Guanacaste Province

Guanacaste Province is named for the large trees that fill it's landscape. It's string of volcanoes, mountain ranges, pastureland and beaches make up a dramatic backdrop, bringing new residents and a stream of tourist to the area.  Located in the northwestern part of Costa Rica and bordering Nicaragua to the north,  it stretches south down the Pacific coast to include the Gulf of Nicoya.  It is bound on the east by green washed volcanos forming the Cordillera de Guanacaste and the Cordillera de Tilaran.  The numerous rivers that cascade down the mountains, flow through rolling flatland and into the Rio Tempisque, finally draining into the Golfo de Nicoya.  

The population of the Province compared to it's size is smaller than expected and scattered through the few major cities and smaller districts.  It holds some of the largest horse and cattle farms of the country and is known for the Costa Rican cowboys that have remained in the area through many generations. Good hiking, surfing, fishing and ecotourism opportunities make this Northwestern Province very popular with tourist as well as the weekend getaway for local family fun.  With beaches and trails in the Santa Rosa dry forest, waterfalls, hotsprings, and a summit trail in Rincon de la Vieja National Park, and some of the best birdwatching along the Tempique River found in Palo Verde National Park, you are bound to stay busy with activities.

Liberia is the capital city of Guanacaste Province and it's largest city.  It is located in the middle of the traditional cowboy country in the North Pacific Region where large hacienda's have given way to cattle and horse farms.  It is appropriate that  Liberia is home to the Cowboy Museum and the Cultural Center, which gives both written and visual accounts of these important traditions.   Both attractions share the space of a 100 year old adobe building that  were once prevelant structures but today are replaced with the modern mortar.  Liberia has always been the main stop for tourist arriving in San Jose on their way to the North Pacific beaches.  Today, it has recently added an International Airport giving the ever growing number of tourist an entry closer to their destinations on the North Pacific coast. It is a charming and quaint city that does not have the normal hustle and remains an excelent place to visit.

Guanacaste Province is unique in several ways than the other Provinces of Costa Rica.  It is the country's dry quarter and is believed to have developed apart from the rest of the country because of it's distinctive differences.  No rain relieves the region from November to April, causing the dry forest and savannas of the lowlands to thirst and this reaction brings about bright blooms.  The giant guanacaste trees are unmistakable in this environment, being as broad as it is wide.  During other parts of the year the province has a climate similiar to San Jose with daily showers and mild temperatures.  These climate conditions as well as the beautiful landscape is part of the reason that Guanacaste is growing at such a fast pace.  New highways and roads give easier access to the majority of the province making Guanacaste the fastest growing area of Costa Rica.

The Tempisque River, the longest in the country, runs through Guanacaste and with out a doubt gives some of the most beautiful sights and trails to offer any tourist.  During the dry season the wildlife that can be seen close to the remaining waters is unbelievable and will no doubt give you many photo opportunities. National Parks and reserves are abundant and centrally located for any part of the region you might be traveling. Visiting one makes a great family outing with the picnic and camping areas offered.  Horseback riding is offered almost anywhere with a variety of choices, views along sandy beaches, mountain trails or winding rivers.  Since many cowboy festivals are scheduled throughout the year, take a look at the events calendar so you will not miss the opportunity to attend one of these traditional events.  Choosing how you want to spend your day in Guanacaste will not be a problem as the variety and services offered are many. Check for accommodations near the sights you are interested in by using our convenient accommodations tab.

Traveling to the farthest reaches in the North Pacific Region of Guanacaste Province you will enter an area around Golfo de Papagayo, an amazingly beautiful and peaceful place.  There are miles upon miles of beaches that make ideal spots for camping on the secluded beaches and enjoying your own little paradise.  If you need the traditional roof over your head, there are strings of beach villages from Tamarindo, Potrero, Ocotal and Culebra, all the way to the border of Nicaragua offering a wide variety of accommodations and attractions.  The area is known for great surfing, amazing fishing and unbelievable diving so if any of these three interest you make sure to add them to your travel plans.  Santa Rosa National Park, Guanacaste National Park and Costa Esmeralda Refuge are some of the other great attractions to enjoy in this part of Guanacaste Province. 

Heading towards the Nicoya Peninsula Region(Golfo de Nicoya) you are bound to experience the mixture of sand, sea and mountains that wrap itself around the gulf area.  The laid back lifestyle of the districts that lie in this region are the perfect place to lay around in a hammock and experience the sounds of howling monkeys while watching a beautiful sunset.  Lush tree tops hang over the sandy beaches and may be the reason it remains the wildlife retreat for the huge sea turtles that visit it's shore annually.  If the conditions are perfect for the visitor - why not even more so for the turtles and wildlife that are prevalent in the area.  This area holds most of the best known golf courses in Costa Rica as well as some of the more aggressive water sport activities.  With the increase in tourism over the last ten years, there are plenty of services, small businesses, great restaurants, beachfront bars and resorts.  you will find great National Parks, Biological Reserves, and historical sights that can be seen while traveling the extent of the Nicoya Peninsula.

Main Attractions / Towns in Guanacaste Province

Barra Honda National Park Finca Daniel Adventure Park Guanacaste National Park
Hall of Pearls Liberia Palo Verde National Park
Playa del Coco Playa Grande Nicoya
Playa Hermosa Playa Langosta Playa Nosara
Playa Samara Playa Tamarindo Rincon de la Vieja National Park
San Luis Santa Rosa National Park Terciopelo Caves

Cantons: Liberia, Abangares, Bagaces, Canas, Carrillo, Hojancha, La Cruz, Nandaure, Nicoya, Santa Cruz, and Tiliran.

A visit to Guanacaste Provinces will not disappoint any traveler in any way.  Whether your choice is private and secluded or among other tourists and locals, you are certain to have a wonderful time and see some beautiful sights.  Refer to the tabs of our web sight to pick out your favorite places to visit, accommodations, tours and all the variety of attractions you can see in this area.

Photo Credit: Flicka (Own work) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC-BY-SA-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons, By cyph3r [2] ([1]) [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons ,By Micetro99 at en.wikipedia [CC-BY-2.5, CC-BY-SA-2.5 or GFDL], from Wikimedia Commons ,By Tamarindowiki (Tamarindowiki helicopter aerial photo) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons