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


    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


    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


    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


    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


    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


    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


    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


    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


    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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