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If a tourist who is going to stay just a few days in Costa Rica would ask me which area of the country encompasses most of its beauties, my answer will definitely be: Guanacaste.

Guanacaste, the second in size of Costa Rica’s seven provinces embraces, in its 10,140.71 square kilometers, several of the country’s main attractions: beautiful beaches, warm weather, great surf, diving and sportfishing and the flora and fauna biodiversity of dry and tropical forests.

That’s why this province is a favorite of frequent visitors , especially two top beach spots along the Pacific Coast: Flamingo Beach and Tamarindo Beach with only a distance of about 20 miles between them.

Moreover, the international airport in Liberia, the capital of Guanacaste, is now open to international arrivals , both regular and charter and it is just an about 50 minute drive to Tamarindo or to Flamingo or to some of the other beaches, just read on...

Located at 281 kilometers from San José, Guanacaste has an average altitude of 25 meters above sea level and an average temperature of 28’C.

The province’s exhuberancy is very well depicted in its seven National Parks (Palo Verde, Santa Rosa, Guanacaste, Rincón de la Vieja, Las Baulas Marine National Park and Barra Honda) and three wildlife reserves: Isla Bolaños National Wildlife Refuge, Lomas de Barbudal Biological Reserve and Ostional Wildlife Reserve.

Guanacaste is also home of seven dormant volcanoes: Miravalles, Tenorio, Rincón de la Vieja, Orosí, Górgona, Cacao and Cerro Chato.

Toucans, pelicans, anteaters, sloths, howler monkeys, jaguarundis and raccoons are just some of the distinctive species that inhabit the area.

As of the beaches, well, Guanacaste’s Pacific Coast goes from Bahía Salinas, up north beside the border with Nicaragua, to Puerto Coyote in the Nicoya Península. Naranjo beach, Garza, Hermosa, Coco, Ocotal, Potrero, Conchal, Flamingo, Playa Grande, Tamarindo, Brasilito and Langosta, are just a few of the beaches along this golden coast, most of them safe for swimming and great for diving and surfing (check the best surf spots on www.surfcostarica.com ).

TAMARINDO:
Tamarindo Beach, is one of the most accessible locations along Costa Rica’s northern Pacific coast (see map), with an airstrip serviced 7 days a week with a 45 minute flight from San José by local airline SANSA. Private charter services are available as well. Scheduled daily bus service to and from San José, as well as surrounding communities, is available by a variety of companies. There is also a paved highway from San José for those who wish to rent a car and drive the countryside (4-5 hrs. to Tamarindo).Please check www.crica.com/cars/cars.html. for the best options.

Once there you’ll have no problem choosing among the variety of hotels in the area: Capitán Suizo, El Jardín del Edén, Cala Luna Hotel and Villas, Hotel Tamarindo, Best Western Tamarindo, Iguanazul, Villa Alegre or The Surf House.All with the best accomodations to enjoy your stay at Tamarindo.

Tamarindo also boasts a wide selection of fine international and typical Costa Rican restaurants. There is a Belgian bakery, as well as restaurants catering to health-conscious and vegetarian patrons and grocery stores, souvenir and clothing shops, a medical clinic, a bank and a real estate office (see http://www.crica.com/restate/restate.html for details)

Tamarindo beach is also a mecca for surfers due to its high waves year round (check details on www.surfcostarica.com) for surfers of all skill levels.

If diving is more on your agenda, Tamarindo has also something for you: cuba diving, snorkeling trips, beach cruises, water skiing, jet skiing, catamarans, ocean and river kayaking, wind surfing, sailing cruises or horseback riding. Bicycles, beach gear, surfboards, boogie boards and equipment of all types are available for rental from specialty stores.

North of Tamarindo there’s a natural salt estuary, with amazing mangle species and across it Playa Grande, a world nesting site for giant leatherback turtles.

Our latest news is the opening of a new, Ron Garl designed, 18 hole championship golf course on Playa Grande. For more info on other golf courses please visit www.golfcostarica.com

FLAMINGO:

Flamingo, named after the pink flamingos that once inhabited the coast, is a renowned area for its structured growth and has been ranked as one of the best destinations among the entire Gold Coast of Costa Rica. Flamingo is a modern community with an ever increasing number of activities, services, and accomodations.

It’s no wonder there’s a full service Marina in Flamingo, (considered the best on the Pacific coast south of Acapulco, Mexico) since the area offers world class sportfishing,both deep blue water and reef or shoreline fishing, boasting world records in Marlin, sailfish,snapper, wahoo, tuna and roosterfish.

Flamingo is also great for sea-kayaking and snorkeling with its many inlets, secluded virgin beaches and clear waters.

Just right beside the marina is the Flamingo Beach Resort,a deluxe, modern resort with 91 large, air conditioned rooms and suites literally steps away the crystal blue waters of the Pacific Ocean.

Another great choice for lodging in Flamingo is the Flamingo Marina Resort. Whether you`re a budget-conscious traveler or one who prefers to be surrounded by all the luxuries of home, Flamingo Marina Resort offers a choice of quality accommodations that cater to your needs. All of which are spacious, comfortable and tastefully appointed. (see details on www.crica.com)

If golf is your sport don’t miss in this area theGarra de León Golf Course at Meliá Playa Conchal Beach Resort .Designed by course architect Robert Trent Jones Jr. and completed in August of 1997, Garra de León offers the best of up-to-date features while still preserving the natural tropical environment of Guanacaste. The 72-par course is home to 7,030 yards of technical water hazards, challenging elevation changes and beautiful ocean views. There are several lagoons and lakes that decorate the course and house many birds and other wildlife.(see www.golfcostarica.com)

But there’s even more to Guanacaste: if diving is in your mind, you’ve come to the right place: the diving off Costa Rica's northwest coast is on volcanic rock pinnacles. Most of these formations are at 40-90 foot depths.Colorful Cortez and King Angelfish, Pufferfish, Jewel and Pacific Moray Eels as well as 3 to 5 different types of Parrotfish and occasional Sea Turtles are some of the species you might spot at this depth Down to about 50-60 feet, there are huge schools of Jacks, Grunts, Mackerel or Spadefish. This is the depth where divers usually see the most Manta Rays, Bat Rays, Eagle Rays, and White-tipped Sharks.

Read the other features:

For more information on visiting Costa Rica to view this spectacular event please visit Costa Rica’s TravelWEB @ www.crica.com, or by calling our toll free number at 1-800-788-7857.


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