Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Attractions in Guanacaste, Costa Rica: What to do and where to go
The beautiful area of Guanacaste, in Costa Rica, is a land filled with adventure and secrets. It is separated from other provinces by the Sierra de Guanacaste mountain range, and has a variety of geographical features that open up a world of possibilities for outdoor activities. While in the cities you'll find a magical blend of culture, folklore and modernity that all add up to make the ideal destination for an unforgettable vacation.
The rural environment and the stunning natural beauty of the region is without doubt its greatest attraction. The local people have become very environmentally conscious due to their understanding of how the delicate flora and fauna supports the local economy. This is one of the reasons why sustainable tourism is definitely a main priority in Guanacaste, and the government is constantly searching for ways to create new eco-friendly tourist attractions.
Parks and Natural Reserves
Guanacaste has dozens of parks and natural areas that are protected to aid the conservation of the endangered species that inhabit them. When you are on vacation here it's really worth while visiting some of these parks and nature reserves. The Area de Conservacion Guanacaste was declared a World Heritage Site in 1999, and is made up of the following three main areas:
Guancaste National Park
This park is located 20 miles north of the city of Liberia, and is home to more than 300 species of birds and over 5,000 species of butterflies. The Orosi and Cacao volcanoes form part of the park, which has a tropical rainforest habitat, with some wooded areas. Some of the mammals that you can see here are deer, jaguars, armadillos and sloths.
Santa Rosa National Park
This park is one of the oldest in the region and is loved by the people who live here. It was founded in 1966 and covers more than 90,000 acres of forest and almost 200,000 acres of sea. Santa Rosa is a major player in the conservation of turtles, because species such as the olive ridley and leatherback sea turtles come here to lay their eggs. The park features a variety of habitats, which includes mangroves, plains, evergreen forests and beautiful beaches.
Rincon de La Vieja Park
This park takes its name from the region's volcano. Spanning almost 35,000 acres, part of the park spreads over into the province of Alajuela. Rincon de La Vieja has more "Guaria Morada", Costa Rica's national flower, than anywhere else in the country. Thanks to the volcanic activity in the region you can enjoy many hot springs and thermal rivers.
You can see the ranching past of the region in the old haciendas and on the plains of Guanacaste. Here you can explore the pastures and the forests in the company of a guide and some beautiful horses. Enjoy beautiful panoramic views of mist-covered mountains or the rainforest in the morning. You will also get to meet the "sabaneros", Costa Rican plainsmen, who will proudly show off their traditional customs.
In the north of Guanacaste there's a large network of caves that make up a system called the Venadao Caverns, where you can discover a secret world. Explore a hidden side of Costa Rica with the help of potholing professionals. This activity is only recommended for people in very good health who have a burning desire to explore the unknown.
Cattle farming in Guanacaste has had a major influence on the culture of the local people. The "sabaneros" (plainsmen) prove their bravery and dexterity by showing off their skills riding fierce bulls. You can enjoy watching this exciting tradition during local holidays. Many of the towns in the province have a special arena set aside especially for bull riding.
With over 100 miles of coastline, Guanacaste is a paradise for people who love the beach. The picturesque towns and ports are the ideal location for a vacation full of fun in the sun. There are lots of aquatic activities organized by local people, the hotels, and travel agencies. You'll also find a variety of luxury hotels here with stunning views of the ocean.
Some of the most beautiful beaches are the following:
- Playa Hermosa - This beach is two miles long, and the sea is very calm here.
- Playa del Coco - A great spot for boat rides and fishing.
- Playa Tamarindo - This beach has excellent waves for surfers and good facilities for tourists.
- Playa Flamingo - The perfect place for people who enjoy luxury hotels and services.
- Playa Grande - Ideal for long walks and splashing in the waves.
- Playa Ostioanl - Fantastic waves for surfers and it is also one of the nesting sites for turtles.
With over 50 miles of beaches, Guanacaste is a dream come true for surfers, and the warm water means that they can surf here all year round. Some of the best waves in the region can be found at Playa Langosta and Playa del Coco.
If you're looking for something a little more peaceful then fishing could be ideal for you. The extensive coastline and rivers of Guanacaste are home to hundreds of different species of fish. In the ocean you'll find mahi-mahi, sailfish, and swordfish. Playa del Coco has a variety of services for people who want to go fishing.
Kayaks and Rafting
In keeping with the aquatic theme, kayaking has become a popular activity for people who want to enjoy a fun day on the ocean. Inland, people can also have an exciting day out trying their hand at whitewater rafting on rivers such as Corobici and Tenorio.
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