Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Information, pictures, notions, art

The first people who settled in Costa Rica arrived a few thousand years BC and first reached the Nicoya - Peninsula. During the colonial period, Guanacaste was not yet a part of Costa Rica, but belonged to Nicaragua. In the 19th century the inhabitants of Nicoya, Santa Cruz and Cañas decided to become part of Costa Rica through a referendum. On 25th of July in 1824, Guanacaste announced its annexation. A day which is celebrated as a kind of Independence Day until the present.Nicoya, by the way, is considered to be the oldest city in the country and aditionally serves as a commercial and shopping center for the people who live in the coastal regions of Guanacaste. Furthermore, one can say that Nicoya is one of the main tourist areas of the province.

In 1502, when Christopher Columbus went ashore in Costa Rica, there were a total of four major indigenous tribes: the Caribs, who lived on the east coast, the Borucas, the Chibchas and the Diquis who lived in the Southwest. The arrival of the Spanish conquerors at the Nicoya peninsula which took place in the sixteenth century, had great cultural influence on the country.

Costa Rican culture developed late in Costa Rica and in the province of Guanacaste as well. Apart from Indian and African culture and lifestyle, the country became more and more influenced by European immigrants, spreading their manners and customs. As time went by, many families from different regions of the world like Europe, Asia, Africa or Central America came into the country, among them about 3 million people of Hispanic descent.

Most of the colored population emigrated for religious reasons, which means as a result of the Christian missionary. The Church in Nicoya (which you can see on one of the photos on the right), by the way, is the second oldest building in Costa Rica. Legend has it that, there was another group of immigrants, who came to live in Guanacaste quite involuntarily. It is said that one day, pirates went ashore at Playa Coco in order to provide themselves with drinking water. These were left behind by their crew, either accidentally or deliberately has not been recorded.

The first coloured people came from Jamaica. The majority of them are to be found at the Caribbean coast today. Their English names and expressions have once led to much confusion. The Chorotegas originally came from Mexico and are now the largest ethnic group. People here in Guanacaste are very honest and easy going. "Pura vida" therefore is not just an empty phrase for greeting or farewell, but also reflects the local lifestyle. By the way, the average population density in Costa Rica is about 26.1 inhabitants per km2. 




Guanacaste Infos

the old church in Nicoya
Iglesia de San Blas

Guanacaste is one of the seven provinces of Costa Rica and has a size of about 10.000 m2. With around 270,000 inhabitants, living in several cantons, Guanacaste has many faces and gives a completely different attitude towards life that strangers might not understand or comprehend immediately.

Guanacaste is one of the many faces of Costa Rica. It is a very natural and original one. The pure life mainly expresses itself through the untouched nature: crying howler monkeys, tiny hummingbirds, dangerous crocodiles or lazy iguanas. Not to mention the turtles, snakes and numerous colorful toucans and parrots. Beaches like Playa Barrigona or the beauty of ten national parks are some other good reasons for a vacation in Costa Rica.

With its capital Liberia, Guanacaste is the most northwestern province of Costa Rica. It is bordered to the west by the Pacific Ocean, which has a coastline of about 635 miles. The touristic areas of this region are more or less developed. Here, you can experience another facet of Guanacaste. If you visit, for example, Tamarindo (evil tongues call it "Tamagringo"), you can see a classic model of tourism development. This place has changed tremendously over the years. 

Due to a building boom, the real estate market has almost exploded. The landscape is dominated by "Condominios". Furthermore, one can find numerous North American luxury hotel facilities there. In 2006, there was the biggest boom in real estate investments ever in Guanacaste. The number of building permits increased by 133% compared to 2005.

If you like to go out and you want to get to know the Costa Rican nightlife, Tamarindo, however, will be the place to be. There are numerous nightclubs, bars and pubs, were there are different parties and events.

rainy - dry season

costa rica guanacaste tree simbol
simbolo of guanacaste

The airport in Liberia has just received a new terminal. Further north, a group of investors wants to pay $ 15 million for the construction of a marina, the Marina Papagayo. Construction has begun in early January 2007.

According to the NASA, Costa Rica has the best climate. The climate of Guanacaste can be divided into two seasons: rainy and dry season. The rainy season lasts from May to November while the dry season starts in December and ends up in April.

Due to its location between the eighth and eleventh northern latitude, Costa Rica lies in the tropics. Because of its relatively dry climate, Guanacaste is also the center of the Costa Rican stock farming.

However, it is wrong to believe that there is constant rain during the rainy season. Usually the sun shines bright until the afternoon. From then on, there may be some heavy rain showers, but they are usually of short duration. The average temperature is about 27 ° C and average rainfall per year is 1500-2000 mm.

The phenomenon El Niño, which is caused by a warming of the Pacific Ocean exists here, in Guanacaste, as well. For example, there was about 28% less rain in 2007, compared to the year before.

The province of Guanacaste is considered to be safe for travelers. A study by the Control Risks Institute in 2007 showed that there is a low political risk, as well as a low safety risk in Costa Rica. 

For those who love romantic unspoiled beaches and exotic animals, Guanacaste is the place to be. In addition, you will always find friendly and open-minded people around here.

Since the clocks in Guanacaste seem to tick a little slower, many of the people who live and work here hope, that progress and tourism will spare the province as long as possible.

And if not, then at least in a way which will not harm nature and its inhabitants.

Images Guanacaste

Costa Rica adventure
Fantasy image of Costa Rica
Purto Humo Tempisque
Action conservation Guanacaste
The hunt in earlier times
Tiger, lion and weapons

Guanacaste latest news:

Umweltschutz – was man selber machen kann

Costa Rica Reiseinformationen u. Neuigkeiten

something special:

Travel Costa Rica hotel lodge