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  • Barefoot Dining with Your Feet in the Sand: Beachfront dining options range from the grilled octopus with cavatelli at Makoko ★★★ to the just-grilled daily catch at a simple Costa Rican soda.

  • Catching Your First Wave: All up and down the Guanacaste coast are excellent breaks, and many are perfect for beginners.

  • Taking a Sailboat Cruise: Most of the beach towns and destinations in Guanacaste boast a small fleet of charter boats and sunset cruises, often with an open bar. Cruises usually include lunch and snorkeling. Some boats stop at deserted beaches, or linger at sea for the sunset.

  • Taking a Sunset Stroll on the Beach: What could be more peaceful or romantic than a leisurely stroll on a Guanacaste beach in the late afternoon, as the sun sets into the Pacific? I prefer more isolated stretches of sand, like Playa Avellanas or Playa Grande, but it’s hard to go wrong almost anywhere along this coastline.

  • Checking Out Rincón de la Vieja’s Hot Springs, Hiking & Adventures: Even if you’re staying at one of the region’s beach resorts, Rincón de la Vieja National Park’s namesake volcano and fabulous trails are definitely worth a visit. This volcano-powered national park, dubbed Costa Rica’s Yellowstone for its geysers and mud pots, is well worth a visit for its hot springs, waterfalls, and adventure tours. Also worth seeing are the hot springs just outside the park and the amazing Hacienda Guachipelín’s adventure tours.

  • Taking a Dip in the Pool at the Foot of Montezuma Waterfall: Nestled in thick forest, the Montezuma waterfall features a large, deep, and cool pool at its base—perfect for swimming. The hike in is pretty awesome as well. Take the zipline tour above it and do some cliff-jumping, if you dare.

  • Getting Your Yoga On: The Nicoya Peninsula is home to several of the country’s top yoga retreat centers. Harmony Hotel in Nosara, Pranamar Villas & Yoga Retreat in Santa Teresa, Anamaya Resort in Montezuma, and the Nosara Yoga Institute are all good choices.

  • Having Playa Barrigona (Almost) to Yourself: Access is a bit rough, especially in the rainy season, but if you’re feeling adventurous, head to Playa Barrigona, a largely undiscovered gem of white sand and clear waters. You’ll probably need local help to find the unmarked entrance, but it’s worth it.

  • Going Deep (Underground) at Barra Honda: Strap on a headlamp and some climbing gear and descend into the underworld at Barra Honda National Park. After exploring the nooks and crannies of Terciopelo Cave, take a refreshing dip in La Cascada.

  • Mingling with the Hip & Famous in Malpaís & Santa Teresa: Arguably the most happening of Costa Rica’s beach hot spots, Santa Teresa and Malpaís are among the country’s top destinations for both surf bums and celebrities. Even if you don’t bump into Leonardo DiCaprio, Flea, or Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen, you can wander miles of nearly deserted beaches and enjoy beautiful sunsets.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.