While a vacation to Costa Rica might be high on one's bucket list of travel - how do you know the best region to visit if you've never been? Costa Rica is a mecca for eco-travel, as well as adventure travel, romantic travel and just plain relaxing beach vacations! With many different regions to choose from, it's important to know which one suits your personal vacation taste. Add to that the well-known fact that roads aren't the best in Costa Rica - finding one region to explore is probably the easiest way to maximize your fun and minimize your angst! For first time visitors the popular and beautiful Guanacaste holds much appeal - it's easy to get to, offers a little bit of everything that Costa Rica is famous for and has fabulous weather almost 365 days a year. Below find the top 7 reasons that you should visit Guanacaste right now!
Guanacaste has sunshine 365 days a year because it is one of the driest areas of Costa Rica. Even during green season (summer into fall) guests to the region are pretty much guaranteed to see sunshine each day. The nice thing about visiting Guanacaste during the “green or rainy” season is that the landscape will appear very lush and green, unlike winter when things can get so dried out to appear desert-like. Another nice perk of visiting during the Green Season is the rates are much lower! Typically resort and hotel rates, and even tours, will drop at least 30% during this time of year. Check out Costa Rican Vacations for the best deals during Green Season.
Those flying into Libera airport can be at the beach, toes in the sand and cocktail in hand, within 25 minutes of landing. The closest luxury hotel is Villa Buena Onda in the hills of Playa del Coco. Villa Buena Onda is a two-story, 8 bedroom, adults-only luxury boutique hotel. The hotel is a 10,000 square foot mansion set on 2.5 acres of dry tropical forest. Architecturally designed to be open and spacious, it is a blend of Mexican and Balinese styles. Situated high on a hill overlooking Costa Rica’s picturesque Papagayo Bay, the property provides guests with a sense of tranquility and peace. To add to guests relaxation factor, all meals are included at the resort and are prepared using fresh and local ingredients. This luxury Guanacaste, Costa Rica hotel is near the quiet port town of Playas del Coco and several nearby beaches.
Sustainability is key in Costa Rica and they’ve mastered the art of renewable energy. Guanacaste has one of Costa Rica's largest Thermal and Wind Electrical Plants so 100% of the electricity produced comes from renewable sources. There are plenty of eco-resorts in the Guanacaste region as well – if travelers like to stay at places that emphasize sustainability. Capitan Suizo is one example of an eco-resort that is very popular among travelers. It is a charming beachfront hotel at the end of the bay of Tamarindo Beach, amid lush tropical gardens. Beautifully integrated into the natural habitat, the hotel is perfect for anyone looking for a beachfront resort with a jungle feel, while still being close enough for forays into a bustling beach town. Even better, the hotel is committed to environmental protection, having become certified through the Costa Rican Tourism Board with a Level 5 (highest available) CST (Certificate for Sustainable Tourism). This commitment is visible throughout the property, from the recycling bins to natural gardens, which haven’t been touched by chemicals in 15 years.
4. Plasma Rocket Research Center
The astronaut with the most trips to space has his Plasma Rocket Research Center in Liberia, Franklin Chang and visitors are welcome but must be arranged in advance and have a group of ten or more. During the tour scientists will teach about the development, the impact, and the importance of the growing aerospace industry in Costa Rica. While visiting Ad Astra, guests will not only learn about space, but also have the opportunity to see the Centers work with renewable energies, such as an H2 production, usage, and storage system that is currently being developed which will have a tremendous impact for global energy independence. The tour also includes a presentation with pictures, videos and a Q&A session performed by one of the Center’s scientists.
Guanacaste has some of the best Billfishing in the world for Sailfish & Marlin. Both Marlin and Sailfish are caught all year round in Costa Rica, but there are some prime times to catch these fish, particularly from May – November. This includes the areas of Tamarindo, Flamingo and Papagayo – all of which are in the Guanacaste Region. The best way to catch these fish is to arrange a full-day charter. These boats head out around 7am and travel between 45 minutes to 1 hour until reaching the offshore fishing grounds. Offshore charters tend to be larger in size so they can pull a 5 line fishing spread. With the use of outriggers and the latest electronics, these larger boats are ideal for a day at sea. Those looking to charter a boat, be aware that deep sea fishing in Costa Rica tends to be higher in price due to fuel cost and run times. Outfitter Fishing Vacations plans customized fishing trips, either by the day or multiple days.
6. Pura Vida
Pura Vida, which translates to Pure Life, is a true way of life in Guanacaste. The average life expectancy is one of the highest in the world, with more people over 100 than anywhere else on the planet. In fact, the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica’s Guanacaste province is a special area, having been distinguished as one the world’s Blue Zones. The list of Blue Zones (there are only five in the world) was identified by American writer Dan Buettner, along with a team of scientists from National Geographic. They are areas of the world that have the highest life expectancy of the people that live there. Perhaps travel to Guanacaste can provide visitors a little of their own insight into the Pura Vida that makes Costa Ricans (or Ticos as they call themselves) some of the happiest and longest living people on the planet!
7. Surfing and Snorkeling
Eight months of the year, Guanacaste has some of the best waves for surfing in Costa Rica. In addition most resorts offer yoga to guests. Tamarindo has some of the best hotels near amazing surfing spots, including Cala Luna. This 20-room hotel is only minutes away from beginner and advanced surfing breaks, award-winning sport-fishing, world-class golfing, and some of the Pacific’s most renowned snorkeling and scuba diving. Additionally complimentary activities are offered at the resort such as yoga, live music, and sunset beach cocktails.
Written by Rob Harper
Read more posts by Rob Harper