Vacations in Guanacaste and the Nicoya Peninsula 

Discover Costa Rica’s idyllic northwest coast with spots like Guanacaste and the Nicoya Peninsula, perfect for a vacation spent soaking in the sun and taking in this region’s breathtaking natural landscapes.

Guanacaste and Nicoya Peninsula

The Nicoya Peninsula is the largest peninsula in Costa Rica and home to some of the most spectacular beaches in the country, including the world-famous surfer’s dream, Santa Teresa. Part of the Guanacaste province in the northwest, this Pacific peninsula is a paradise of rugged natural beauty, quaint beachside towns, incredible wild and ocean life, watersports, nature reserves, unforgettable sunsets, and isolated beaches.

Where to go in Vacations in Guanacaste and the Nicoya Peninsula 

Things to Do in the Nicoya Peninsula

Aside from surfing, there’s plenty to see and do in and around Guanacaste, Costa Rica. Although the beaches are a defining part of its beauty, the whole region buzzes with pockets of activities, welcoming locals, sleepy villages, endless opportunities for adventure on land and sea, and a chance to engage with eclectic wildlife in their natural habitats. 

There is something for the whole family in the Nicoya Peninsula, but here are three recommendations to get you dreaming of your Costa Rican escape:

Discover stunning beaches

The number one most important and famous asset of this huge peninsula is undoubtedly its beaches. The coastal scenery is dramatic, beautiful, and wild against the sleepy villages and local communities.

Home to one of the best beaches in the Nicoya Peninsula, Santa Teresa draws people from all across the globe for its famous surf, white sands, bohemian village, and epic jungle-backed setting. Or, if you’re looking for a little isolated beauty and escape from the world, Nosara’s pristine beaches will give you absolute tranquillity while you laze and listen to the sounds of nature. 

Further up the coast, the surfing capital of Guanacaste, Tamarindo, has some of the best surf in Costa Rica. It’s a bustling part of the peninsula, with a vibrant beach town and white sands stretching out for three miles, providing plenty of room to find a sunbathing spot. If you’re traveling with older kids, Tamarindo is a must for a beach day with a buzzy vibe, lively restaurants, bars, and wildlife walking by.

Get up close with the wildlife 

Just like the Osa Peninsula down in the southwest, the biodiversity and wildlife here are as rich and varied as the surf.  If you’re lucky you could catch thousands of sea turtles coming to shore at night at Ostional Beach, swim and snorkel with dolphins and manta rays, or enjoy the company of monkeys and the many species of birds that flock here. 

For a guided experience, our specialists can arrange a trip to Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve, one the best places to see the region’s weird and wonderful wildlife, especially the range of colorful and exotic birdlife that makes this a popular spot for nature lovers. 

Try some adventurous activities

With a mix of beaches and jungles, Guanacaste provides a cross-section of Costa Rica’s landscapes, perfect for exploring your adventurous side. 

Whether it’s kayaking your way around, hiking through the jungle, or getting up close with animals and friendly sloths, this region offers plenty of adventurous activities to try out. 

When to Go to the Nicoya Peninsula

While it’s a beautiful region all year round, November to May is the best time to visit Guanacaste and the Nicoya Peninsula. The October rain brings out the area’s stunning natural landscapes, positively alive with tropical beauty. The rains are also followed by a cool breeze that blows through until February, making the climate pleasant and ideal for various activities.

The weather in Guanacaste in July and August is also sunny and warm, helping the region’s greenery really shine. From late September, things start to slow down ahead of the rainy season. 

Where Is the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica?

Separated from the mainland by the Gulf of Nicoya and the Tempisque estuary, the Nicoya Peninsula sits on Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast in the northwest part of the country. The peninsula is split into two regions, with the southern half sitting in the Puntarenas province, while the northern half is part of Guanacaste. 

Where to Stay in the Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica

Whether you’re looking for a boutique beachfront retreat in the heart of Santa Teresa, or a luxury experience in Guanacaste for the whole family, our specialists will find the perfect match for this stunning region of Costa Rica just for you. Browse our full range of hand-picked accommodations below.

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13 nights
Family Fun in Costa Rica

Family Fun in Costa Rica

San Jose, Pacuare, Osa Peninsula, Arenal & Papagayo

Explore the stunning natural diversity of Costa Rica. Sample the very best activities on this action-packed and fun-filled family adventure with an escorted tour across the jewel of Central America. Stay in jungle lodges inspired by Robinson Crusoe and go kayaking with dolphins, or try your hand at rafting, tubing and paddleboarding.

Adventure Wildlife Beach Eco/ethical tourism

$9,200 pp

13 nights
Limitless Costa Rica

Limitless Costa Rica

Central Valley, Arenal, Southern Osa, Papagayo Peninsula

Sublime cloud forests, lively rivers, majestic volcanoes, lush jungles and wild beaches. That's just the start of this ultimate Costa Rica vacation tour. Experience unprecedented levels of luxury, personally curated activities, top-secret bolt-holes, unparalleled service and stunning properties that make for an unforgettable escape.

11 nights
Active Costa Rica

Active Costa Rica

San Jose, Turrialba District, Arenal and Santa Teresa

A fantastic introduction to Costa Rica that begins with an off-the-beaten-track adventure at the wonderful Pacuare Lodge. Hike, bike or kayak onwards to immerse yourself in the beauty of the province of Alajuela and stay near the iconic Arenal Volcano, then finish up with a few days of laid-back luxury in charming Santa Teresa.

Wildlife Adventure Eco/ethical tourism

$7,100 pp

10 nights
Costa Rica with Kids

Costa Rica with Kids

Central Valley, Tortuguero, Arenal & Papagayo

Share an adventure with family on a luxury Costa Rica tour. Wander through diverse landscapes and take in wonderful wildlife, majestic volcanoes and beautiful beaches. Enjoy adventurous activities suitable for everyone, from lagoon boat trips to canopy walks, before finishing up with a splash of relaxation on the sun-kissed Pacific coast.

Adventure Wildlife Beach Eco/ethical tourism

$5,400 pp

11 nights
Extraordinary Costa Rica

Extraordinary Costa Rica

Central Valley, Osa Peninsula, Arenal, Guanacaste

A luxury tour of Costa Rica is an amalgamation of thrilling activities, incredible scenery, tropical temperatures, unusual wildlife and gorgeous beaches. Spot monkeys and sloths as they peer at you from the treetops. When you're ready to recharge, savor delectable cocktails and enjoy dramatic sunsets at some of the country’s most exclusive resorts.

Beach Couples

$8,200 pp

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Julie Norton

South & Central America Specialist

Whether I am at home or traveling, nature is always my number one need. This is why Latin America is so important to me. As one of the most biodiverse regions in the world, you can see desert, mountains, beaches, jungle and even glaciers! While spending a year and a half in Central and South America I got to experience nature and mankind at its greatest.