected tour was “Explore Nosara” which is recommended for all levels, but with some variation on the path. On this occasion the panoramic views added to the experience.
During the trip we rode over some trails that the company, together with the Nosara Civic Association, designed inside the protected area. The trails have parts that require technique, thanks to the roots of the trees, but with the help of our guides it seemed easy.
Our host always had an answer for each of our questions about where to ride, how to descend down a hill, and what was next.
“It’s all a balance. You pedal and leave the rest to the bicycle,” Moraga reminded us. It was pedaling, but with sense, perfecting the technique and traveling through unique places in Nosara that you can only reach on foot or bike. And just like that we reached Pelada beach “through the inside.”
Moraga and his wife Veronica have offered tours together for five years. After the trip, he told us that it all started with a pickup truck and three bicycles. Today, besides offering personalized tours, he has a store of bike accessories for those interested in this discipline and a mechanic service for brands such as Shimano and Sram.
In May this year they will move to a space that is four times larger thanks to an agreement with the Gilded Iguana Hotel, also in Nosara.
“We also have another longer term project planned for within the next three years that consists of making special trails in a 200-hectare (500-acre) terrain, and also creating a professional, consolidated mountain biking team for Nosara,” he added.
If you like surfing, Nosara MTB & Surf also offers some packages that will allow you to enjoy that sport. We will leave that for our second visit.
It doesn’t matter if it’s the first time you have ridden a bicycle, or if you practice the sport only as a hobby or are a professional, the experience will always be different and discovering Guanacaste on two wheels may pleasantly challenge you.
In his book The Bicycle Effect, the Argentine writer Juan Carlos Kreimer said it best: “Riding a bike, you learn something about yourself.”