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Guanacaste & the Nicoya Peninsula

Guanacaste & the Nicoya Peninsula have miles of beautiful beaches. Selecting which beach is for you is probably based on which hotel you like as each has its own personality.

 

 

When traveling through Guanacaste, most assuredly one aspect that will stay with you is the sun. It’s almost as if the sun is closer to you here. It bathes everything with a golden hue and gilds the surrounding landscape. Great expanses of golden grasses sway elegantly in the wind while stunted, gnarled guanacaste trees dot the low hills. The landscape is both dramatic and memorable for any visitor traversing this the largest region of Costa Rica.

 

 

The Guanacaste region is bordered by two mountain ranges. The Cordillera de Tilarán and the Cordillera de Guanacaste provide splendid craggy backdrops to some of the country’s most beautiful countryside. The perfect time to visit Guanacaste is, luckily enough, year around. No matter if you visit during the dry season or during the wet season, both provide spectacular advantages. The dry season affords the serious sun lover with plenty of tanning time, while the wet season brings the trees into bloom with explosions of colors and fragrances. The rolling hills become carpeted in brilliant green.

 

 

Known for its cattle ranches, travelers will see many homes surrounded by green pastures and grazing cows. Many of these are have been handed down through the generations of Guanacaste natives.

 

 

This area is also rich in sights to see. There are a number of places to visit that will lend themselves perfectly to visitors. If you enjoy snorkeling and some time in the sun, head for Bahia Culebra. This small bay is found just north of the town of El Coco . There are a number of beautiful beaches just waiting to be explored. Local tour operators otter snorkeling trips, sunset sails and fishing trips for the avid angler.

 

 

Those interested in seeing once in a lifetime events head for Playa Ostional. This beach is the landing spot for the olive ridley turtle, or “bra”, as it is called by the locals.

 

 

If you’re visiting the area any time from July through December you’ll find yourself entranced by the hundreds of turtles that make their ponderous way up on to the beach. The best way to see this spectacular natural event is with a guide. There are several in the area and most of the hotels will be able to steer you in the right direction as to where to find them.

 

 

 

PROTECTED AREAS

 

 

SANTA ROSA NATIONAL PARK
This park has two sectors: Murciélago and Santa Rosa itself. Located in the northern part of the Santa Elena peninsula, Murciélago features several beaches, including El Hachal, Danta, Coquito, Santa Elena and Blanca. There are also viewpoints and trails.


GUANACASTE NATIONAL PARK
At just over 32,000 hectares, this park contains Orosí and Cacao volcanoes, which are its main attractions. Birds and other animals can be seen on the trails, as well as a spectacular view of Lake Nicaragua.

 

RINCÓN DE LA VIEJA NATIONAL PARK
Comprising the massif that contains Rincón de la Vieja volcano, this national park has an area of 14,083 hectares and is divided into two sectors: Las Pailas and Santa María. The park contains nine volcanic cones and one lake, La Jilgueros.

 

LAS BAULAS NATIONAL MARINE PARK
Nesting giant leatherback turtles are the park’s main tourist attraction. Largest of the world’s sea turtles, the endangered leatherback is protected in Costa Rica. Tours are available for observing nesting leatherbacks.



 

 

Tamarindo Beach, Guanacaste is the most accessible location along the northern Pacific coast of Costa Rica, with an airstrip serviced 7 days a week from San José by two airlines: SANSA and Nature Air. Private charter services are available as well. There is also a paved highway from San José for those who wish to rent a car and drive the countryside (4-5 hrs. to Tamarindo). The international airport in Liberia, Guanacaste is open to international flights from a variety of carriers. The airport is just a 45 minute drive from Tamarindo.

A Natural Wonderland! Tamarindo Beach is part of a bay formed by a cape, Cabo Velas (velas is Spanish for sails, or sailfish). Playa Grande lies to the north of Tamarindo Beach inside the bay. The two beaches are separated by a natural salt water estuary, Estero Tamarindo. South of Tamarindo Bay there is another beautiful estuary and beach, Playa Langosta.

Both Playa Grande and Playa Langosta are protected nesting areas for the giant leatherback turtle, and are part of the Costa Rican national park system. These beaches are the major nesting areas worldwide for the turtles, which arrive from October to March to lay their eggs. Tours led by official guides are available to take visitors to see this incredible spectacle. Another very special tour is the jungle boat ride. Small groups are ferried on locally built skiffs deep into the mysterious mangrove forest, where a breathtaking diversity of birds, mammals, and reptiles can be seen.

Accommodations and Services: Tamarindo hosts an excellent variety of hotels, from economy to luxury. Ask us for more information. Tamarindo has several condominiums, private beach houses and B & B’s. Maid and laundry services are available to make your stay a comfortable and relaxing one. There are accomodations to fit every budget.

Tamarindo boasts an amazing selection of fine international and traditional Costa Rican restaurants. Tamarindo has a French bakery, as well as restaurants catering to health-conscious and vegetarian patrons. You will never tire of sampling the wonderful variations of uniquely prepared specialities featuring the abundant supply of fresh local seafood, fruits and vegetables. Tamarindo also has grocery stores, fresh produce and fruit juice stands, an ice factory, a variety of souvenir and clothing shops, an art gallery, medical clinic, pharmacy, hardware store, a full service bank with ATM machine, real estate offices, laundromats and internet cafes.

Water Sports and other Activities: Tamarindo Bay has become a mecca for surfers and blue water sport fishermen. A sport fishing fleet of talented and conservation oriented captains are the pioneers of the Pacific coast. Their record catches of marlin, sailfish, giant tuna and other species have become legendary. Whether you want deep bluewater fishing, or reef or shoreline fishing, we can accommodate your preferences. Surf casting and handlining in front of your hotel for snook and jack are also popular. Any way you do it you can be sure to have your fresh catch cooked up for you at one of the friendly beachfront restaurants.

Warm water surfing is enjoyed year ’round and families find this area offers opportunities for surfers of all skill levels to enjoy the great waves that bless this part of the coast. Tamarindo was the first stop on an epic worldwide surf journey in the popular movie Endless Summer II.

Visitors also have access to SCUBA diving, snorkeling trips, beach cruises, water skiing, jet skiing, catamarans, ocean and river kayaking, wind surfing, sailing cruises and horseback riding. Bicycles, beach gear, surfboards, boogie boards and equipment of all types are available for rental from specialty stores.

Golfers can enjoy two championship courses locally, one at Paradisus Conchal and another at Hacienda Pinilla.

Tamarindo’s Climate: Tamarindo’s climate has two seasons, dry and rainy. The dry season, from November through April, is dry, hot and sunny. The humidity is very low and comfortable. The rainy season begins in late April or early May and continues through October. A typical day is sunny or partly cloudy until late afternoon or evening, when showers build inland and move offshore, often producing spectacular sunsets. Everything is green and lush during this time of year. Although there are no hurricanes here, a hurricane or tropical depression in the Atlantic or Caribbean often means rain for Tamarindo. Temperatures in Tamarindo range between 80 and 100 degrees F. year ’round.