As one of Costa Rica’s most popular provinces, Guanacaste is famous for being a tropical paradise. Visitors are attracted by the long summer days, the traditional culture, and the region’s incomparable wildlife.
Located in northwestern Costa Rica beside the Pacific Ocean, Guanacaste’s geographic features are diverse and exotic, with a pristine coastline, beautiful mountains, and a series of majestic volcanoes. Locals and international visitors alike travel to Guanacaste to enjoy its natural beauty and participate in endless recreation options.
In pre-Columbian times, Guanacaste province was populated by indigenous groups such as the Chorotegas. The Spanish arrived to the region in the early 1500s, visiting the village of Canjel in 1523 and establishing the San Blas hermitage in 1544. As time went by, more Spanish settled in the region and commercial activity developed, linked to its geographical position between Costa Rica and Nicaragua.
Today, Guanacaste is one of the most striking provinces of Costa Rica in terms of culture and folklore, thanks to the combination of Mesoamerican indigenous traditions and the colonial Spanish and Creole cultures.
If you visit the region during one of their holidays or festivals, you’re in for a treat. Expect to hear traditional marimba music and witness Guanacaste’s traditional dance, Punto Guanacasteco, which is also the national dance of Costa Rica.
Guanacaste gets its name after the Guanacaste tree, also known as the ear pod tree, which is the National Tree of Costa Rica.
Budget – Green Sanctuary Hotel – This eco-friendly, quality hotel was built entirely with renovated shipping containers. You’ll be able to enjoy a unique experience staying in the middle of lush tropical vegetation, close to the beach.
Mid-range – Casita Mar y Posa – Cozy bed and breakfast that offers spacious rooms with fully-equipped kitchenettes.
Splurge – Horizon Lodge Potrero – High-quality apartments with a stunning view over the Pacific Ocean.
Although you can visit Guanacaste at any time of the year, the best season for travel is during the dry season, from December to May. Those months provide summer lovers with plenty of sunshine for a good tan.
Temperatures are consistently hot year-round, but it rains more between June and November. Don’t let the rainy season scare you away! This precipitation makes plants bloom with explosions of colors and fragrances, encouraging bright green carpets of vegetation to cover the hills.
Guanacaste is heaven for nature lovers. Its national parks and lush vegetation offer plenty of things to do.
You can visit Rincón de la Vieja National Park, which is home to a volcanic massif of 9 cones and a lagoon called La Jilgueros. This park offers several paths through the forest that will take you to different volcanic points as well as to some stunning waterfalls.
There are also breathtaking beaches to see in Guanacaste such as Playa Samara, Playa Nosara, and Playa Guiones. On these long, pristine, white-sand beaches, you will find many activities such as horseback riding, snorkeling, scuba diving, and surfing.
You can also take a kayak tour on the Nosara River and enjoy the surrounding mangroves for an experience in the wild. Guanacaste is one of the world’s best eco-travel destinations, where the environment is of utmost importance.
Other travel options include a visit to Santa Rosa National Park with its dry forest (which is a forest where trees shed their foliage during the dry season) and its incredible wildlife. There are more than 250 bird species and 115 mammal species in the park! Another great option is hiking the Miravalles Volcano, one of Costa Rica’s 7 active volcanoes.
Keteka grants access to authentic activities run by local tour operators and guides. You can book and secure your place in advance, and we will take care of everything else. We’ll let you know where to go or where you will be picked up and at what time.
Costa Rica has a great public transport service, so you reach the region of Guanacaste and its main cities (such as Liberia or Tamarindo) quite easily from San Jose, the capital city of Costa Rica. The journey from San Jose to Liberia takes around 3:45 hours and costs approximately ¢4300 ($7.75). From San Jose to Tamarindo, it will take 5 hours and costs around ¢4500 ($8). While traveling by bus, you must keep an eye on your belongings.
There are several airports in the region. If you are coming from another country, you can land in the city of Liberia at Daniel Oduber International Airport. There are flights from the U.S. as well as Canada. A flight from San Jose to Liberia takes around 50 minutes.
You can also land in the domestic airports of Tamarindo, Playa Nosara, Playa Samara, and Punta Islita. Those domestic airports offer flights to San Jose as well as Liberia.