This border province in Costa Rica’s North Paciﬁc is a central part of the country’s legacy and folklore
The canton of Nicoya, Guanacaste, is 1 of the only 5 blue zones in the world (Cerdeña, Lomalinda, Icarus & Okinawa) with a lifespan of 100 years old.
Studies show that an integral lifestyle in health coverage, eating their own grown products in recipes like tortillas and cornbread besides an active outdoor recreation helps emotional and physical well-being of the local population.
The hot weather in the zone is good for bones and articulations, creating positive hormonal values that contributes to an increase in life expectancy.
With an exuberant flora over an area of 240 thousand acres, more than 140 species of mammals, close to 800 species of birds, vibrant beaches, volcanoes, rivers, hot springs, waterfalls, bubbling mud pots and caves, Guanacaste is deeply embedded in nature. These treasures are protected within national parks and wildlife refuges. Plains, pastures and sparse woodlands, ideal for cattle and ranching, are also part of the scenery.
The natural corridor that runs through the North Pacific region of the country expands into the deepness of the ocean, where 70 thousand species converge into a breathtaking ecosystem. Murciélago islands and Santa Elena peninsula outstand as sanctuaries for submarine life, which remain pristine and isolated.
Guanacaste is a border province with historical ties to Nicaragua that voted to annex itself to Costa Rica in the 1820s. It has long been known for its cowboy culture, horse parades, rodeos and bullfights. Guanacaste’s distinctive folklore, costumes and foods have been embraced throughout Costa Rica and have become a celebrated part of its national culture.
The name “Guanacaste“ is given after the indigenous Chorotegan word of “quahnacaztlan“ that means the “ear tree“ or the “tree that hears“. Besides an indigenous heritage, the province has an economic and cultural legacy based on beef cattle ranching.
Perhaps Guanacaste’s greatest appeal today lies in its string of dazzling beaches, collectively known as the Gold Coast. Virtually every larger town along its coast is a major tourism draw, notably Playas del Coco, Flamingo, Tamarindo, Nosara and Sámara. Popular activities at sea include surfing, fishing, scuba diving, snorkeling and sunset cruises.
Playa Conchal is sometimes called the most beautiful beach in Costa Rica, with white sand made of crushed seashells in a beautiful, swimmable bay. It’s within an hour of the international airport in Liberia, as well as the vibrant beach towns of Tamarindo and Playas del Coco. If we had it all to do over again, we couldn’t have chosen a better location for Reserva Conchal.
Take a drive along the picturesque, paved roads of this coast sometime and become acquainted with all that Costa Rica has to offer. If you’re a surfer or a sea-turtle enthusiast, look no further than Playa Grande and Las Baulas Marine National Park. Among Guanacaste’s inland attractions are Rincón de la Vieja — an active volcano with hot springs, geysers, fumaroles and bubbling mud pots — and Barra Honda, a series of caves where spelunking tours are offered. Also, Costa Rica is one of the top ten birding spots in the world and Guanacaste offers many birdwatching options, featuring almost 800 avian species.
Guanacaste is famous for its “fiestas,” in which women in colorful dresses and men dressed in white with red bandannas perform traditional dances at the sound of the marimba. These festivals often involve horse parades called topes, in which equestrians perform an elegant type of dressage. Rodeos are typically a combination of bull riding and non-lethal bullfights. At times the public is invited to recite “bombas” — short, humorous and sometimes bawdy poems. Popular food and drink include corn tortillas with cheese and sour cream, traditional tamales and “coyol” wine, made from the sap of a palm tree.