Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica
Separated from the mainland by the Tempisque estuary and the Gulf of Nicoya, Nicoya is home to some of the most immaculate and spectacular beaches in Costa Rica including Santa Teresa, Malpais and Montezuma. Water sports are huge in the Nicoya Peninsula and many surfers consider it the best place to surf in the world. Eco-tourism is also popular here. Tourists and locals alike flock to the Nicoya Peninsula to explore caves, spot wild birds and visit the Cabo Blanco Reserve.
Those who choose to visit the Nicoya Peninsula will find jaw-dropping, untouched beaches, pristine forests and a small town surfing culture that is great for those looking to get away. The Nicoya Peninsula is also famous for being one the world’s five Blue Zones because of the longer life expectancy there! Get ready for a relaxing, unforgettable Costa Rica vacation in Nicoya.
Named by Forbes Magazine as one of the best beaches in the world, Playa Santa Teresa was made for surfers, yogis and nature lovers. Surfing is popular year-round thanks to the consistent breaks. You’ll also find a seemingly unlimited amount of yoga classes and studios throughout Santa Teresa. The best part of Santa Teresa, however, is the picturesque views. Santa Teresa beach is one you will never forget.
Playa Montezuma is nothing if not the essence of ‘pura vida.’ Here you’ll find incredible surfing, hiking and swimming. The many beach front hotels and bungalows are great for both romantic and family vacations. After you enjoy the beach you can also find many exciting tours and activities nearby including waterfalls, kayaking and zip lining.
Located on the tip of the Nicoya Peninsula, Malpais has perfect weather year-round, attracting surfers from all over the world. Despite its popularity, Malpais is almost never crowded, making it easy to find a secluded spot for sunbathing. You can also find various bars and restaurants, luxury hotels and tours for the whole family.
Visit the ‘hippie commune’ of Playa Samara and combine stunning beaches with a hike through the tropical dry forests surrounding this area. Samara is more family friendly than the others and even good for the beginner surfer with its smaller waves compared to other beaches on the Nicoya Peninsula.
Playa Nosara’s natural heritage and tranquil environment are made for those looking to take a detour from the fast track and learn to be at home with themselves. You can take your pick of different yoga disciplines. Perhaps you can even unleash the pura vida spirit within yourself! Nosara is also one of Costa Rica’s best surf spots for those who want to move beyond those first surfing lessons at Tamarindo.
The Cabo Blanco Natural Reserve was the first protected natural reserve established in Costa Rica and you can’t miss it. Take a hike through the park and see all kinds of animals including Howler Monkeys, Coatis, Coyotes and many different kinds of birds.
Barra Honda National Park and Palo Verde National Park are part of the Tempisque Conservation Area. Barra Honda offers a real adventure for those wanting to discover the underground palaces in the mountains. Palo Verde, on the other hand, is ‘the’ park for the passionate birder. Home to 279 different species of birds, you can spot tanagers, orioles, black-bellied whistling duck,… and many more! Take boating tours to see crocodile and visit the famous nesting colony of Isla de los Parajos!
Ostional Wildlife Refuge
The Guanacaste province
and Peninsula de Nicoya
have some other natural wonders you can visit. In Ostional WIldlife Refuge
, you can see giant sea turtles
visiting the shores to nest. In the mornings, you can see the eggs hatch and watch the baby turtles
make their way to the ocean! If you want, you can even help some of the little turtles
on their perilous journey and protect them from vultures and dogs.
Between beaches, waterfalls and nature reserves, you’re sure to find adventure in the Nicoya Peninsula. Take advantage of various tours including kayak tours, ATV and hiking tours to the Montezuma waterfalls or surfing lessons on the Santa Teresa Beach.
Nicoya Peninsula Weather
The Nicoya Peninsula is one of the few areas that has gorgeous weather all year round. The dry season is from December-April and considered high season for tourists. The rainy season is from May-November and is a great time for nature lovers and eco-tourists who want to see the vegetation blossom. You will also find less tourists and lower hotel rates during the rainy season. During the rainy season it usually only rains during the evening or at night so you can still enjoy the Costa Rican sunshine for most of the day.
Nicoya Peninsula Nature
On the west and south of the Nicoya Peninsula is bordered by the Pacific Ocean. The southern and central areas of the Peninsula are found in various mountain ranges while the base is in the Guanacaste lowlands. The province is a transition zone between a tropical rain forest and dry forest, which you will see represented in the flora and fauna. In the southern part of the peninsula you can find wildlife reserves which are home to an abundance of plants and animals.
Nicoya Peninsula Culture
The Nicoya Peninsula is famous for its relaxed, laid-back vibe and is considered one of the world’s five Blue Zones. Blue Zones are established based on the life expectancy of the people. The residents of Nicoya have a strong family focus and you’ll often find them laughing with their neighbors, working hard and taking in the sunshine. There is also a strong surfing culture thanks to the amazing breaks in Santa Teresa.
Closest International Airport: Daniel Oduber International Airport (LIR)
Getting to the Nicoya Peninsula can be tricky, but it is definitely worth it. The closest International airport is in Liberia, although it is possible to get there from San Jose as well. Once you’ve landed you can take another domestic flight to Tambor. If you chose not to fly domestically, be aware that the roads can be extremely bumpy and impossible to cross during the rainy season so it is best to drive to Puntarenas and take a ferry ride to Paquera and take a rental car, shuttle or private transfer from there. Talk to one of our expert Travel Agents to figure out the best transportation methods for you!