Guanacaste is an area well known for its beautiful beaches, music, culture and traditional cuisine. Located in the Northern Pacific part of the country, the region covers an area of 10.140 Km2. Travelers can visit rivers, the most beautiful beaches, mountain, mangroves. One of the highlights is visiting during the nesting season of the Olive Ridley Turtle at Ostional National Wildlife Refuge or the Leatherback turtles in Las Baulas Marine National Park.
Because of its mangroves Guanacaste is also a paradise for bird watchers as well as the must adventurist who prefer activities like kayaking, surfing, four-wheel drive turs, canyoning and much more.
Guanacaste has an International Airport located in Liberia, (International Airport Daniel Oduber), which has a large number of arrivals (including direct flights during the high season), from the United States and Canada. Liberia is strategically close to most main spots in the Province.
If your plan is to get away from crowds but at the same time explore nature and beautiful beaches this might be the place for you. With its calm green emerald waters, its little inlets and large palm trees this place is as good as it gets.
Located in the northwest corner of Guanacaste Province, (also near the International Airport Daniel Oduber), Papagayo gulf offers a charming experience. Whether you are seeking time to relax or fun adventures, from bird watching to quite spots to witness the most mesmerizing sunsets. The area offers a large range of hotels, from charming boutique to large resorts, this is also a great point to other must visit spots like the Rincon de la Vieja National Park.
There is a luxurious Marina, the only one in the country which was also built with an environmentally friendly blueprint.
There are some other beaches to explore nearby, Potrero Grande, Nancite and Naranjo are part of the Santa Rosa National Park, which consists of a rich flora and marine life. The Park was created to protect the habitats and nesting grounds of many species, such as the Green-sea turtle.
The beaches in the Northern area– Ollie´s point and Roca Bruja- provide a hotspot for surfing lovers, due to its great breaks. Meanwhile stretching the coastline to the South, one can find a more paradisiacal climate that provide a sensory-rich stay at the beach, – perfect for doing some diving and it’s perfect for swimmers.
It is a cove lined by hills, with grayish sands and a few waves.
This beautiful, protected small bay with grey-colored beach, some rocky grounded sections and multicolored coral reefs, is a little paradise on earth, great for snorkeling and surfing.
The bay, with its refreshing water, also provides a great swimming experience. Due to its turquoise, clear waters and the exotic underwater habitats, it’s a very special destination for diving practicing and other water sports such as fishing, both offered in different points of the region.
Bird and marine life observation are available to the visitor, as well as a great view to the Centinela Island.
The horseshoe-shaped bay Panamá surrounded by dry tropical forest, is home to a variety of numerous plants and animal species. The main wildlife, one can discover in this region, are different monkeys, reptiles and a rich marine life.
The sandy grey-beige-colored seashore and an amazing turquoise-colored ocean characterize this stunning beach. Due to its heavy breaks in the Northern part of the beach, it is very suitable for Kite-or Windsurfing, whilst the other beach areas are perfect for swimmers.
Playa del Coco, or Coco Beach, is one of the most accessible and popular beach areas in Guanacaste. The mile-long stretch of beautiful, gray sand is lined by leaning trees, oceanfront restaurants, tour operators and small souvenir stands. One thing is certain – in Playa del Coco, you’ll never lack things to do.
Coco’s history lies in fishing, a way of life still active and evidenced by the myriad fishing boats out in the bay. Today, the town’s burgeoning tourism industry takes center stage, welcoming both young Costa Ricans and visiting tourists who enjoy long weekends and even longer weeks on this cocoa-colored beach.
Playa del Coco is one of Northern Guanacaste’s most celebrated dive and snorkeling areas, and many local tour operators have set up shop here. Sailboat snorkeling cruises, color-filled open water dives, and PADI certification courses are given daily, and experienced divers will be pleased by the Pacific Coast offerings. Tropical favorites like puffer fish, eels, stingrays and dolphins swim these waters, and many people say that Coco Beach is home to the best diving in Costa Rica.
Location, Location, Location! Tamarindo is a very popular beach town, known for its beautiful beach, surf, its location (only an hour away from the International Airport Daniel Oduber), and of course its night life. Tamarindo has a wide and excellent offer in restaurants and hotels. This beach gem is surrounded by green mountains and everything you can possibly imagine you’ll dream to do at the beach.
Tamarindo is a surfing town, so if you are considering learning this is a great spot to do so! Once you become an Advanced surfer you can explore more challenging beaches like Playa Grande to the north, or Playas Avellanas, Langosta, and Negra to the south. If surfing is not your “cup of tea”, there are many more activities such as ATV tours, zip lining, or perhaps a river boat tour, but the high lights is definitively a catamaran tour. Enjoy the so known Gold Coast with stunning views of its light-sand beaches. Also, this area is the perfect spot to swim and snorkel.
Shopping enthusiasts could also take a day to explore and take advantage of the many boutiques, shops, and kiosks.
Paradisiac white sandy beach, your beautiful hotel room lets the ocean breeze in… That is in a few words what awaits for you at playa Flamingo.
This highly developed beach town is one hour away from International Airport in Liberia.
The beach is about 1,5 Km long, white sand, though depending on the light it gets a pinkish tone, which is what gives it the name Flamingo.
The land behind the beach is covered in a large mangrove forest. Though all around the hill surrounding the coast line has been built with hotels, condos, vacation homes, restaurants, etc.
In the northern point there is a large marine, with a pristine central beach area. Flamingo provides its visitors with a high-end amenities and the most stunning beach views.
Ricón de la Vieja
This is a hikers and nature lovers paradise. Located in the Cordillera de Guanacaste, this Volcano lies within a mountain range separating the Pacific and the Caribbean side. Which makes it particularly interesting because each side has it own unique weather. In the park travelers will find a long diversity in flora and fauna, mineral hot springs and waterfalls.
There are two main hiking trails, Las Pailas and the Santa María, being las Pailas its most popular one, the trail will bring you across boiling mud pots, fumaroles and mini geysers. Another highlight is La Cangreja Waterfall, also known as the Blue Lagoon due to its amazing water color.
In Santa Maria you can visit the Hummingbird Trail, The Pailas of Cold Water, Enchanted Forest Waterfalls, Hot Springs (all of the above, of moderate difficulty) and the sightseeing place (high difficulty). When the sky is clear it opens to stunning ocean views.
This tourist area covers the southeastern coast of the Nicoya Peninsula, the largest in Costa Rica. Bordering on the north with Punta Cerritos and on the south with the mouth of the Bongo River, it stretches approximately 68 miles along the coast.
The center of tourism is the city of Nicoya, located about 18 miles from the coast and serving as a jumping off point for tourists.
Nicoya also has a very important cultural-historic value since, in addition to being considered as the oldest city in Costa Rica, it was the center of the Chorotega indigenous culture.
Activities within this region include: sport fishing, exploring archeological and historic sights, bird watching, observing cultural activities, scuba diving, rural tourism activities and enjoying both the sun and the beach.
The area´s main resource is unquestionably its beaches that combined with the natural resources, offer a huge tourist potential.
Santa Cruz city holds the distinction of being the national folklore capital, thanks to its commitment to keeping alive its traditions and customs including traditional dances, musical instruments, foods and beverages.
Among some of the most important attractions of this region we can find Samara, Ostional, Guiones and Nosara Beaches, and some other small beaches that offer the visitors great scenery, incredible sunsets and a great array of activities.
Nosara beach consists of the beaches Pelada and Guiones. Both provide white sand beaches and are perfect for swimmer as well as for surfer. This is a beach with an attractive estuary and extensive mangroves that can be toured by boat or kayak to appreciate the flora and fauna and specially birds. Besides these, other activities, such as hiking, stand up paddleboarding, snorkeling and observation of turtles at Playa Ostional are available to visitors.
This a half-moon shaped cove with very little surf. The name comes from a rocky islet next to Islita Point at the northwestern end of the bay. Two estuaries add to the beauty of its landscape, which can be fully appreciated from the top of the road joining it to the south with Corozalito, where steep cliffs can also be seen.
The beautiful beach at Islita is only about a kilometer long, but is well worth a visit. A perfect horseshoe bay with a jagged, rocky cliff; the beach at Islita is perfect for swimming. Separated from neighboring areas by 80-million-year-old towers of volcanic rock, the beach provides all that, sun lovers are searching for. The road to Islita beach is amazingly picturesque- with stunning views of the ocean, the spectacular sunsets, and lots of wildlife- including howler monkeys, coatis and armadillos.
The road winds through lush jungle and the hairpin turns and gradual elevation, make the trip to Islita an adventure!
Samara is a fun beach town, with a lot of little restaurants set along the sand. Though to certain point it can be considered developed you can still feel its Costa Rican local vibe.
Samara is full of live, restaurants, little trendy boutique stores, small hotels, tour guides, surfing schools, etc. The area is surrounding by jungle so you get to spot monkeys, iguanas and all kinds of birds. Though its biggest attraction is without a doubt its beautiful beach. The coast line is about 5 Km long (3 miles), so even when it gets busy, there is always plenty of beach for everyone to enjoy without ever feeling crowded.
Samara is about to hours away from the International Airport Daniel Oduber, and the road is in excellent conditions.
This is a pretty little beach that simply looks like a post card. White sand and palm trees make it look like a dream.
Carrillo is located in the northern Province of Guanacaste in the Nicoya Peninsula, only a couple of hours away from the International airport in Liberia Daniel Oduber,.
This beach is one of the locals’ favorites, is a quiet place, with little hotels, restaurants and yoga centers around and a couple of basic stores. The waves are usually gentle, so it is great for swimming even for young children. Is also very close to the famous Samara beach.
The bay, protected through some reefs, is perfect for swimmers and provides a rich fauna and flora life. Whale and turtle observations are also available to the visitor; best time to participate in those expeditions, normally from November to April.
This very unique island is located off the southeastern coast of the Nicoya Peninsula, and though is only accessible by boat, there are day tours available for you to enjoy its turquoise waters, white sandy beaches and its lush vegetation.
Whether you are looking to spend the day sitting on a hammock reading an amazing book, or instead fill your itinerary with tons of adventure, this is the right place for you!
The top activities available are snorkeling, kayaking, horseback riding, banana boat, beach volleyball, and much more!
The tour will provide you with everything you need to make the most of the experience; transportation, delicious food, live music, the super fun catamaran ride, for you to simply sit back and relax. Please notice only day tours are available, due to the lack of hotel accommodation on the island.
This is a place so rich in biodiversity that should be part of the traveling agenda of every nature lover, everything seems alive, if you close your eyes, you will discover its very unique nature’s tune.
Palo Verde National Park, is located in the northwestern region of Costa Rica in the Nicoya Peninsula, is only a bit over an hour from the International Airport Daniel Oduber in Liberia.
Sitting on the banks of the Tempisque River, during the dry season it welcomes a big diversity of migratory birds. Its trees have adapted to the very little rainfall and survived by shedding their leaves, allowing them to preserve their water.
This National Park is a paradise point for birdwatchers, due to the impressive variety of birds such as the unique roseate spoonbill, the green-backed herons, the northern jacanas, and a variety of tanagers.
During the raining season the Tempisque River can overflow transforming the park into its extensive mangroves, lagoons and lakes, making it a home for many different birds and other wildlife, this change in its ecosystem, is partly why this place is so exceptional.
The Tempisque River is home of a large crocodile population, which can be definitely caught on action when on a boat tour.
There are many different animals that can also be seeing, like the stunning macaws, the playful capuchin monkeys, the noisy parakeets. The coatis and collared peccaries wander the grounds as well as the white-tailed deer, pacas, and agoutis.
There are also several species of reptiles, like the colored coral snake, the super powerful boa constrictor, and the rattlesnakes.
Palo Verde National Park can be visited all year round, just take into consideration that the dry season, (December to April), could bring more chances for amazing bird watching and wildlife sightings. On the other hand, the wet season could offer you the opportunity to explore an oasis of waterways and lagoons but does require you to come equipped and prepared for the rain.
Barra Honda Caves
While enjoying Guanacaste’s stunning beaches and beautiful sunny days, if you are seeking for some adventure and adrenaline, this is the place to visit. Its main attraction lies underground, within its caverns, that began forming millions of years ago.
Barra Honda Mountain was a coral reef in the ocean before tectonic activity pushed it above sea level millions of years ago. There are 42 caves, though only one is opened to the public, and only about 19 of them have been properly explored. The Tercipelo Cave is the one open for exploration, its name comes after a Terciopelo snake was found inside the cavern during the first time it was explored. With the pass of the years, water and nature have formed many different calciferous rocks and independent caves.
As you decent the 17 steps ladder, you will feel the changes in the air and notice how the darkness takes over. The caver’s ceilings are covered with stalagmites and is home of more than 5,000 bats.
The National Park is the home of a variety of wildlife; white-tailed deer, raccoons, coyotes, and coatis. There are also armadillos, anteaters, skunks, and opossums, as well as boas, rattlesnakes, and the famous Terciopelo.
At the top of the mountain, there is a spectacular lookout, which is the perfect place to take a little break and open your eyes to the tremendous wonders around you: the dry forest, the Tempisque river valley, the islands out in the Gulf of Nicoya.
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