Article by Shannon Farley
In the easy-going surf and yoga town of Playa Guiones, Costa Rica, there is a very strange smell in the air this time of year.
Besides the fresh scent of the ocean, from January to April, it smells like a giant stack of maple syrup covered pancakes. What is that gingerbread cookie smell pervading everywhere?
It’s molasses – all over the streets.
No, the residents of this little tourist town in the Nosara region of Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula don’t have such a sweet tooth that they need to coat their streets in syrup. Every year in these first four months, the Nosara area community raises funds to solve the problem – at least temporarily – of the summer dust.
There is a reason why this tropical paradise on the Guanacaste Gold Coast has remained off the tourism super highway, despite being named a world’s best travel destination in 2014. The dirt roads, in the past, made Nosara and Playa Guiones hard to reach. It is easy to travel here these days, but the dirt roads remain. So, during the dry summer months at the beginning of each year, the dust billows from passing vehicles and the wind.
The Nosara Civic Association, businesses and private residents give money to help their community with this eco-friendly solution – since molasses is a by-product of sugar cane production in the region. After a liquid mixture of water and molasses is splashed onto the roads, the coating dries and hardens in a matter of days into rust-colored “asphalt” that glues the dirt and rocks together. Molasses is water-soluble, so when the strong rains return, it washes away.
L’acqua Viva Resort & Spa in Playa Guiones proudly helps sponsor the community’s molasses solution for its roads. The main road passing directly behind L’acqua Viva Resort is already coated with molasses for the year, drastically reducing the dust in the air.
How to get to Nosara: You can fly domestically from either the San Jose International Airport or the Liberia International Airport; from the Nosara airport it is a 10-minute drive to Playa Guiones. You can drive 4.5 hours from San Jose or 2.5 hours from Liberia.