Discover Costa Rica's Guanacaste Region

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Advisor - Becca Santos
Curated By

Becca Santos

  • Costa Rica

  • All-Inclusive Travel

  • Beaches

  • Couples Travel

  • Nature Escapes

  • Beach Town

  • Coastal

  • Sightseeing

Beach at sunset.
Curator’s statement

Costa Rica is truly a tropical paradise, and the Guanacaste region offers so much for first-time and returning travelers to this beautifully lush country. From sailing in the Gulf of Papagayo to hiking around the most active volcanoes in the region and exploring natural hot springs, to the fresh seafood and the colorful and kind locals — there is so much to discover in Guanacaste, Costa Rica.

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Where to stay in Costa Rica

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Things to do in Costa Rica

A narrow bridge trail among trees.

Water sports are big off the coast of Guanacaste, from kayaking to jet-skiing — you can rent water toys by the hour or day from pretty much any hotel. A wonderful way to see the beautiful landscapes of the Papagayo area is by sea. Charter a shared or private catamaran and explore the crystal clear waters and secluded beaches you can only get to by boat.

If you’ve got an adventurous spirit, explore the gorgeous Rincón de la Vieja National Park, home to a complex network of two active volcanoes, various hot springs and gorgeous waterfalls. Scale a hanging bridge to reach Oropendola Waterfall, spilling an impressive 82 feet into stunning turquoise waters. Hike the short while to Rio Negro Hotsprings, with pools from 98 to 113 degrees Fahrenheit, and encase your body in the healing powers of the volcanic mud.

For local shopping and culture, visit bustling Playas del Coco for locally crafted souvenirs and an upbeat bar scene.

Places to eat & drink in Costa Rica

Bright and tantalizing seafood boil with crab, shrimp, and the fixins

At Playas del Coco, check out family-owned, Restaurante Claudio y Gloria. Their mouthwatering seafood pasta dishes will definitely hit the spot.

Then pop into Coconutz Brewhouse for locally brewed beer, and some funky and creative, but delicious shooters.

Back toward Papagayo, discover hidden gem Hacienda Blu for incredible seafood platters, sushi, and more. You’ll be visited by a wayward crab or two, and, if you’re lucky, a family of cats.

If you’re staying in or around Playa Panama, check out Makako at El Mangroove for beautifully arranged and equally delicious dishes, as well as great cocktails.

Need to Know

Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out my guide, Where to Enjoy the Best Fall Foliage Sightseeing in the U.S.

Advisor - Becca Santos

Travel Advisor

Becca Santos

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Costa Rica.