Guanacaste is a province of Costa Rica located along the coast of the Pacific Ocean. It is bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Alajuela Province to the east, and Puntarenas Province to the southeast. Being the most sparsely populated of all the provinces of Costa Rica make it a tourist delight. The province covers an area of 10,141 km2 (3,915 sq mi) with a population of 354,154. Guanacaste’s capital is Liberia.
Just west of Liberia lies the exclusive Peninsula Papagayo which features two of the most luxurious resorts in the country: the Andaz Papagayo and the Four Seasons. The 18-hole Arnold Palmer Signature Golf Course is also situated on the peninsula capturing breathtaking views of the Pacific.
The incomparable beauty of its landscapes, which ranges from tropical dry forests to lowland mountain forests, its warm climate, as well as its flourishing nature have made Guanacaste one of the most heavily visited areas by locals as well as international tourists and is one of the most developed areas because of its high level of investment in the hotel industry that is in high demand. As one of the most popular provinces in Costa Rica, Guanacaste has gained a name for itself as a tropical paradise with a pristine shoreline, beautiful mountain ranges and a number of volcanoes. The province is named for the guanacaste tree, also known as the ear pod tree, which is the national tree of Costa Rica.
During early pre-Columbian times, the indigenous Chorotega Indians from the towns of Zapati, Nacaome, Paro, Cangel, Nicopasaya, Pocosí, Diriá, Papagayo, Namiapí and Orosí are the most dominant in the province; this fact is reflected in the dark skin and round faces of many modern Guanacatecans. The province has also been the focus of much politicking; in the 18th century some neighbors from Rivas, Nicaragua established their houses and cattle farms in the northern part of the Nicoya Peninsula at crossroads that connected the towns of Bagaces, Nicoya and Rivas. It was once annexed by Nicaragua. Although Costa Rica won the dispute and claimed the province, Guanacaste retains a distinct identity to this day.
All along the Guanacaste coastline are a number of beaches where you can swim in their warm Pacific Ocean waters. The coastal landscape is exceptional. There is an array of white-sand beaches and calm, intense-blue waters. Since Guanacaste spans the northwestern corner of Costa Rica, it should come as no surprise that this lively province is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica.
For a beautiful beach with perfect warm weather in January you should head to the Guanacaste. There is antidote of former fishing villages with a variety of traditional beach hotels and modern chain resorts within your price range. Be aware that January is the high season so the resort hotels aren’t cheap, but at least there are a few good all-inclusive resorts that are good value.
Visitors are drawn to the long summer days, active culture and unparalleled wildlife. For example, the city of Tamarindo offers impressive restaurants and a bustling nightlife. The beaches of Tamarindo are some of the most popular in Costa Rica. Playa Tamarindo is a popular surfing destination, spread out beside the fast-growing beach town that was once a quiet fishing community, while the neighboring white sands of Langosta Beach are quieter and better suited to swimming.
Getting to Guanacaste
Costa Rica’s two main international airports receive hundreds of flights per month from major cities around the world, allowing constant mobilization of passengers through safe and modern ports of entry.
The modern Daniel Oduber International Airport in Liberia (Code: LIR) receives specific flights for tourists visiting Guanacaste, Monteverde and La Fortuna. This comfortable airport connects with beautiful beaches in one of the largest and most important tourist areas in the country. Juan Santamaría International Airport (Code: SJO) is the country’s main airport, located in Alajuela. Costa Rica has several local airports with two airlines that fly domestically: Aerobell Airlines and Sansa Airlines.
Guanacaste is also situated along the Pan-American Highway, or Highway 1, which makes it easy to reach for travelers with a rental car or those utilizing public transportation in Costa Rica.