With rugged volcanoes, white sand beaches and miles of uncharted rainforest, Costa Rica’s northwestern region offers ample opportunities for adventurous travelers both on and off the beaten track. From bird-spotting in the jungle to lounging on tropical beach or exploring some of Costa Rica’s most spectacular National Parks – here are a few of the top things to do in Guanacaste.
Just northeast of downtown San Jose, Barrio Amón offers a characterful alternative to the bleak office blocks of the center, with its striking colonial buildings, tranquil parklands and chic assortment of cafes, restaurants and bars.
With its central location and transport links to all of Costa Rica’s major sights, most travelers pass through San José at some point during their trip, and there’s a huge range of hotels, guesthouses and hostels to suit all budgets. Whether you’re studying Spanish in the capital, want to sample San Jose’s legendary nightlife or have just one day to take in the highlights; here are a few tips for where to stay in San Jose.
Whether horse riding through remote jungle trails, zip-lining through the treetops, hiking around an active volcano or paddle-boarding on Lake Arenal, Arenal Volcano National Park offers seemingly endless opportunities for outdoor activities, and the rugged park is also one of the best places for canyoning in Costa Rica. A mix of rappelling, rock climbing and swimming, using ropes and climbing harnesses to safely navigate through narrow canyons and waterfalls, canyoning in Arenal Volcano National Park is a non-stop rush of adrenaline and best of all, anyone with reasonable fitness (and over 13 years old) can take part, even if you have no previous experience.
Costa Rica’s ever-changing landscapes have long been a natural playground for adventurous travelers and few regions offer as much variety as Guanacaste, where the palm-fringed beaches are hemmed in by sweeping cloud forests, a string of dormant volcanoes and swaths of verdant rainforest. Best of all, the northwestern province is on the doorstep of some of Costa Rica’s most famous National Parks, so whether you want to hike through the wilderness, scale a volcano or soak in a thermal spring, there endless opportunities for outdoor adventures in Guanacaste.
Costa Rica is more famous for coffee beans than cocoa beans, but the country also has a history of cacao production dating back to pre-Colombian times and the cocoa bean was once so important that the native Chorotega people used it as currency and proclaimed it ‘a gift from the Gods’. Today, cocoa plantations are dotted all around the country and with sustainable chocolate factories, chocolate-tasting workshops and chocolate tours, Costa Rica is a great place for chocolate lovers to indulge their sweet tooth.