Tag Archives: Nicoya Peninsula

Fall in Love with Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula

Nicoya PeninsulaIf Costa Rica could be said to have a wild, wild, west then the Nicoya Peninsula would certainly be it. Rough and ready, spectacularly beautiful and offering fun adventure’s at every turn; this is one of the country’s most jaw-dropping corners and a place well worth exploring at length. Set on two provinces (Guanacaste in the north and Puntarenas in the south), Nicoya is Costa Rica’s largest peninsulas and has received much attention on recent years to the surprising longevity of its residents.

But we know their secret.

Who on earth would not live past the age of 100 when one lives in such subliminal beauty?

Where is it?

The Nicoya Peninsula is found off Costa Rica’s Pacific coastline, north-west of San Jose, opposite Puntarenas. Taking the coastal road all the way up to the Friendship Bridge from San Jose and driving onto the peninsula is a longer yet very rewarding option, as it offers the unrivalled chance of stopping along some of the country’s most revered seaside towns on the western coast. If time is of the essence, then simply drive to Puntarenas from San Jose and take the car & passenger ferry across.

What is the Peninsula?

Nicoya PeninsulaEndless stretches of pristine beach, eclectic mix of wet and dry rainforests, rugged hills and an abundance of wildlife. You can hike the Capo Blanco Natural Reserve, visit the Montezuma and Rio Grande waterfalls, test your surfing skills in Mal Pais and enjoy a sundowner in Santa Teresa Beach at the end of a full day’s exploration. Families can enjoy frolicking in the calm waters of Playa Tambor, honeymooners can enjoy a romantic horseback ride on Playa Organos and animal lovers can relish in a visit to the Curu National Wildlife Refuge. Here, you’ll find more than 200 different types of birds, almost 80 species of mammals, over 80 reptiles and 20-odd amphibians.

Isla TortugaJust off the coast opposite Curu is where you’ll find one of Nicoya’s most popular highlights: Isla Tortuga. Enjoying a day-trip here at the end of a Nicoya discovery trip is incredibly rewarding. The turquoise waters off its coast are ideal for swimming; the forests perfect for hiking and the zip-line just the ticket for those who just can’t seem to get enough of Costa Rican adventure tours. SCUBA diving and snorkeling aficionados can look forward to swimming with sting rays and sharks, and jet-ski and kayak riders will also find plenty of way to fill in the hours here.

Isla Tortuga is uninhabited so visitors head here on day trips from nearby ports, like Mal Pais on Nicoya and Puntarenas on the mainland. Full-day adventures normally include transport, food and a host of extras like snorkelling, diving, banana boat rides, volleyball games, lunch and drinks. Obviously, you do get what you pay for, so make sure you know exactly what your day trip will include before booking. The great majority of the ‘cheaper options’ will simply charge extra for lunch and activities.

Two Unique Seasons

The Nicoya Peninsula experiences two distinct seasons: dry (November to May) and wet (April to October). Temperatures here range from 22C(72F) in rain season, up to 36C(97F) during dry season.

How to Get There?

Exploring this peninsula with a rental car is by far your best bet, especially if you’re the adventurous type who loves nothing more than unpaved roads. Public transport here is still very limited, so unless you’re happy to stick to coastal hubs (where everyone else will be) consider this a most spectacular self-drive destination in Costa Rica. The most rewarding parts of the peninsula are inland, where you’ll meet just a few friendly locals riding ox-carts and very few visitors. If traveling here during wet season, note that there is only one road, connecting the whole peninsula along the eastern seaboard, which is open all year round. The roads on Nicoya are notorious and renowned as ‘the worst in Costa Rica’ so prepare for a wild but unforgettable ride (4×4’s are the best vehicles to take). Take your time and keep safe and you’ll be just fine.

Ferries from Puntarenas take visitors to either Paquera in the north, or Naranjo in the south, and run about six times a day. Passenger ferry tickets cost just $1,70 USD per person and vehicle tickets should set you back about $24 USD.


Top 5 Favorite Honeymoon Locations in Costa Rica

Costa Rica honeymoon

Are you planning your honeymoon and looking for that perfect nook of the world, near your nook of the world?

Well, stop looking right now!

With two pristine coastlines just a short plane ride away from each other and an astounding collection of tropical forests, jungles, volcanoes and mountains to explore, you’ll never find a more ideal honeymoon destination than Costa Rica. Whether you want to spend your days sunbathing on pristine beaches, hiking up volcanoes, canyoning raging rivers, or simply relaxing in an idyllic forest resort, Costa Rica has just the spot for you. Several of them in fact!

Most Popular Honeymoon Destinations in Costa Rica

What: Manuel Antonio
Where: Central-western Coast
Why: for the wildlife, beaches and adventure sports

Manuel AntonioIt’s really no wonder that the Manuel Antonio region is the most popular choice for discerning honeymooners. Easy to reach from San José (either by half hour plane ride or 2-hour drive) this stunning nook of Costa Rica is home to an amazing National Park brimming with endemic wildlife offering an array of active pursuits, like kayaking, zip-lining, rafting and hiking.

If that’s not enough, on the heavenly beaches framing the revered nature reserve, you can surf, parasail or enjoy an incredibly romantic sunset horseback ride. Most of the resorts in Manuel Antonio are found along the base of the mountains facing the coast, so you’re guaranteed simply breathtaking sunset views no matter where you choose to stay. If you’re a nature lover looking for luxury comforts on your honeymoon escapade, then Manuel Antonio is the ideal spot for you.

What: Gulf of Papagayo
Where: North-western Coast
Why: for the optimal SCUBA diving, beaches and pampering in luxury resorts

Gulf of PapagayoOn the north-western corner of Costa Rica, in the region of Guanacaste, right near the border with Nicaragua, is where you’ll find some of the most exclusive 5* resorts in the country. One of the most popular diving destinations of all, the Gulf of Papagayo offers a plethora of fantastic dive sites including über-popular Bat Islands (Islas Murciélagos), a mesmerizing marine park home of bull sharks, manta rays and more.

If you’re a diving fanatic, planning a wedding between May and September (the best diving times!) and wish to luxuriate in superlative all-inclusive resorts, then you really shouldn’t fly past this little corner of heaven.

What: Tortuguero
Where: North-eastern Coast
Why: for the astonishing remoteness, startling natural beauty and turtle nesting

TortugeuroOn the opposite side of Costa Rica is where you’ll find Tortuguero, the ideal honeymoon destination for nature lovers looking for a more rustic experience. One of the country’s most remote areas (reachable by plane from San José), this is a renowned turtle nesting haven, completely surrounded by superlative wilderness.

Accommodation options here are not nearly as extensive as in Manuel Antonio, but if you’re looking to add a few days of sublime relaxation after a week of adrenalin-pumping action with Costa Rica Rios, and have a chance to explore rain forests and spot manatees, then this is where you need to head to.

What: Osa Peninsula
Where: South-western Coast
Why: for the untouched wilderness, biodiversity and whale watching

Osa PeninsulThe Osa Peninsula is home of the superb Corcovado National Park, the most biodiverse corner of Costa Rica. Virgin rain forests, thousands of plant and animal species and jaw-dropping pristine beaches are what await your arrival here. Accommodation choices here are fabulous, but when you set foot in one of the least developed nooks of Central America, modern mod-cons are the last thing you’ll seek.

The nature reserve offers exhilarating hikes and canopy tours, whilst rewarding diving trips can be had just off the shores of nearby Cano Island Bio Reserve. Visit here in the months between July and March, and you may be lucky enough to encounter several types of migrating dolphins and whales, including humpback and killer whales.

Drake Bay is the ideal whale watching spot on Osa Peninsula and an easy 5.5-hour drive from San José. Some of the best eco-lodges in the country are found here, so if you want luxury of the natural kind (share your breakfast with toucans and wake to the sound of howling monkeys) then this is a definite must-stay spot.

What: Nicoya Peninsula
Where: Central-western Coast
Why: secluded stunning beaches, amazing surfing and top resorts

Nicoya PeninsulaThe Nicoya Peninsula juts out only a few kilometers north of the Manuel Antonio National Park, and is often described as Costa Rica’s most (un)hidden secret. Crowds are still limited however, and the peninsula’s amazing array of accommodation and activity options make it ideal for those who want to have a little of bit everything available right outside their doorstep.

The town of Mal Pais has a fantastic beach and is perfect for surfing. Once here, however, all your transport efforts will be handsomely rewarded. This is Costa Rica heaven at its very best.

To begin your once-in-a-lifetime honeymoon, please contact Costa Rica Rios at (888) 434-0776 or visit plusaim.co.uk/newprojects/costa_rica.