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Things to do in Guanacaste and Northwest

Things to do in  Guanacaste and Northwest

Welcome to Guanacaste and Northwest

In Costa Rica’s Guanacaste Province, 400 miles (644 kilometers) of Pacific coastline vie for attention with tropical dry forests, undisturbed rural towns, and volcano-fueled hot springs. The country’s northern neighbor, Nicaragua (which you can easily visit on a day trip), lost control of this territory in the 19th century, although a distinctly Nicaraguan culture lingers. Sites are spread out, so tours can help sure you easily navigate between the places you most want to see. Inland, the region is noted for Rincon de la Vieja National Park, which offers hiking through a tropical dry forest, swimming beneath waterfalls, and soaking in mineral hot springs and mud baths. Summiting the Rincon de la Vieja volcano is every bit as exciting as the more popular Arenal volcano in Alajuela Province, but it’s less crowded and only a day trip from the beach. Additional nature parks dotting the region offer horseback riding; ziplining canopy tours; and opportunities to view sloths, howler monkeys, and lizards that call the forests home. On the coast, find your bliss surfing the swells of Tamarindo or Hermosa beach or soaking up sun rays on the shore. Snorkel among tropical fish at Playa Conchal, take a catamaran cruise out on the open water, or kayak through mangrove forests—all easily accessible from Liberia’s airport.

Top 10 attractions in Guanacaste and Northwest

Tamarindo Beach

Tamarindo Beach

Once the site of a quiet fishing village, Tamarindo Beach has become one of Costa Rica's most popular stretches of golden sand. Surfers travel from across the globe to ride Tamarindo's waves, but you don’t need to be a pro to hang 10 here. There are spots nearby that are calm enough for first-time wave riders to learn.More
Rincon de la Vieja National Park

Rincon de la Vieja National Park

Rincon de la Vieja National Park is the ultimate “one-stop shop” for Costa Rica’s natural attractions. Expect fuming volcanoes, gushing waterfalls, sky-high ziplines, natural hot springs, and more—all within just a couple of hours of the popular Guanacaste coast.More
Rio Negro Hot Springs

Rio Negro Hot Springs

Nestled in the lush interior of Rincon de la Vieja National Park, these rustic hot springs are fed by a naturally heated river that flows from a nearby volcanic peak. Slather on the mineral-rich mud, and then soak it off in a variety of steam pools, all while surrounded by the untamed Costa Rican rain forest.More
Baldi Hot Springs

Baldi Hot Springs

Located at the base of the Arenal Volcano in La Fortuna, San Carlos, Baldi Hot Springs features thermo-mineral hot water pools with great views of the volcano. It’s the biggest hot springs facility in the region and the perfect way to relax after hiking in Arenal Volcano National Park.Located within the Baldi Hot Springs Hotel and Spa, there are day-use options as well as availability for hotel guests. The 25 pools range in temperature from 93 to 152 degrees Fahrenheit and get hotter as the elevation rises. It's recommended that you balance your time between pools, as your core temperature will begin to rise after about 20 minutes in a hot pool. The minerality and temperature of the water is believed to rid the body of germs and viruses while increasing blood circulation and releasing harmful toxins.For the adventurous, Baldi Hot Springs also has extreme water slides that send you bumping and sliding before landing in the natural hot springs pool. Have children? his site is family friendly and features specially designed secure shallow pools with slides and a continuous stream of water that will keep kids thoroughly entertained.More
Palo Verde National Park

Palo Verde National Park

Set on the banks of the Tempisque River, Palo Verde National Park (Parque Nacional Palo Verde) contains more than 15 topographical zones, including mangrove swamps, evergreen forests, and tropical dry forests. The park is a haven for migratory birds, bats, and 250 species of bees, plus mammals like jaguarundis (cat) and howler monkeys.More
Diamante Eco Adventure Park

Diamante Eco Adventure Park

A one-stop shop for adventurers of all ages looking to get their adrenaline fix, Diamante Eco Adventure Park features one of Costa Rica’s longest zipline courses. If that’s not quite your thing, choose from an abundance of other activities, including all-terrain vehicle excursions, horseback riding, and water sports—or just marvel at the sweeping ocean views.More
Miravalles Volcano

Miravalles Volcano

Towering above Costa Rica’s northwestern plains, Miravalles Volcano is the highest peak in the Guanacaste province. The dormant peak’s microclimate makes it one of the best birdwatching spots in Costa Rica, while its refreshingly cool air offers respite from the tropical humidity of the nearby beaches.More
Dino Park Blue River

Dino Park Blue River

Don’t look now, but it seems like dinosaurs are once again roaming the forests of Rincon de la Vieja. Here at Dino Park Blue River, watch a vicious Tyrannosaurus Rex as it prowls and growls through the rainforest, or stare in wonder at the towering height of a life-sized, long necked Brontosaurus. More than just stationery statues of dinosaurs, the creatures here at the Dino Park are moving, growling, full-sized replicas of dinosaurs that once roamed the continent, and offer a curiously real way to see how dinosaurs looked in the wild. Interestingly enough, Costa Rica was still underwater when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, though now it sports the only park of its kind in Latin America. Over two dozen different species of dinosaurs all lurk in the trees and the jungle, from quick and nimble velociraptors to lumbering three-horned triceratops. There’s also an educational component to all of the different dinosaurs, and guests will learn their diet, habitat, history, and era they lived in. As part of the popular Blue River Resort, the Dino Park also is nearby to spas, hot springs, mud baths, and swimming pools, and is set on the slopes of a lush volcano in the Guanacaste interior.More
Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge (Refugio Nacional de Vida Silvestre Mixto Caño Negro)

Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge (Refugio Nacional de Vida Silvestre Mixto Caño Negro)

Home to more than 200 speices of rare bird, Caño Negro is one of the most biologically rich wetlands in the world. Many mammals and reptiles can also be spotted around the freshwater lagoon, making it one of Costa Rica's best wildlife-watching destinations.More
Monteverde Butterfly Gardens

Monteverde Butterfly Gardens

Tucked away in the mountains, the Monteverde Butterfly Gardens is one of the most popular attractions in the area. The 3-acre (1.2-hectare) sanctuary houses four unique climate-controlled habitats where more than 30 species of butterflies thrive alongside 20 species of arachnids and insects and a colony of leaf-cutter ants.More

Top activities in Guanacaste and Northwest

Recent reviews from experiences in Guanacaste and Northwest

Perfect service!
Mia, Jun 2021
Shared Shuttle Service To W CR Reserva Conchal
I apologize that the driver’s name has escaped me but he was easy to find as soon as we walked out of the airport (holding a sign with my name), spoke very good English and provided the perfect tour of Liberia, Guanacaste and every area in between as made the trip to the hotel.
Amazing combo trip!
Danielle, Mar 2020
Guachipelin Adventure Volcano Zipline Horseback River Tubing Combo
At first we were a bit confused about the order of the activities, but the tour guide ended up being a fantastic guide and made the experience unforgettable for us.
A Perfect Day Excursion
bk23232019, Nov 2019
Llanos del Cortez Waterfall and Coffee Tour from Guanacaste
While staying in Tamarindo, we were looking to fill a couple days with fun activities.
Amazing Views & Great Ziplining Tour guides
nytashagarland, Jul 2019
Amazing Mega Zipline (25 lines) over 11 Waterfalls
We were able to see more of Costa Rica on our drive to/from Adventure Park.
Great Experience!
696jason, Jun 2018
Diamante Eco Adventure Park Day Pass with Lunch
Started with the animal sanctuary and it was pretty cool to see all the animals that live in Costa Rica.
My friend and I did this tour...
brie, Mar 2018
Rio Celeste Hiking, Sloth Sanctuary & Llanos de Cortes Waterfall Tour
Our first stop was Llanos de Cortes waterfall where you can swim and this waterfall was beautiful.
This tour was the highlight of my...
cboria2199, Jul 2017
Vida Aventura Park in Guanacaste: Zipline Tour, Horseback Ride and Hot Springs
The horse I had went crazy, and I winded up falling off of the horse, but I broke my fall by falling on the side of my body.
Miller is outstanding on this tour...
Woodrow T, Nov 2017
Beach-mountain & Sloth Refuge Buggy Tour
Miller focuses on getting you to see the best beaches I have ever seen in my Life.
This was an incredible tour. Our...
Lenore Caston M, Dec 2017
Guachipelin Adventure Volcano Zipline Horseback River Tubing Combo
Lunch was really good, and the hot springs soak at the end was exactly what we needed to undo all of the adventuring of the day.
I would recommend this day adventure...
Janell G, Mar 2018
Hacienda Guachipelin One Day Adventure Pass
I would recommend this day adventure for any family with kids over 8 yrs.
It was an excellent well organized...
Michelle H, Jun 2015
9-Day Best of Northwest Costa Rica from San Jose: Arenal Volcano National Park, Monteverde Cloud Forest and Guanacaste
Some of the activities were strenuous, and they ensured she was safe every step of the way.
I had a fabulous tour
Jane W, Sep 2014
Vida Aventura Park in Guanacaste: Zipline Tour, Horseback Ride and Hot Springs
It was a beautiful day and we also enjoyed the horseback riding, mud bath and hot springs.
First of all, the ride from...
Sovannak B, Mar 2013
Arenal Volcano and Hot Springs Day Trip from Guanacaste
there wasn't much wildlife for us to see while there.
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