Exploring the Gold Coast - The Guanacaste Region
Nov 29, 2012
With it's rich, gold beaches, near-perfect climate and endless activity options, it's hard to believe Guanacaste Province wasn't always the popular destination it is today. It used to be quite secluded from the Central Valley and Costa Rica's capital, San Jose. Surfers and backpackers were typically the only tourists visiting the area, braving the rough roads to travel the 5-hour drive from the International airport in San Jose. Fast-forward to the 1980's, add some high-end resorts such as the Four Seasons - the most expensive hotel in Costa Rica - and an International airport in the city of Liberia and you have a booming coast that is highly populated with tourists and residents alike.
In times gone by, Guanacaste was the odd-man-out, so to speak. Commandeered by Nicaragua, its direct neighbor, in pre-Columbian times, Costa Rica ultimately came out on top and claimed the province one of its own. Although it is 100% a Costa Rican province, Guanacaste maintains it's own individuality to this day.
Population Boom in Guanacaste = Unlimited Urban Options!
White-sand beaches, hot, dry temperatures and incredible vistas as far as the eye can see - it's not hard to understand why the Guanacaste Region is such a popular destination for those looking to escape the cold and snow in the northern latitudes. Of course, the addition of the International Airport in Liberia has made Guanacaste much more accessible, a mere 20 minute drive to the ocean from the airport.
There are a plethora of resorts to choose from littering the coastline, with options to suit every budget. For example, there is a project in the Gulf of Papagayo looking to develop 2,300 coastal acres. Resorts, hotels, condos and exclusive homes are just part of the project's plan. The Guanacaste Region offers international and local restaurants, bustling nightlife, luxurious spas and shopping for even the most discerning tourist or resident.
No Shortage of Activities in the Guanacaste Region
Despite the large development boom in the Guanacaste Region, you're still in Costa Rica, and it's not difficult to find rustic adventures if that's more your speed. Just like the rest of the country, the Province of Guanacaste has several National Parks, tropical forests and secluded beaches. Along the eastern border of the province you will find over 100 km's of the Cordillera de Guanacaste and Cordillera de Tilaran mountain ranges. A variety of National Parks, each housing a volcano, are perfect for those looking for a hiking excursion that will reward them with incredible views. More in the mood to get wet? The Guanacaste Region is renowned for it's perfect waves, warm waters and, naturally, stunning backdrop.
Both novice and expert surfers can enjoy the beach town of Tamarindo offering accommodations, restaurants, shopping and of course, surf shops. If you're looking for something a bit more off the beaten path and have your own surf gear, there are no shortage of beaches all along the coast in the Guanacaste Region - some are just tougher to get to then others and don't offer any amenities.
As you would expect, horseback riding, golfing, windsurfing, bird watching, canopy touring and fishing are all activities that are in abundance in the Guanacaste Region.