The Guanacaste Province is located in the North Pacific Region of Costa Rica, the ideal place to take a because of the countless gorgeous beaches that can be found here and because this is the driest region of our country, something that the visitors look for when planning a Relaxing Beach Vacation.
In terms of history, Guanacaste was not officially a part of Costa Rica until July 25th 1,825, when its inhabitants decided to become a part of our country on their own will. Ever since those days, the was largely enriched because of all of the traditions and costumes inherited from this particular region; as a matter of fact, the music, dresses and many of the traditions performed in Costa Rican Cultural activities are from the Guanacaste Province.
The most important population centers of Guanacaste are Liberia, Santa Cruz, Nicoya, Carmona, Canas, Tilaran, La Cruz, Filadelfia, Bagaces and . The first city in importance is Liberia, the most developed town of the entire province with an international airport that receives millions of tourists every year; Liberia is projected to be one of the biggest cities in Costa Rica and Central America in future decades, due to the location of this town which is close to some of the most popular beaches and resorts for national and international tourists.
This province also witnessed one of the most remarkable incidents in the history of Costa Rica: The Santa Rosa Battle. In the year 1,856 Costa Rica was invaded by a group of mercenaries lead by a man named William Walker, who had invaded Nicaragua in 1,855 and as a result declared himself President of . Then, William Walker wanted to also conquer Costa Rica and he organized a military attack to our country on March 20th 1,856. The Costa Rican army was aware of this attack and was waiting for the troops coming from Nicaragua in a “Hacienda” type of house called “Santa Rosa”, which is close to the border from Nicaragua. When the battle started the Costa Rican troops were very well prepared and the fighting only lasted 18 minutes; Walker’s troops ran back to Nicaragua and the Costa Rican troops chased them all the way into Nicaragua, were there was another battle on April 11th 1,856 were a Costa Rican hero call Juan Santamaria was born, but that’s another story that took place out of Guanacaste… Nowadays the Santa Rosa site is a National Park were the visitors can admire the building were the battle took place and the natural beauty of the surrounding area, because the National Park that was created around it is very big, with lots of forests, mountains and beaches, including the most remarkable called “Roca Bruja”, which is located in this National Park.
In terms of economy, the main activities in Guanacaste are tourism, cattle raising and agriculture. As far as agriculture the Guanacaste Province is very important because the majority of the rice of Costa Rica is produced in this region; rice is the most consumed food in our country, some people actually eat it 3 times a day! Other important products of this region of the country are sugar cane, cantaloupes and melons (many of them for export); watermelons and many types of fruits like yellow cherries, “nispero”, cashews and many more. Cattle raising in the Guanacaste Province is also very relevant for the Costa Rican economy, most of the beef consumed in Costa Rica is produced here. As a cultural aspect is important to mention that bull riding is something that awakes passion in this area of the country; here in Guanacaste the bull riding competitions are very popular, perhaps I can say that it is the main sport in this province.
But the activity in Guanacaste that is changing the province in a remarkable way is tourism. Historically Guanacaste have had all kinds of economic and social problems, but with the explosion of development in tourism this province is taking huge steps for the benefit of its people. The main types of tourism in this area are beach and relaxation, not so much activities as in other areas of the country like Arenal and Monteverde. Some of the bigger and most important beach resorts of the Guanacaste Province are: Riu Guanacaste Resort, Riu Palace Resort, Four Seasons Resort at Peninsula Papagayo, Secrets Papagayo Resort, Exclusive Resorts, Grand Papagayo Resort, Villas Sol Resort, Las Catalinas Complex, Flamingo Beach Resort, Tamarindo Diria Resort, Westin Resort and the J.W. Marriott Resort Guanacaste.
Some of the main touristic attractions that can be accessed from these resorts are:
: This is the Best Place for Wildlife Observation in Guanacaste, where boat tours are offered from many docks. Palo Verde is one of the biggest wetlands of Costa Rica, where different wild species can be observed, like crocodiles, howler monkeys, white faced capuchin monkeys, iguanas; migratory birds like egrets, ibis and herons, along with many other species of animals.
: This national park is very famous around Costa Rica because is a place where lots of volcanic activity can be observed at a close range. The main trail of this park is called “Las Pailas”, which can be hiked in about 4 hours. On this trail the visitors can observe lots of volcanic activity, such as fumaroles, mud pots and boiling water deposits. Besides the volcanic activity you can also admire our rainforest, since most of the trails go inside rainforest jungles. There are also other trails for those who prefer to hike longer distances, including trails that go to waterfalls in the jungle. But the most important of these alternative trails is the one that goes to the summit of the mountain that leads to the main craters; one of them actually has a pure white color lagoon that is featured in many pictures that promote Costa Rica as a touristic destination because of its incomparable beauty. Nowadays this trail is close to the general public because of the heavier activity that the volcano is experiencing.
: Miravalles is an attraction similar to Arenal, where there is a volcano and many attractions around it, but the mountain cannot be climbed because of the difficult terrain. Around Miravalles there are multiple options for lodging and activities, like adventure parks, hot springs places, nature parks etc.
: This is the best theme park located at the base of the Miravalles Volcano. Las Hornillas offers multiple activities for the visitors of this area, like horseback riding, rainforest hiking, waterfalls observation and swimming, hot springs, mud baths and a waterslide, but the main attraction of this place is its live crater where visitors can actually walk inside of it and feel the earth breathing beneath their feet, because there are small fumaroles on the trails where the visitors can feel the steam coming out of the ground. It is believed actually that this is the new main crater of the Miravalles Volcano, even though is located far away from its summit.
: The trails of this national park are all immersed in tropical rainforests, but the main attraction here is the amazing blue river; people from all over Costa Rica travel to this park to observe this natural wonder. The hike around the blue river, called in Spanish “Rio Celeste”, takes about 4 hours all together, where the tourists can observe the place where the river turns blue because of the volcanic activity called “Los Tenideros”; a unique blue waterfall; a blue lagoon where the water sits and has a deep blue color that creates a beautiful contrast with the green rainforest vegetation.
Ostional Wildlife Refuge: This is the absolutely best place for the observation of and turtle hatching in all Costa Rica. Ostional is famous worldwide because of its massive turtle arrivals that take place between May and November every year. Each turtle arrival last about 8 days, where thousands and thousands of turtles come out of the water at the same time to lay their eggs during the day and night. The protection of these animals is coordinated by many biologists involved, where the people of the town actually get benefits by selling a huge amount of turtle eggs that according to the biologist are going to waste anyways, generating a good income for the local people who are more egger to protect the turtles for their benefit in terms of tourism and turtle egg selling.
: This is the absolutely best park for adventures in Guanacaste; overall, the activities offered in Guachipelin are better than the ones offered in other adventure parks of this region. Here the visitors can do zip lining, rappelling, rock climbing, rainforest hikes, hikes to waterfalls where swimming can be done, hot springs relaxation, mud baths and white water tubbing, the absolutely best activity in all Guanacaste!
Santa Rosa National Park: As mention above on this blog, this national park offers access to one of the most resembling historic sites of Costa Rica, the “Casona de Santa Rosa”, where the Santa Rosa Battle took place in 1,856. Besides the history, the national park offers nature trails where wildlife can be observe, as well as very beautiful beaches and natural sites.
Tamarindo Beach: This is the most famous beach of Guanacaste, because of its, beauty, development and great surf. Tamarindo offers several options for lodging, restaurants, bars, shop rentals, souvenir shops and everything that the tourists can look for in a beach town.
: Monteverde is one of the 3 main touristic destinations of Costa Rica, definitely worth it to visit while in Guanacaste. The drive from some of the resorts could be a little long, but once in Monteverde the beauty of the place is incredible, very different from the scenery at the resorts, especially in the dry season when the landscape at the resorts is very dry, while in Monteverde everything is bright-green. The main attraction in to observe its unique cloud forest, we highly recommend the Selvatura Park, which has the best trails and the most stable-stronger bridges.
: Arenal is the most visited destination of Costa Rica, definitely worth it to take a one day tour if staying in Guanacaste. As a matter of fact, if it is possible for the visitors to stay there for a few days is even better, because the number of good activities are endless, like , ATV tours, nature hikes, wildlife viewing tours, , waterfalls and .
: This is another alternative for people who prefer to do activities but no so adventurous as they are in other adventure parks. The zip lining at Buena Vista for example is very mild, recommended for little kids and elderly people. The hot springs at this place are also better than the ones offered in other adventure parks. Other activities available here are horseback riding and a thrilling waterslide; that part of the tour we only recommended for people who are in very good physical condition and not afraid of high speeds…
This is some information about the Province of Guanacaste, where the tourists can enjoy of hundreds of sunny beaches, many of them with white sand and others with darker color sand, but all of them with a unique charm, different than the ones in the other regions of Costa Rica.