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Once a quaint provincial town, Guanacaste's former colonial capital is now a bustling shopping center, thanks to the bridge over the Río Tempisque that brings tourists headed for the nearby coast. But there are still a few historical remnants around the central park. A noticeable Chinese population, descendants of 19th-century railroad workers, has given Nicoya numerous Chinese restaurants.
The town has supermarkets, 24-hour service stations, and ATMs that take international cards.