One of the seven provinces in Costa Rica, Guanacaste is located in the northwestern side of the country.
The Guanacaste territory used to belong to the neighbor country of Nicaragua.
But the local inhabitants, by their own decision, decided to annex to Costa Rica back in 1824.
That same year, Liberia (also called Guanacaste at the time) was named the capital of the province.
Although there are other activities in the region such as cattle ranching, farming, and fishing, the tourism industry is at the center of the local economy.
This province is said to have a “golden coast”; as many tourists who come to the country decide to travel in this area alone due to the natural beauty, they encounter at every place they visit.
The name of the province is related to the Guanacaste Tree, a species which is only found in this part of the country.
Guanacaste has a population of 264,000, though this tends to vary a lot as this is probably the most popular province for tourists.
The north of Guanacaste is the area considered to be the center of the tourism industry in the province.
Getting to Guanacaste
Since Guanacaste has many popular destinations, we are providing the directions for Liberia, as this is the departure point for most of those places.
The second biggest airport in the country is located in the city of Liberia (the Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport).
And if you want to make it to Guanacaste in a fast way, this is the way to go; as the flight between either Juan Santamaria or the Tobias Bolaños International Airports is only 45 minutes long.
There are also straight flights to Liberia from some American and European cities.
You can also make it to Liberia by bus, with daily departures from downtown San Jose every hour. The trip can last five to six hours.
If you want to drive, you must take the Pan American Highway, the one that goes to the province of Alajuela). And drive to Cañas (road signs won’t allow you to get lost)
And from there straight to the city of Liberia. It should take you between four and five hours to get there.
What to Do in Guanacaste
Guanacaste is where some of the most stunning national parks and volcanoes are located, including the Rincon de la Vieja National Park (where you’ll find an active crater, beautiful waterfalls, mud pots, and many trails filled with more natural beauty).
You can also visit the Santa Rosa National Park, which is famous for being the place where the country’s battle for independence took place back on March 20, 1856.
When a handful of Costa Ricans managed to prevent the American Invasion led by William Walker.
This is the perfect place for some pictures of the Hacienda Santa Rosa, one of the buildings with more history in this Central American nation.
Guanacaste has countless beaches (more than 125 miles of coastal extension), with some of the most popular ones being Tamarindo Beach, Flamingo Beach, Langosta Beach, Nosara Beach, Conchal Beach, Coco Beach and Samara beach. And it is worth to explore them all.
Most of the popular adventure activities preferred by tourists are found in all areas of Guanacaste, including Horseback Riding, Hiking, Cycling, ATV Tours, Bird-Watching, Canopying, Snorkeling, Scuba Diving and Sports Fishing.
Important Numbers and Websites:
- Municipalidad: http://www.muniliberia.go.cr/
- Liberia Hospital: 2399-0399
- Buses: 2222-1650