The Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica: A Remote Beach Region

The Nicoya Peninsula is a remote corner of Costa Rica filled with great surf, rugged beaches, waterfalls, and amazing hiking.

We like this area to just get away from it all and relax. 

The Nicoya Peninsula at a Glance

Nearest International Airport

Juan Santamaria International Airport or Liberia International Airport are both easily accessible

Popular Things to Do

Go surfing, visit Isla Tortuga, go hiking, relax on the beach

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)

Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica

nicoya peninsula map

The Nicoya Peninsula is the name for the little hook area of Costa Rica.

The Nicoya Peninsula Towns

santa teresa

Santa Teresa

A charming beach town that is known for its stunning stretches of white sand beaches, world-class surf breaks, and a laid-back, bohemian atmosphere that attracts surfers, yogis, and nature lovers.



Our favorite beach town in the entire country. This is a small coastal village nestled on the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula, known for its bohemian vibe, lush tropical surroundings, and beautiful waterfalls.



This beach town has a vibrant local community, palm-lined shores, and a variety of water activities like snorkeling and kayaking. It’s a great place for families.



Get ready for a haven for surfers and yoga enthusiasts. This place has grown in popularity in recent years and I think will explode as a tourist destination soon.



The town in which the ferry lands. This isn’t typically a place most tourists stay, but it has its charms.

playa cabuya


A small beach village on the very tip of the Nicoya Peninsula. This is a great place to stay for relaxed beach vibes.



Home to the domestic airport in the area. This beach village is home to a few resorts and is a good jumping-off point for activities.

mal pais

Mal Pais

A remote fishing village that is the perfect place to just get away from it all and relax with beautiful coastal views.

The Nicoya Peninsula 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 Montezuma, Samara, and Santa Teresa.

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

You can expect afternoon rainstorms to last about one to two hours. 

Rarely will there be a full day of rain.

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

Keep in mind that a lot of hotels and restaurants close during this season. Tourism is so low that it is often not worth it for them to say open. 

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 on The Nicoya Peninsula

Here are 11 fun things to do in the Nicoya Region:

  1. Surf the renowned waves at popular surf spots like Santa Teresa, Mal País, Playa Guiones, or Playa Grande.
  2. Explore the diverse marine life through snorkeling or scuba diving in the crystal-clear waters of the Pacific Ocean.
  3. Take a yoga or wellness retreat in one of the many yoga studios or wellness centers found in towns like Nosara and Montezuma.
  4. Visit Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve, the first national park in Costa Rica, and go on a guided hike to observe its abundant wildlife and pristine nature.
  5. Relax on the beautiful beaches of Santa Teresa, Mal País, Montezuma, Samara, or Playa Guiones.
  6. Embark on a boat tour to Tortuga Island, where you can swim, snorkel, and enjoy the scenic beauty of the archipelago.
  7. Take a horseback riding tour along the coastline or through the lush forests.
  8. Visit the Montezuma Waterfalls and cool off in their refreshing natural pools.
  9. Experience the vibrant nightlife in towns like Santa Teresa or Montezuma, with a variety of bars, restaurants, and live music venues.
  10. Enjoy a sunset cruise along the coast, sipping on refreshing drinks while taking in the breathtaking views
  11. Visit the Ostional Wildlife Refuge and witness the incredible mass nesting of olive ridley sea turtles during certain times of the year.
  12. Explore the intriguing Cabuya Island Cemetery, accessible during low tide, and learn about its unique history and traditions.
  13. Go sport fishing in the abundant fishing grounds surrounding the Nicoya Peninsula, known for marlin, sailfish, dorado, and more.
  14. Immerse yourself in the local culture by visiting the vibrant farmers’ markets. Did you know that the Nicoya Peninsula is one of the few Blue Zones in the world? That means that people here regularly live to over 100 years old. A big part of that is from their diet.
santa teresa palm trees costa rica
The Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica: A Remote Beach Region

The Nicoya Peninsula Transportation

There are multiple transportation options to get to and around in The Nicoya region.

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. 

If you are coming from San Jose, the best way to get here is via the ferry. We have a full ferry guide to help you out with that. 

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

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

montezuma beach view

Is the Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica Worth Visiting?

Yes, the Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica is definitely worth visiting. It is remote, but I think that gives it a lot of its charms.

Here are a few reasons why you should visit:

  • This area is known for its stunning, untouched beaches with golden sand, crystal-clear waters, and beautiful sunsets. Whether you’re looking to surf, swim, or simply relax on the shore, the peninsula offers a wide range of picturesque coastal destinations.
  • The Nicoya Peninsula is a paradise for surfers, with world-class waves in popular towns like Santa Teresa, Mal País, and Nosara. Additionally, you can enjoy a variety of water activities such as snorkeling, scuba diving, paddleboarding, and kayaking in the peninsula’s pristine marine environments.
  • The peninsula is blessed with lush tropical forests, verdant hills, and abundant wildlife. You can explore nature reserves, hike through rainforests, visit waterfalls, and spot diverse species of birds, monkeys, and reptiles.
  • Costa Rica, in general, has a strong commitment to ecotourism and sustainability, and the Nicoya Peninsula exemplifies this. Many accommodations and businesses practice responsible tourism and focus on preserving the natural environment and supporting local communities.
  • The towns on the Nicoya Peninsula, such as Santa Teresa, Montezuma, and Nosara, offer a unique blend of bohemian charm, laid-back vibes, and a thriving local community. You can immerse yourself in the local culture, sample traditional cuisine, and experience the vibrant art and music scene.

You Might Also Like Visiting

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.

The Caribbean Coast: The Caribbean Coast has a completely different feel than the Pacific Coast. There is a strong Afro-Caribbean culture here.

The Southern Pacific Coast: Also referred to as the Osa Peninsula, this is an area of raw coastal beauty, wildlife, and Corcovado National Park.

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