Attractions & Activities in Nicoya

The town of Nicoya
Nicoya is the major town of the peninsula and the cultural center of the province of Guanacaste. It was Costa Rica's first colonial city and boasts of having the oldest church in Costa Rica. The Parroquia San Blas was founded in 1644 and now houses a small museum with ancient religious artefacts. The town also has the biggest and best equipped hospital on the Nicoya Peninsula. Its name is Hospital La Anexion and it is at the entrance of Nicoya.


Mal Pais Beach
Mal Pais Beach is a rocky beach with sandy stretches and covered with sea shells. This beach is the ideal place for surfing. It has consistent waves, good swells and a long beach break.

Nosara Beach
Getting to Playa Nosara is actually quite difficult, as there are no paved roads. The best way to reach Nosara beach is to take a domestic flight from San Jose or Liberia. This beach is surrounded by nature. Surfing here is pretty good especially during the dry season from November to April.

Santa Teresa Beach
This beach is renowned worldwide for some of the best surfing in the entire country. Visitors can also enjoy horseback riding, hiking, and canopy tours.

Manzanillo Beach
The beach at Manzanillo offers a relaxed ambiance, stocky palms and almond trees. It has wonderful views and during low tide you can walk over the rocks to a large lagoon which is protected by a rocky reef. It's the ideal place for snorkeling too.

Samara Beach
Samara has a superb coral reef and its own island in the bay called Isla Chora. This beach is among the best for swimming!, but equally popular for windsurfers and it is very safe for kids.

Tamarindo Beach
Tamarindo is the most famous of all Guanacaste beach destinations. It has the most accessible location along the northern Pacific coast of Costa Rica. Playa Grande lies on the north of Tamarindo Beach inside the bay. The two beaches are separated by a natural salt water estuary and turtles lay their eggs on Playa Grande. In Tamarindo visitors can enjoy water sports like surfing, fishing, scuba diving, snorkeling trips, beach cruises, water skiing, jet skiing and much more.

National Parks and Wildlife Refuges

Marina Las Baulas National Park
Marina Las Baulas is located on the beautiful Grande Beach on the Nicoya Peninsula and it is famous for being a conservation area for the Leatherback turtle which arrives every year to lay eggs into the sand. A small museum and interpretive center at the main entrance of the park focuses on the natural history of leatherbacks.

Barra Honda National Park
Water has cut extensive caves through the small mountains of the Barra Honda National Park which are its best known feature. This park is located very close to the Nicoya Gulf and the Tempisque River.

Cabo Blanco National Park
Cabo Blanco is the first National Park established in Costa Rica. It is a protected area of 1250 hectares on the tip of the Peninsula. Its forests are home to hundreds of animal and plant species (including the white faced and howler monkey).

Tamarindo Wildlife Refuge
The Tamarindo Wildlife Refuge protects mangrove areas around the estuary and river mouth of the Rio Matapalo in Langosta. Five species of mangroves provide an important spawning site for many fish and other marine creatures.