Tempisque, Guanacaste

Costa Rica River
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Wildlife meets quiet, picturesque nightlife in Tempisque, a hilly region of Guanacaste province fed by a gorgeous river and supporting a tiny river village that still offers a larger-than-life experience for the tourist and connoisseur in the know. Hidden away among the limestone hills and on the shore of Costa Rica’s largest river, Tempisque is an experience like no other.

Local Comfort, Local Cuisine

On the shore of Río Tempisque waits Guaitil, a local cultural phenomenon known for its pottery. Come for the pottery and stay for the food, taking in the hospitality of the locals and enjoying genuine Costa Rican cuisine. Stay the night in the village or explore one of the surrounding settlements; if you’re traveling in from San José, take in the region as a day trip before returning to the luxuries of city life and amenities.

Scenic Boat Tours

One of the best way to take in Tempisque and the surrounding area is with a boat tour that follows the Río Tempisque through Palo Verde National Park. Follow the river through Filadelfia district to discover the hidden jewel of Carrillo, an archaeological city preserved to maintain the solemn beauty and majesty of local indigenous gravesites. The tour continues on to the port of Ballena, before branching into a channel that intersects the Tempisque River valley in all its wonders. Many adventure tours also offer a broader experience that starts in the town of Cañas and extends into a boat tour that takes you beyond Puerto Chamorro.

Rich and Teeming Wildlife

Along the banks of Río Tempisque you can catch a glimpse of sleepy-eyed crocodiles sunning themselves on the sand or gliding through the water. Tempisque is one of Costa Rica’s areas rich in biodiversity, and a patient nature aficionado will enjoy spotting creatures such as iguanas, basilisk, waterfowl, and capuchin monkeys.

Unique Geological Formations

Río Tempisque cuts Guanacaste in half and, among Costa Rica’s rivers, is the largest in the country. Its lower basin runs through limestone hills, which altered the river’s course and prevented a direct route to the sea, instead bleeding into the Tamarindo National Wildlife Refuge. The river’s path takes it across the Nicoya Peninsula, separating the white sands of the coast from the mainland and offering a secluded refuge for the adventurous.

For bird watchers, the Palo Verde National Park earns its name as Isla Pájaro, or Bird Island. A verdant, lush experience, Palo Verde National Park offers brilliant photography opportunities and a variety of waterfowl who thrive in the park’s pastures, dry forests and mangrove forests. With the river basin and marshlands, these birds are able to flourish in a natural habitat; the environment also invites migrating bird species. Particular species of note include night herons, wood storks, roseate spoonbills, cattle egrets, great egrets, and anhingas.

Cross the Friendship Bridge

The Tempisque River is home to a moment of history: the Puente Amistad, or the “Friendship Bridge.” This bridge was financed and built by Taiwan, using a unique hybrid of pillar-supported and cable-stayed bridge techniques. The bridge transformed transportation to the capital city of San José, eliminating the need for ferries or long, circuitous land routes. Now the bridge is an opportunity to catch a few great photos of the landscape and fauna and experience another piece of Costa Rica’s lush history firsthand.

Make your Costa Rica trip memorable with a trip through one of its most scenic paradises and discover the waters of Río Tempisque. The wildlife is only the beginning of the attractions you’ll find along the river, and as you explore the richness of Costa Rican culture and cuisine you’ll understand the pride we take in our home.

Guanacaste Escape Adventure Tour
7 Days / 6 Nights
Starting at $779 per person
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