Encounter the Nicoya Peninsula

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The Nicoya Peninsula juts into the Pacific from Costa Rica’s northwest province of Guanacaste. Within this tropical peninsula is a mountainous and sparsely populated area with an abundance of wildlife.

It has a stunning coastline with dramatic and unspoiled long stretches of sandy beaches backed by jungle, many of which are only accessible by dirt tracks. The small villages in the Nicoya Peninsula have an authentic ‘Tico’ charm and people in the region live a simple, rural way of life built around farming.

Tourism in Nicoya is centered along the peninsula’s stunning Pacific coastline and the beaches are without a doubt some of the most beautiful in Costa Rica. Dotted along the coastline are a number of small fishing villages, each with its own appeal, but all sharing a laid-back atmosphere suited to those who come to enjoy the region’s spectacular nature by diving, snorkeling, surfing, wildlife spotting or hiking.

Some of Costa Rica’s best kept hidden secrets & beaches

Sámara and Carrillo are two of the most visited beach towns. Situated in a large bay with a long, gentle white-sand beach, Sámara has one of the region’s best swimming beaches. Carrillo is a quieter, less developed town with an idyllic, palm-fringed white sand beach. In the morning you can still see fisherman bringing in their catch for the day and the beaches are pristine and often deserted.

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Horseback Riding

Horseback riding in Nicoya Peninsula is an excellent excursion for nature lovers and horses alike. The horses used for riding on are well-preserved, uniform, clean, and well educated, making it suitable for kids and beginners but also for seasoned riders. You will find the hills, valleys, spectacular views and beautiful scenery of the Guanacaste Forests while riding!

Try some surf…catch a wave!

Enjoy great breaks in the surf lesson in many places around the Nicoya Peninsula. Learn vital elements like paddling, boarding, standing up, and then executing your new movements in Tamarindo’s well-known waves, perfect for beginners. Take a surfboard and start your day at the beach with lessons are tailored to suit your level of experience, be it a total beginner or a novice surfer who wants to work on your skills.

Turtles at Ostional Beach

One of the most popular tourist spots in Costa Rica, it is a must for animal lovers to visit. Due to many poachers in previous years, this area was secured as the population of the tortoises declined rapidly. Thousands of turtles have been protected from harm since 1983 and can lay their eggs in safety. To get to the beach, tourists can come to see the amazing turtle nests and babies’ hatchings.

Santa Teresa and Mal Pais

Without a doubt these two highlights host some of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica. These two adjacent beach towns are located on the remote, southern most tip of the Nicoya Peninsula, reached via a ferry crossing. Both share a laid-back and elegant atmosphere suited for those who come to relax while enjoying the region’s spectacular nature by diving, snorkeling, surfing, wildlife spotting or hiking.

Samara and Carillo

The two most frequented beach cities in the Peninsula of Nicoya are Sámara and Carillo, located through a friendship bridge over the river Tempisque. The Sámara beach has one of the best swiming beaches in Costa Rica with low, gentle water, situated on a wide bay with a long, mild beach with a white sand. The beach is one of the best and perfect for children.


Nosara is a beautiful small beach town situated on Nicoya Peninsula on the Pacific Coast. It is also named the Costa Rican yoga city by National Geographic as one of the world’s leading surfing cities. Guiones Beach is Nosara’s largest beach and runs for 5 km along the coast, ideal for swimming, surfing, boogie boarding and relaxing. Nosara has also forest trails, mangroves and cascades.

destination map

Title Address Description
San José
San José, Costa RicaSprawling and chaotic at first sight, San José is nonetheless a vibrant capital with plenty to see and do. There are still pockets of colonial gems around San José and some very fine museums and green spaces, as well as a lively cultural life.Read more…
Manuel Antonio
Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio, Provincia de Puntarenas, Quepos, Costa RicaIn the Manuel Antonio National Park you’ll find sloths, iguanas and the rare squirrel monkey among many other species. In the pristine waters around the perfect bays there is a flurry of marine life from dolphins and turtles to whales and colorful tropical fish.Read more…
Arenal & La Fortuna
Volcán Arenal, Provincia de Alajuela, San Carlos, Costa RicaThe presence of the impressive Arenal Volcano is everywhere. Whether strolling around La Fortuna village, canopy rappelling in the forest, boating along Lake Arenal, horseback riding or hiking the countryside…adventure lies around every corner.Read more…
Provincia de Puntarenas, Monteverde, Costa RicaHome to Costa Rica’s most stunning and pristine Cloud Forest where you can find birds, monkeys and people (zip-lining of course) flying through the trees! There are plenty of adventures from the Sky Walk to horseback riding and hiking.Read more…
Tortuguero, Limón, Costa RicaOn Costa Rica’s northern Caribbean Coast,, Tortuguero is a water world made up of canals, lagoons, streams and dense rainforest. Known as the ‘Land of Turtles’, Tortuguero is one of the world’s most important turtle nesting sites!
Read more…
Puerto Viejo
Limón, Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Costa RicaThe laid-back pace of this Caribbean beach town is bound to win you over. Here you’ll get a taste of Costa Rica’s Creole culture and enjoy the adventures of the nearby Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Reserve as well as relaxing in its calm Caribbean waters. Read more…
Provincia de Guanacaste, Tamarindo, Costa RicaThis once small, unassuming fishing village on the Pacific Coast has become the center of Costa Rica’s high-end beach scene. Tamarindo offers designer shopping, incredible restaurants and plenty of nightlife for those seeking a not so quiet beach setting.
Nicoya Peninsula
Península de Nicoya, Costa RicaJutting out out into the Pacific, this tropical peninsula is a mountainous and sparsely populated area with an abundance of wildlife. The stunning coastline is dramatic and unspoiled with long stretches of sandy beaches backed by jungle.Read more…
Rincon de la Vieja
Volcan Rincon de la Vieja, Provincia de Guanacaste, Costa RicaThere are many ways to experience the area ranging from hiking, rappelling, rock-climbing and canopying to relaxing horseback rides and soaking in the volcanic hot springs flowing from the mountain – one of the major draws of the region.Read more…
Central Highlands
Cordillera Central, San José, Costa RicaThis region has some of the highest mountains in Costa Rica with cool, misty cloud forests and rushing rivers. It runs from Nicaragua to Panama and separates Costa Rica’s Caribbean and Pacific Coasts, creating two very different climatic regions. Read more…
Osa Peninsula
Peninsula de Osa, Provincia de Puntarenas, Costa RicaThe Osa Peninsula is an untouched natural wonderland with wildlife-filled rainforests and palm-backed Pacific beaches. Visit the Osa Peninsula’s Corcovado National Park where almost one-tenth of all the mammals found in the Americas live! Read more…
Heredia, Sarapiquí, Costa RicaPuerto Viejo de Sarapiqui in the lush Caribbean lowlands is known for its natural environment filled with tropical flora, and for the broad Sarapiqui River that flows through it. Read more…

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Best times to visit Nicoya Peninsula

June through to November is great beach weather in Tamarindo with July and August being the busiest months for visitors when booking well in advance is recommended. For the best waves surfers should time their trip for the months of September and October. If you are on the lookout for leatherback turtles, then November to February are the best months to visit.

practical information


Getting to the Nicoya Peninsula is easy with a rental car, the roads are all paved and the distances are never long. It takes around 4 hours to get to San Jose or Arenal from Nicoya, about 3 hours to drive to Rincon de la Vieja and Monteverde.

there are several shuttle connections also, for instance between San Jose and Samara and samara and Monteverde. Nor all towns on the Peninsula are connected through shuttles so if you really want to explore the beaches of the Nicoya Peninsula, the best way is with your own car.

there is a ferry from Punta Arenas to Pacuera, that connects the main land with the Peninsula and further north there is a bridge, called the the Tempisque Bridge.

Several towns also are connected by air with san Jose, like Nosara and Tambor.


The best way to get around is to have your own car. Within the small beach towns you can easily walk and get a tuk-tuk, but there is no public transportation system in place./p>


All over the Nicoya Peninsula you will find beautiful boutique lodges and hotels, bed & breakfasts and comfortable hotels and hostels. You will not find 5 star resorts or big hotels here, all accommodation is very stylish and in general small scale.

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