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Guanacaste2 of 3
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Key Info

Price & Hours

Free
24/7 daily

Details

Beaches, Free, Neighborhood/Area Type
More than Full Day Time to Spend
4.5

scorecard

  • 5.0Value
  • 4.0Food Scene
  • 4.5Atmosphere

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. Further 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. You'll also get to see some impressive volcanic activity. 

Guanacaste is located on Costa Rica's North Pacific Coast and can be reached by flying into Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport. 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).

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Nicoya Peninsula1 of 15
Arenal Volcano2 of 15
Type
Time to Spend
#1 Nicoya Peninsula

The Nicoya Peninsula's sparkling 80-mile shoreline boasts beach-centric towns with cream-colored shores and dense forests. Half of the peninsula is found in the Guanacaste province, while the other half sits in the Puntarenas province. Nosara Beach's powdery sands line the Nicoya Peninsula's western edge. You'll also find fishing and cattle-ranching communities east of the rustic coastline. After a significant rise in tourism that began in the 1970s, an influx of restaurants and hotels have enticed visitors to the peninsula's sandy coast.

Recent travelers highlight Nosara Beach's gorgeous sunsets, colorful fish and turquoise waters as ideal for surfers and beach lovers alike. But be warned: shade is minimal (and it gets hot!) and the undertow can be challenging; sunset walks on the beach are highly encouraged. Other hot spots include Mal País and Montezuma, a charming coastal town that boasts affordable hotel accommodations and untamed splendors, like magnificent waterfalls and gentle cerulean waves.

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