Carmona, Guanacaste

View of foothills from Carmona, Guanacaste
View of foothills from Carmona, Guanacaste
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In the heart of Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula, travelers will find the relatively remote town of Carmona. The small city is ideally located on the land mass, making for easy exploration to the Gulf of Nicoya to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Though there are many beaches nearby the town, it is also the perfect place for visitors who want to truly get off the beaten path and explore what Costa Rican life is all about.

Getting There

Making the voyage to Guanacaste Costa Rica requires a few hours of strategic transportation hopping. First, tourists fly into the main airport in the country’s capital, San José. Carmona can be reached from there via car, with the 329 mile trip taking several hours. But it is worth every minute because tourists will be able to experience the uninterrupted beauty of Costa Rica the entire ride.

About the City

Carmona serves as the county seat of the district (“canton”) known as Nandayure on the peninsula. The canton was established in the early 60s after previously being called Colonia Carmona. These days, about 12,000 residents live in the district, which comprises about 565 square kilometers.

The economy of the small city revolves around the agricultural crops of beans, coffee, corn and rice, which thrive in the warm climate. Carmona’s location close to beaches, the Rio Tempisque and verdant forests make it an ideal destination for adventurous travelers.

The Camaronal Wildlife Refuge

One of the top attractions in the area is the Camaronal Wildlife Refuge, which contains a biodiversity that is amazing to behold. Located on the Pacific Ocean side of the peninsula, this destination is definitely worth the drive. The 600 acre refuge was established to protect several turtle species, including the leatherback, hawksbill and olive Ridley types. As such, visitors can often find the animals near the estuary where the Ora River meets the ocean, especially during the rainy season when the turtles come to lay their eggs.

The beach itself is 2 miles long and is bordered by all kinds of flora and fauna. In addition to the animal and marine life that is plentiful in the area, tourists might spot tree species such as balsa, mahogany and wild plums. At certain times of the year, the waves near the beach can reach major heights, making Playa Camaronal a popular choice for surfers looking for some action. Still, visitors generally take care to watch out for the well-being of the turtles who share the beach and surrounding area.

Truly Getting Away

Because Carmona is not a major tourist destination, it offers a unique experience for travelers who choose to venture there. The beaches nearby – and all over the peninsula, really – are less crowded than in other places in Costa Rica, so visitors looking for peace and quiet will have the opportunity to find just that. In addition, the pure atmosphere and culture of the country is on display in Carmona, providing an experience that can be more authentic than in the touristy areas. For visitors who really want to get off the beaten path, Carmona is a great stop.

The Peninsula

There are no fewer than a dozen wildlife refuges, national parks and other places where nature is on display in the Nicoya Peninsula, making Carmona a perfect home base for travelers who want to explore the hiking, bird watching and snorkeling options in the region. When driving from one location to another, tourists should be on the lookout for the many waterfalls that can be found in Guanacaste Province as well.
Carmona is a small city in the middle of everything but still feels remote and secluded, making it a must-see destination for visitors to Costa Rica.