Psyche yourself up for the morning surf lesson by tossing back some super-strong local coffee at the Harbor Reef Lodge's poolside restaurant, famous both for its traditional “tico” breakfast ($4.25) of eggs, salsa, cheese, and tortillas, and its pretty, all-female wait staff.
For lunch, pair fresh-caught fried red snapper with beans, rice, and plantains at Olga’s, a sandy-floored shack at the entrance to Playa Pelada. The only restaurant located right on the beach, Olga's was grandfathered in after the area was declared a wildlife refuge.
As sunset approaches around five-ish, grab a table at the oceanfront La Luna and watch the horizon light up while you knife into a garlicky mahi-mahi fillet ($7) or some zesty chicken kebabs with fresh salsa ($6).
Bring a flashlight (there’s few streetlights in Nosara) and try not to get spooked by ferocious-sounding howler monkeys as you walk to Giardino Tropicale, an open-air hilltop restaurant known for its wood-oven pizza ($5 to $11). Though it’s no Grimaldi’s, you can top your margherita pie with tropics-appropriate fish or pineapple.