Santa Teresa hammock & surf
Santa Teresa hammock & surf

Extending from south from Guanacaste, Nicoya Peninsula is heavily forested and mountainous on the inland, but the shoreline is one of the country's finest. Each village's long stretch of beachfront boasts a distinctive character which is one of the most charming aspects of this region. You'll find endless aquatic attractions to suit your the needs, whether you're an adventurous spirit like me or a true novice. I love Nicoya Peninsula because of the diverse ecosystems and extremely different seasons. I've never lived in this region, but I've come here to visit during the dry season - which starts at the end of November and lasts into May - and always found it quite charming!

1. Tambor

Set along the valley of the Bahia Ballena- which translates to whale bay - Tambor is a scenic and serene region. The calm waters make it an ideal spot for swimming and it is a great locale for families because of this. You may notice that the sand is more of a grey color than tan here, and that's because of the history of volcanic activity in the region. When there's a low tide, the beaches are extensive, making it a perfect spot for sports and other activities. Lush forests sit in the backdrop of the beaches – literally no matter where you look, you'll see vibrant, natural beauty!

Where to Stay
Whether you want to hang your hat beachside or along the inland hills, you'll be able to find a stunning lodge in Tambor. The Tango Mar Hotel Beach & Golf Resort is a luxurious spot where beachfront rooms offer unbelievable views of the Pacific Ocean. Here, you can enjoy your morning cup of coffee on your private balcony while you stare at palm trees and enjoy warm breezes - this sure sounds like paradise to me! If you're interested in a more tranquil place to stay, the Tambor Tropical Resort along the tranquil waters of the Golfo de Nicoya may be ideal.

Horses near beach at Santa Teresa
Horses near beach at Santa Teresa

2. Samara

Boasting a laid-back atmosphere in a true Tico feel, Samara is a popular vacation spot for Costa Rican's and international travelers alike. Stretches of beach are speckled with bars and restaurants that encapsulates bohemian vibe where you'll quickly feel at home. The calm waters lend perfectly to an afternoon swim and snorkeling. You can watch dolphins frolic in the warm water on a tour boat, kayak into the mangrove forests or go SUP - stand up paddle boarding - and simply enjoy the view.

Where to Stay
The Hotel Villas Playa Samara resort offers a peaceful getaway along a stretch of white sand beaches. Guests can go on exciting zip lining adventures, explore the coral reef barrier or visit the region's most beautiful flora and fauna. Want to stay where you can hear the waves crashing each morning? Travelers may want to consider Hotel Cara del Mar.

A long beach at Playa Samara
A long beach at Playa Samara

3. Santa Teresa

Beach lovers and surfers flock to this destination that is gaining a lot of attention in the eyes of travelers. Once a small village, Santa Teresa has since become a vibrant community without the eyesores of high-rise buildings that are seen in other popular spots. Nightlife is energetic in this region, especially during the high season when travelers are seeking a getaway from cold winters. World-class surfing, snorkeling, fishing, canopy tours, horseback riding and SUP is offers in Santa Teresa and Mal Pais, and the Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve. Be sure not to miss the stunning sunset over the Pacific Ocean.

Where to Stay
The Hotel Tropico Latino is an intimate, boutique hotel thatfeaturesbungalows and beachfront suites perfect for a romantic getaway. This resort offers a full-service spa and yoga studio to complete your relaxing vacation. I wouldn't mind laying down here for a rest myself ... You'll never feel as at peace as you will at this sustainable hotel. Looking for a more adventurous lodge? Lucero Surf Retreats offer an authentic Costa Rican package with morning yoga, surf lessons and other area activities.

Relaxing on the beach at Playa Samara
Relaxing on the beach at Playa Samara

4. Nosara

Travelers will find a dense population of expats along the beaches of Playa Guiones and Pelada- they've traded the hustle of modern life with one dedicated to health and serenity. Streets in the area offer just as much beauty as the beaches: many of themwind through lush jungles. This area is home to three beaches, although the most popular one is Playa Guiones – you'll never see sand as pristine as it is here! Playa Nosara is the most remote beach in the area with black sand and mangroves in the background. Swimming isn't advised here, but expert surfers will love the high waves that are among the tallest in Costa Rica.

Where to Stay
Costa Rica all inclusive resorts like the Omega Institute Costaoffers a spiritual retreat along the lush jungle. Beach goers may want to stay at Bella Vista Mar, which is tucked along the most beautiful spot of the coastline.

People having fun while playing soccer on the beach
People having fun while playing soccer on the beach