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Things to do in Guanacaste and Northwest

Things to do in  Guanacaste and Northwest

Welcome to Guanacaste and Northwest

In Costa Rica’s Guanacaste Province, 400 miles (644 kilometers) of Pacific coastline vie for attention with tropical dry forests, undisturbed rural towns, and volcano-fueled hot springs. The country’s northern neighbor, Nicaragua (which you can easily visit on a day trip), lost control of this territory in the 19th century, although a distinctly Nicaraguan culture lingers. Sites are spread out, so tours can help sure you easily navigate between the places you most want to see. Inland, the region is noted for Rincon de la Vieja National Park, which offers hiking through a tropical dry forest, swimming beneath waterfalls, and soaking in mineral hot springs and mud baths. Summiting the Rincon de la Vieja volcano is every bit as exciting as the more popular Arenal volcano in Alajuela Province, but it’s less crowded and only a day trip from the beach. Additional nature parks dotting the region offer horseback riding; ziplining canopy tours; and opportunities to view sloths, howler monkeys, and lizards that call the forests home. On the coast, find your bliss surfing the swells of Tamarindo or Hermosa beach or soaking up sun rays on the shore. Snorkel among tropical fish at Playa Conchal, take a catamaran cruise out on the open water, or kayak through mangrove forests—all easily accessible from Liberia’s airport.

Top 10 attractions in Guanacaste and Northwest

#1

Tamarindo Beach

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Once the site of a quiet fishing village, Tamarindo Beach has become one of Costa Rica's most popular stretches of golden sand. Surfers travel from across the globe to ride Tamarindo's waves, but you don’t need to be a pro to hang 10 here. There are spots nearby that are calm enough for first-time wave riders to learn.More
#2

Rincon de la Vieja National Park

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Rincon de La Vieja National Park is one of the country’s most diverse ecological areas. Surrounding two volcanoes, Rincon (active) and Santa Maria (dormant), the park is also home to an extraordinary display of local flora and fauna, while being a part of the Area de Conservacion Guanacaste World Heritage site. While the plant life is impressive on its own, especially considering the enormous concentration of purple orchids here, it’s the concentration of volcanoes that really wows visitors. The Rincon de La Vieja volcano gave rise to the park’s name and contains nine separate but contiguous craters. It is one of the largest of the five volcanoes in the Guanacaste region and is believed to be over a million years old. Despite being considered active, it has not erupted since the early 1980s. The park does see a lot of volcanic activity, including vents, fumaroles and boiling mud pots and has at least 32 rivers that flow down its sides.More
#3

Rio Negro Hot Springs

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Nestled in the lush interior of Rincon de la Vieja National Park, these rustic hot springs are fed by a naturally heated river that flows from a nearby volcanic peak. Slather on the mineral-rich mud, and then soak it off in a variety of steam pools, all while surrounded by the untamed Costa Rican rain forest.More
#4

Palo Verde National Park

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Set on the banks of the Tempisque River, Palo Verde National Park (Parque Nacional Palo Verde) contains more than 15 topographical zones, including mangrove swamps, evergreen forests, and tropical dry forests. The park is a haven for migratory birds, bats, and 250 species of bees, plus mammals like jaguarundis (cat) and howler monkeys.More
#5

Baldi Hot Springs

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Located at the base of the Arenal Volcano in La Fortuna, San Carlos, Baldi Hot Springs features thermo-mineral hot water pools with great views of the volcano. It’s the biggest hot springs facility in the region and the perfect way to relax after hiking in Arenal Volcano National Park. Located within the Baldi Hot Springs Hotel and Spa, there are day-use options as well as availability for hotel guests. The 25 pools range in temperature from 93 to 152 degrees Fahrenheit and get hotter as the elevation rises. It's recommended that you balance your time between pools, as your core temperature will begin to rise after about 20 minutes in a hot pool. The minerality and temperature of the water is believed to rid the body of germs and viruses while increasing blood circulation and releasing harmful toxins. For the adventurous, Baldi Hot Springs also has extreme water slides that send you bumping and sliding before landing in the natural hot springs pool.More
#7

Diamante Eco Adventure Park

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A one-stop shop for adventurers of all ages looking to get their adrenaline fix, Diamante Eco Adventure Park features one of Costa Rica’s longest zipline courses. If that’s not quite your thing, choose from an abundance of other activities, including all-terrain vehicle excursions, horseback riding, and water sports—or just marvel at the sweeping ocean views.More
#8

Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Preserve

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The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve (Reserva Biologica Bosque Nuboso Monteverde) contains four different ecological zones, with the majority still untouched forest. Considered one of the most important biological reserves in the world, this site is one of the few places where you can take a photo on the Continental Divide with one foot on the Pacific side and the other on the Caribbean side. Another draw is the site's eight-mile (13 km) network of trails tat offer a well-rounded immersion into the biodiversity of Costa Rica. Monteverde is home to over 3,000 known plant species, 755 of which are trees alone. Here you can visit “La Ventana,” the scenic overlook displaying the beautiful panoramas created by the continental divide. The reserve also includes the Monteverde Biological Reserve, Santa Elena and the Children's Eternal Rain Forest, part of the Arenal Volcano National Park.More
#9

Miravalles Volcano

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Towering above Costa Rica’s northwestern plains, Miravalles Volcano is the highest peak in the Guanacaste province. The dormant peak’s microclimate makes it one of the best birdwatching spots in Costa Rica, while its refreshingly cool air offers respite from the tropical humidity of the nearby beaches.More

Recent reviews from experiences in Guanacaste and Northwest

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Amazing combo trip!
Danielle, Mar 2020
Guachipelin Adventure Volcano Zipline Horseback River Tubing Combo
At first we were a bit confused about the order of the activities, but the tour guide ended up being a fantastic guide and made the experience unforgettable for us.
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A Perfect Day Excursion
bk23232019, Nov 2019
Llanos del Cortez Waterfall and Coffee Tour from Guanacaste
While staying in Tamarindo, we were looking to fill a couple days with fun activities.
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Amazing Views & Great Ziplining Tour guides
nytashagarland, Jul 2019
Amazing Mega Zipline (25 lines) over 11 Waterfalls
We were able to see more of Costa Rica on our drive to/from Adventure Park.
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Great Experience!
696jason, Jun 2018
Diamante Eco Adventure Park Day Pass with Lunch
Started with the animal sanctuary and it was pretty cool to see all the animals that live in Costa Rica.
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My friend and I did this tour...
brie, Mar 2018
Rio Celeste Hiking, Sloth Sanctuary & Llanos de Cortes Waterfall Tour
Our first stop was Llanos de Cortes waterfall where you can swim and this waterfall was beautiful.
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Miller is outstanding on this tour...
Woodrow T, Nov 2017
Beach-mountain & Sloth Refuge Buggy Tour
Miller focuses on getting you to see the best beaches I have ever seen in my Life.
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This was an incredible tour. Our...
Lenore Caston M, Dec 2017
Guachipelin Adventure Volcano Zipline Horseback River Tubing Combo
Lunch was really good, and the hot springs soak at the end was exactly what we needed to undo all of the adventuring of the day.
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I would recommend this day adventure...
Janell G, Mar 2018
Hacienda Guachipelin One Day Adventure Pass
I would recommend this day adventure for any family with kids over 8 yrs.
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It was an excellent well organized...
Michelle H, Jun 2015
9-Day Best of Northwest Costa Rica from San Jose: Arenal Volcano National Park, Monteverde Cloud Forest and Guanacaste
Some of the activities were strenuous, and they ensured she was safe every step of the way.
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First of all, the ride from...
Sovannak B, Mar 2013
Arenal Volcano and Hot Springs Day Trip from Guanacaste
there wasn't much wildlife for us to see while there.

Frequently Asked Questions

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
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