Pack your sense of adventure and head to Costa Rica’s west coast for a spectacular, sustainable vacation.
Guanacaste is one of our favorite areas to visit because of the unbelievable, expansive natural beauty, the amazing diversity in landscape and climate, and the prime adventure that seems to be everywhere!
Adventures Under the Sun has been planning and leading tours to Guanacaste for over 21 years. We are ecotourists at heart, and we’re game for just about anything that Costa Rica has to offer.
In Guanacaste, that means hiking, surfing, sea kayaking, exploring rivers and caves, and enjoying the epic beaches that stretch on forever lining Costa Rica’s west coast.
If you’re planning an eco vacation in Costa Rica, read on to learn about some of AUSUN’s favorite spots and adventures in beautiful Guanacaste.
Guanacaste has been an eco-tourist haven for decades.
If you haven’t been to Guanacaste, be warned: it may change you forever.
For the eco-traveler, Guanacaste is a playground of natural places to explore with extraordinary biodiversity. It’s one of the world’s most pristine stretches of wilderness where you can observe wildlife and immerse yourself in different terrains and enjoy a variety of activities in a sustainable way.
Eco-vacations have skyrocketed in popularity recently as travelers discover how responsible travel helps local communities and economies. And travelers have also discovered, to their delight, that eco adventures are even more satisfying and enriching than their more traditional trips.
Costa Rica is renowned for its commitment to ecotourism principles and its leadership in ecotourism initiatives, setting standards that the rest of the world follows.
This commitment to ecotourism in Costa Rica has been fundamental in protecting Guanacaste’s natural spaces, turning them into parks, reserves and refuges, and also initiating programs that enrich local communities.
Guanacaste is diverse and filled with natural beauty.
Spanning 0ver 10,000 square miles of varied climates and terrain, the province of Guanacaste stretches from the west coast to La Fortuna and from the northern border with Nicaragua down to the Nicoya peninsula.
Packed with parks, beaches, volcanoes, caves and charming little towns, Guanacaste is full of opportunities to hike, swim, surf, snorkel, visit caves, birdwatch or just bask on one of the many pristine beaches.
Guanacaste’s Treasure: the National Parks
Full of beauty and adventure, Guanacaste’s national parks offer full immersion into nature.
Guanacaste’s national parks and reserves are extraordinary. Each offers a unique experience to duck out of civilization and dip into nature for a good break. Adventures Under the Sun incorporates Guanacaste’s national parks into our itineraries on a regular basis, and we know them well.
In the parks, see plants and animals unique to the region, volcanoes and vistas renowned throughout the world, forests, rivers, streams and so much more. Here is a list of some of our favorite parks.
Palo Verde National Park
Palo Verde supports an impressive variety of plants and animals, including a number of endangered species and over 300 species of birds. It’s no wonder that this park is renowned for its birdwatching, so be sure to pack your binoculars!
From dry forests to wetlands, Palo Verde is perfect for adventuring with numerous hiking trails that wind through varied terrain. Always exciting and fun!
Rincón de la Vieja National Park
Rincón de la Vieja spans an area that includes dry forests, wetlands, and volcanic areas , with hiking trails to suit all levels, from easy hikes to more challenging ones. You’ll also find hot springs and gorgeous waterfalls along the way to enjoy. Notably, the Oropendola Waterfall and hike nearby is a favorite for any traveler visiting Costa Rica!.
Arenal Volcano National Park
The views of Arenal Volcano and the surrounding landscape are stunning, and a big draw for visitors. The views are easily accessible from the many hiking trails, some of which lead to Arena’s wonderful hot springs.
In the park, you’ll also find a wide variety of interesting plants and animals, as well as Arenal Volcano, one of Costa Rica’s most active.
Barra Honda National Park
If you’re interested in caves, breathtaking Barra Honda National Park is a must. This park is famous for its system of naturally formed underground caves, shaped by erosion over millions of years. They’re a rare, unique and fascinating natural wonder not to be missed.
When touring the caves, you’ll hike to the cave entrance, then drop down into the caverns (with provided headlamps and helmets). You’ll learn about the geology and history of the caves, as well as the plants and animals that manage to thrive in that environment.
Guanacaste’s parks committed to research and conservation
In addition to their natural beauty, the national parks of Guanacaste are also home to a number of research and conservation initiatives, making them an important destination for those interested in sustainability and environmental protection.
Guanacaste has a beach for every mood.
Can Guanacaste boast for a minute? It is home to some of the most beautiful beaches and crystal clear waters in all of Costa Rica.
Guanacaste has drawn surfers for decades with amazing waves and perfect surf spots. The sand is pristine, the water is clear, and the sun is warm.
But the beauty of Guanacaste’s beaches goes further – dip your head beneath the waves and you’ll find vibrant coral reefs, a variety of colorful fish and other marine life to explore.
Adventures Under the Sun always incorporates surfing, sea kayaking and swimming into our adventures, with plenty of time to soak up the sun and recharge on the beach. Our surf and kayak instructors are seasoned pros so you’ll feel safe and have a blast!
Here are some of our favorite beaches in Guanacaste:
If you’re looking for a nice, juicy slice of tropical paradise, Playa Flamingo is waiting for you. With calm, shallow, warm waters, it’s a great beach for families with young children. And like other beaches in Guanacaste, it can brag endlessly about its beautiful sandy beaches and clear, clear water. It’s beach perfection, family-style.
While there are a number of luxury resorts and vacation rentals in Playa Flamingo, there are also many eco-friendly options, as well as a nice assortment of bars, shops and restaurants.
Want to surf for days? Playa Tamarindo is known for its consistent waves and amazing sunsets. It’s popular, with a laid-back attitude. It’s also a prime spot to see dolphins and sea turtles!
The town of Tamarindo has restaurants, bars and shops as well as an active nightlife.
If you’re looking for unique sand, check out Playa Conchal. Located near the town of Brasilito, Playa Conchal is known for its beautiful, interesting shell-like sand. The beach is surrounded by lush vegetation, making it a great spot for a peaceful walk or a picnic.
Another stunning white sanded beach nestled just south of Tamarindo is Playa Negra.
Not only does its striking sand offer a dreamy beach experience, but it also is well known for its world class surfing opportunities.
Those who don’t surf will still find plenty to do along these shores, as many small tide pools create the perfect environment for diverse marine wildlife. Nature lovers visiting Playa Negra will also find themselves closeby to famous leatherback turtle nesting grounds in Marino Las Baulas National Park – a must see during nesting season!
North of Tamarindo at Baulas you can find another favorite beach of ours, Playa Grande.
Have you always wanted to experience those idyllic screensaver beaches first hand? With white sands, warm blue waters, and sun soaked coconut palms flanking its shores Playa Carrillo is a tropical dream come true for anyone longing for paradise!
Hidden Gems in Guanacaste
Ready to take a break from the beach? How about checking out a Costa Rican ranch? Hacienda Guachipelin, located in the foothills of the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano, offers guests a rare opportunity.
The hacienda is a beautiful and historic property that is surrounded by lush forests and pastures on the slopes of the Rincon de la VIeja volcano. Visitors can experience all kinds of adventures from mountain biking to horseback riding, a stunning river canyon zip line with rock climbing and rappel included, river canyoning, inner tubing, endless hiking trails and numerous waterfalls and rivers to enjoy!
You can also spend a day with the cowboys as a ranch hand, or simply relax and enjoy the Hacienda’s hot springs, which are fed by the waters of the Rincón de la Vieja Volcano, surrounded by lush gardens, and luxurious amenities like jacuzzis and massage tables.
Hacienda Guachipelin is another fun “break from the beach” that offers a great opportunity to learn about the history and cultural heritage of the region in a unique, immersive experience.
Animals in Guanacaste
If wildlife is your thing, you’ll fall in love with Guanacaste’s unique and varied wildlife, including a number of species not found anywhere else.
Monkeys are playful, and Guanacaste’s troops can be seen in the trees and often heard echoing across the mountains as one groups talks to another. During your journey, you may see howlers, capuchins or maybe even spider monkeys. Remember – please do not feed the wildlife!
Adorable sloths are one of the most iconic animals of Costa Rica, with their graceful, slow movements and distinctive coats. Depending on your location you may see the two or three toed sloths… Keep your eyes peeled, they are not easy to spot.
Costa Rica is unparalleled when it comes to birding, and Guanacaste is home to some of the most spectacular birds on the planet, including toucans, parrots, and a variety of tropical birds.
Many other species will migrate to Costa Rica for the winters. Keep an eye out for brightly colored birds while exploring the region, especially the Roseate Spoonbill or Long-tailed Manakin.
Lizards abound all over Costa Rica, soaking up the sun and hiding in the rocks. Guanacaste is home to a number of different species of lizards and snakes (not all are harmful!), including iguanas and anoles. Look for them sunning on rocks or branches, or scooting away as you walk by.
Butterflies and Moths
One of the many, many joys of Costa Rica is the beautiful, joyful experience of a butterfly garden. Guanacaste is home to a wide variety of butterfly species, where they thrive in the temperate climate with abundant food and shelter.
You’ll see a myriad of colorful butterflies flitting through the air in many areas of Guanacaste, sometimes alighting on trees. Keep an eye out for different species while exploring the region.
Let us book the perfect Guanacaste Adventure for you!
Adventures Under the Sun has been creating and leading adventures and tours throughout Costa Rica for over 21 years.
We’re experts in Costa Rican travel, and can create the perfect Costa Rican vacation for your friends and family that is sustainable, eco-friendly and geared towards experiencing the incredible offerings of this natural paradise.
Ready to book? Contact us today!