Guanacaste Province Costa Rica

Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica
Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica

Getting To Guanacaste

Guanacaste has many popular destinations, so we’re providing directions for Liberia, as this is the departure point for most of those areas. The second biggest airport in the country is located in the city of Liberia, the Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport.

If you want to make it to Guanacaste in a fast way, this is the way to go, as the flight between either Juan Santamaria or the Tobias Bolaños International Airport is only 45 minutes long.

There are also straight flights to Liberia from some American and European cities. You can also make it to Liberia by bus, with daily departures from downtown San Jose every hour. The trip can last five to six hours.

If you want to drive, you must take the Pan American Highway (the one that goes to the province of Alajuela). Then drive to Cañas (road signs won’t allow you to get lost) and from there straight to the city of Liberia. It should take you between four and five hours to get there.

Things to Do in Guanacaste

Guanacaste is where some of the most stunning national parks and volcanoes are located. This includes the Rincon de la Vieja National Park. Here you’ll find an active crater, beautiful waterfalls, mud pots, and many trails filled with more natural beauty). You can also visit Santa Rosa National Park, famous for being the place where the country’s battle of independence took place back on March 20, 1856.

At the time, a handful of Costa Ricans managed to prevent the American Invasion led by William Walker. This is the perfect place for some pictures of the Hacienda Santa Rosa, one of the buildings with more history in this Central American nation.

Guanacaste has countless beaches spread throughout more than 125 miles of coastal extension). Some of the most popular ones are Tamarindo Beach, Flamingo Beach, Langosta Beach, Nosara Beach, Conchal Beach, Coco Beach, and Samara beach. And it’s worth exploring them all. Most of the popular adventure activities preferred by tourists are found in all areas of Guanacaste.

This includes:

  • Horseback Riding
  • Hiking
  • Cycling
  • ATV Tours
  • Bird-Watching
  • Canopying
  • Snorkeling
  • Scuba Diving
  • Sports Fishing
Liberia, Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica
Liberia, Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica

Liberia, Guanacaste

Liberia is the capital of Guanacaste. This is a growing business center and also the point of departure for many attractive destinations such as:

  • Flamingo Beach
  • Tamarindo Beach
  • Playa Grande Beach
  • Playa Negra Beach
  • Papagayo Gulf
  • Rincon de la Vieja National Park
  • Santa Rosa National Park

The city is growing at a fast pace and has witnessed some considerable development during the past few years. But the town preserves a lot of old white adobe houses. This is the reason why it’s also known as the White City.

The red tile roofs, the traditional Sabaneros (cowboys) running the town’s narrow streets in their horses, are still reminiscent of the colonial past of Liberia. Apart from tourism, the local economy is also based on cattle and agriculture. And the many farms and ranches surrounding the city are dedicated to these activities.

Getting To Liberia

The Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport, the second-largest in the country, is located here. So you should take a direct flight to Liberia, or a charter flight at either Juan Santamaria Airport (Alajuela), or at the Tobias Bolaños Airport (Pavas) via Sansa.

If you’re taking a domestic flight, it should take you about 45 minutes to arrive in Liberia. If you’re driving, take the Pan-American Highway and follow the signs to Cañas and from there to Liberia. Buses are leaving from downtown San Jose (Calle 24, Ave 5/7) every hour from 6 am to 8 pm every day. The trip on the road should take about 5 to 6 hours.

Things to Do in Liberia Costa Rica

If you want to know the locals, you can head to the central plaza, located two blocks away from the Church, as this is the social hub of the city. Cheap accommodation is available all over town and its outskirts. Although you might prefer to stay at a mountain lodge or at the beach and visit Liberia as a day trip.

When it comes to the local nightlife, there are Discos and Bars which are mainly filled with locals, so this is another great way to meet some Costa Ricans. An interesting place to visit during an afternoon (only open from 2 to 3 pm daily) while in Liberia is the Nuestro Señor de La Agonia Hermitage, an adobe church that dates back to 1865 and is still in good shape.

It holds an important significance for the city of Liberia, both architectural and historical. Rincon de la Vieja National Park, located just sixteen miles from Liberia, is also of interest.

There are two entrances, one is the Las Pailas entrance, which can be accessed through the small town of Curubandé. And the other one is the Santa Maria entrance, which can be accessed through the small town of San Jorge.

There is a lot to be explored here, including Geysers, Fumaroles, Volcanic Craters, a Lake, and various Waterfalls. A popular way to watch what Liberia and its surroundings have to offer is to take an airplane ride, arranged at the local airport.

The route is quite flexible and it’ll allow you to take pictures of different volcanoes, the Santa Elena National Park, Lake Arenal, and the basin of the Tempisque River.

There’s also a private reserve populated by herbivore species such as Ostriches, Zebras, Giraffes, Dromedaries, Bongos, Elands, Warthogs, Watusis, Peacocks, Monkeys, Gemsboks, Antelopes, and White-Tailed Deers. There are safari-style tours available and the place is located just a few minutes from the city.

Tamarindo, Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica
Tamarindo, Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica

Tamarindo, Guanacaste

Tamarindo is a popular tourist destination located in the province of Guanacaste (northern pacific of Costa Rica). This beach town has a low population of roughly 3500 people, but it can get really crowded during the weekends, especially during summertime.

Tamarindo is a paradise for surfers, either pro or just enthusiasts. And that’s because it has different breaks where the waves can be ridden according to experience. The top two breaks for the advanced surfer are the Estero and the Pico Pequeño.

Although Tamarindo is a great surfing spot, it’s not the only one in the area, as other excellent beaches where this sport can be practiced includes Langosta Beach, Playa Grande Beach, Avellanas Beach, and Playa Negra Beach.

Back in the seventies, Tamarindo was a peaceful and undeveloped quite small town of fishermen where you could spot the occasional surfer, but now it has turned into a major hub of tourism and real estate businesses in the province.

Getting To Tamarindo

If you’re driving, it will take you approximately 5 to 6 hours to get here. Coming from San Jose you need to take the Pan-American Highway and make it to Liberia by following the road signs. Once there, head south and look for the turnoff for Belen. And then west until you see the Huacas crossroads, and from there to Tamarindo.

There are also buses departing from downtown San Jose to this booming beach town every day. Although if you can afford it and want to make it there in a comfortable and fast way, we recommend you to take a domestic flight. You can pick it at either the Tobias Bolaños or the Juan Santamaria Airports. A flight to the Tamarindo airstrip can take approximately 45 minutes from San Jose.

Things to Do in Tamarindo

This is a stunning white-sand beach that seems harmless. But be careful about where you swim in here, as you must avoid the estuary mouth. Your best bet is to head to the southern end of the beach, in direction of Langosta.

It’s a good idea to rent a bike while here, as this will give you the chance of visiting the surrounding beaches. There are different tour operators who can plan an interesting mountain bike tour or a four-wheel tour for you. These tour operators also offer a variety of activities for the tourist, including Scuba Diving, Sport Fishing, Horseback Rides, and Canopying.

You can also go through town and check the nightlife, which is quite active here, with a lot of Discos, Bars, and Pubs from where to choose from. Tamarindo also has a good number of varied restaurants, so eating well shouldn’t present a problem.

Turtle nesting observation: Apart from the exciting activities at Tamarindo, there are more relaxing options for the laidback visitor. This includes visiting Playa Grande and watching how leatherback turtles lay their eggs in the sand. These tours should be programmed, and can only be made between October and February, which is the nesting season for the turtles.

It’s also important to notice that these tours are made at night, and no flashlights are allowed since they can disturb the turtles and might prevent them from laying their eggs. You can arrange a tour at your hotel. Or if you can’t book it with them, look for one of the licensed guides at Tamarindo.

Playas del Coco, Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica
Playas del Coco, Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica

Playas del Coco, Guanacaste

Playas del Coco, or Coco Beach, as known by foreigners, is the coastal community with more years in Guanacaste. It’s located just twenty miles from the city of Liberia (the capital of the province). And its local economy is mostly fueled by fishing and the tourism industry. This is one of the busiest coastal towns in Guanacaste.

And one of the reasons for this is the real estate boom in the area, as Coco Beach is located really close to the Golfo de Papagayo, one of top the places in the country for tourist projects and luxury housing developments. Here you’ll find all the services you might possibly need. This includes banks, cheap and expensive accommodation, good restaurants, a large mall, and a handful of souvenir shops.

Getting To Playas del Coco

If you happen to be in San Jose and want to make it there fast, taking a domestic flight from the Tobias Bolaños Airport to the Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport in Liberia is one of the best options.

If you’re overseas, you can also ask for direct flights to this Airport from some cities in the US and Europe. Once you make it to Liberia, you can either rent a car or pick up a cab.

If you choose to do the latter, you can expect to pay around $40 for a 35-minute trip to Coco Beach. If you’re driving, take the Pan-American Highway passing the Juan Santamaria International Airport in Alajuela.

Then follow the signs to Liberia, and from that city, head west (towards the city of Santa Cruz). Once you’ve passed the small town of Comunidad, take a right and drive for about 7 miles until you come to a crossroad, take the road to the left there.

The whole trip can take about 5 hours from downtown San Jose. Buses depart from the capital, San Jose, to Playas Del Coco every day at different times of the day. But there are only 3 daily departures, so consider arriving at the station with enough time to buy your ticket.

Things to Do in Playas del Coco Costa Rica

This beach is quite popular among the local population and it can get really crowded during the weekends. So, if you’re looking for some relaxation, you should consider other alternatives. Although if what you want is to have a good time partying, this is certainly the place to be, especially because of the town’s active nightlife.

You can also choose to stay in Playa del Coco and spend your time at Playa Ocotal, which is an adjacent beach that is better for the laidback type. This is also the place for a good swim or for some snorkeling. If you happen to want to do some Scuba Diving, there’s not a better place than Playas del Coco.

This is one of the top jumping-off points in the region for practicing this sport. And there are different tour operators in town which can arrange everything so you can take a dive here and check out the stunning sea life. Surfers who are looking to ride the waves at Witch’s Rock (Naranjo Beach) or Ollie’s Point can also opt for staying in Coco Beach and take a boat trip to these locations.

Nosara, Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica
Nosara, Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica

Playa Nosara, Guanacaste

Playa Nosara is a beach located in the province of Guanacaste, Costa Rica. Along with Guiones Beach, Ostional Beach and Pelada Beach form the Ostional National Wildlife Refuge, part of the Tempisque Conservation Area.

The tourism industry is the center of the economy in Nosara, with most residents dedicated to activities such as restaurants, hospitality, and tours. Although there are still some fishermen and farmers around.

Nosara is divided into two areas:

  • Bocas de Nosara, the town where most people live and where most services are found.
  • And the American Project, the area where most foreigners live and where the big hotels are also located.

For a long time, this area was inhabited by Indians known as the Chorotega, and proof of this are the many Pre-Columbian objects which have been found here. This includes pieces of clay, jade, and gold. Many of the tombs where these were found were looted, and now many of those objects belong to private collectors.

Getting To Playa Nosara

The best time to make it to Nosara is during the dry season, between the months of November to April, and the best way to do it is by air. You can take a domestic flight at either the Tobias Bolaños Airport or the Juan Santamaria Airport. And you can expect a 45-minute long trip.

If you want to make it here by bus from downtown San Jose, take an express bus, and it’ll take you about 6 hours to get to Nosara. Or you can also take a bus to Nicoya and then a second bus from there to Nosara.

If you wish to drive from San Jose, then take the Pan-American Highway and follow the signs for Samara Beach. There’s a crossroads a few miles before you get to that beach. So take the road to the right and follow it for about fourteen miles.

Things to Do in Playa Nosara Costa Rica

You’ll start getting amazed with the natural richness of this area just by taking a stroll. Indeed, there’s a lot of wildlife to appreciate. And it’s likely that you’ll get quickly familiarized with the Howler Monkeys, the Iguanas, the Armadillos, the Raccoons, The Squirrels, and the Coatis, all of which are easy to spot here. Playa Guiones is recommended for those fond of surfing.

That’s because this is one of the favorite spots in the Guanacaste coastline for pro surfers due to its consistent breaks. If you just want to relax under a palm tree and enjoy the scenic beauty, then visit Pelada Beach. It has white sand, and it’s considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the country.

When the tide is low here, you might also be able to see many Crabs, Sea Urchins, Snails, and Starfishes. Ostional beach is where you go to watch hundreds of Olive Ridley Sea Turtles nesting. Although these turtles lay their eggs all year, the months between July to December is when the largest number of them are present here.

You can ask the place where you’re staying to arrange a guided tour for you. The nightlife in Nosara is not very active. Although there are a few places that you can check out, including a couple of sports bars and the Tropicana, the oldest disco in the town’s center.

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