Costa Rica

Guanacaste, Province – Costa Rica

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Guanacaste’s terrain is flat, with some exceptions such as the Nicoya Peninsula. Guanacaste is divided into 11 Cities, and Liberia is the capital of the province.

The Guanacaste Tree is Costa Rica’s national tree.


The weather throughout the province of Guanacaste is characterized by being hot with well-defined wet and dry seasons. The one exception is the highland portion of the province which consists of the upper Pacific-facing slopes of the volcanoes in the Guanacaste Cordillera and the northern half of the Tilarán Cordillera. The cool, moist conditions along these ridges support luxuriant cloud forests. Elsewhere, the natural vegetation type originally found in Guanacaste is (was) tropical dry forest.

The annual dry season is caused by the effects of the northeast trade winds that blow in off the Caribbean from November through March. This humid air loses its moisture as it crosses the Caribbean lowlands and the cordilleras. Given that the Guanacaste Cordillera is both the lowest and narrowest in the country, there is little to block the passage of the arid air that comes gusting down the western slopes drying out everything in its path, as well as preventing any breezes from bringing in moist air from the Pacific Ocean during these months.

When the trade winds shift northward, air currents once again bring humidity and life-giving rains in from the Pacific Ocean. It is remarkable to observe how quickly the parched and brown countryside regains its verdant appearance after the first showers of each new rainy season. In Guanacaste, these afternoon showers usually return by mid-May and continue until about mid-November.


The pre-Columbian inhabitants of Guanacaste are noted for the fine quality pottery that they produced. The variety of ceramic vessels found at archeological sites has led investigators to theorize the existence of a well-developed system of agriculture, and specifically grain production. The fact that as yet no evidence of hunter-gather societies has been unearthed in the region, has been a motive for speculating that the first humans to settle here already possessed a working knowledge of agriculture.

During colonial times, Guanacaste did not actually form part of the province of Costa Rica, but instead pertained to Nicaragua. Shortly after the nations in the region gained their independence from Spain in 1821, the residents of the communities of Nicoya, Santa Cruz, and Cañas decided that they preferred to become part of Costa Rica and announced their annexation on July 25, 1825. This date is commemorated by a government holiday, even though it was not until 1858 that the change in boundary lines was officially recognized and agreed upon by the two countries involved.

National Parks:

1) Isla Bolaños Biological Reserve
2) Santa Rosa National Park
3) Guanacaste National Park
4) Rincón de la Vieja National Park
5) Barra Honda National Park
6) Palo Verde National Park
7) Lomas Barbudal Biological Reserve
8) Las Baulas Marine National Park
9) Tamarindo National Wildlife Refuge
10) Ostional National Wildlife Refuge

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