Top 10 Things to do in Nicoya, Costa Rica

November 7, 2017 Tynisha Seiler

Nicoya, a city on the Nicoya Peninsula of the Guanacaste province, Costa Rica, is one of the country's most important tourist zones; it serves as a transport hub to Guanacaste's beaches and national parks. According to the 2000 census, the city's population was 13,334; second in the province only to Liberia. The city is the district seat of a cantón of the same name, which in 2013 had 24,946 residents.
Restaurants in Nicoya

1. Cabo Blanco Absolute Natural Reserve

Southern Tip Of the Nicoya Peninsula, Nicoya 50201, Costa Rica
Excellent
62%
Good
29%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 127 reviews

Cabo Blanco Absolute Natural Reserve

Reviewed By Piwi_185 - Lima, Peru

I got to this national park by public transportation from Montezuma to the entrance, there you have to walk a little bit until you arrive the gatehouse. I was there in low season, so luckely there weren't so many people in the park.
The path to the beach is about 5 km (so in total 10 km) and you can do it easily one way in 1 1/2 - 2 hours. The track is cleary visible, but sometimes requires good condition (very high steps and long ascents). As I visited it in the rain season, it was also quite muddy and thus sometimes a little bit tricky, especially when going down. The beach is very beautiful, the water looks like in the Caribbean and you can see there many iguanas. Unfortunately, I had high tide combined with very tough water conditions (strong waves) so it was impossible to take a bath. The beach has very big stones and that moved with every incoming wave. So, after a short rest on the beach I went back to the entrance.
On the way I could see some monkeys with baby, an anteater, lizzards, iguanas and deer.
FYI: When you take the public bus, tell the driver which time you want to go back. Because as I decided to take the bus at 13:20 he didn't come. I had the luck that a ranger passed by, she called him to be sure that he won't come anymore (he didn't do his job!!!) and called me a taxi for a good price.

2. Diria Coffee Tour

Mts 600 | 600 Mts N, 300 E del Cementerio, Hojancha 51101, Costa Rica
Excellent
95%
Good
5%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 75 reviews

Diria Coffee Tour

During the visit of our cooperative (coopepilangosta). You will discover all the process from the coffee seed to the ground coffee. The history of coffee in Costa Rica as well as the faitrade market developed in the country will also be explained. of course coffee tasting is part of the tour !!! tour available in Spanish, English and French and available for individuals.Tour times are: 9:30 am, 11:00, 1:30 and 3:00 pm, for reservation Saturdays and Sundays only work with Reservation.

Reviewed By zipit80 - Boise, Idaho

Booked a whole day tour with Kiki's private tours. Kiki took us here. Way up in the jungle. Completely different climate from the beach towns. This tour was so interesting and we learned so much about the hole coffee process from start to finish. The pride the works have is amazing. Spent a total of 2 hours. Was not rushed and answered all our questions. Bought 4 one pound bag of coffee for $20 and it taste so good. Definitely recommend.

3. Puerto Carrillo

Guanacaste, Canton Hojancha | Realmente Puerto Carrillo Pertenece a Hojancha y NO a Nicoya, EL Dato ES Errado, Nicoya 50201, Costa Rica
Excellent
86%
Good
14%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 55 reviews

Puerto Carrillo

Reviewed By Edelan - Grand Rapids, Michigan

Of the half dozen Beaches in the Samara area, this was by far our favorite for swimming. As others have mentioned, there are numerous palm trees that provide shade as you'll need it in the hot CR sun. Be FOREWARNED that the sand from the tree line to the wet sand is VERY hot. You will need sandals to walk across it. As well get there early as parking is a bit limited. Go further down and you will find more parking.

4. Tropical Adventures

Apartado, 7-52-51, Hojancha 51101, Costa Rica +506 8868 0296
Excellent
0%
Good
100%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 1 reviews

Tropical Adventures

Reviewed By Rob J - Ottawa, Canada

We spent a week with the folks in Hojancha last Christmas (sorry it took so long to do the review! At least we made a journal and took pics!) We helped Scott and co entertain the local kids in a form of summer camp activities by playing games in the park and going on hikes at the nearby reserve. We stayed with a great family, that was very kind.
The reason we are rating 4 stars in stead of 5 is for two reasons. Now don't get us wrong, it was a great time and we would recommend it to anyone that wants to experience the local, rural life in Costa Rica or those that want to help out in a small community. 1. Our expectations did not match with what we actually did. It would be nice to have a little schedule of what we would be doing before arriving but that may not be possible. I thought we would be helping build something or doing other community volunteer work like a soup kitchen but it was nothing so structured. It was much more relaxed and we are a bit of busy bodies that were a little unprepared for the slow pace in high heat at that time. 2. We found our selves bored occasionally. This was mostly our own fault as we did not speak Spanish and our family did not speak English or French. Luckily we had a dictionary and my wife can get by in Italian so could understand a fair bit. We struggled and tried and so did our family. I felt bad for making things awkward for them but we probably should have known more Spanish to be housed as we were. There is only so long you can try to tell someone about the plants and home or ask questions about life by sign language and smiles! Scott saved our life by giving us a phone and taking us to Samara one weekend. The family made excellent food and showed my wife how to wash clothes (lol) and we tried to participate by doing dishes and little things here and there. They took us to their parents place in the Mountains and gave us several fresh oranges that were amazing! Didn't help that we are both a little reserved by nature. There was only one bad experience with the family and that was when they had other family over for Christmas dinner. It became late and obvious at one point that a couple of the extended family were making fun of us and snickering so we just excused our selves and went to bed.
Super nice community and friendly people in all! Jason's bar was always welcoming and they have a coconut tree you can climb :) samara is our favorite beach in Costa Rica and you can try Surfing there easily with CoCo's. Scott and the other volunteers kept us sane and Scott was super nice, probably feeling like he had to look out for us a bit more than most and he helped arrange all the bookings for our trip around the country for the next two weeks. That was huge! Thanks so much, it was an experience we will always cherish and remember

5. Barra Honda National Park

Al Noroeste de la Ciudad de Nicoya, Guancaste, Costa Rica 22 km, Nicoya 50201, Costa Rica +506 2659 1551
Excellent
61%
Good
30%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
4%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 110 reviews

Barra Honda National Park

This park is best known for its well-preserved limestone caves.

Reviewed By Michael H - Tampa, Florida

Our experience was pretty different than what I read on here. We drove the park ourselves. The google maps GPS address was way off. Here are the actual coordinates to the entrance 10°10'31.8"N 85°22'19.1"W. We stopped at a small hut and paid the $30 a person, and were given helmets and directions. There was no guide with us until we were in the cave. We then drove for about 10 minutes more into the park on a steep but manageable dirt road. After parking, it was maybe a 20 minute hike to the caves with signs directing you. Not sure what all the complaining is about, this was a very easy hike. Getting down into the cave, you are harnessed in but mostly climbing on your own. There are two guys working the rope on top, with a tour guide already down in the cave. In general you need to be very careful and look out for your own safety. There are no waivers or liability here, parts of the ladder have little available footing. If you aren't physically able to do a pull-up, the caves are not for you. Inside you get to look around for a few minutes with a guide pointing out a few things. There is another ladder further down into the cave, with no safety precautions. Falling off that 20ft ladder could be a major issue if you break something. Overall, there was a noticeable language barrier, with each party having some issue understanding the other. Climbing the ladder and being careful not to fall inside the cave are by far the most challenging, not the hiking. Its very very hot in the cave, we were drenched in sweat and mud. Its a cool experience, one you won't have in the U.S. due to the lack of regulation here. If you have been in a cave before, this one isn't too special, just the ladder climb is unique. Other than that, there is a cool overlook along the trail. There are also many unexplored, but sign labeled caves on the sides of the trail. Looking into those was just as interesting as the main one. Overall, the experience is worth doing, but I'm not sure I would come to the park for anything else. Not worth a full day trip. Allow 2.5-3 hours.

6. Curu National Wildlife Refuge

Paquera, Puntarenas | Paquera, Puntarenas, Nicoya 50201, Costa Rica +506 2641 0004
Excellent
69%
Good
15%
Satisfactory
8%
Poor
7%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 115 reviews

Curu National Wildlife Refuge

Privately owned, this refuge has excellent birding and wildlife watching.

Reviewed By suzieqGRENADA - Winnipeg, Canada

First, things we loved! The beach, the calmness of the water, the uniqueness of the VERY simple cabin, the location of the cabin, right in the woods, the wildlife around the cabin.....
We ordered a pre-paid meal which a local woman cooked for $10 US each. After the trail we came back to the restaurant and ate it alone. It was very very tasty, and plentiful. A variety of food - well worth the $10 and more!
Thing we didn't like: the fact that everywhere on TA it said there were "easy" walks - we took what we thought was an "easy" trail? Los Monos? Not so much. Over an hour, over roots and tree trunks, just brutal. I was so done when I finished. The other negative is there really was no-one to tell us where to go and what to try, and hardly anyone spoke ANY English. I realize that this is a locally-run place, and I really tried to make myself understood with what I had learned of spanish, but really, some people had absolutely NO English. If they had some, then we never would've taken that trail!
Otherwise though, the people are super friendly, lots of monkeys around, deer, howlers and cappucin monkeys, raccoons! Fun, and we would come back for sure!

7. Playa Manzanillo

Nicoya | Entre Playa Cocal y Playa Santa Teresa, Nicoya 50201, Costa Rica +506 6033 1275
Excellent
59%
Good
33%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
0%
Terrible
4%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 24 reviews

Playa Manzanillo

La playa no esta turísticamente desarollada, las puestas del sol desde allí son increibles. Desde el restaurante Puesta del Sol Dorada, cual ofrece comida tica deliciosa, se puede admirar. Enfrente la playa rocosa, mejor para banharse es la playa más al norte en dónde hay piscinas para echarse una banhadita. Allí, envez de conchas, se encuentran piedras en diferentes tamanhos y colores.

Reviewed By Jonfo1969 - Pearland, Texas

We went to Playa Manzanillo on the west coast of Costa Rica and on the southern end of the Nicoya Peninsula. We stayed in late July at Senderos de Paz in their Villa Pochote. www.vrbo.com/382586 What a wonderful week it was. We rented 4 wheelers in Santa Teresa and that's the way to get around for sure. A lot to do in the area. We went fishing for a low fee, visited the nearby zip line tour in Monteczuma and had a blast. Surfing is good and plenty of places to dine or buy groceries. We loved it so much we are going back for Thanksgiving! Can't wait

8. Seascape Kayak Tours

Curu Wildlife Refuge and Tambor Tropical Forest, Nicoya 50201, Costa Rica
Excellent
100%
Good
0%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 9 reviews

Seascape Kayak Tours

Reviewed By Trek-Always - Alpharetta, Georgia

I went with a group of 8. There was ample instruction so that even those with no experience were comfortable and confident. The staff is fluent in English. The day we were there two guides were from Canada and one from the US. The setting is beautiful and the activity is very safe and not physically difficult.
It is well worth the experience to sea kayak if you have never done it. Swimming is optional, and the guides help get you back into your kayak. Water is clear and warm. You kayak on protected water so it is not rough. Also, the Curu Wildlife Refuge is quite remote and beautiful. There are showers to rinse off, if desired.
The company is associated with the one listed in New Brunswick, Canada. They run trips in the winter in Nicoya.
If this review is helpful then please indicate so below.

9. Church of San Blas

North side of central park, Nicoya 50201, Costa Rica
Excellent
61%
Good
20%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
13%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 15 reviews

Church of San Blas

Reviewed By RedDevil1504 - Las Vegas, Nevada

Founded in 1644 it is considered one of the oldest churches in Costa Rica. Simple but beautiful architecture (if you're into that sort of thing). Unfortunately, it's closed to the general public because of structural damage from an earthquake few years ago but they still hold special services occasionally.
In front of the church is the lovely and well tended central park of Nicoya. With its huge old trees and children's playground it is a favorite place for meeting and relaxing in the middle of the commercial center.

10. Casa de Arte, Curime

Curime is 2km from Nicoya City on the road to Samara left hand side is a sign Casa de Arte, Nicoya, Costa Rica
Excellent
100%
Good
0%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 3 reviews

Casa de Arte, Curime

Reviewed By Tom B - Milwaukee, Wisconsin

There are not many art galleries in Costa Rica that deal in real art. Most of the "art spaces" cater to tourist art given more as quaint gifts by the buyer to relatives and friends. Casa de Arte , in Necoya for those really interested in art there is a studio/gallery worth the visit. Artist Helga Denoth works here creating unusual folk pieces. The work is everywhere, inside spaces and out in the yard area. You don't have to buy anything, just look and look and look. It's worth the stop. 2 , kilometers south of Necoya Costa Rica . Watch for the signs.

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