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Costa Rica's pride on the Pacific Ocean


When travelling through Guanacaste, most assuredly one aspect that will stay with you is the sun.  It is 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 Tilaran and the Cordillera de Guanacaste provide splendid craggy backdrops to some of the country's most beautiful countryside.

Samara in the Pacific northwest in the provinve of Guanacaste
Map of the Province of Guanacaste and the Nicoya Peninsula

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The perfect time to visit Guanacaste is, luckily enough, year round. 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 planning 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.

The province is known for its cattle ranches, travelers will see many homes surrounded by green pastures and grazing cows. It is often compared to the State of Texas for this reason.

This comparison is not altogether erroneous as Guanacaste shares with Texas the long stretches of plains which are ideal for cattle ranches. The region has been designated by the government as a preferential tourism development area. In order to facilitate access, the Liberia airport was upgraded and extended so as to become the second international airport in the country.

The province of Guanacaste covers most of Nicoya Peninsula on Costa Rica's northwest. It has over 200 miles of coastline with more that 70 different beaches, several of Costa Rica's famous National Parks, spectacular lakes and volcanoes, great fishing and diving spots.

Regular and chartered flights serve Guanacaste's international airport in Liberia from gateways in the U.S.A. and Canada.

Over one third of all National Parks and wildlife reserves existing in Costa Rica are in Guanacaste, including turtle nesting sites, refuges for migrating birds, spectacular caves and the largest protected tropical dry forest in the world.

Liberia, Santa Cruz and Nicoya are the most important towns in Guanacaste.


Liberia is the capital of Guanacaste and is located along the Interamericana Highway. It is called the White City because of the color of its houses.

Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz is considered the home of much of Costa Rica's folklore. The music department of the University of Costa Rica has a special branch in Santa Cruz, which is devoted to researching and celebrating traditional Costa Rican songs, dances and instruments.

Nicoya ~ The closest town to Samara Beach

Nicoya - San Blas Church
Nicoya Church

Nicoya is the cultural and commercial capital of Guanacaste. Its pride is its immaculate central park and the colonial church dedicated to San Blas in 1644.

It serves as a transport hub to Guanacaste's beaches and national parks. According to the 2000 census, the city's population is 13,334—second only to Liberia in the province.

It is built in an old colonial style. Agriculture and cattle form the backbone of the city's economy, as well as the province which surrounds it.

In early 2006, a group of researchers led by adventure writer Dan Buettner and supported by National Geographic Magazine, the National Institute for Aging, and Allianz Healthcare, designated Nicoya as a Blue Zone. This designation is granted to global regions that are characterized by the longest life expectancies. Among the ideal Nicoya lifestyle characteristics cited by the research were the water's high calcium content, intense daily physical activity, year-long fruit consumption, and close inter-generational relationships.


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  • Area: 10,140 Km² or 6,300 square miles
  • Population: 270,631
  • Capital: Liberia, population 50,359, 175 miles from San Jose
  • Climate: Warm, average temperature 83 F
  • Altitude: 25 meters or 82 feet above sea level

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