The province of Guanacaste is probably best known among visitors for its beautiful beaches, warm weather, and sunny dry season from late November into May. But it is also known for its world class salt-water fishing, surfing, and diversity of natural habitats along the coast and inland. These include simmering active volcanoes, scenic rivers, seasonally dry lowland forests and cool mountain cloud forests. Santa Rosa, Guanacaste, and Palo Verde National Parks host some of the last remaining tracts of the rare American tropical dry forests and its resident wildlife.

The latter park contains wetlands which host water birds such as wood storks, ibises, migrant ducks, black-bellied whistling ducks and roseate spoonbills. Hiking in Rincon de La Vieja National Park reveals a bizarre landscape of volcanic fumaroles (vents) and bubbling hot mudpots at the base of extinct volcanoes, and one mildly active.

With an irregular coastline, numerous bays protect many of Guanacaste’s beaches. One of the best known and popular among surfers and beachgoers is Tamarindo. Surfers flock here for the great off-shore wave action, while beach enthusiasts enjoy the long, broad sandy beaches, abundant sunshine and gorgeous summer sunsets. Sport fishing yields sailfish, roosterfish, yellowfin tuna, mahi mahi and more. Other area activities include canopy tours, horseback riding, nature photography and birding where enthusiasts will encounter avifauna distinctly different in this more arid region than in Costa Rica’s rainforest habitats.

Recommended hotels in the area:

Capitan Suizo, Bosque de Mar, Paradisus, and Punta Islita.

One day Trips:

Rincón de La Vieja National Park, Palo Verde – Tempisque Tour

Guanacaste Province Highlights

Some birds that could be found in wetlands and pastures in Guanacaste: Roseate Spoonbills, White Ibis, Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Bare-throated Tiger-Heron, Boat-billed Heron, Wood storks, Jabiru, Harris’s Hawk, Zone-tailed hawks, Crested Caracara, Laughing Falcon, Double-striped Thick-Knee, Black-necked stilts, Northern Jacana, Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl.

Some birds that could be found in dry-forest in Guanacaste: Thicket Tinamou, Great Curassow, Crested Bobwhite, King Vulture, Orange-fronted Parakeet, White-fronted Parrot, Yellow-naped Parrot, Cinnamon Hummingbird, Black-headed Trogon, Turquoise-browed Motmot, Hoffmann´s Woodpecker, Brown-crested Flycatcher, Long-tailed Manakin, White-throated Magpie-Jay, Rufous-naped Wren, Banded Wren, Streaked backed Oriole.

Other wildlife that maybe seen in Guanacaste is: Spider Monkey, White faced monkeys, Howler Monkeys, Coatis, Tamandua Anteater, Agouties, White-tailed Deer, Collared Peccary, Tayra, Prehensile tailed Porcupine. Among reptiles: American Crocodile, Common Basilisk Lizard, Boa Constrictor, Green Iguanas and Black Iguana. Leatherback Sea Turtle at Playa Grande: Dec, January, Feb.

Olive Ridley Turtle at Ostional Refuge: August, Set, Oct.