Visiting the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica

One of the world’s Blue Zones, the Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica is a land of contrasts

It’s well worth visiting the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica; it’s isolated, mostly unspoiled, and has all the facilities available in more urban areas. The habitat, climate, and lifestyle have made it a place of longevity and contentment for its residents, as well as one of the most famous of the world’s Blue Zones.

Surfing is king on the Nicoya Peninsula; yoga runs a close second. Locally, alternative lifestyles and stunning landscapes reward anyone who visits the Nicoya Peninsula.

The best way to get to the peninsula is by ferry from Puntarenas to Paquera. Make reservations online ( or pay cash ($25) for the 70-minute ride across the Nicoya Gulf. Road conditions mean a 4WD vehicle is strongly recommended, and it takes longer to get places.

Places to stay on the Nicoya Peninsula

Midway between Paquera and Montezuma is the small but distinctive Tango Mar hotel—from here, it’s easy to explore Montezuma to the southwest. With only 43 rooms, you can relax and enjoy Playa Quizales on the Nicoya Gulf.

The Gilded Iguana on Playa Guiones in Nosara has been catering to surfers since 1988. With access to the area’s famous beach, surfers, yoga fans, and adventurous travelers will find plenty to do.


Montezuma, on the Nicoya Gulf, boasts several, almost secret, white-sand beaches. Montezuma has an eclectic and relaxed feeling that embodies the alternative lifestyle of its residents. Playa Grande, a well-known surfing break, is nearby.

Things to do on the Nicoya Peninsula include:

               Horseback riding on the beach

               Montezuma Waterfall

               Mangrove boat tours

               Day trip to Isla Tortuga for snorkeling

               Deep-sea fishing

               Scuba diving

               Cabo Blanco, Romelia Wildlife Reserve,

                and Curu Private Wildlife Refuge tours

Santa Teresa

Beautiful lonely beaches mix with the bohemian vibe of Santa Teresa, a major destination in Central and South America. You don’t just happen on Santa Teresa, you have to be committed to getting there on rough roads. Beach bonfires, live music, and the spirit of Pura Vida typify the town’s New Age groove.


Samara is a small beach town on the Pacific coast, where visitors to the Nicoya Peninsula can find a more authentic Costa Rica. The village still has a local feel, and the downtown adjoins the beach. The surrounding area is one of dry tropical forest and wildlife.


The village of Nosara is known as a yoga center, as well as for its beaches. Playa Guiones, with its consistent and long surf break, draws surfers from around the world. Also nearby, Playa Pelada’s nearby reef and tidal blowhole are just offshore. Olive Ridley turtles nest on the beach at Ostional Wildlife Refuge. The Gilded Iguana’s mountain biking center takes advantage of the area’s unique riding terrain.

Visiting the Nicoya Peninsula is a must for anyone that wants a look at the underdeveloped area, where locals and ex-pats alike enjoy the area’s natural beauty and history. The Nicoya Peninsula is a study in contrasts: rural, yet urban; dry tropical forests and savannahs, as well as rainforests. The Nicoya Peninsula is a must-visit destination.

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