- Type: Beaches, Neighborhood/Area
- Time to Spend: More than Full Day
|About these ratings|
Costa Rica's "Gold Coast" is one of the nation's most unique destinations, and that's not just because of its secluded beaches. The region's dry, sunny savannas contrast the misty cloud-covered rainforests found in other parts of the country. To the east, you'll admire volcanoes comprising the Cordillera de Guanacaste. Along the coast—which extends all the way to the Nicaraguan border—you'll find pockets of white sand flanking hotels and remote fishing villages. Farther inland, you'll discover a thriving cowboy culture that has flourished since Spanish colonial rule in the 19th century. More notable highlights include the pristine, palm-studded Playa Carrillo beach and the Rincón de la Vieja National Park. Another must see attraction is the Santa Rosa National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that preserves the site of the 1856 Battle of Santa Rosa.
Recent travelers particularly recommend visiting Rincón de la Vieja National Park, which boasts hot springs and beautiful waterfalls. One TripAdvisor user exclaims, "It is the ONLY national park where the volcanic activity is so visibly present, with fumaroles, a small crater blasting sulfuric vapors, […] bubbling mud holes and an acidic pond."
Guanacaste is located on Costa Rica's North Pacific Coast and can be reached by flying into Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport (LIR) or hopping on a domestic flight from San José to LIR. Once you've arrived, you can easily navigate Guanacaste via car on the Inter-American Highway. From the airport, continue east on the Inter-American Highway to reach Guanacaste's cowboy towns. To learn more, visit our guide to Getting Around Costa Rica. For endless sunshine, lush vegetation, and wildlife-spotting at its finest, you'll want to visit from December through April (Costa Rica's summer season).