A vacation along the Northern Pacific Coast has it all; tropical rainforests, volcanoes and some of the best surfing beaches in the world.
Spanning the north-western corner of Costa Rica, the Guanacaste province boasts beautiful stretches of beach, great diving, and superb places to chill. Surfers, yoga lovers, and anyone on a health kick will love it here. For a laid-back vibe, Playa Tamarindo is the perfect town for spending lazy days surfing and enjoying the good life. Here, Costa Rica’s slogan Pura Vida (“pure life”) rings true, with quality restaurants, frozen yoghurt stalls, smoothie shacks and plenty of hangouts to soak up the bright and breezy atmosphere. Its proximity to the leatherback turtle nesting sites at Las Baulas National Marine Park makes it a popular choice. As the evening draws in, the happy crowd takes to the sand to watch the sky transform into a phenomenal ruby red on the Pacific horizon, before the party buzz begins – dancing under the stars is a favourite pastime in Tamarindo.
Snorkel with tropical marine life in the turquoise waters at Playa Conchal, or catch a boat to the Catalina Islands to scuba dive alongside Pacific Giant Manta Rays – one of the most majestic creatures of the ocean. Hire an ATV, trek through jungle, or kayak through mangroves to encounter the region’s diverse wildlife up close; there’s no shortage of adventure in Guanacaste. For more experienced surfers, the right-hand barrel waves at Playa Negra are truly world class, and even non-surfers will enjoy the pristine dark-coloured shore interspersed with tidal rock pools.
If you like the road less travelled, then a holiday in the pristine wilderness of the Nicoya Peninsula is for you. The area’s supreme beauty is unquestionable; secluded beaches reached only by unpaved dirt roads, kaleidoscopic marine life beneath rolling waves, and conservation areas brimming with an outstanding array of flora and fauna.
The nearby sleepy fishing village, Mal País, is a surfer’s paradise, or head to the palm-fringed beaches of Playas San Miguel and Coyote – the largely untouched, idyllic stretches of sand serve as precious nesting sites for protected olive ridley sea turtles.