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The Best of Costa Rica's Gold Coast

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The beaches and inland regions of Costa Rica's Guanacaste province are known not only for their jaw-dropping natural beauty and wildlife, but also for their delicious eats, laid-back nightlife, myriad outdoor adventures, and surprisingly good shopping. Here’s your guide to what you shouldn’t miss during your stay in paradise.
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Guanacaste Province, Coco, Costa Rica
Costa Rica's Pacific coast sunsets, like this one at Playas del Coco, are truly spectacular. There are many local tours that offer half day sunset cruises with open bars and snacks included—our family particularly enjoyed our cruise with Seabird...
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Guanacaste Province, Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica
North of Santa Teresa, in Playa Hermosa, you’ll find sushi master Koji Hyodo carving yellowfin tuna, red snapper, and sea bass at his tinkling, tin-roofed restaurant, Koji’s. His signature Koji Roll wraps spicy tuna around fresh shrimp paste and...
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Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica
The Nicoya Peninsula, on Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast, is lined by some of the country’s loveliest golden-sand beaches. Surfers love them for their gnarly offshore waves, but wilder species converge here, too—including several endangered sea turtle...
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Guanacaste is Costa Rican cowboy country, so it is only fitting to saddle up and gallop along a tropical beach with the wind in your hair. The area around Playa Conchal is full of stables and tour operators, but one of the best is Casaguas Horses...
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500 m SO de la Escuela de Playa Grande, 933 Playa Grande, Provincia de Guanacaste, Santa Cruz, 50308, Costa Rica
Marino Las Baulas National Park is a protected area compising Playa Grande, Ventana and Langosta. Together they are the stage for one of the most magical occurrences in the animal kingdom: the nesting of the gigantic baula (leatherback turtle),...
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La Chorrera, Provincia de Guanacaste, Coco, Costa Rica
If you are a diver, or have always wanted to take scuba lessons, Playa del Coco is a great jumping-off point for exploring the deep blue. Visibility may not be as good as in the Caribbean, but the area makes up for it with the rich and varied...
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Guanacaste Province, Coco, Costa Rica
Ready to get that perfect photo of yourself on a boat holding the massive marlin you just caught? Playa del Coco is a sport-fishing mecca and anglers from all over the world (or, at least, every corner of the USA) congregate here to fish the...
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Provincia de Guanacaste, Playa Flamingo, Costa Rica
The latest craze to hit Costa Rican waters is Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP). After a simple lesson, you can be sliding across the waves, over coral reefs and fish, and into sea coves, all while standing on a large surf board! One of the best SUP...
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Playa Grande, Provincia de Guanacaste, Costa Rica
The Gold Coast is a legendary surfing destination, and veteran surfers make pilgrimages from all over the world to catch these waves. Playa Grande is the granddaddy of all Costa Rican surfing beaches, and it doubles as a nesting ground for...
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Ocotal Beach, Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica
Not only is zip lining along a rainforest canopy a great adrenaline rush, it is also a wonderful way to get close to the wildlife of the rugged Nicoya shoreline. Costa Rica has over 800 species of bird, and you'll see and hear many of them in the...
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Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica
Get your motor runnin' on a popular All Terrain Vehicle adventure tour, an exhilarating way to see the countryside. Cruise rugged trails from the mountains through the dry tropical forest to the beach and back again, visiting small pueblos along...
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Playa Conchal, Provincia de Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Playa Conchal makes every list of Costa Rica's most beautiful beaches, and once you see it, you'll know why: sand made up of crushed shells; water that has somehow taken on a more turquoise hue than the rest of the coast; gentle, lapping waves; a...
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Guanacaste Province, Tamarindo, Costa Rica
What better way to rejuvenate than a yoga class and massage on the beach? Lorena at ReFLEXion Yoga Tamarindo is a gifted and soothing yoga instructor and healer. Besides the yoga classes (for all levels), she also offers an array of other healing...
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Costa Rica
Rincon de la Vieja National Park is located about half an hour north of Liberia, Costa Rica, in the west coast province of Guancaste. To enter the park you will have to drive down a 14-mile bumpy dirt road and pay an entrance fee of $7 per person....
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Enjoy the thrill of world-class golf at Reserva Conchal Golf Club. Meticulously crafted by the golf course architect Robert Trent Jones II, the Par 71 championship course winds its way around lakes, ravines and manicured Bermuda-grass greens....
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Playa Conchal G Cabo Velas, Provincia de Guanacaste, 50308, Costa Rica
Sometimes, the best day of vacation is spent hanging out at and around the hotel and finishing off the evening with some entertainment. On-site at the Westin is the Astrea Theater Bar and Lounge, where guests can enjoy live performances by local...
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Provincia de Guanacaste, Bagaces, Costa Rica
Palo Verde National Park is the perfect escape for avid wildlife and bird watchers. The park is one of the world's most important wetland sanctuaries and a vacation destination for many species of migratory birds. It is also home to crocodiles,...
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Main road to Tamarindo, 500m SW from Auto Mercado, in front of El Tesoro, Provincia de Guanacaste, Tamarindo, 50309, Costa Rica
Located on the warm sands of Tamarindo Beach, Pangas Beach Club is the perfect place to enjoy fresh, gourmet cuisine just feet from the surf. Great for lunch or a romantic candle lit dinner, Pangas has great food and a wonderful, relaxed tropical...
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91, Calle Corona, Provincia de Guanacaste, Tamarindo, Costa Rica
The delicious aroma of pizzas baking in a brick kiln welcome you to the warm and cozy eatery La Baula. The most famous pizzeria in the area, it gets its name from the baula, or leatherback, turtles that lay their eggs nearby. This is the place for...
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Guanacaste Province, Tamarindo, Costa Rica
Nestled under an old tree, Lazy Wave offers fresh Asian, Latin, and European fusion cuisine. The setting is wonderful, with fluffy cushioned couches and candle-lit tables in an exotic garden.
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Provincia de Guanacaste, Los Pargos, Costa Rica
This Balinese-themed restaurant in Playa Negra is deservedly famous in the area. Chef Patrick Jamon creates delicacies using only the freshest local ingredients and seafood. It's unexpected to find cuisine this good in the middle of a tropical...
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Playa Avellana, Beach front, Guanacaste Province, Playa Avellana, 50303, Costa Rica
Served under palm trees on the beach, Lola's specializes in healthy, organic food with lots of vegetarian options. Here, on Playa Avellana, you can enjoy a wholesome meal while you watch the sunset with soft sand underfoot. Don't leave without...
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Flamingo Beach Road, Guanacaste Province, Playa Flamingo, Costa Rica
On the white-sand beach of Playa Flamingo, Coco Loco has everything you need to set your afternoon or evening on the right note. Enjoy fresh food and delicious cocktails in a fun, laid-back environment. Make sure to try their signature drink, the...
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50 meters from Hotel Diria, diagonal hotel Mar Rey, Centro comercial Galeria del Mar, Tamarindo, 50309, Costa Rica
Le Beach Club in Tamarindo will never go out of style. Take your pick between the bar terrace and DJ—ideal for dancing all night—or the Sandbar, where you can relax on the beach. In either spot, you'll enjoy an authentic Costa Rican kind of party....
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Guanacaste Province, Tamarindo, Costa Rica
People-watch to your voyeuristic heart's content in this breezy DJ dancehall full of young, beautiful, and sunburned tourists and Ticos. It's good for drinking, dancing, and enjoying fresh sushi from their sushi bar, too.
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Guanacaste Province, Tamarindo, Costa Rica
Part dive bar under the palms, part reggae dance hall, and part DJ club. This is the place to come for a great night out with friends. All Pura Vida!
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Guanacaste Province, Tamarindo, Costa Rica
Guaitil Pottery Studio in Tamarindo is a truly unique experience. Here, owner Arbin Espinosa Guevara displays and sells his Guaitil pottery, and gives lessons to visitors interested in learning the craft themselves. One of the few remaining...
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Aeropuerto, Provincia de Guanacaste, Liberia, Costa Rica
If artisan crafts are your thing, then you shouldn't miss a trip to La Gran Nicoya, located near the Liberia International Airport. It is a veritable emporium of high-quality handmade ceramics, wood souvenirs, jewelry, hammocks, coffee, cigars,...
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Guanacaste Province, Tamarindo, Costa Rica
Even if you don't have anything specific in mind to buy, go to browse Tamarindo's main avenue for well-priced souvenirs. Here you'll find traditional coffee and chocolate next to art and wood crafts. There are also supermarkets, drugstores, and...
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Playa Conchal, Provincia de Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Whether under the noonday sun or overlooking a romantic sunset, one of the best ways to explore the Nicoya Peninsula is by sailboat or catamaran. There's a good chance you'll spot green turtles and dolphins swimming through the Guanacaste waters...
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Provincia de Guanacaste, Huacas, Costa Rica
Café Conchal's chef Brad Lloyd serves up fresh, delicious international cuisine. Pair your dish with wine from the restaurant's extensive list, and enjoy it on the beautiful terrace—where you can dine under the Guanacastecan sky full of stars.