Costa Rica guanacaste beach along the Golfo de Papagayo
Costa Rica guanacaste oung bulls in a dry section of forest
Costa Rica guanacaste The Golfo de Papagayo

Once part of Nicaragua, Guanacaste in Costa Rica’s northwest is home to some of the country’s most beautiful beaches. Try Tamarindo for year-round sunshine, Playa Hermosa for a beach with mountain views and wildlife, or Playa Panama for easy swimming.

14 days

Active adventures in Costa Rica

Natural wonders and unspoiled beauty
Guanacaste (2 days) Santa Teresa (2) Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve (1) Manuel Antonio National Park (2) San Jose (1) Monteverde (2) Cerro Arenal Volcano (2) Tortuguero (2) San Jose (1)
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9 days

Highlights of Costa Rica

Jungle wildlife and coastal relaxation
San Jose (1 days) Tortuguero (2) Cerro Arenal Volcano (3) Guanacaste (3) San Jose
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10 days

Classic Costa Rica

Pristine beaches and nesting turtles
San Jose (1 days) Puerto Viejo de Talamanca (3) Tortuguero (1) San Jose (1) Guanacaste (3) San Jose (2)
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  • Monteverde

    Monteverde

    Boasting an incredible ecosystem and home to approximately 5% of the planet’s total bird species, 130 mammal species and more than 3,000 plants, the cloud forests of Monteverde are a nature lover’s dream...
  • Cerro Arenal Volcano

    Cerro Arenal Volcano

    For several decades, the Cerro Arenal Volcano was the most active in Costa Rica, spewing molten lava and red hot boulders into the surrounding darkness...
  • Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

    Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

    Once a sleepy backwater surfing town, Puerto Viejo has become a stop-off for travellers looking to party...
  • Manuel Antonio National Park

    Manuel Antonio National Park

    If you imagine Costa Rica to be a paradise of pristine beaches, exotic flowers, thick rainforests, and crystal-clear waters, where monkeys and sloths and scarlet macaws frolic freely, then you have Manuel Antonio National Park in mind...
  • Cocos Island

    Cocos Island

    The uninhabited Cocos Island is known as one of the world’s best scuba diving destinations...
  • San Jose

    San Jose

    At first glance, San Jose might not seem like the prettiest of cities but delve a little deeper into the colonial mansions of Barrio Amon, the restaurants of Barrio Escalante and the many live music clubs, and you’ll soon uncover the beating cultural heart of Costa Rica’s capital...
  • Tortuguero

    Tortuguero

    Impossible to reach by car, Tortuguero on the north east coast of Costa Rica can only be accessed by boat...
  • Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve

    Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve

    The first national park in Costa Rica, Cabo Blanco Absolute Natural Reserve is part of the Tempisque Conservation Area in the province of Puntarenas...
  • Playa Carrillo

    Playa Carrillo

    ...
  • Santa Teresa

    Santa Teresa

    A small beach village in the Puntarenas Province, Santa Teresa’s beach is famous amongst surfers for its fast and powerful beach break and consistent waves...

Things to do in Guanacaste

Our recommended experiences and activities

Hot springs of Rincon de la Vieja National Park
Guanacaste

Hot springs of Rincon de la Vieja National Park

The reinvigorating hot springs of Rio Negro are ten natural pools accessed through a wooded trail, complete with hanging bridges, rainforest and a pulsing river.

Where to go in Costa Rica

Our recommended places

Monteverde

Monteverde

Boasting an incredible ecosystem and home to approximately 5% of the planet’s total bird species, 130 mammal species and more than 3,000 plants, the cloud forests of Monteverde are a nature lover’s dream. Visitors can explore an array of trails which wind through 13km of forest and enjoy bird’s-eye views from the many skywalks, hanging bridges and zip lines throughout the reserve.

Cerro Arenal Volcano

Cerro Arenal Volcano

For several decades, the Cerro Arenal Volcano was the most active in Costa Rica, spewing molten lava and red hot boulders into the surrounding darkness. Since 2010, activity has been limited to puffs of smoke and the occasional rumble, but that hasn’t stopped visitors exploring the adjacent Arenal Volcano National Park.

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Once a sleepy backwater surfing town, Puerto Viejo has become a stop-off for travellers looking to party. While it can be raucous on the main strip, head a couple of blocks out of town and you’ll be able to stay with families in quiet houses with only the sounds of the rainforest for company.

Manuel Antonio National Park

Manuel Antonio National Park

If you imagine Costa Rica to be a paradise of pristine beaches, exotic flowers, thick rainforests, and crystal-clear waters, where monkeys and sloths and scarlet macaws frolic freely, then you have Manuel Antonio National Park in mind.

The smallest national park in the country, this is also the most visited — a true paradise for beach-goers and nature lovers, where emerald rainforest spills into the turquoise sea.

Cocos Island

Cocos Island

The uninhabited Cocos Island is known as one of the world’s best scuba diving destinations. A dive in its nutrient-rich waters can include schooling hammerhead sharks, white tip reef sharks, tiger sharks, manta rays, marble rays and occasionally even whale sharks.

San Jose

San Jose

At first glance, San Jose might not seem like the prettiest of cities but delve a little deeper into the colonial mansions of Barrio Amon, the restaurants of Barrio Escalante and the many live music clubs, and you’ll soon uncover the beating cultural heart of Costa Rica’s capital.

Tortuguero

Tortuguero

Impossible to reach by car, Tortuguero on the north east coast of Costa Rica can only be accessed by boat. Thanks to limited development, a journey down its waterways offers the chance to see manatees, crocodiles, caiman and monkeys.

Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve

Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve

The first national park in Costa Rica, Cabo Blanco Absolute Natural Reserve is part of the Tempisque Conservation Area in the province of Puntarenas. Visitors can enjoy hikes to secluded beaches filled with a diverse array of waterfowl, such as frigate birds, brown pelicans and Costa Rica’s largest population of brown boobies. When walking the forest trails it is possible to spot plenty of wildlife, including armadillo, anteaters, deers, coyotes and several monkey species.

Santa Teresa

Santa Teresa

A small beach village in the Puntarenas Province, Santa Teresa’s beach is famous amongst surfers for its fast and powerful beach break and consistent waves. With a long, palm-lined beach and laid-back vibes, you could easily spend a few days relaxing and munching on street food.

Surfers shouldn’t miss Ria Mara (meaning Suck Rock), a fantastic point break at the northern end of the beach which is a local favourite.

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