It comes with no surprise that anyone landing at Liberia Airport in Costa Rica is heading to the beach. The crystal turquoise waters beckons travelers around the world to come for a relaxed escape.

Situated in the northwest region of Costa Rica, the Guanacaste Province is rich with many experiences, whether you’re an adventure seeker or looking for a relaxed escape. The “pura vida” mindset sets the tone as easy going, and life is filled with passion, giving visitors an unique vacation. Whether you’re looking to go for a long weekend or adventure for a week, head to Guanacaste for the ultimate outdoor vacation in Central America.

The First-Timer’s Guide to Guanacaste, Costa Rica

What to Know Before Visiting Guanacaste, Costa Rica

  • The region is best reached by direct flights into Liberia from airports like LAX.
  • To reach the Papagayo Peninsula, expect about a 30-45 minute drive. Be sure to pre-arrange transfers in advance.
  • English is widely spoken.
  • Most vendors accept USD and credit card, though it is advised to keep some local currency on you.
  • Renting a car is incredibly easy and a great way to explore the province. Be sure to get full coverage insurance as to insure precaution. One thing to be aware is the trunk not closing properly, as you should keep no valuables in sight (our trunk didn’t close properly.)
  • Bug spray is an absolute must, and one with high levels of Deet is recommended.
  • Generally speaking, it is safe to visit and the locals are incredibly kind. As any new destination, take the necessary precautions for safety.

Where to Stay in Guanacaste, Costa Rica

  • Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Hotel & Resort: Located in the area of Papagayo Peninsula, the Andaz is an incredible hotel for those looking for a relaxing escape with the opportunity for adventure. It’s luxurious rooms overlooking the Culebra Bay are memorable, the food is incredible, and the service is truly special. Read the full review here.

Where to Eat in Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Note: Most of your meals will be at the hotel, as the food is truly incredible at the Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Hotel & Resort.

  • Chao Pescao: A lively tapas bar, that serves local cuisine with a twist and fresh cocktails. Be sure to try the house drink and order the chicken arepas.
  • Ostra Restaurant: This is where elevated cuisine meets Costa Rican flare. Try the ceviche, indulge in one of the entrees, and save room for dessert!
  • Rio Bhongo: A casual restaurant with a wide variety of options, like tacos, salads, and sandwiches.
  • Lola’s: If you take a drive down the coast, be sure to plan your day around this happening spot on the beach. Try their tacos with freshly made tortillas.
  • La Bodega: (Tamarindo) A great local spot for cheap fare and coffee.
  • Seasons by Schlomy: (Tamarindo) A restaurant with international food famed for the chef.
  • Bamboo Sushi Club: (Tamarindo) The fish has never been fresher, and this is the place to eat the local catch.
  • Surf Shack: (Tamarindo) Come here for a casual bite.
  • Sprout: (Tamarindo) A healthy, hidden gem that serves a great breakfast.

What to Do in Guanacaste, Costa Rica

  • Get in the ocean: Either by kayak, snorkeling, standup paddle-boarding, or swimming!
  • Get outdoors: Take a guided nature hike with the Andaz, or prearrange a guide.
  • Rent a car: Explore the many beaches along the coastline by car.
  • Drive to Lola’s: This happening beach club is the spot to come watch the surf, have a few drinks, and kick back on a beautiful beach.
  • Take a sunset sail on a catamaran.
  • Be adventurous: Take a guided tour to the ziplines, horseback ride, or take a dip in the hot springs (ask concierge to assist).
  • Beach hop: Playa Flamingo, Playa Avellanas, and Playa Conchal are some of the best.
  • See the waterfalls: Hire a driver and go jump in the Rio Celeste or La Fortuna.
  • Whitewater rafting on the Tenorio River.

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*Bon Traveler was welcomed as a guest of Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Hotel & Resort. As always, all opinions are own.

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