Guanacaste

Costa Rica

With sun-splashed beaches and great Pacific surf, Costa Rica's northwestern province of Guanacaste teems with visitors from around the globe. The region's dry tropical climate encompasses a varied landscape. Popular white-sand beaches line the coast, and to the east, the Guanacaste Mountains feature fascinating national parks and caldera volcanoes. Travelers of every type can enjoy Guanacaste's myriad of activities, and Liberia's international airport (LIR) provides excellent regional access.

Guanacaste's hot, dry climate makes the region a popular escape for those suffering cold winter months in the northern latitudes. Its white-sand coast is often regarded as one of Costa Rica's most beautiful, and the beaches offer many accommodations. Visitors to the region can take surf lessons and enjoy an active nightlife at the regional hub of Tamarindo; embark on an arduous volcano hike and explore refreshing waterfalls at Rincon de la Vieja National Park; or enjoy a day of relaxation and reading on the glamorous Playa Conchal. These activities are among many fantastic options in the Guanacaste area.

Guanacaste Province contains diverse geographical features. Separating the sandy coastal land from mountainous terrain along Guanacaste's border, the Tempisque River flows from north to south and bisects the Province. In the Guanacaste Mountains to the east, a range of jagged peaks and volcanoes span 70 miles (113 km) northwest to southeast. These mountains house a collection of national parks: Parque Nacional Rincon de la Vieja, Parque Nacional Guanacaste, and Parque Nacional Volcano Tenorio. The Tilaran Mountains enclose Guanacaste along the southeast. Beginning at the south end of Lake Arenal, the Tilaran Mountains extend toward the Pacific coast, leaving only a small bottleneck of coastal lowland. At this bottleneck, the Inter-American Highway runs north of Puntarenas and into Guanacaste. It provides seamless travel to most of Guanacaste's attractions. Side roads from the Inter-American explore the tropical forest as it ascends into surrounding highlands. The forest gives refuge to exotic flora and fauna including an abundance of monkeys, sloths, iguanas, and toucans.

Historically, Guanacaste has been estranged from the rest of Costa Rica. During early pre-Columbian times, the indigenous Chorotega dominated the province; this fact is reflected in the dark skin and round faces of many modern Guanacatecans. The province has also been the focus of much politicking; it was once annexed by Nicaragua. Although Costa Rica won the dispute and claimed the province, Guanacaste retains a distinct identity to this day.

The region is a huge hit with visitors in search of internationally famed beaches. As a result, many of its sleepy fishing towns have continued to undergo rapid transition. New resort developments extend south from the Gulf of Papagayo in a seemingly endless expanse of beachside accommodations. Some accommodations offer unrivaled luxury, and while such high-end development may seem paradoxical in the developing world, this has been the fate for much of Guanacaste's coastline. The massive Gulf of Papagayo Project, for example, aims to develop 2,300 coastal acres (930 ha), and it has catalyzed construction of large resort complexes, hotels, condos, and exclusive villas from Culebra Bay to the beaches of Panama and Coco. With a huge influx of foreign residents and tourists, the wide-ranging affluence can at times bear more resemblance to Cancun than typical Costa Rica.

Recent decades of development have also transformed the once sleepy hamlet of Tamarindo into a thriving regional hub well known for its bustling nightlife. As Guanacaste's largest coastal town, Tamarindo is frequented by foreigners from North America and Europe. With a large white-sand beach and nearby conservation areas (National Wildlife Refuge of Tamarindo and Marino Las Baulas National Park,) Tamarindo is a favorite among tourists who want to observe the local wildlife and beach-goers who seek to enjoy Costa Rica's surf.

Guanacaste's largest town, Liberia, serves as the regional economic and administrative capital. Home to the nation's second international airport, Liberia is a main access point for many incoming visitors from abroad. Accordingly, Liberia continues to undergo major transformations, similar to those of the Guanacaste coast. Due to its close proximity to Pacific beaches and surrounding national parks, Liberia provides an ideal stopover point for visitors who want to experience every facet of the Guanacaste region.

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Destinations in Guanacaste

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Costa Rica Attractions

Heres a list of Costa Rica's Amazing Sights and Attractions

Attractions
Destinations
Flora Fauna
Flora Fauna
 

Rhinoceros Beetle

 

House Gecko

 

Monkey Tail (Guaba chilillo)

 

Glass Frog

 

Common Basilisk

 

Spectacled Caiman

 

Hawksbill Sea Turtle

 

Leatherback Turtle

 

Fishing Bulldog Bat

 

Scarlet Macaw

 

Long-tailed Hermit

 

Boa Constrictor

 

Olingo

 

Common Dolphin

 

Spiny Green Lizard

 

Leaf-Cutter Ant

 

Puma

 

Blue-jeans Frog or Strawberry Poison-dart Frog

 

Millipede

 

Resplendent Quetzal

 

Monarch Butterfly

 

Magnificent Frigatebird

 

Jaguar

 

Green Page Moth

 

Two-Toed Sloth

 

Fer-de-Lance

 

Green Heron

 

Bare-necked Umbrellabird

 

Turquoise-browed Motmot

 

Agouti

 

Ocelot

 

Bottle-nosed Dolphin

 

Coati

 

Red-Eyed Leaf (Tree) Frog

 

American Crocodile

 

Baird's Tapir

 

Owl Butterfly

 

Tonka Bean Tree

 

Keel-billed Toucan

 

Vampire Bat

 

Humpback Whale

 

Barbachele

 

Spider Monkey

 

Ground Anole

 

Brown Pelican

 

Mantled Howler Monkey

 

Tarantula

 

Army Ant

 

Arboreal Termites

 

Giant Toad or Cane Toad

 

Kinkajou

 

Pacific Spotted Dolphin

 

Golden Orb Weaver

 

Great Green Macaw

 

White-Faced or Capuchin Monkey

 

Glasswing Butterfly

 

Armadillo

 

Pink Shower Tree

 

Stinking Toe Tree

 

White Leadtree

 

Fiery-billed Aracari and Collared Aracari

 

Ice Cream Bean Tree

 

Margay

 

Walking Stick

 

Long-tailed Manakin

 

Tayra

 

Green Turtle

 

Brilliant Forest Frog

 

Assassin Bugs and Kissing Bugs

 

Spanish cedar (Cedrela odorata)

 

Common Tink Frog

 

Zopilota

 

Chestnut-mandibled Toucan

 

Narrow-headed Vine Snake

 

Collared Peccary

 

Loggerhead Sea Turtle

 

Oncilla

 

Jaguarundi

 

Orca, Killer Whale

 

Milk Frog

 

Elephant Ear Tree

 

Andiroba

 

Black Ctenosaur

 

Helicopter Damselfly

 

Fin Whale

 

Scorpions

 

Cook

 

Black Witch

 

Squirrel Monkey

 

Three-wattled Bellbird

 

Saman (Samanea saman, aka Albizia saman)

 

Blue Morpho

 

Chestnut-headed Oropendola

 

Violet Sabrewing

 

Olive Ridley Sea Turtle

 

Bananaquit

 

Spotted Longwing

 

Three-Toed Sloth

 

Bullet Ant

 

Paca