Find out why retires, expats, and tourist make Guanacaste Costa Rica the most visited destination in Central America.
The sun soaked beaches, highlands and mountainous regions of Costa Rica’s northwestern province of Guanacaste offers a rich diversity of lifestyles for expats and tourists alike and is literally teeming with activities — from famous surf and beaches to the world’s best sport fishing as well every type of accommodation — from hostels to mega luxury estates.
For those looking to relocate to Costa Rica’s Northwest province of Guanacaste, they have a multitude of lifestyles to choose from. If you like a beach lifestyle there are abundant coastal towns and villages and they can be anything from a sleepy fishing village to a bustling small city like Tamarindo with its exciting nightlife. Like the mountains? You can find secluded mountain homes to fit any budget or choose from any number of the gated residential communities scattered throughout Guanacaste.
Guanacaste is Rich in History and Culture
The first people who settled in Costa Rica reached Guanacaste’s Nicoya Peninsula between 7,000 and 10,000 BC.
During the colonial period, Guanacaste belonged to Nicaragua. On 25th of July in 1824, Guanacaste announced its annexation and officially joined Costa Rica, a day which is celebrated like Independence Day throughout the country.
Guanacaste, Costa Rica is Rich in History and Culture[/caption]Rich in culture, Guanacaste’s present day heritage evolved from a blending of Spanish and the local indigenous population called the Chorotega. These pre-Columbian cultures are descendents from the Olmecas from Mexico, arriving in Costa Rica in the 8th century. This vibrant heritage is prevalent in the many artisan works in the region as well is in the celebration and traditional customs.
Apart from the heavy tourist areas, Guanacaste, called the ‘Land of the Sabaneros’ by the New York Times, is a rural lifestyle that revolves around cattle and horse ranching. Here, sabaneros (equivalent to North American cowboys) are very customary. Because of this, Guanacaste has been called Costa Rica’s ‘Wild Wild West’. The peoples of Guanacaste love to party and are quick to greet you with a smile and a handshake where ever you go. You will find frequent and large fiestas and celebrations throughout the regions were cowboys compete in bullfighting and topes (colorful dancing horse parades) and show off their immaculately decorated and groomed horses and their prancing footwork.
Guanacaste has a Multitude of Diverse Environments
Guanacaste’s dry tropical climate makes it a popular location for those North Americans looking to escape the winter months. The coastal areas have stunning endless white-sand beaches. These world renowned beaches in Guanacaste have caused many of its small fishing villages to see rapid growth not only to support tourism, but also because of the wave of expats and retirees looking for their little piece of paradise. Because of this growth the coastline of Guanacaste has seen a multitude of new resort developments and hotels with in an apparently endless stretch of beachside accommodations available including the ultra luxurious Gulf of Papagayo Four Seasons Resort.
Guanacaste, Costa Rica has a Multitude of Diverse EnvironmentsGuanacaste’s geographical features are unique and diverse. The Guanacaste Mountains offer mesmerizing national parks and volcanoes that include: Parque Nacional Guanacaste, Parque Nacional Rincon de la Vieja, and Parque Nacional Volcano Tenorio. The Tilaran Mountain range begin at the south end of Lake Arenal, extending towards the Pacific coast, leaving only a narrow stretch of coastal lowland. These lowlands are home a large number of exotic species of flora and fauna including an abundance of monkeys, sloths, iguanas, toucans as well as the elusive and mystical jaguar.
Guanacaste’s Main Cities — Liberia and Tamarindo
Guanacaste’s largest city, Liberia, is the capital and home to the nation’s second international airport which also provides regional access to many of the primary destination points which has made getting around this large province much easier in recent years. Close to the Pacific beaches and surrounding national parks, Liberia an ideal launch point for tourists who want to explore the Guanacaste region.
Tamarindo is the regions’ primary destination; from here you can select a variety of activities such as; volcano tours, canopy tours, ATV, horseback, national park tours and beach tours are among many fantastic options available from this area. As one of Costa Rica’s most popular beach towns with a large expat community, Tamarindo has a lot of advantages and all the amenities.
In Tamarindo, you’ll have a variety of options when it comes to accommodation for either short or long term, from low-cost apartments and condos to large ocean-view estate and homes. You can find modern 3 bedroom homes only minutes from the beach for well under $200,000 and 2 bedrooms homes for around $150,000.
Vacation rentals are abundant so you can easily visit for a few months to get a feel for Tamarindo before making a permanent move. Although Tamarindo has seen tremendous growth in recent years, it is very walkable, so the beach and town center will be only, 10 to 15 minutes away at most and taxi’s are only about $2 to anywhere so getting around is cheap and easy.
Tamarindo is also well known for its busy nightlife you can choose any number of discotheques, bars restaurants and local cantinas. From fine dining to wild beach parties Tamarindo is made for fun-in-the-sun! Because of all this, Tamarindo is now a haven for foreigners from North America and Europeans seeking fun in the sun and tropical retirement days.
Guanacaste offers endless, pristine beaches[/caption]World renowned for some of most spectacular beaches in the Americas, Guanacaste seems to have an endless supply. White sand, black sand and coral beaches with some hottest surf locations on global, these beaches along the Pacific boast world class sunsets. Here are few must see beaches in Guanacaste:
You can find this isolated beach gem in Bolaños Bay very close to the Nicaraguan border and is worth effort to go if you are looking for the ultimate sunset beach shot in North Pacific Costa Rica. The soft white sand and strange rock formation as well as plethora marine life, make this little know beach a must see for the beach hunters.
Flamingo Beach with its glistening fine white sand and lush tropical surrounding makes it one of Costa Rica’s most stunning beach destinations. Its crystal blue waters, inlets and lagoons, topical flora and wealth of recreation and adventure activities make this the perfect place to visit, or live!
Playa Conchal, 1km south of Brasilito is considered of the most beautiful beaches on the peninsula. This beach is named after the billions of conch shells that continuously wash ashore. The stunning turquoise and sea-foam green colors of the ocean are a rarity on the Pacific coast. Snorkeling gear is highly recommended as this is the beach to explore.
This laid back bohemian flavor beach on the Pacific coast, radiates charm and has a very cool energetic nightlife. Enjoy artisan wares along the beautiful sandy beach. An abundance of glittering coral attracts snorkelers and coral collector alike.
Nosara has 4 spectacular beaches called Playas Guiones, Ostional, Nosara and Pelada on the western most portion of the Nicoya peninsula. A haven for surfers, alternative life stylists, this relaxed region of Guanacaste with long sandy beaches is great place to relax and reenergize the mind, body and spirit.
Santa Teresa & Malpaís
Down on the southernmost tip of the Nicoya peninsula, Santa Teresa and Malpais, attract bohemian free spirits and plenty of surfers. This relatively isolated beach area features world-class breaks throughout the year. These beaches are said to be Costa Rica’s best beaches to catch a magnificent colored sunsets.
Tamarindo and it numerous surrounding beaches are the most popular and well known surf locations Costa Rica. Tamarindo offers easy access to a wide variety of surf breaks from beginners to superstars. If surfing is your thing this area will not disappoint. This surf-mecca is home to the famous reef breaks of Witches Rock and Ollie’s Point.
Playa Danta & Dantita
The amazing beach community on 1200 acres in Playa Danta, sports an array of inns, shops, and nature galore, with no motorized vehicles, that’s right, car-free and definitely worth checking out. Called the most interesting beach developments in the country, make sure it’s on your must visit list for Guanacaste.
In general, real estate in Guanacaste slowed for a couple years during the global housing meltdown, but weathered that storm well like most of Costa Rica. Despite the slowdown, individual homeowners have found opportunities in the rental market for vacationers seduced by the enduring appeal of this province.
In recent years, Guanacaste has attracted the rich and famous like Mel Gibson and his recently reduced $29.75 million private jungle estate as well a large number of regular expats retiring or running businesses in the tourist industry such as hotels, restaurants, Internet cafés, or real estate offices. Land prices can run very high especially around the tourist’s traps, but with the whole coastline as well as the numerous inland locations available, you can find the perfect tropical lifestyle to suite your budget.
See For Yourself
Guanacaste’s is yours to experience with its rich culture heritage, long sunny beach days, majestic volcanoes and bio-rich environments, so if you are considering moving to Costa Rica, make sure to visit Guanacaste and see for yourself why it is the most visited destination in Central America.