North Pacific - Costa Rica

There is no other place on Earth where the sun shines the way it does on the beaches of Guanacaste. However, sun and sand are a small portion of what this region has to offer. Amazing national parks, wildlife refuges, impressive volcanoes and folkloric villages wait to be discovered.

To many, Guanacaste is a synonym of fun in the sun. There is no doubt that Costa Rica’s largest province has some of the most breathtaking beaches on the planet. Although very close to the coast, this region keeps some of the most incredible natural and cultural secrets of the country.

Most beaches in this region can be easily accesses and offer all types of accommodations from the extremely luxurious to a backpacker’s budget type of place. Whatever your type of place is, Guanacaste’s white, gray and black sand beaches will definitely provide the rest and flavorful fun you are dreaming about right now.

From the tip of the Cabo Blanco Absolute Natural Reserve (the first National Park created in Costa Rica), located on the Nicoya Peninsula, to the frontier town of Peñas Blancas, right on the border with Nicaragua, this region is the perfect territory to hike, kayak, swim, fly on a zip line, rappel, visit volcanoes and hot water springs, horseback ride, mountain bike and discover the remains of Spanish Colonialism.

Everyday the power of our planet Earth is on display in the Miravalles, Tenorio and Rincón de la Vieja national parks. The last is home to spectacular geysers and blue color sulfur lagoons.

The dry tropical forests of this area are good learning classrooms for those interested in observation of native flora and fauna. The Santa Rosa National Park is home to a large variety of mammal species such as white tailed deer, monkeys, wild hogs, jaguars and sloths.

The deep blue color of the northern pacific ocean is without a doubt a temptation for scuba diving fans, as well as those who love water sports, surfing, sailing or simply taking a refreshing dip in the sea after sunbathing all morning.

Marine ecosystems are also part of the natural menu this region has to offer. Several national parks, like the Marino Las Baulas National Park are one of the reasons Costa Ricans speak of Guanacaste with great pride. Thanks to governmental and civil conservation efforts, every year thousands of sea turtles travel around the globe to nest on the white sand beaches of this park. Amongst the turtle species that lay their eggs on Costa Rican beaches is the prehistoric Leatherback Turtle, the largest sea turtle known to mankind.

With the exception of a few schedule and visitor quantity regulations, most parks and nature refuges can be visited any time of the year. You will definitely be able to enjoy spending an entire day on a practically deserted beach or maybe even camping in a breathtaking bay like Junquillal, located north of Cuajiniquil Port.

Aside from being home to so many beautiful beaches and natural reserves, Guanacaste’s culture, folklore, and adventure opportunities can be found in several ranch style hotels and tourism centers.

To discover the true essence of the Guanacastecan culture, you must visit the Guachipelín Ranch (Hacienda), located near the Rincón de la Vieja Volcano, and La Chácara Ranch in Liberia. Both traditional ranching “fincas” offer the best hospitality and entertainment. Here you can learn about the agriculture and cattle raising lifestyle of the region.

Adventure is lived throughout the Hacienda Guachipel ín. Aside from great facilities, the ranch offers a tree top canopy tour, white water rafting trips and horseback rides to the spectacular Rio Negro Canyon, located within the boundaries of the ranch. One of the Hacienda’s main attractions is the “canyoing” tour. This adrenaline-filled activity consists in a vertical descent into the canyon, through several waterfalls and amazing rock formations. “Canyoing” at Hacienda Guachipelín is truly an adventurous challenge.

And to experience Guanacaste's culture, Hacienda La Chácara is the epicenter of the best typical food, traditional bull riding, music, dance, rodeo style horseback riding championships, and hikes. At night, the air is filled with the particular party spirit characteristic to the area at La Chácara’s “Fiesta Brava”, an amazing display of bull riding, rodeo games, masquerades and the best typical Costa Rican food. Fun you should not miss!

Every 25th of July, Costa Rica celebrates the Annexation of Guanacaste.

All around the country "ticos" commemorate Guanacaste's decision to join Costa Rica instead of Nicaragua in 1824. Fiestas in Liberia, Guanacaste, and other provinces include parades, cattle shows, bullfights the Costa Rican style, concerts, folk dances and more.

A famous typical song called Punto Guanacasteco, is also part of the traditional Guancastecan celebration. The peculiarity of this dance is that it's often stopped to let the dancers shout the traditional "bombas," short verses that usually deal with Costa Rican women and Costa Rican typical lifestyle.

Source: CANATUR.