The North Pacific Region including the NicoyaPeninsula is Costa Rica's hottest and driest zone. The rainy season starts later and ends earlier here, and overall it's more dependably sunny in this region than in other parts of the country. Many beautiful beaches are located here as well as huge cattle ranches. The Palo Verde, Santa Rosa and Rincon de la Vieja National Parks protect large areas of tropical dry forests where trees drop their leaves during the dry season and start flowering. The rainy months are from May through October, even though there is a small period when the rain ceases; this is called "Veranillo de San Juan- The dry season comes between December and March. The rainfall increases from 1.400 mm to 2.500 mm in the mountains in the beginning and the end of the year. The wind direction is from east and northeast during the dry season. June, September and October are the most humid and rainy months.
Santa Rosa National Park
Santa RosaNational Park protects some of the last remaining tropical dry forest in the world. GuanacasteNational Park was created in 1989 to connect Santa RosaNational Park with the high elevation cloud forest of Orosi and Cacao volcanoes and across the continental divide to the Caribbean rainforest of Northern Costa Rica. The hope is that together these two parks protect enough land to ensure sufficiently large habitats for wide-ranging species such as jaguars and mountain lions while simultaneously creating a biological corridor for birds and insects to make local seasonal migrations between the dry forest and the evergreen cloud and rain forests. At the historic building of “La Casona” the Battle of Santa Rosa in 1856 took place. The building has been preserved as a monument and museum.
Rincón de la Vieja National Park
Rincón de la Vieja National Park has been created in 1973 to protect the flora, fauna and watersheds around Rincon de la Vieja Volcano. The park extends over 14,083 hectares of semi-deciduous forest and very moist forest, and includes a barren, rocky terrain at altitudes that range from 650 meters to 1,916 meters above sea level on the Caribbean and Pacific sides of the Guanacaste Volcanic Mountain Range. The climate in this national park is so diverse that areas with a severe dry season lasting 4 or 5 months are immediately followed by others, near the summit or on the Caribbean side, where there is constant rainfall, which gives rise to a forest mass rich in epiphytes. The differences in altitude and climate play an important role in the distribution of the flora and fauna. There are three stories of vegetation: that of the lowlands found between 650-1,200 meters above sea level where typical growth includes masicaran, bitter wood, ear tree, gumbo-limbo and Spanish cedar; that of the intermediate zone at 1,200-1,400 meters above sea level with didymopanax, yellow man wood, yos and especially, cupey, which sometimes forms almost pure groves that are completely twisted out of shape by the raging winds; and that of the heights at 1.400 meters above sea level as far as the summit with low-growing forest and highly branched trees laden with moss and other vines and creepers.
Tenorio / Miravalles Volcanoes
Hardly explored and for those who like hiking steep trails. It consists of four volcanic peaks and two twin-craters. The slopes are covered with savannah, rain forest at middle elevations and cloud forests at higher elevations. From its top spreads the sight for Guatuso and San Carlos lowlands, Lake Nicaragua, Cano Negro National Reserve and ArenalLake. A legend exists about an eruption in 1816, but the volcano was observed to be densely forested in 1864 and is not considered to have erupted in historical time. Since 1989 it has been under a pre-feasibility study to determine its geothermal potential.
The TenorioNational Park also hides one of Costa Rica´s treasures. The Rio Celeste (the blue river) is named after the color of its water a bright, jewel-blue caused by many dissolved, natural minerals, like cobalt. Hike through secondary and primary rainforest, home to pumas, tapirs and other animals. There are also streaming hot and cool springs of the local volcanoes, mineral mud pits and the blue lagoon of the Rio Celeste. A pool at the bottom of a waterfall allows the adventurous to swim in its blue waters.
PaloVerdeNational Park protects part of the Tempisque lowlands, including fresh and saltwater marshes, deciduous, riparian, and evergreen forests, and mangrove swamps. The marshes are important habitats to migrating waterfowl and wading birds. The most conspicuous species and the one from which the park takes its name is the "palo verde" or horse bean, a leafy bush with its branches and parts of its trunk colored light green.. Some of the most abundant mammals are the howler and white-faced monkeys, white-nosed coati, white-tailed deer, tree squirrel and porcupine. Large Crocodiles have been sighted in the TempisqueRiver.
A small animal shelter which protects many kinds of Costa Rican jungle cats such as panther, puma and ocelot. as well as birds They had been abandoned by private persons or had been confiscated by the customs authorities for violating the law for the protection of endangered species.
Offers scenic raft trips on the Corobicí river. There is a great variety of wildlife to view such as Howler and Capuchin monkeys, Iguanas, caimans and many species of water birds. The river is quite gentle, and since the guide does all the paddling, all you have to do is to sit back, relax and enjoy looking at the tropical forest with all its wildlife
The NicoyaPeninsula, home to many of Costa Rica’s most beautiful beaches can be reached on the Interamericana via Liberia or the car-ferry across the Tempisque river as well as by ferry-boat from Puntarenas. A bridge has been built across the Tempisque and is said to be opened in March 2003.
There is a significant number of beaches to choose from. Pristine, unspoiled and hard to reach to well developed and with significant tourist infrastructure. We have chosen the most beautiful ones according to our opinion and selected some of the most recommendable accommodations. Not only by size and offered luxury, but also by uniqueness and personalized service.
TortugaIsland (Golf Of Nicoya)
A small island in the Golf of Nicoya with pristine beaches and clear waters.
Cruise packages are offered from US $ 110 p.p. incl. Meals and transportation from San José.
Barra Honda National Park & LimestoneCaves
Barra Honda National Park was created in 1971 to protect its famous cave systems. Although most of the park has been cut over in the past, wildlife is fairly abundant and increasing with protection. A good trail system takes the visitors to the caves, where unusual limestone formations offer spectacular views. The park is located east of the town of Nicoya, on the northern part of the NicoyaPeninsula. Barra Honda Peak has a vast system of independent caves, nearly 42, of which only 19 have been explored. This caverns are renowned for their pristine condition and conservation efforts have helped to retain all the geo-biological features of the area. Vertical entrances to the caves require special equipment and trained professionals.
Opens daily from 8:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m. only in the dry season
Curú Wildlife Refuge
A small reserve on the SW portion of the NicoyaPeninsula with an extension of 84 hectares. This reserve is an unusual mixed property belonging to both the national government and the Schutt Family. The reserve has a wide range of wildlife. It harbors a colony of the giant oyster (Ostrea iridescent) which is extremely rare throughout the PacificCoast.
Cabo Blanco Reserve
A small preserve protecting secondary growth on 1,250 hectares. The reserve also provides protection to the marine environment to one kilometer off shore. Within these 1,790 hectares (4,423 acres) everything is prohibited except boat traffic crossing the zone. There is only one trail leading from the guard shack to the beach.
This long beach with a fine light gray sand, located 18 km southwest of Paquera, is protected by the wide Bahía Ballena which makes it suitable for swimming. Frequented mostly by locals on weekends, it is almost empty on most days which makes it ideal for long walks along the shore.
Playa Montezuma is known as one of the most alternative and happening places in Costa Rica.
Playa Sámara is one of the nicest beaches on the NicoyaPeninsula. Not only is it a wide and beautiful, sandy beach but it is also very safe for swimming as there is a coral reef protecting the coast from waves and currents. Snorkeling, windsurfing and diving are some of the popular water sport activities available in this area. The vacation homes of many wealthy Costa Ricans dot the landscape. Even though Sámara is somewhat secluded, you can find and buy anything you might need during your stay. There are restaurants and a few shops as well as a number of tour options.
Playa Nosara actually consists of 2 beaches: Playa Pelada and Playa Guiones. Both are light colored sand beaches, have excellent waves and are ideal for surfing and swimming. Other activities: horseback riding, snorkeling, turtle watching on the neighboring Playa Ostional (depending on the season).
Ostional Wildlife Refuge
This refuge is situated on a 200 meter stretch of beach between Punta India and the mouth of the NosaraRiver, including the town of Ostional. It belongs to the Santa Cruz Canton in the GuanacasteProvince. The refuge protects the region's wildlife, an important nesting site of the olive ridley and leatherback turtles, and a wide range of seabirds. The vegetation consists mainly of trees and plants typically found in sandy environments, such as the coconut and royal palms and the area mangrove, among others. Among the fauna, many kinds of seabirds and land fowl, marine turtles, some mammals, and a few crocodiles and other marine animals inhabit the area.
Playa Junquillal is one of the country’s most secluded beaches - the village itself consists only of a few houses; The dark Grey sand beach with high waves is the ideal place for surfing, long walks, horseback riding and scuba diving.
Located a few kilometers north of Nosara and south of Tamarindo, Playa Avellanas hardly has any infrastructure. It is well known for its long running waves and good surfing.
The long bay of Tamarindo with its light colored sand beaches is an ideal place for swimming and extended beach walks. Activities: golf, boat trips, horseback riding, sailing, scuba diving, snorkeling, fishing and surfing. The small town of Tamarindo offers quite some restaurants and bars to enjoy nightlife.
Playa del Coco / Ocotal
The small, well protected bay of Ocotal is partly sandy and partly rocky. There is no village. The neighboring beaches/villages of Playa de Coco and Playa Hermosa can be reached in 10 or 20 minutes car ride. Activities: swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing, surfing.
Small, protected bay about 7 km north of Coco - relatively clean and good for swimming. Playa Hermosa features various restaurants directly at the beach as well as dive shops and equipment rentals (snorkeling equipment, sea kayaks, etc.) Playa Hermosa is also home to one of Costa Rica's most famous scuba diving companies - "Bill Beards Diving Safaris".