• About Nicoya Peninsula
• About Playa Tambor
• About Cobano
• About Montezuma
• About Mal Pais & Santa Teresa
• About Manzanillo
• About Cabuya
The Nicoya Peninsula is one of the furthest outreaches of Costa Rica. It is a vast, pristine region offering many diverse eco-systems on the Northwestern, Pacific coast. The terrain is diverse and bountiful, providing homes to an array of vegetation and wildlife. The landscapes of the Nicoya Peninsula offer picture perfect views, whether from the crests of majestic, jungle-covered mountains, to the endless running streams, to the cascading, thunderous waterfalls, or the tranquil, unpopulated beaches.
Due to the Costa Rican governmental struggle with infrastructure, many of the roads in the Nicoya Peninsula are extremely under-developed and make it difficult for the “Casual” tourist to explore. This is a fantastic reality to those travelers seeking the “Road Less Traveled”, for once you’ve reached one of the quaint little towns nestled in and around the peninsula, you’ll find they harbor every range of cuisine, service and accommodation from the luxurious to the heavily budgeted, making the Nicoya Peninsula one of Costa Rica’s most undiscovered treasures!
Tambor meaning “Drum”
Tambor is an incredible, tranquil town residing on the edges of “Bahia Ballena” or “Whales Bay”. This beautiful horse shoe shaped bay was a visiting ground for the whales traveling from the North during the winter months. Over the years, due to increasing marine traffic, whales aren’t seen often in Bahia Ballena. But, the bay’s amazing gradually descending floor, which provided a safe port for these giants of the sea, now invites even the most timid swimmers and families to enjoy calm and safe waters for which to swim. It’s like having a little piece of the Caribbean Sea in the Pacific Ocean. The softest, smoothest volcanic black sand borders Bahia Ballena and the beach is scarcely populated. Find a palm tree to shade yourself and allow the gentle sways of the bay to take you away.
Activities in Tambor are almost as abundant as the wildlife. Feel free to ride horses on the beach or in the jungle. Enjoy a round of Golf or Tennis. The hiking, snorkeling, swimming and sport fishing are endless and while you’re at it, enjoy a short walk to one of the many beautiful waterfalls surrounding Tambor. Along your walking exploration, be sure and look carefully for the thousands of wild bird species, the iguanas and, of course, the monkeys that inhabit the canopy overhead.
Tambor is also a favored destination due to a small landing strip just minutes away providing two, 25-minute flights to San Jose, daily. Tambor has lodging to accommodate the budget of every traveler, from the luxurious to the quick, one night stay-over and is considered to be one of the most convenient locations to the capital. For those sailing, look to Tambor as a safe place to anchor your boat. Tambor has a small pier with a restaurant, a bar and a fueling station. Too, there are currently talks of a future project including a full-scale marina in Tambor. The initial plans of the marina would easily rival any marina in Costa Rica.
Activities in Playa Tambor Costa Rica
Cuadracycle rentals, Horseback riding, Swimming, Walking on the beach, Island tour, Butterfly farm, Snake farm, Crocodile farm, Massage, Yoga, Jungle tour, Canopy, Sport fishing, Water skiing, Ultra light flying, Jet skiing, Surfing, Fitness, Casino, Bars, Restaurants, Discotheques
Cobano Costa Rica
It is true that there isn’t much hustle bustle in the Southern Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica but the closest you’re going to come is in the small town of Cobano. This thriving little town serves as a junction for the entire southern peninsula and it does it quite well. Any selection of transit can be found in Cobano. The road leading from the ferry station, through Tambor, to Cobano is one of the nicest you will find on the peninsula. This makes Cobano a city, not only conveniently located, but, also, easily accessible. In Cobano, you won’t find much nightlife but you will find most basic amenities needed for survival and some “creature comforts”, too!.
To the locals, Cobano is regarded as the shopping center of the southern peninsula. Here you will find the only bank in the southern peninsula! You can imagine that it is very busy, especially on Mondays and Fridays. The bank is open from 8:30 to 5:30 Monday through Friday. Too, the bank offers an ATM machine that charges a far more reasonable rate than you will find in other, smaller outlying towns (if you find another ATM at all!). It would be a good idea to stop in Cobano and visit the bank when traveling through the southern peninsula.
You’ll find that a lot of restaurants and other businesses won’t accept credit cards and if they do, most often you’ll be charged an additional 20-30%. Also, Cobano boasts that it has the only post office in the southern peninsula. The hours there are 8:00-12:00, 1:00 to 5:30, Monday through Friday. It is located near the Police Station. Cobano also has a small hospital and offers other basic medical and dental facilities as well as a pharmacy. In the month of February or March, Cobano hosts its famous Rodeo, featuring several equestrian events. It’s a 3-day festival of sport, music and food!
Montezuma Costa Rica
Burrowed in the mountains of the Southern Nicoya Peninsula lays a town, which is very unique to any other. Wrapped in a Rastafarian, rustic, Bohemian-type setting, Montezuma easily distinguishes itself as the artsy, cultural retreat of Nicoya. “Peace” and “Free Love”, if not spoken here, are definitely felt. Throughout the shops, bars and streets tunes from the ubiquitous Bob Marley can be heard and many items of Caribbean fair can be purchased.
Montezuma offers exquisite and exotic cuisine, including Mediterranean, vegetarian and other contemporary delicacies. Activities to steal away your time are plentiful here but feel free to sit at a local shop or bar and watch the Kaleidoscope of persons travel to and fro. The atmosphere here is relaxed, but there is always an underlying current of positive energy, which, often times, is found to be highly addictive. At night, you’ll find most of the action to be at Chico’s bar where you’ll hear live music ranging from Reggae to Salsa.
Montezuma in Costa Rico, because of its lush surroundings, also attracts a lot of Eco-Tourism. Montezuma is famous for its hiking, beaches and waterfalls. A 30 minutes walk through undergrowth, trees and rivers will eventually bring you to a majestic, 80ft waterfall whose beauty rivals any seen in Costa Rica. Along the way, too, you’ll find several small pools acting as natural hot tubs for which to lounge and relax. The entrance for the Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve is also located in Montezuma. This park is a must see for all lovers of nature. We advise that you arrange to enter the park as soon as possible to catch most of the wildlife. Birds, lizards and monkeys are abundant here as well as tropical plants, flowers and trees.
Montezuma is truly a nature lover’s paradise on all fronts. But don’t think that posh accommodations aren’t available in this Ecological and rustic paradise. Montezuma has plenty of options for travelers of all types, however, the level of tourism hits an all time high from December to March, so make sure you plan ahead.
As a matter of convenience, a water taxi to Jaco (a coastal city on the “mainland”) is available for those who tire of the long treks by road. This ride is a scenic 45 minutes where it is possible to see whales, dolphins and other marine life.
Activities awaiting you in Montezuma Costa Rica
Cuads rentals, Horseback riding, Swimming, Walking on the beach, Canopy, Sportfishing, Bars, Restaurants
Mal Pais means “Bad Country” and Santa Teresa
Mal Pais and Santa Teresa are two tiny provinces adjacent to one another. Actually, it is at the most northern region of Mal Pais that meets Santa Teresa and there, you begin to find a 3-mile road of shops, restaurants, surf supplies, hotels and cabinas for rent. The road of Mal Pais and Santa Teresa runs parallel along its world-renowned beaches and surf. The areas surrounding Mal Pais and Santa Teresa are definitely a surfer’s paradise. From the novice to the expert, Mal Pais and Santa Teresa have the equipment, the personnel and the waves to make every surfer’s experience unforgettable. The beaches of Mal Pais and Santa Teresa are scarcely populated, providing exceptional opportunities to also stroll the beach and admire its famous sunsets.
From nearly every vantage point, the coastline of Mal Pais and Santa Teresa is a photo waiting to be taken. The volcanic rock forms huge, jagged rock formations to contrast with the smooth, gently sloping, wide sand beaches. Scuba diving and snorkeling are also popular here due to the outlying reefs off shore. Sport fishing is a huge activity as well with many small chartering boats for moderate to small groups.
The Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve adjoins the southern point of Mal Pais and offers a lush and abundance of wildlife to the area. The flora and fauna are as rich here as anywhere in Costa Rica and the Howler monkeys are a constant presence, swaying from branch to branch, in the canopies overhead. And if you have interest to join the Howlers in their canopy, then look into the Mal Pais Canopy Tour.
This surfer’s paradise has been the center of attention for those trying to make it their home and the real estate trends here clearly reflect that sudden demand. Over the last few years many “Mom and Pop” restaurants, villas, hotels and stores have opened in Mal Pais and Santa Teresa giving the surf village a real small town feel. Wildlife, surfing, hiking and sightseeing are very popular activities by day but the night also contains a substantial “Wildlife”. Every night of the week there is something going on for all. To enjoy a quiet, romantic evening ocean side, gazing at the stars is common or, if you prefer, dancing on the beach until all hours of the morning, is also a reality.
Mal Pais and Santa Teresa enjoy the visitors and residence from several other countries giving the area a real international feel. Mal Pais and Santa Teresa prove to be a very eclectic and friendly environment. Harbored by its natural beauty, the feel of Mal Pais and Santa Teresa are unlike any other place in the Nicoya Peninsula.
Mal Pais and Santa Teresa Costa Rica
Cuads, Horse back riding, Swimming, Walking on the beach, Canopy tours, Sportfishing, Surfing, Bars, Restaurants, Discotheques
Manzanillo means “chamomile”
Manzanillo is a small area to the north of Mal Pais and Santa Teresa. It is most commonly known as a destination for the short trips from Mal Pais and Santa Teresa on bicycles, cars or ATVs. The beaches are stunning and desolate. There are less than a handful of hotels and restaurants scattered in Manzanillo. Manzanillo is a beautiful definition of serenity.
The beaches, although beautiful, are dangerous for swimming due to the underlying rock formations unseen during high tide. During low tides, those underlying rocks reciprocate by offering you wonderful little pools for which to rest or provide you with a perfect viewing window to an underwater world otherwise unknown. Snorkeling at low tide has been known to be good in Manzanillo, but during low tide is suggested. Mostly, Manzanillo is the perfect place to relax, lounge and enjoy the solitude and privacy this little patch of beach has to offer.
Cabo Blanco is the first National Reserve established in Costa Rica, since 1963. Cabo Blanco features more than 3000 acres of primary forest and many miles of beautiful coastline that are home to countless animal and plant species, such as white face monkeys, howlers, squirrels, wild cats, ocelots and too many to list.
This natural reserve is one of the most popular tourist destinations on the peninsula. Close to Cabo Blanco is Cabuya, a small village bordering the main entrance to Cabo Blanco, and offers a richness of natural sites to discover. Situated along the coastline with a backdrop of mountains, Cabuya is the perfect spot for hiking, snorkeling, kayaking, bird watching and much more. If you are a nature lover and are looking for a place off the beaten track, come to Cabuya. In Cabuya you can fill your days with many activities or simply relax in a hammock, listen to the Pacific Ocean and enjoy the natural environment that surrounds you.
A number of cozy hotels offer warm hospitality and friendly atmosphere. The hotels are situated not only close to Cabo Blanco, but also nearby the very popular Montezuma, Mal Pais and Santa Teresa.
What to do in Manzanillo Costa Rica
Cuad rentals, Horseback riding, Swimming, Walking on the beach, Sportfishing, Surfing, Bars, Restaurants
Cabuya Costa Rica
In Cabuya you can walk along the virgin beaches or hike into the green hills. Catch different colored iguanas climbing up branches, experience the largest trees, listen to the sounds of the howler monkeys and watch the pelicans skimming the waves. Cabuya has a unique tourist attraction, there is an uninhabited island which was the town cemetery > the Cabuya Island. This island is only accessible at low tide following a wide stony trail that is connected to the mainland. The Cabuya Island was formally the landing point for fisherman delivering goods. Now the shores offer excellent swimming & snorkeling.
Another spot not to be missed is the river Lajas. The riverbanks are ideal for bird watching, where lots of rare bird species can be seen. Going upstream you will find swimming holes and natural pools to cool down. Close to the river Lajas there is a very nice bay called Los Almendros; surfers paradise, and a little further you have nice sandy beach Los Cedros that is ideal for swimming.
Adventure awaits you in Cabuya Costa Rica
Horseback riding, Swimming, Walking on the beach, Sportfishing, Bars, Restaurants
The southern Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica is a natural paradise waiting to be discovered.