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Endless Summer !!

Life is a Beach. ~ Bumper sticker slogan

If Guanacaste Province is the shoulder of Costa Rica as you look at a map, the Nicoya Peninsula is its right arm. The big attraction of Nicoya is its sandy beaches, which stretch from the end of the Santa Rosa Park down to Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve on the tip of the peninsula and around to Curú.

The area is dry and hot, and gets much more sun than any other part of the country, making it doubly alluring for sun and sand lovers. Costa Rica's beaches are not as visually appealing as Mexico's Yucatán coast or the islands of the Caribbean. They don't offer that tropical feel and bright white sand demanded by resort-goers worldwide. But that's not to say its beaches aren't beautiful in their own right - plus, they attract eco-tourists because of the many turtle nesting sites and empty beaches in a natural, unspoiled state.

Did we mention, "surf's up?" Sand colors run from black or gray to brown, from gold to white, depending on its origin. Darker sand is volcanic. Some beaches are easily accessible and crowded, others hidden and magical, and still others accessible only by sea and completely deserted.

A vacation to Nicoya, or as a stop in your travels, is a wonderful experience. Beaches are grouped together because of the natural terrain but also because of the road system that spiders off from Route 21, the main peninsular highway. There is no serviceable road along the coast running north and south, which, fortunately, limits development at some of the more remote locations such as Junquillal and Ostinal. We have grouped our beach destinations according to their accessibility and location.

Mr. Spock would be proud of our organizational logic. To reach the beaches of northern Nicoya from Liberia, simply head west to Guardia or Comunidad and follow signs for your destination. This road goes south to Santa Cruz, the town of Nicoya and farther.

On one trip we drove it all the way to Montezuma. From the Central Valley, cross the Río Tempisque on the ferry, or take a ferry from Puntarenas to Playa Naranjo (not to be confused with other places with the same name in Costa Rica) or, for the southern beaches, to Paquera. Or consider making the crossing by lancha, a 25-foot launch, which also leaves from Puntarenas.

Live, Retire, Relocate to Costa Rica Book by Christopher Howard

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