Guanacaste Province Costa Rica: Visitors Guide

This area is the most accessible area from the Liberia International Airport.

It is also a great spot to explore if you are planning to head up to Nicaragua after. 

The most popular tourist destination in this region are Tamarindo, Papagayo, and Playas del Coco.

Most people visit this area to enjoy the beaches, but there are several mountain towns that are perfect for adventure and quiet relaxation. 

Guanacaste Costa Rica at a Glance

Nearest International Airport

Liberia International Airport (LIR) in Liberia

Popular Things to Do

scuba diving, surfing, catamaran tours, day trip to Rincon de la Vieja

Best Way to Get Around

Rental car, day tours with transportation

Best Time of Year to Visit

Dry season is from late December until mid-April

Main Language

Spanish. Most people in tourism speak English


Costa Rica Colones, but USD is widely accepted


110v/60 (the same as the US)

Map of Guanacaste Province

guanacaste Costa Rica map of the province

Towns and Cities in the Guanacaste Province



If you are looking for plenty of action from surfing to ATV tours, Tamarindo is the place for you.


Playas del Coco

A busy town that is popular with expats. It’s a great place for fishing and diving.


Playa Hermosa

A quiet beach area that is perfect for families. The water is calm enough to swim and there are several nearby activities.

Guanacaste Province Costa Rica: Visitors Guide


The most popular area for all-inclusive resorts in the country. A beautiful beach area.

Guanacaste Province Costa Rica: Visitors Guide

Playa Potrero

A relaxed beach town just north of Playa Flamingo. A great place for families.


Playa Flamingo

Often considered the nicest white sand beach in the country, Flamingo is a popular town for nice resort stays.

playa langosta

Playa Langosta

This is the place to stay if you are looking for luxurious villas and a relaxed vibe close to the action of Tamarindo. 

Guanacaste Province Costa Rica: Visitors Guide

Las Catalinas

A car-free coastal town, boasting a vibrant community, stunning beaches, and a focus on sustainable living.


Playa Avellenas

A peaceful surfing village with a relaxed vibe located south of Tamarindo.

The Guanacaste Province Weather

The dry season and main tourism season in Costa Rica is from late December until late April. During this time of year you can expect crowds and higher prices in this area. 

This especially applies to the more popular beach town like Tamarindo, Papagayo, and Playas del Coco.

From May until August prices go down a bit, the crowds go home, and the weather turns somewhat rainy.

However, as far as weather goes, this tends to be one of the driest areas in the country. It is not unusual to have decent weather even after rainy season is in full swing in the rest of the country.

If the rain does roll in, you can expect afternoon rainstorms to last about one to two hours. 

From August until December prices usually get even lower. At this time of year, you are more likely to experience rainy days.

The temperature year-round is usually in the upper 80°F (around 30°C) during the day and dips to about  65° F (19°C) at night.

Year-round the sun rises between 5:15 and 5:45am and sets between 5:30 and 6:00pm. 

Things to Do in The Guanacaste Province of Costa Rica

Here are 13 fun things to do in the Central Valley region:

  1. Relax on Tamarindo Beach: Enjoy the beautiful golden sands and warm waters of this popular beach destination, perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and surfing.
  2. Explore Rincon de la Vieja National Park: Hike through this volcanic park, where you can discover mud pots, hot springs, waterfalls, and diverse wildlife.
  3. Take a Safari Float on the Palo Verde River: Take a boat tour through the wetlands of Palo Verde National Park. You might see; crocodiles, monkeys, iguanas, and numerous bird species in their natural habitat.
  4. Dive or Snorkel in the Catalinas Islands: Embark on a diving or snorkeling excursion to explore the vibrant marine life and coral reefs surrounding the Catalinas Islands.
  5. Take a Sunset Catamaran Tour: Enjoy a relaxing boat tour along the Guanacaste coast, witnessing breathtaking sunsets and possibly encountering dolphins or whales.
  6. Go Surfing in Playa Grande: Catch some waves in this renowned surfing spot, known for its consistent breaks and great conditions for beginners and experienced surfers alike.
  7. Explore Las Baulas National Marine Park: Visit this protected area near Tamarindo, known for its nesting site of endangered leatherback turtles. Take a guided tour to witness this incredible natural phenomenon.
  8. Discover the Diamante Eco Adventure Park: Enjoy a day filled with adventure at this eco-park, offering ziplining, animal encounters, ATV tours, and a thrilling ocean water slide.
  9. Horseback Riding on the Beach: Experience the beauty of Guanacaste’s coastline on horseback, with guided tours available in various locations like Playa Flamingo or Tamarindo.
  10. Go Sport Fishing: Guanacaste is renowned for its excellent sport fishing opportunities. Charter a boat and try your luck at catching marlin, sailfish, or dorado in the Pacific Ocean.
  11. Enjoy Water Sports in Playas del Coco: Engage in various water activities, including jet skiing, kayaking, and paddleboarding.
  12. Visit the Llanos de Cortés Waterfall: Take a short hike to this stunning waterfall near Bagaces, where you can swim in the refreshing pool at the base.
  13. Enjoy a Spa Day in Papagayo Peninsula: Treat yourself to a luxurious spa day in one of the upscale resorts located on the beautiful Papagayo Peninsula, offering rejuvenating treatments and breathtaking views.
playa langosta sunset
las catalinas Costa Rica
playa hermosa costa rica

Guanacaste Costa Rica Transportation

There are multiple transportation options to get to and around in the Guanacaste area.

We usually suggest renting a car because it will give you the most flexibility in getting around between locations and it will allow you to explore more on your own.

You can book your rental car with a 10% discount plus other great perks here. 

However, if you are planning on staying at a resort or plan to mostly take day tours with transportation included, it is most likely not necessary to rent a car. 

In this situation, you could opt for a private shuttle.

You can book your private shuttle with our favorite shuttle company here

Another great option if staying within an hour or so of the Liberia airport is to take a taxi. This is usually cheaper than a private shuttle and makes the most sense for a couple or small family.

You can save $10 with our favorite registered taxi family. 

If you are on a tight budget, the public bus is always an option. Here is the best place for the bus schedule.  

playa hermosa costa rica sunset

Is Guanacaste Province Worth Visiting?

Yes, we think that Guanacaste Province is definitely worth visiting. It tends to be more crowded than some other areas in the country, but that is because it is just such a nice area.

Here are a few reasons why we suggest this area:

  1. Guanacaste is known for its stunning beaches with golden sands and crystal-clear waters. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing beach getaway or exciting water sports like surfing and snorkeling, you can find it here.
  2. The province is home to several national parks and wildlife refuges, including Santa Rosa National Park, Rincon de la Vieja National Park, and Palo Verde National Park.
  3. This region is a haven for adventure seekers. You can enjoy zip-lining through the forest canopies, horseback riding on the beach, white-water rafting, ATV tours, and more.
  4. Guanacaste is committed to sustainable tourism practices and offers numerous eco-lodges and eco-tourism initiatives.
  5. This area is known for its amazing sunsets. We suggest grabbing a drink and enjoying the view at the beach or planning your dinner at a beach front restaurant during the sunset.
  6. Guanacaste is easily accessible, with an international airport in Liberia. This makes it convenient to start your Costa Rica vacation without having to drive for several hours from the airport. .

You Might Also Like Visiting

The Nicoya Peninsula: A remote corner of Costa Rica filled with nice beaches. This is a popular place for yoga enthusiasts and surfers

The Northern Mountains: This area is home to the most popular jungle, rainforest, and cloud forest towns. Here you can see the impressive Arenal Volcano.

The Central Pacific Coast: The Central Pacific Coast is one of the most popular beach areas in the country. Here you can visit Manuel Antonio National Park and see tons of wildlife.

….if none of those appeal to you, check out our Destination Guide page for more ideas of places to visit.