Up north, white and black sand beaches intertwine as the coastline creates hidden coves that are ideal for water sports or relaxation. More than 75% of Costa Rica’s beach hotel infrastructure is laid out along the stunning beaches of Guanacaste and the reason is simple: it’s absolutely beautiful!
This also means that visitors have a lot of choices, ranging from basic backpacker’s lodging to five star resorts with signature golf courses. Luxury tourism has become a staple of northern Guanacaste as many undercover celebrities are frequently spotted at the Four Seasons hotel and the all-inclusive resorts in Conchal.
This natural magnetism is the result of well-planned infrastructure that takes advantage of the beach and magnificent settings while protecting the environment. Most of the large hotels are located up on the hills, with the breathtaking view of the beach as an added bonus, and nature trails leading to secluded beaches.
Northern Guanacaste is also known as the place to have fun. Tamarindo and Playas del Coco are bigger communities located right on the beach with many restaurants, bars and stores.
The Nicoya peninsula in southern Guanacaste offers a different ambiance because little development means more natural surroundings, peace and tranquility. On any given day, visitors may have a beach all to themselves, run in for a splash in crystal-clear waterfalls and then follow the trails through the unspoiled dry forest habitats.
Surfers know the area well because waves are ideal for amateurs as well as professionals. Malpaís and Montezuma are located near the tip of the peninsula, where wind and ocean currents come in from every direction creating all kinds of waves. These beaches are also surrounded by nature-filled hills with plenty of wildlife, hidden cascades and natural swimming pools.
Santa Rosa National Park. This emblematic park combines a little history and a lot of nature. The Casona (old house) is the sole witness to one of Costa Rica’s few battles, during the war against foreign invaders in 1856. The national park also protects the surrounding areas, where 10 distinct habitats safeguard more than 250 bird species and 115 varieties of mammals.
Cabo Blanco Absolute Wildlife Refuge. Costa Rica’s environmental culture and policies began in Cabo Blanco more than 40 years ago. Through the efforts of a Swedish immigrant, dubbed the pioneer of the National Park System, Cabo Blanco became the first protected natural area in the country. It now safeguards more than 3,000 acres of mixed forest and rare wildlife like pumas, ocelots, three species of monkeys, coatis, raccoons and many more animals.
Ostional National Wildlife Refuge. Thousands of olive ridley turtles come every year to Ostional for synchronized mass nestings known as “arribadas” (arrivals). Experts estimate that more than 150,000 turtles take part of the ritual, laying at least 15 million eggs.