Guanacaste and the Nicoya Peninsula

We’ve compiled the best of the best in Guanacaste and the Nicoya Peninsula - browse our top choices for the top things to see or do during your stay.

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  • 1. Cabo Blanco Absolute Nature Preserve

    Nature Preserve/Wildlife Refuge

    Conquistadores named this area Cabo Blanco on account of its white earth and cliffs, but it was a more benevolent pair of foreigners—Swede Nicolas...Read More

  • 2. Las Baulas National Marine Park

    Park (National/State/Provincial)

    Encompassing more than 1,000 acres of beach, mangrove swamps, and estuary, and more than 54,000 acres of ocean, this wide expanse of sand and...Read More

  • 3. Ostional National Wildlife Refuge

    Nature Preserve/Wildlife Refuge

    This wildlife refuge protects one of Costa Rica's major nesting beaches for olive ridley turtles. If you get to go when the turtles are hatching...Read More

  • 4. Palo Verde National Park

    Park (National/State/Provincial)

    Because this dry deciduous forest is less dense than a rain forest, it's much easier to spot the fauna along the hiking trails, including white...Read More

  • 5. Playa Carrillo


    Unmarred by a single building at beach level, this picture-perfect pristine white strand is ideal for swimming, snorkeling, strolling, and lounging...Read More

  • 6. Playa Guiones


    This beach is one of the natural wonders of Costa Rica: a wide expanse of light-brown sand, sandwiched between rolling surf and green sea-grape...Read More

  • 7. Punta Islita


    The curved beach here is rocky but good for walking, especially at low tide when tidal pools form in the volcanic rock. Sunsets are gorgeous...Read More

  • 8. Rincón de la Vieja National Park

    Park (National/State/Provincial)

    It might be a trek to get here, but Rincón de la Vieja National Park doesn’t disappoint with its multitude of natural wonders from hot springs...Read More

  • 9. Bahía Junquillal


    The warm, calm water makes this one of the best swimming beaches on the Golfo de Santa Elena. Stay for the day or camp out in the well-kept...Read More

  • 10. Barra Honda National Park

    Park (National/State/Provincial)

    A mecca for speleologists, the caves beneath the 1,184-foot Barra Honda Peak were created millions of years ago by erosion after the ridge emerged...Read More

  • 11. Church of San Blas

    Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    Nicoya's last remaining colonial landmark is the impressive, whitewashed, mission-style Church of San Blas. Originally built in 1644, the church...Read More

  • 12. Cóbano


    Paquera is the closest city to Tambor, but if you're headed to Montezuma or Malpaís, you'll pass through Cóbano, 12 km (7½ miles) southwest...Read More

  • 13. Curú National Wildlife Refuge

    Nature Preserve/Wildlife Refuge

    Established by former farmer and logger-turned-conservationist Frederico Schutt in 1933, this 106-hectare (262-acre) refuge is named after the...Read More

  • 14. Guanacaste National Park

    Park (National/State/Provincial)

    The 325-square-km (125-square-mile) Parque Nacional Guanacaste, bordering the east side of the Pan-American Highway 30 km (18 miles) north of...Read More

  • 15. Isla Tortuga


    This idyllic, unpopulated island has a white-sand beach fronting clear turquoise water, where you'll see a good number of colorful fish, though...Read More

  • 16. La Posada del Tope Tours

    Downtown | Transportation Site (Airport, Bus, Ferry, Train)

    There is no bus service to Rincón de la Vieja, but La Posada del Tope Tours arranges shuttle-van transportation to the Las Pailas park entrance...Read More

  • 17. La Selva Wild Animal Refuge & Zoo


    This modest collection of mostly rescued small animals offers a great chance to see them up close in chest-high corrals under the shade of trees...Read More

  • 18. Las Pumas Rescue Shelter

    Nature Preserve/Wildlife Refuge

    Sad but true, one of the few places left in the country where you are guaranteed to see large wild cats, including a jaguar, is this animal...Read More

  • 19. Llanos de Cortés

    Body Of Water/Waterfall

    Just 3 km (2 miles) north of the Palo Verde road at Bagaces, take the dirt road signed for Llanos de Cortés to get to this hidden waterfall...Read More

  • 20. Museo Islita


    This open-air contemporary art museum—the only one in the country—is a treasure trove of art displayed in a gallery and throughout the entire...Read More

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