This is one of the flattest territories of Costa Rica, with savannah plains, dry tropical forests and beaches of great beauty that contrast with impressive volcanoes.
You can witness amazing green sunsets during winter and golden sunsets during summer, when most part of the vegetation has dried up. It is also a very important cultural and historical place for ticos.
The Costa Rican culture in this zone has been strongly influenced by livestock breeding and working at estates, which is evident in the residents of Santa Cruz, Liberia and Cañas. They ride horses and celebrate traditional feasts with bulls and typical dances, along with marimbas, very representative instruments of Guanacaste.
Here you will find a very large territory of beaches that go from Punta Coyote to Playa Pochotes in Bahia Salinas (border with Nicaragua). It has an extension of more than 200 km of incredibly beautiful beaches, preferred by surfers from all around the world and by leatherback turtles.
In the north end of Costa Rica you will find Bahia Salinas with the beaches Pochote and Puerto Soley, full of vegetation and with very strong waves. In front of this coast you can see the Isla Bolaños.
In the same coastline there’s the Peninsula of Santa Elena, one of the oldest geological zones of Costa Rica, which is part of the Santa Rosa National Park. Here you will find Playa Blanca, which is U-shaped, and Playa Potrero Grande, with strong waves perfect for surfing. However, you can access this beach only by boat, there’s no access road.
In this protected zone you can also find Playa Nancite, which offers an impressive natural show, where more than 175 thousand sea turtles of four different species come here to lay their eggs. Playa Naranjo has the famous Roca Bruja (Witch’s Rock), one of the best spots of point breaks in Costa Rica from December to March.
Towards the south you will find the Gulf of Papagayo, a luxurious tourism development spot, with important hotel chains. The beaches of Nacascolo and Playa Panama are the main ones, but Playa Panama is the most common among visitors. There are also the neighboring beaches of Playas del Coco, Ocotal and Hermosa, the most popular in the country.
The west section of the Peninsula of Nicoya has undergone an impressive tourism development in these beaches: Flamingo, which has a marina; Conchal, with thousands of shells decorating its shores; Tamarindo, ideal for surfing and with a very active nightlife; and Langosta, where leatherback and ridley turtles lay their eggs.
More towards the south of the peninsula you will find the beaches of Ostional, which are part of the Ostional Wildlife Refuge, where ridley turtles lay their eggs from September to November. Nosara, Guiones and Samara have strong waves and exuberant vegetation, except for Samara. There are also Playa Bejuco, Playa Coyote and Playa Caletas, which are hard to access but have amazing sceneries.
Guanacaste is also home to the Santa Rosa National Park, which protects 38.674 land hectares and 78.000 marine hectares of a great biodiversity. It is also home to the famous and historic House of the Hacienda Santa Rosa, where a very important battle for Costa Rica and Central America took place. On March 20th, 1856, the Freebooters (American soldiers under the command of William Walker) were defeated and expelled, who tried to enslave the region of Central America.
Heading northeast you will find the Guanacaste Volcanic Mountain Range, where the inactive Orosi Volcano (1.487 m) is found, and is part of the Guanacaste National Park. This protected zone, along with the Santa Rosa National Park, includes the most important reserve of the dry tropical forest in Central America.
The Rincon de la Vieja Volcano is a very frequently visited active volcano, where you can see hot springs, volcanic mud boilers, a changing vegetation and more than 300 species of birds. It is part of the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano National Park, which shelters more than 32 rivers, with hydrographic basins that supply the Rio Tempisque or form impressive waterfalls. Towards the south you will find the Miravalles Volcano and the Tenorio Volcano, which has been inactive for many centuries.
In this zone, the cities of Santa Cruz, Nicoya and Liberia are strategic spots from where you can access the different attractions these cities have, and where you can appreciate the cultural mix that has grown throughout the years.
In the North Pacific there are many protected areas, all of them easy to access. Some of these are: Isla Bolaños National Wildlife Refuge, Santa Rosa National Park, Guanacaste National Park, Rincon de la Vieja Volcano National Park, Las Baulas National Marine Park, Palo Verde National Park and Barra Honda National Park, among many others.