Reliably sunny, dry weather brings planeloads of sun-starved Northerners to the North Pacific area of Costa Rica every winter, and a windswept coastline makes Guanacaste and the Nicoya Peninsula popular with surfers eager to relive the legendary "Endless Summer" of the sport's early years.
Ever since the 1966 cult-classic film put Costa Rica on the map, surfers and travelers alike have flocked to the beaches where waves peel, hammocks sway, and monkeys and iguanas clamber in treetops. It's easy to understand why many who come to visit return year after year or even devise a plan to stay; Guanacaste and the Nicoya Peninsula cast their spell the moment you enter the rain forest or hit the coast. From the luxury resorts and cattle ranches in Northern Guanacaste to the surf towns and fishing villages in the Nicoya Peninsula, the region serves up everything from high-rise resorts to utter isolation with a side of sustainable living. An abundance of marine life and stellar diving spots also lure fishers and underwater aficionados. Add in some stunningly scenic national parks and a range of thrilling outdoor adventures, and you have all the ingredients that make this region an all-around top spot to experience Costa Rica's charms. Although most tourists head here for the dry "high" season, it's even more beautiful—and cheaper, cooler, and less crowded—in the "green" or low season, April to December.