Community, Region, Travel

5 recommendations for rural tourism in Guanacaste during the Easter holiday

Esta publicación también está disponible en: Español
Translator: Arianna Hernández

Do you have plans yet for Easter, or Semana Santa (Holy Week)? Guanacaste is a favorite destination because of its beaches, but the province also offers rural tourism experiences. Hills, waterfalls, caves and a lot of culture are all part of these options beyond sand or sea.

We have put together five rural tourism options that we’ve reviewed in the past for you to enjoy during these days off or any other opportunity you have. The guide is designed for the entire family, and there are options for the more adventurous or for those who prefer a more peaceful plan.

The destinations are accessible so you can get there in any kind of car and even by bus, although the hours may be limited.

  1. Santa Cruz: Avellanas Ranch

Foto: Cesar Arroyo Castro

Avellanas Ranch is ideal for spending a family day surrounded by goats. You’ll be able to take a walk around the farm while learning about its history, see how the goats are milked and have the opportunity to feed them with a bottle.

At the end of the tour, you’ll enjoy a tasting of the products made on the farm, such as yogurt with fruit and goat cheese. The price for a private tour (four people minimum) is ¢13,500 (about $25.50 USD) per person.

On Tuesday and Friday of Semana Santa, tours will be open to the public at ¢10,800 (about $20) per person.

Contact: Jean Carlo Carranza at 7012-2404.

How to get there?

  • Car:  Google Maps
  • Bus: Transportes Folklórica offers a route to Avellanas beach that makes a stop in front of El Águila Bar (across from Avellanas Ranch). You can also get off at the plaza of San José de Pinilla (1 kilometer, or 0.6 miles, from the farm). The bus leaves from the Mercado Municipal bus terminal in Santa Cruz. Tickets cost ¢1,670 (about $3), and you can ask about their schedules by calling 2680-3161.

  1. Tilarán: Viento Fresco waterfalls

Foto: Qué Buen Lugar

The Viento Fresco (Cool Breeze) waterfalls are a group of four waterfalls. Getting to them can be a simple or a challenging experience, depending on your preference. If you want a laid back plan, just 100 meters (328 feet) from the entrance, you’ll be at the Serena River and the first waterfall.

The number of stairs to reach the other three makes the route a medium difficulty, but the effort is worth it. The Arcoiris (Rainbow) waterfall is a 75-meter (246-foott) cascade into a pool of calm, cold water perfect for a refreshing summer dip. There’s also El Tobogán (The Slide), ideal for a massage from the water that falls on a stone wall.

The tour is offered by Olman Álvarez and costs ¢4,000 (about $7.50) for Costa Rican nationals or ¢9,000 (about $17) with lunch included. For foreigners, the price is ¢9,000 (about $17) or ¢15,000 (about $28) with lunch. Viento Fresco Falls are open every day during Semana Santa.

Contact: Olman Álvarez at 8383-1178 

How to get there?

  • Car: Google Maps
  • Bus: At the Tilarán terminal, take the bus that goes from Tilarán to Monteverde. The bus leaves at 4:00 a.m. and at 12:45 p.m. from Tilarán and makes a stop in front of Viento Fresco. Tickets cost ¢700 (about $1.25). If you have any questions about the bus service, you can contact José Fabio Mena at 8827-0056.

  1. Nicoya: Caballito Hill

Foto: Cesar Arroyo Castro

The 360° view from the top of Cerro Caballito is a gift of nature that you can’t miss. At the top, you can see the Orosi, Rincón de la Vieja, Miravalles and Tenorio volcanoes, as well as the Gulf of Nicoya.

The path is demanding, but the reward isn’t just at the top. The rocky path will also take you to a Barra Honda-style cave that makes the tour a complete experience.

You can do the tour at sunrise or sunset. You can also take your camping tent and enjoy a cool starry night.

The tour is led by Víctor Obando and costs ¢5,000 colones (about $9.50), or ¢6,000 (about $11) if you want to camp.

Contact: Víctor Obando at 8654-2332 

How to get there?

  • Car: Google Maps
  • Bus: The catch the bus to Caballito at the Municipal Market of Nicoya and it costs ¢800 (about $1.50). The Nicoya-Caballito route leaves at 10:45 a.m. and at 3:00 p.m. The Caballito-Nicoya route leaves at 6:00 a.m. and at 11:45 a.m. For any transportation questions, you can contact Jacob Duarte at 8603-8922.

  1. Hojancha: Matambú Namu Nekupe

Foto: Eka Mora

The Namu Nepuke project, in the Matambú indigenous territory, offers five activities for the entire family. You make your own itinerary; your experience and the total price of the tour will depend on that.

  • Creating pieces: You’ll have the experience of learning to make clay pieces and take your own work home. Price: ¢5,000 (about $9.50).
  • Trails: The tour has two trails that are approximately 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) long. These routes are for people in average physical condition. Price ¢5,000 (about $9.50).
  • Workshop on bees and dragon fruit: You’ll learn about melipona bees and how their Chorotega ancestors put them to good use. You’ll also take a tour to see how dragon fruit is grown while the guide tells you about this fruit’s benefits. Price: ¢5,000 (about $9.50) for the two workshops (you can take both workshops or choose just one).
  • Hill: You can climb a hill that divides Matambú from Hojancha. It involves 8 demanding kilometers but the reward is the view of the Gulf of Nicoya and the canton of Hojancha. Price ¢4,000 (about $7.50).

Contact: Ezequiel Aguirre at 8816-6922 

How to get there?

  • Car: Google Maps
  • Bus: There is a minibus service that travels from Nicoya to Matambú. Tickets cost ¢1,000 (about $2). During Semana Santa, it will only run on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. You can contact Mari at 8749-2803 for more details.

  1. Liberia: turquoise waters of Curubandé

Foto: Cesar Arroyo Castro

The turquoise water of La Pipa waterhole, in Curubandé, comes from the slopes of Rincón de la Vieja Volcano. The waters are calm for swimming and the main attraction is a natural rock slide.

This option is an inexpensive plan suitable for the entire family. Admission is free but you can also pay for the services of local guide Freddy Pérez, who offers life jackets and will tell you the history of Cucurumbé.

Contact: Freddy Pérez at 8707-0709 

The price for Pérez’s company is ¢4,000 (about $7.50) for Costa Rican nationals and ¢5,000  (about $9.50) for foreigners. If you want to have lunch at the end of the tour, Pérez will guide you to a soda (small restaurant) located in the community’s center.

How to get there?

  • Car: Google Maps
  • Bus: Take the bus at the Liberia terminal. It arrives at Curubandé’s park, about a seven-minute walk from La Pipa. The ticket cost is ¢1,125 (about $2.15). Check the schedule for Semana Santa on Grupo Tranbasa’s Facebook page.