The Gilded Iguana
Modern surf hotel with posh amenities located a five minutes’ walk to the breaks of Playa Guiones.
Originally built in 1988, The Gilded Iguana has almost been around since the beginning of Costa Rica’s surf boom and due to a recent remodel, this charming surf hotel has never been better.
Designed by local award-winning architect Benjamin Saxe, the hotel features open breezy spaces with sleek modern touches, relaxed vibes, and lush landscaping. With an in-house restaurant and bar, multiple pools, hot tub, surf lessons, and their Surf Club (which gives you access to over 150 surfboards you can take for a spin), you’ll have access to everything you need for a pampered surf trip in paradise.
Location-wise, The Gilded Iguana is just 200 meters from Playa Guiones, one of the marquee beaches and surf spots on the Nicoya Peninsula.
Surf lessons are available a la carte, or if you’re interested in a more immersive experience, The Gilded Iguana offers an all-inclusive 7-night surf camp once a month. The retreat includes accommodations, daily surf lessons, video analysis sessions, surf theory, membership to their surf club (with unlimited board access), and more. The camp accommodates beginners to advanced surfers.
VIBE: Relaxed modern oasis
LOCALE: Charming quiet beach town
ROOMS: 29 / various rooms accommodate 2 – 6 guests
FAMILY FRIENDLY: Yes
CLOSEST AIRPORT: Liberia International (LIR)
PRICING: from $179 per night
The architecture and interiors throughout combine simple and unpolished materials such as teak, palm thatch, jute fabric, and concrete tiles with modern tropical furniture made with local materials and craftsmanship. Light-filled rooms feature indoor and outdoor showers and outside living spaces.
When you’re ready to relax after a full day of surfing, there’s no better way to do so than to kick back on a plush daybed at the pool or enjoy an in-house spa treatment. The hotel features numerous outdoor pools (including a hot tub and kid’s pool), surrounded by a peaceful picturesque deck area.
Eat & Drink
Daily breakfast is included with your stay, and the on-site restaurant and bar is open all day serving Mediterranean fare and Costa Rican favorites. From fresh seafood and pasta to ceviche and mojitos, you’ll find plenty of delicious options to refuel for another day in the waves. Live music Tuesdays from 6-10pm.
Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula enjoys consistent surf all year long, with the peak season being between April and September, when south swells are frequent. Nosara’s marquee spot is Playa Guiones, a long beach with numerous, punchy sandbar peaks and a reef break at the northern end. While the user-friendly waves at Playa Guiones have become rather popular in the past few years, the surrounding coastline is home to a number of semi-secret spots. Advanced surfers might want to explore north or south to search out more powerful and potentially hollow waves.
WATER TEMP: 77 – 86 °F (25 – 30 °C)
PEAK SURF SEASON: April – Sept
SHOULDER SURF SEASON: Nov – Mar
SURF EXPERIENCE: Beginner to advanced
The Surf Room features two Full Beds, room desk, side tables, closet and storage, private bathroom with glass wall and private garden space. Vaulted, double high ceilings let in tons of light. These rooms are a best value option for those looking to stay at the Gilded Iguana. Also Includes surfboard storage area and rack.
RATE: from $179 per night
MAX GUESTS: 4
The Premium King Room features a king size bed, table and chairs, desk, mini bar and fridge, coffee and tea maker. The Premium King Rooms have either an outdoor terrace with outdoor shower, or vaulted ceilings with an outdoor balcony. All rooms have surfboard storage.
RATE: from $235 per night
MAX GUESTS: 2
The Premium Double Queen Room features two queen size beds, side tables, table and wall lamps, mini bar and fridge, coffee and tea maker. The Premium Double Queen Rooms have either an outdoor terrace with outdoor shower, or vaulted ceilings with an outdoor balcony.
RATE: from $235 per night
MAX GUESTS: 4
Located on the upper level, The Premium Plus King rooms features a King size bed, vaulted ceilings, a table and chairs, outdoor balcony, and extra large bathroom. All rooms have surfboard locker or storage racks.
RATE: from $259 per night
MAX GUESTS: 2
Located on the upper level and overlooking the pool, The Premium Plus Double Queen rooms feature two queen beds with side-tables, vaulted ceilings, outdoor balcony, and extra large bathroom. All rooms have surfboard locker or storage racks.
RATE: from $259 per night
MAX GUESTS: 4
The Surfer Suite is a two room unit designed for surfing families or traveling groups. The main room has a single queen bed, two sets of bunk beds with two single beds each (total of four single beds), closets, storage area. The second room has a living area, table and chairs and there is a large outdoor terrace. The bathroom features two toilet rooms, double sinks and a large shower. All rooms have surfboard locker or storage racks.
RATE: from $275 per night
MAX GUESTS: 6
CHECK IN: 3 pm
CHECK OUT: 12 pm
SURF ROOMS: from $179
PREMIUM ROOMS: from $235
PREMIUM PLUS ROOMS: from $259
SURFER SUITE: from $275
The Gilded Iguana Surf Camp is tailored to help day-one beginners build a solid foundation, and help intermediate and advanced surfers take their skills to the next level by refining their style and exploring various technical maneuvers.
- Transfers from/to Liberia or San Jose Airports to Nosara (round trip)
- 7 Nights Accommodation at The Gilded Iguana
- Daily In-Water Surf Instruction Sessions (5 Sessions, 1h30m per session)
- Classroom Video Analysis Sessions (5 Sessions, 45 mins per session)
- Surf Theory / Pool Training / Balance Training / Surf Strength & Nutrition (Rotating, 5 sessions total)
- 6 Level Surf Curriculum Program (To track, and accelerate progress)
- Full Surf Club Membership
- Unlimited accesses to Surf Club Surf Equipment (160+ Surfboards)
- Access to Surf Club Facilities
– Locker Rooms
– Surf Lounges
– Game Areas
– Training / Stretch Area
- One Surf Excursion (surf trip) to a different surfing venue
- 1 All-day Activity (Horse Back Riding, ATV Tours, Zip Lining, Fishing, etc.)
- 2 Activity Afternoons (Yoga, Mountain Biking, Snorkeling, Turtle Tours, etc.)
- All Food* (if you choose the meal package)
- 3 Meals per day
- 2 Alcoholic Drinks
- 1 Juice, Smoothie, or Smoothie Bowl from the Juice Bar
- 1 Surfer Massage
Good to Know
– The Gilded Iguana’s Surf Club is a luxe setup located along a path on the way to the beach and offers surf lessons, video coaching, photography, and guided surf excursions. Services can be booked a la carte, or you can become a Surf Club member for discounts on services, personal air-conditioned board storage, and access to all surf equipment (over 150 different boards for all levels and styles). Surf Club memberships are available daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly.
– Mountain biking rentals, lessons, and excursions are available at the hotel, and the staff at the front desk can help coordinate a number of tours such as fishing, ziplining, snorkeling, and more.
– The hotel is family friendly and has a kid’s pool for toddlers and babysitting services available at an extra charge. The first floor rooms are more easily accessible with little ones, and if you would like a crib, just ask when booking.
Nosara is both a district and a village on the Pacific Coast of the Nicoya Peninsula. Known both for its world-class waves and vibrant yoga scene, the village has seen extensive growth over the past decade, but still maintains its quiet Central American charm.
In addition to great waves and other adventure sports, Nosara is also home to a variety of fun animals such as white-faced monkeys, coatimundi, and olive ridley turtles. A tidal blowhole and numerous animal rehabilitation and wildlife refuges round out the experience at this Costa Rican staple.
By plane: Nosara (NOS) is the local airstrip, and flights on the domestic carrier Sansa can be as short as 20 min from Liberia (LIR) and 45min from San Jose (SJO). The planes for these connections are small prop-engined aircraft.
The closest International airport is Liberia International Airport (LIR) which is a two and a half hour drive to the hotel, and San Jose International Airport (SJO) is a five-hour drive. You can rent a car, or the hotel can help arrange transportation from the airport. The price for transport in an air-conditioned minivan is around $140 per trip from Liberia, and $240 per trip from San Jose (a minivan can carry a group of 4 – 6 people with a piece of luggage for each person).
The Small Print
All reservations must be fully prepaid.
* If the cancellation is requested 6 days before arrival, you will receive a full refund minus 3% processing fees (except for peak season, which is Dec 20th – Jan 6th).
* For peak season, if a cancellation is requested 30 days or more prior to arrival you will receive a full refund minus 3% processing fees.
* There will be no refund for “No Shows”. ( NO EXCEPTIONS )
* Reservations during Peak Season are subject to a minimum length of stay.
Pets are not permitted.