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