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

    Conquistadors 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. Museo Islita

    Museum/Gallery

    More than 10 years in the making, this open-air contemporary art museum—the only one in the country—is a treasure trove of art displayed in...Read More

  • 3. Palo Verde National Park

    Park (National/State/Provincial)

    Since 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

  • Playa Carrillo

    4. Playa Carrillo

    Beach–Sight

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

    Playa Carrillo
  • 5. Playa Guiones

    Beach–Sight

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

  • 6. Punta Islita

    Beach–Sight

    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

  • Rincón de la Vieja National Park

    7. 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

    Rincón de la Vieja National Park
  • 8. Bahía Junquillal

    Beach–Sight

    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

  • 9. Barra Honda National Park

    Cave

    A mecca for speleologists, the caves beneath the 390-meter (1,184-foot) Barra Honda Peak were created millions of years ago by erosion after...Read More

  • 10. 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

  • 11. Cóbano

    Town/Village

    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

  • 12. 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

  • 13. 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

  • 14. Isla Tortuga

    Island

    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

  • 15. 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

  • 16. La Selva Wild Animal Refuge & Zoo

    Zoo/Aquarium

    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

  • 17. 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

  • 18. 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

  • 19. Nesting giant leatherback turtles

    Nature Preserve/Wildlife Refuge

    Playa Grande used to host the world's largest visitation of nesting giant leatherback turtles, but the number of turtles has fallen drastically...Read More

  • 20. Ostional National Wildlife Refuge

    Nature Preserve/Wildlife Refuge

    This wildlife refuge protects one of Costa Rica's major nesting beaches for olive ridley turtles. Locals have formed an association to run the...Read More

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