Regardless of the activity you pick to enjoy your free time, Guanacaste offers an exquisite catalog. Define your budget and take an adventure with us. There are options for all.
Rincón de la Vieja, Miravalles and Tenorio are only a few of the volcanoes that dot the Guanacaste landscape and provide the province with unique attractions: their hot springs.
- Buena Vista Lodge: Offers rustic hot springs that come out of a thermal spring from the Rincon de la Vieja volcano. The pools have different temperatures, a sauna and a volcanic mud bath. It’s located 31 kilometers (19.2 miles) from downtown Liberia and the cost per person for a day pass is $35 to use the hot springs from 7 a. m. to 7 p. m. For more information call 2690-1414 or 2690-1416.
- Salitral: This is a ecological tourism center located in Bagaces, Guanacaste. The hot springs come from the steaming water of the Miravalles volcano, which they use to fill five different thermal pools. They offer lodging and are open Tuesday through Sunday from 7:30 a. m. to 8 p. m. and the price for entry is ¢4,000 (aprox. $7.15) for adults and ¢2,500 ($4.50) for children over eight years old. For more information call: 2671-2007.
- Yökö Hot Springs: This is a tourist spot with four thermal pools each with different temperatures. The water comes directly from the Miravalles volcano and it’s located two kilometers (1.2 miles) north of the geothermal plant. The rate for spending the day is ¢5,000 ($8.90) for adults and ¢4,000 ($7.15) for kids under 10 years old. For more information call: 2673-0410.
- Termales Río Negro Hot Springs: Located in Hacienda Guachipelín in the Rincon de la Vieja hillside. It offers dressing rooms, bathrooms and lockers at the entrance to the hot springs. The price is ¢11,000, or $20, for adults and ¢8,000, or $15, for children up to 12 years old. Phone number: 2690-2900
- Termales el Guayacán Hot Springs: This tourist spot is located in Bagaces and has 10 thermal pools, three with slides and a diving board more than 15 meters high. The entry fee includes access to a hanging bridge with a view of the Miravalles volcano and a tour of the volcano’s hot spots and mud baths. Price: ¢4,000 ($7.15) for adults. Children from ages three to 10 years old: ¢3,000 ($5.40). Hot spring hours: From 8 a. m. to 10 p. m. Telephone number: 2673-0349.
Enjoying the best beaches in Guanacaste doesn’t have to hurt your wallet. There are several options that will allow you to be in extreme contact with nature in a simple, comfortable environment. Here are five of our recommendations:
- Santa Rosa National Park: It has among the best facilities in the country for camping. It has restrooms, showers, sinks for washing clothes and a grill for visitors. The rate for camping is ¢3,300 ($5.90) for adults from Costa Rica and ¢2,700 ($4.80) for children and national students. For foreigners the price is $19 and $9 for children.
- Sámara Beach: Located about 40 minutes from Nicoya. There you will find Los Cocos, a quiet camping area a few meters from the beach. It offers basic services like bathrooms, showers, drinkable water and a restaurant. You can call 2656-0665 for reservations and to ask about rates.
- Bahía Junquillal National Wildlife Refuge: It’s located inside the Guanacaste Conservation Area and you can camp next to the beach for only $2. You can access the camping grounds in your own vehicle or on bus, but you have to walk four kilometres (2.5 miles) from the last stop. It offers a grill, tables, wellwater, showers, bathrooms and a lunch area. The rate for camping is $2. Access to the protected area is an additional fee.
- Potrero Beach: It’s located about five minutes from Flamingo and is conserved as an intimate destination. Mayra Camping is a low cost camping option for about ¢4,500 ($8.00) per person. It has open air showers, bathrooms, ice for sale and electricity. You can reserve a spot by calling 2654-4213.
- Playa Hermosa Beach: Congo’s Hostel and Camping offers a BBQ zone, two stoves, sinks for washing dishes, drinkable water, showers and bathrooms. The rate is ¢4,000 ($7.15). To get there you must enter the second entrance for Playa Hermosa and walk 300 meters toward the beach. There you can rent tents for camping. It also has a hostel. For more information call the following phone numbers: 2672-1168 or 8844-4116.
If you are going to camp don’t forget:
- Sunblock, sunglasses and bug repellent.
- Clothes appropriate for warm and chilly weather. Sweater and pants for night time.
- Lanterns or flashlights.
- First aid kit
- Flint and stone, matches or a lighter for the stove.
- Tent, sleeping bag and blankets.
Routes for biking or hiking
If you want to combine your vacation or free time with a good dose of exercise, the province offers a vast number of routes and landscapes for bicycling or mountain hiking. You can access the majority of them without a guide and without having to pay to enjoy them. But don’t forget to take all the necessary security measures and to assure that you have identified the route well.
- Cerro pelado peak: Cerro Pelado is a private area made up of eight properties and a total extension of more than 200 hectares (500 acres). Entry to the area is free of charge. If you take your car and want to hike, you must pay ¢3,000 ($5.35) per vehicle for parking. The hike is moderate. If you want more information you can contact Wilbert Barrantes at 8838-3645.
- Biking around Nosara: Nosara is the sixth district of the Nicoya canton and offers trails exclusively for hiking or biking. Its access points are not known by everyone, so it’s recommended to go with a local tour company. One company is Nosara MTB & Surf. They rent bikes and offer tours of a minimum of two hours depending on each person’s experience level. You can call these phone numbers: 2573 – 3948 or 8880 – 2870.
- Nicoya – Quirimán: The route is roughly eight kilometers long (five miles) starting in downtown Nicoya. You must pass the entrance to La Cruz hill. It’s a gravel road and can be rough during the rainy season, but that won’t impede your journey. Almost the entire trail is surrounded by trees, which will protect you from the sun. It has some demanding slopes so it’s recommended that you have some previous experience with the sport.
- Rincón de la Vieja Waterfall: Our recommendation is to go to entrance at the Pailas sector. The cost for nationals is ¢1,000 ($1.80). The route is about 13 kilometers (eight miles) long and it has steep slopes and drops, so moderate physical conditioning is required.
- Hacienda Guachipelín – Rincón de la Vieja: If you want to ride a bike in a more controlled environment, you can opt for the mountain biking tours offered by Hacienda Guachipelín. Each tour includes the following rental equipment: Mountain bike, helmet, gloves, assistance vehicle, hydration, replacement equipment (an extra bicycle) and a bilingual (English-Spanish) mountain biking guide. You can also opt for renting only the equipment and ride on your own along the area’s trails. The tours are only for people over 14 years old. For more information about prices you can call 2690-2900.
We recommend: In general terms, in order to select a good biking or hiking route, you can use the website wikiloc.com
It’s a website for discovering and sharing open air trails for walking, biking and many other activities. It offers trails in several countries around the world and trails exclusively in Costa Rica.
A calm sea with crystalline waters is the ideal environment for snorkeling. Guanacaste has a lot of it. You can chose from several sites, some close to the beach and with the option of blazing your own trail or you can take a boat out to sea to enjoy life under the sea. Here we offer some of the best places to go snorkeling.
- San Juanillo: It’s the best option in the zone for rich marine life. You can swim out to sea to watch diminutive blue and yellow fish, starfish and puffer fish swim. San Juanillo is located on the West coast and the closest towns are Marbella to the north and Ostional, Nosara and Garza to the south. It’s located 17 kilometers (10.5 miles) from Playa Guiones.
- Chora Island: It’s about 1.3 kilometers (less than one mile) from Sámara. To get there you must take a kayak or hire a boat. Tours to the island cost around $40 per person. Take into consideration that it’s best to visit the island during low tide. Experts recommend snorkeling during the dry season since the water gets cloudy after strong rains in the rainy season. The island has a quiet, white sand beach where the water is calm and another, rockier part with larger waves.
- Ocotal: It’s located about 40 kilometers (25 miles) south of the city of Liberia, a few minutes away from Playas del Coco Beach. Its soft waves make it an ideal place to swim, snorkel, go diving or simply rest. The beach is surrounded by dry forest and protected by hills and rock formations.
- Conchal: This is among the best known beaches in the province. It has crystalline, turquoise water which makes it the perfect place to swim and go snorkeling. Near the coast you can find a wide variety of marine life and swim with multicolored fish.
- Nacascolo: Located in the canton of Liberia in the Golfo de Papagayo. It has white sand and blue, crystalline waters. It has shade all along the coast and is surrounded by lots of vegetation.