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Nicoya Peninsula 

Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica – a Stress-free Paradise

The Nicoya Peninsula is the largest peninsula in Costa Rica, located to the north-west of the country. With over 80 miles of soft, white sandy beaches, over recent years it has become a hot-favorite vacation destination of watersports’ lovers, particularly surfers. A nesting site of the Olive Ridley sea turtle, the Nicoya Peninsula is also classed as a “Blue Zone”, one of only five areas in the world which have been clearly identified where local residents have a noticeably longer lifespan than the average. There could well be a number of factors contributing to this anomaly, but a combination of sunshine, higher-than-average levels of calcium in the fresh water supply, and a staple diet of beef, pork, rice and beans can’t do any harm. However, scientists seem to have identified that a lack of stress, a common characteristic of all five Blue Zones, could well be the main reason for a longer lifespan.

How many vacation locations do you know where there is living proof that the environment is officially relaxing? Mind you, the moment you arrive you will instantly discover for yourself all the reasons why the Nicoya Peninsula is such a wonderful, stress-free paradise.

Hotels in the Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica

Wherever you choose to stay on the Nicoya Peninsula, you are guaranteed a peaceful and tranquil setting. Tropical jungle and rainforest as your backdrop, and wonderfully varied wildlife will have you looking in all directions every time you venture outside. How about a hotel on the beachfront, or purpose-built eco-friendly accommodation in Costa Rica? Coming as a large family, or perhaps for a romantic getaway, whatever the reason, the perfect place isn’t far away when taking a vacation anywhere in Costa Rica.

  • Blue Surf Sanctuary – with the emphasis on the word ‘sanctuary’. Combine pristine-white sandy beaches, spa treatments and yoga classes, along with a pool, and ‘chill’ takes on a whole new meaning.
  • Florblanca – a magical boutique hotel offering fine dining, this is a wonderful romantic getaway, especially with the Honeymoon House having its own private access to the beach. Add an infinity pool, outside bar, spa treatments, yoga and pilates classes for when you just want a day of total relaxation.
  • Red Palm Villas – an adults-only luxury resort described as having “barefoot sophistication”. Though here is no restaurant, breakfast is provided and for a real treat, private chef services are available.

Click here for more details of hotels and accommodation in the Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica.

It can be difficult to decide, from a distance, which hotel will best meet your requirements, which is why, at Costa Rica Rios, we are here to help you. We want your vacation to be stress-free from the moment you book it, not just when you arrive, so get in touch and let us help you create the perfect vacation in one of many, many stunning locations in Costa Rica.

Restaurants on the Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica

The beauty of a peninsula is that it is surrounded by the sea on three sides, so it should come as no surprise that seafood and fish are high up on the list of menu favorites on the Nicoya peninsula. Aside from local Costa Rican Latin-influenced cuisine such as picadillo and gonzadillo (very refreshing on a hot day), tacos, barbecue and pizza are all available for a quick snack in between surfing the waves. Add international cuisine from France, Italy, Asia and Mexico and one thing’s for sure, you’ll never go hungry!

Here are just a few of our favorite places to eat on the Nicoya Peninsula:

  • Playa de los Artistas, Montezuma – a 20-year reputation as one of Costa Rica’s best restaurants, enjoy Italian food eaten off a driftwood table as you listen to the surf crashing on the beach below.
  • Pangas Beach Club, Tamarindo – short of sitting with your feet dangling in the sea, you can’t get much closer to the water than when eating at this outdoor beach garden restaurant serving Costa Rican and classic French cuisine.
  • Lola’s, Playa Avellanas – named after the sadly departed 800-pound pig, Lola, this beach café offers an eclectic mix of Asian appetizers, vegetarian pizzas, chicken satay and other dishes, or you can just enjoy a beer relaxing in one of the hammocks under the pam trees.
  • Locos Cocos, Playas San Miguel – described as one of the best beach bars, and recommended for fabulous ceviche and ice-cold beers.

Click here for details of other restaurants on the Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica.

Beaches on the Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica

Where to begin when talking about beaches on this beautiful peninsula with over 80 miles of shoreline, much of it directly connected to the Pacific Ocean? Powdery soft, white sand, surfing breaks and every imaginable water sport available all help to make the beaches on the Nicoya Peninsula some of the most popular in the whole of Costa Rica.

  • Playa Ostional – this beach is famous worldwide, and it is not for surfing. Playa Ostional is the nesting ground for the Olive Ridley sea turtle and only one of two locations, worldwide, where synchronised nesting occurs. The ‘arribada’ as it is known locally, occurs between one and four times a year, between July and October.
  • Playa Negra and Playa Avellanas are two very popular surfing beaches on the Nicoya Peninsula, and while Playa Avellanas is home to the previously mentioned Lola’s, Playa Negra was the location for the surfing flick, Endless Summer II.
  • Playa Mal Pais – probably the greatest misnomer for a beach anywhere, as ‘Mal Pais’ means ‘bad land’, and this beach is the total opposite. Stunning at dusk, this long, surf-swept sandy beach leads down to the Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve.
  • Playa Samara – together with Playa Nosara, these two beaches tend to be the social hotspots for beach lovers, located midway along the Pacific coastline of the Nicoya Peninsula.
  • Playa Tamarindo – one of the ultimate surfing beaches in Costa Rica. Need we say any more about it?
  • Bahia Junquillal – one of the best swimming beaches on the peninsula

We could create a whole website dedicated to beaches in Costa Rica, there are so many of them, but to discover more about some of our favorites, click here.

Things to do on the Nicoya Peninsula

With so much coastline, you might be mistaken for thinking that there would be little to do that wasn’t related to the sea. For sure this is a surfer’s paradise, and watersports are a huge attraction, but this is Costa Rica, home to stunning tropical rainforests, numerous national parks and nature reserves, all ensuring this biodiverse landscape remains protected. Volcanoes, rivers and waterfalls are in abundance and all are worth exploring, while tours are available throughout the region to ensure you get to see, and experience, the very best that Costa Rica has to offer.

Sea-related Activities

  • Surfing
  • Paddleboarding
  • Kayaking
  • Swimming
  • Snorkeling
  • Scuba Diving
  • Spear fishing
  • Fishing
  • Jet skiing

     Exploring and other activities

  • Turtle hatching on Playa Ostional
  • Curu National Wildlife Refuge – The reserve is home to hordes of phantom crabs on the beach, howler and white-faced capuchin monkeys in the trees, red brocket deer grazing in open fields, and plenty of hummingbirds, kingfishers, woodpeckers, trogons, and manakins in the trees
  • Visit Isla Tortuga
  • La Selva Wild Animal refuge and Zoo – get to meet seriously cute small rescued animals including roly-poly armadillos and big-eyed kinkajous
  • Explore Guanacaste National Park
  • Ziplining forest canopy tours
  • Golf
  • Horseback riding
  • 4WD and ATV tours
  • Riverboat cruise in the Palo Verde National Park
  • Hiking
  • Explore the caves in the Barra Honda National Park

If you want to ask any questions about any of the activities we have listed, or if you want to know if any other specific activities are available, please don’t hesitate to ask. At Costa Rica Rios, we are here to help you in any way we can.

Nightlife on the Nicoya Peninsula

With the increasing popularity of the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica as a vacation destination, so the opportunities to embrace a laid-back night-time culture have also increased. On the basis you haven’t totally exhausted yourself surfing, or exploring one of the many national parks in the area, rather than being confined to the bar in your hotel for the evening’s entertainment, here are some great options:

  • Crazy Monkey Bar – a favorite with the surfing crowd, live salsa music, DJs and a fire show should help keep you entertained at this Nicoya nightclub
  • Father Rooster – a chilled beachside bar, great for Tex-Mex food and margaritas
  • El Vaquero Bar – another beachside favorite with bar stools on the sand and craft beer brewed locally at the nearby Volcano Brewing Company
  • Café Restaurant Organico – from eight ‘til late, this is the place for watching live acts while you feast on a bowlful of delicious chili-spiced chocolate Italian gelato
  • Aqua Discoteque – open only on Monday, Friday and Saturday nights from 10pm onwards, enjoy the patio with stunning ocean views, or listen to the resident DJs and live bands, which are a regular feature

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