Administrative division
Province of San Jose
Province of Cartago
Province of Alajuela
Province of Puntarenas Province of Limon
Province of Heredia
Province of Guanacaste

Province of Guanacaste

The province that in 1824 on the strength of referendum, was annexed from Nicaragua to Costa Rica. Its name means "the place with eared trees". In the years 1858 - 1860 was named Moracia. It`s the driest province of Costa Rica. For the half of the year, November through April, it receive almost no rain, and that`s why it`s calle "the piece of Africa in Costa Rica", "Texas of Costa Rica" and "Costa Rica`s Wild West". It`s converted into cattle ranches (Three quarters of Costa Rica's cattle are found in Guanacaste) and that`s why it`s called "the cattle province". It`s also destinguished by rich folclor. It`s covered by dry forests.

Arenal (lake)
The biggest artificial lake in Central America. In 1973 the small lake was greatly enlarged through the construction of a hydroelectric dam. It`s situated in the eastern part of Guanacaste province, 6 kilomnetres to the North from Tilaran. Its the most eastern part belongs to the next Alajuela province. The total area of surface is 75 km. There the winds blow almost daily from November until May, and because of that it`s perfect place for surf and windsurf lovers (it`s considered to be the best place for surfing in world). It`s also popular for water skiing and angling. The temperature of water is between 18 and 21 C. Recent satellite photos have identified several ancient Native American settlements at the bottom of the lake; archaeological studies suggest they may be 2,000 years old.

A village onthe Panamerican Highway. It got the municipal rights in 1918. Several adobe bricks houses date back several centuries. From there deviated a road to Palo Verde National Park. In 1831 was born there former president Thomas Guardia Gutierrez (another famous inhabitant was atronomer Pedro Nolasco). A local earthquake hit Bagaces on August 1th 1935 and caused considerably damages.

The transport hub on the Panamaerican Highway. It is placed on 90 m.a.s.l. One of the main commercial centre in Guanacaste. In 1921 it got the municipal rights. Around the town spread dry, hot plains. The city was named for the white-flowered wild cane that still grows in patches.

Carillo (beach)
2-km long beach in horseshoe shape on the Nicoya peninsula coast. It`s distinguished by gentle waves. There is a dominated a town hotel Guanamar.

Coco (beach)
It`s placed in the horse-shoe-shaped bay of the same name. On that are situated small pizzerias, open-aired bars and discotegues. From May to July is held so called Fiesta of the Virgin of the Sea. It`s connected with arranging of boat-races in beach and in Puntarenas port. The sea shore is abundance with fishes that weigh up to 50 kg.

Conchal beach
The only in Costa Rica pink beach. Named for the tiny ground-up shells that line the shore. It`s a cove-beach covered by tropical plants.

Culebra (bay)
It`s horse-shoe-shaped, cliff rimmed bay, opened into vast Papagayo Bay. It`s held between Punta Ballena to the south and peninsula of Nacascolo to the north (the last is known for archeological sites). It`s a part of so called "Papagayo project - they plans to build there many huge hotel resorts).

A village at the entrance to the Nicoya peninsula. Through that flows Las Palmas river. In 1947 it got the municipal rights. On september of 1999, almost all the centre was covered by flooding.

[Playa Blanco]. The capital of Carillo canton. A village-white-sand beach beach at the eastern part of Guanacaste province. It has developed for sport-fishing and boating. It used to be named Playa Blanca. It has one of the largest in Central America fleet of sportfishing boats. It`s the first fuel dock for boats heading south down the Pacific coast after Acapulco in Mexico. There are many luxurious and private houses. Flamingo beach's southern ridge has a tempestuous history, when in 60`s Hollywood director George Howarth, initiated building the vacation retreats for artists.

Pottery-making centre in pasturelands on the Nicoya peninsula. It`s composed of 85 houses. Its inhabitants cultivate old Indian traditions. They mould figures, pots, urns, vases and zoomorphic whistles whose designs and techniques date from the Precolumbian Chorotegas tribe style. In front of house there are tables on which ceramic souvenirs are sold. One can witnesses the process of making them, modeling, drying and burning (in igloo shaped stove) and painting of natural dyes that come from rain forests.

Junquillar (beach)
A 4 kms long light gray beach on the Nicoya peninsula coast. It`s almost completely treesless. It`s distinguished by strong currents. It`s popular among surfers, nevertheless it`s almost completely uncrowded. In December and January the olive ridley sea turtles nest there but in small numbers.

Las Juntas
The capital of Abangares canton (called also Las Juntas de Abangares). It was founded by union of Rio Abangaro and Quebrada Piedras. It`s main highlights are old goldmines (the gold was mined there during 1884-1931). In the park stands small engine from mine. In 1911 a huge miners` strikes took place there. In 1991 was opened The Ecomuseum of the Abangares Mines. It features photographs and models depicting the old mining practices of the area. Above museum trails lead to mine artefacts such as bits of railway. Besides there are a few historical houses. It has cobbled streets and on the triangular square the bronze statue of miner stands. 5 kilometres from Las Juntas, in La Sierra the first in Guanacaste Mining Centre functioned. Till today remained the powder ware house, tool-house, tracks, engine, stone-pits and other elements used in that time.

>(25.000). The biggest town on Nicoya peninsula, rivaling in the past with Liberia for the province capital site. It was named in honour of Chorotegas cacigue, who as the first Indian leader welcomed in 1523 Gil Gonzales Davila expedition. It got the municipal rights in 1918. The oldest building in town is placed in Central Park San Blas C=church dated from XVIIth century (1644). It was declared the national monument. Since 1982 inside there is a monument showing the collection of sculptured figures, ornated chandeliers from copper, bronze and silver. It`s the commercial centre of shepherding industry. At the main square there are a few historical buildings, among others a cinema from 1930`s, which was converted into little cafe. In south-east corner rise the Guanacaste tree wreathed in a few philodendrons. On every year on December 12th, it`s held the fiesta de la yeguita - that blends ancient Indians ritual with honouring the Virgin of Guadelupe.

It consists of a village and three white-sand beaches (Nosara, Guiones, Pelada) usually grouped together. They are backed by rolling green hills. The villagers of Nosara are allowed to harvest eggs in nearby Ostional Wildlife Refuge. Mny of them rent their houses for tourists for weekends or monthes. The legend has it that on the place where today lies Nosara Beach lived an Indian Nosara. She was a daughter of the chief and married a young worrior named Curime from another tribe. Despite his outsider status, he was appointed guardian of some gold statues. After another tribe attacked, Nosara slashed her wrists to prevent their capture and the blood springing from her wrists generated the river.

Papagayo (bay)
Large bay in the northern part of Pacific coast. It encompasses among others of the southern parts of Santa Rosa National Park ans Arenilla Point with Panama beach. There is a plan to build there the biggest touristic resorts in the country.

Small pacific coast village on Nicoya peninsula. It has the white-sand beach of the same name. There stand houses from bamboo for tourists. Former president Oscar Arias Sanchez has a vacation house near that. Besides it has small airstrip. The paved road arrived to that in 1996. Very close to the coast there is a Chora island, which is home to the many frigates... Its beach is lined by palms. The seacoast coral reef weakens the power of waves. In 2000 was held there the first national triathlon.

Santa Cruz
(17.000). It`s a town surrounded by hills on Nicoya peninsula - the capital of canton of the same name. It`s a commercial province centre declared as the National Folclor Town. Its inhabitants make nationwide famous object with clay. It`s a transportation hub making possible to get to famous beaches:Grande, Flamingo, Brasilito, Conchal, Potrero and Jounquillal. That was settled around 1760 and at the beginning was called Las Delicias. It was given its today`s name in honour of a wooden cross which had been placed on the house of one of the first settlers.
There are many colorful clapboard houses with planking walls. In 1993 due to the fire in the centre of town, many of them was destroyed. The Central Park is dominated by a pink clock tower, all that is left of a colonial Santo Cristo de Esquipulas church (founded in 1804 by Miguel Ramos) destroyed by an earthquake in 1950 and now overshadoved by a modern church. To the east there is a large grassy Plaza de los Mangos with the most impressive hotels. On every year in the second january week, is held festival in honour of Black Christ of Esquipulas including folk dancing, bull`s fights and marimba music. In 1993, in Santa Cruz took place the first in the country Expomitor Touristic Trades. It was sponsored by Santa Cruz touristic Association.

(500). Popular among surfers the health-resort and small village in western part of Guanacaste (it`s limited by Point of San Francisco to the south). The main street is sandy and lined by hotels and restaurances. It has a local airstrip. The area is famous for deep-sea-fishing. It has 2-kilometres long gray-sand beach backed by tamarind trees (from which the name is derived) which give it its name (there is a estuary covered by mangroves). In its southern part there is a point from which an island of Capitan is visible. In the very remoted past, at that place the Tempsique river used to fall directly into the ocean.

The capital of canton of the same name, situated to the south from Arenal Lake. Till 1910 that have been called La Cabra ("a goat" in Spanish). Later on the request of inhabitant that was granted a name Tilaran. The name makes up of two Indian words: Tilava ("strong rain") and Tlan ("the place of huge floodings"). There is a low concrete, white, halfrounded church. In front of the main entrance the high crooss is put and there is a park full of cedars and pines. During April a rodeo and livestock show is held here. Its vicinity is destinguished by different than the rest of province climate. It`s rather similar to Meseta Central climate. The bicycle trips are very popular there. In 2000, a fire gutted a nursing house. 17 residents that were trapped in the building, have been killed.

2004; SLUPSK; Rafal Cezary Piechocinski