* Versión en Español English Version Home
  • Group travel in Costa Rica
  • Over 20 years of experience...
  • Costa Rica Classic Getaway
    Arrive directly to the Beach or the City

Guanacaste Province

Related Information


Recommended Hotel
Arenal Volcano Inn

Guanacaste is a beautiful province in Costa Rica located in the northwestern part of the country, along the Pacific Coast. It was part of the Nicaraguan territory prior to independence from Spain, but in 1824/25 the territory of Guanacaste was annexed to Costa Rica.

Guanacaste’s terrain is flat, with some exceptions such as the Nicoya Peninsula. Guanacaste is divided into 11 Cities, and Liberia is the capital of the province.
Liberia is approximately 4 hours from San Jose and is known as "The White City". Tourism has heavily increased in this area during the past decade, making Liberia one of the most developed towns in the country. It is also known for its folklore and customs, as well as for its proximity and easy access to most of Guanacaste’s greatest beaches and resorts, such as the Gulf of Papagayo.

The town is organized around the Plaza Central with its modern church serving as the areas center piece. There are also several older buildings and around town, you will see several Guanacaste Trees, which are known for an often extensive spherical crown at the top. The Guanacaste Tree is Costa Rica’s national tree.

One of the biggest advantages of Liberia’s development is its international airport (Daniel Oduber International Airport). International flights to Liberia Costa Rica first began on December 1st, 2002; and it is one of the main drivers leading to an increase in tourism in this region. The airport receives flights from all over the world, more so from the United States and Europe.

The Nicoya Peninsula is another important, although somewhat remote, region in Guanacaste. Nicoya is the major town of the peninsula and the cultural center of the province of Guanacaste. It was Costa Rica's first colonial city and features the oldest church in Costa Rica.

The San Blas parish church was founded in 1644 and today houses a small museum with ancient religious artifacts. In front of the church is the central park of Nicoya. It is a very charming area shaded by huge old trees and is a favorite place for meeting and relaxing in the middle of the commercial center.

People from the surrounding areas, including beach villages nearby, come to Nicoya on a regular basis to do their shopping or to deal with their legal and financial needs. The town is also hosts to the courts in the area, and the biggest hospital of the Nicoya Peninsula. Despite its importance, Nicoya is still has the feel of a small and pleasant town.

Guanacaste draws thousands of visitors with its stunning beaches, abundant opportunities for bird watching , horseback riding trails, excellent surfing locations, as well as amazing snorkeling and access to wonderful mountain lake windsurfing. The province is bounded on the east by a long strip of volcanoes forming the Cordillera de Guanacaste and the Cordillera de Tilarán.

Guanacaste experiences little rain and it received consistent heat from November to April, and hen experiences a wet season from late May to November. Its hot, dry climate makes the region a popular escape for those caught in the grip of the cold winter months in the northern latitudes.

The region is extremely popular among visitors due in part to its internationally famed beaches. Many of Guanacaste’s small fishing towns have undergone rapid transitions, developing into an endless expanse of beachside resorts. With a large influx of tourists and foreign residents, this beautiful province bears more resemblance to other touristy destinations such as Cancun, than to the more typical destinations in Costa Rica.

One of the towns that once was a sleepy town and is now a regional centre with bustling nightlife is Tamarindo. As Guanacaste’s largest coastal town, it is frequented by foreigners from all over the world – mainly North America and Europe. To that end, many celebrities and other famous, well known, and wealthy individuals now have retreats in the area.

Tamarindo has large white-sand beaches and conservation areas (National Wildlife Refuge of Tamarindo and Marino Las Baulas National Park), and it is a favorite among eco-travelers and surfers alike.

Other famous and beautiful beaches in Guanacaste are the following:

  • Playa Naranjo (also known as Witch’s Rock)
  • Playa del Coco
  • Playa Hermosa
  • Playa Conchal
  • Playa Flamingo
  • Playa Potrero
  • Playa Grande
  • Playa Avellana
  • Playa Negra
  • Playa Lagarto
  • Playa Nosara
  • Playa Sámara
  • Playa Nosara
  • Playa Carrillo
  • Playa Manzanillo
  • Playa Santa Teresa
  • Mal País

Other natural attractions in Guanacaste include the following national parks and reserves:

  • Palo Verde National Park: 16,804 hectares noted for its varied topography, and as an important migratory zone for several species of birds
  • Palo Verde Biological Station
  • Las Pumas: largest private shelter for wild cats in Latin America
  • Lomas de Barbudal Biological Reserve: 2,279 hectares of tropical dry forest, rich with numerous species of insects, birds and other animals
  • Rincon de La Vieja National Park: is comprised of 14,083 hectares with an active volcano "fumaroles", geysers, fresh-water volcanic lagoon, thermal waters, waterfalls and swimming holes
  • Las Pailas or hot springs: mud pots, geysers, caves, natural sauna steam bath, sulfur warm water springs and mud facial
  • Blue Lake Waterfall: 90 ft. high, it is totally blue because of the copper in the water
  • Playa Nancite: important nesting site for the Pacific Ridley turtle
  • Tamarindo Wildlife Refuge/Las Baulas National Marine Park: nesting site for leatherback turtles (Oct-March).
  • Ostional Wildlife Refuge: just north of Playa Nosara is the nesting site for the Olive Ridley turtle or "lora", as the locals call it. If you're visiting the area any time from July through December, you'll find hundreds of turtles making their ponderous way up on to the beach
  • Cabo Blanco Strict Nature Reserve: 1,172 hectares on the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula. The first nature reserve to be established in Costa Rica, it has an abundance of flora and fauna including 119 species of trees not to mention a large colony of brown boobies
  • Barra Honda National Park: 2,295 hectares with, most notably, a series of ancient limestone caves (ancient human skeletons have been discovered inside), many of which have yet to be investigated and dated. One of the largest is "Terciopelo", and is the only one open to the public. The hike to the caves takes approximately an hour and the path winds through a tropical dry forest.
  • Guaitil: Small indigenous village maintaining the tradition of the Chorotega
  • La Casona: Located in Santa Rosa National Park, it is Costa Rica's most important historic site. Three major battles were fought here and there is now a museum situated on the site.
Travel Agencies, after hours & weekends:
(506) 2257-4171

Toll Free:
1-877-281-8515
Costa Rica: (506) 2233-5151
Fax: (506) 2233-5284
E-mail: info@costaricaguides.com
Costa Rica Hotels | Costa Rica Vacation Packages | Costa Rica Tours | Car Rental

Terms and Conditions | Privacy Terms | Contact Us | About Us | Travel Comments

The Costa Rica vacations planning site with information about accommodations, tours, transportation, maps of Costa Rica, main cities and travel tips.

Versión en Español
Follow us Verisign Twitter Facebook Youtube
Copyright © 2011 Costa Rica Guides