According to data from the Costa Rica Bureau of Immigration and the Costa Rica Tourism Board (ICT), during the first six months of 2013 about 44,000 Canadians flew into the Daniel Oduber International Airport at Liberia (LIR) – representing 49% of all Canadians entering Costa Rica during that time. Approximately 30% of all tourists from the USA to Costa Rica – about 143,000 visitors – also preferred to arrive in country via Liberia rather than the Juan Santamaria International Airport in Alajuela (SJO).
While the Juan Santamaria International Airport still receives the lion’s share of international arrivals – flights to 43 destinations operated by 24 airlines – the Liberia International Airport is steadily growing in popularity for visitors seeking the Guanacaste Province’s legendary sun.
Guanacaste is known as the “sunny side” of Costa Rica. The northwestern province is named after Costa Rica’s national tree, the Guanacaste. The nearly-always sunny climate is dry and hot, creating its unique dry tropical forest habitat. Vast rolling plains, foothills, low coastal mountains and the towering Cordillera de Guanacaste mountain range create an interesting topography and micro-climates rich with biodiversity.
Guanacaste has quickly changed from a forgotten corner of Costa Rica into one of the most visited areas in the country by national and international tourists. The region is home to seven national parks, and the Guanacaste Pacific Coast is known as the “Gold Coast” or “Costa Rica’s Riviera” for its spectacular beaches.
Discover another side of Guanacaste at the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano
The beautiful forest, waterfalls, rivers, natural volcanic hot springs and bubbling volcanic mud pits of the very active Rincon de la Vieja Volcano are a top attraction in Guanacaste. Located right near the Las Pailas entrance to the Rincon de la Vieja National Park, in the midst of all of these natural wonders, is Hacienda Guachipelin Hotel.
Hacienda Guachipelin is a working horse and cattle ranch and an eco-tourism hotel for adventure travel. They offer thrilling canopy ziplines, canyoning, waterfall rappelling, river tubing, horseback riding, nature trails, mountain biking, thermal springs and an authentic experience of Guanacaste culture.
Article by Shannon Farley
Nicoya geographically speaking was made of the lands located west from the Tempisque River to the Pacific Ocean, and then north of the river El Salto all the way into the river La Flor and Lake Nicaragua, which was the border with the Province of Nicaragua.
This territory enjoyed considerable autonomy, even in civil and administrative depended on Guatemala, the Captaincy. However, by the closeness with the Province of Costa Rica, specifically with towns of Puntarenas, Bagaces and Las Cañas, it established business relationships and closeness with the lifestyle of Costa Ricans.
Therefore, Nicoya, during the Colony, held a very special status. It was a territory that belonged neither to Nicaragua nor to Costa Rica. Commercially speaking, important links existed with Costa Rica.
In 1812 the Province of Costa Rica needed to send a deputy to the courts of Cadiz. Since the Costa Rican population was small, the Province had Nicoya joining temporarily, so that the minimum population required to appoint such a representative was achieved. With this union the priest Florencio del Castillo became the representative for the Province of Costa Rica in the Courts of Cadiz.
When independence was declared in Central America, on September 15, 1821, Nicaragua turned its interest in Nicoya. Since Nicaragua was a country with many internal problems, becoming a part of Nicaragua was not appealing to Nicoya, forcing Nicoya to make a decision as to what country to be a part of. Therfore, Costa Rica was the best option.
The relationship with Costa Rica favors the union made with this territory since commercial ties were very favorable and integration complemented the economic policy, which was developed years before that.
Under this situation , the inhabitants of Nicoya agreed to hold an open meeting to define their situation. They therefore decided to join the Province of Costa Rica on July 25, 1824, under the motto “From the Homeland by our will”, as they were the inhabitants of Nicoya who decided to annex the province of Costa Rica.
Therefore, it should always be the Annexation of Nicoya to the Province of Costa Rica, never the annexation of Guanacaste.
The North Face ® Endurance Challenge 2013 is an endurance race of 10 km, 21 km, 50 km and 80 km long. This race is part of an international circuit organized by The North Face and seeks to promote physical activity in the nature of safe and responsible manner, applying the philosophy of minimal impact, and also encourage the practice of trail running or mountain trail use to run.
The story of The North Face Endurance Challenge begins in 2006. When searching for Dean Karnazes (ultra marathoner well known in USA) to run 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 consecutive days, also known as The North Face Endurance 50 Endurance Challenge the idea was then born.
Launched in 2007, The North Face Endurance Challenge Series is committed to encourage riders to their limits and promote the sport of ultra-trail running. The circuits were designed to challenge even the most experienced riders, and also please the new trail running enthusiasts, and in turn incorporate the beautiful scenery of the venue.
This is a career that includes categories for people who are getting started in the sport, intermediate and expert. The courses are developed by natural terrain and difficulty of these varies according to different circuits.
The North Face Endurance Challenge now has a circuit in the United States made up New York, Washington, DC, Georgia, Kansas and California.
Due to the wide appeal of the brand and its growth in Latin America, The North Face decided to create a Latin American circuit that will accommodate the same characteristics of the circuit in the U.S. and allows us to offer our brand consumers worldwide a series of races with unique scenarios, different climates and with the stamp of quality The North Face Endurance Challenge.
Dare to know the experience of running in the mountains and dive deeper into nature.
We invite you to Never Stop Exploring!
Latin Tour 2013:
Ecuador – June
Costa Rica – June
Chile – October
Argentina – November
Today on Fox News travel section Costa Rica was mentioned as the #1 world destination for wildlife.
Austin Lehman describes Costa Rica as:
A land of lush, primordial, protected beauty
Cradled between two continents and two seas lies a land as wild and primeval as any on earth: Costa Rica. Protected on this tiny isthmus are more species of wildlife and flora than any other place on the planet.
Costa Rica is considered part of a biodiversity hotspot.
Costa Rica is located in Central America. It borders both the Caribbean Sea to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It has a 1,228 km of coastline 212 km on the Caribbean coast and 1,016 km on the Pacific.
Costa Rica shares a border with Nicaragua to the north and with Panama to the south. The area of Costa Rica is 51,100 km², slightly smaller than the state of West Virginia.
Rincon de la Vieja Volcano, is located on the pacific side. It is active and easy to explore. The international airport is very close to the Volcano, just 30 minutes.
Hacienda Guachipelin has been expanding the range of activities for years. Our idea is to have have activities available for everyone, no matter age or physical condition. One of the activities that can be practiced is mountain bike. The are many trails with different levels of difficulty within the property. So if mountain bike is on your to do list for your next vacation in Costa Rica, get in touch with us.
Some people like to fly around the country, specially if the travel plan is not to do stops along the way. Flying makes it more convenient, since it takes only 45 minutes from San José international airport Juan Santa Maria (SJO) to Daniel Oduber International Airport in Liberia (LIR).
As you fly into Guanacaste, one of the nice things to see is the view of the Central Volcanic range, and the Guanacaste Volcanic range. Majestic volcanoes like Poas, Miravalles and Rincon de la Vieja can be seen on the west. As passengers get close to Liberia, they can also observe the Nicoya Gulf on the east.
Get a dynamic overview of how Costa Rica’s different mediums of exchange have evolved from 1502 to the present time. In this exhibition, the most valuable coins, bills, coin dies, coffee and banana tokens in the Central Bank collection are on display. Related themes are exhibited in the Museum’s temporary exhibition gallery.
More information on schedules and ticket sales at www.museosdelbancocentral.org
I lace up my boots and clip snake-gators around my shins. I pull my machete from the leather sheath and whet it across the sharpener as the sky shifts from pale orange to blue. The iguana that lives in the roof, discontented with my noise; shuffles above me, his long toes scratching the tin. I glance over at the field bags and go through a mental check list of the equipment to make sure I haven’t forgotten anything: datasheets, compass, soil samplers, flagging, ziplocks, sharpies, caliper, DBH tape. Check, check, check. My research assistant, Juan, and I load the field equipment into the car and head down the bumpy dirt road.
I am in Guanacaste, Costa Rica, and it is nearing the end of the dry season. It hasn’t rained since November. Occasionally a wispy cloud will dampen the sun’s strength and I’ll look up, confused. The dry season feels like a washed-out photo; everything is overly bright and I squint in search of contrast. My car’s dash board is covered in a thick film of dust from driving on farm roads. Waves of dusk billow up from the roads and pass through the window in sets so consistent a surfer could set her watch by it.
Guanacaste province gleaned it’s named from the wide-canopied dry forest tree with seedpods shaped like ears. Guanacaste is one of the larger provinces in Costa Rica, bordered on the north by Nicaragua and on the west by the Pacific Ocean. I am here studying tropical dry forests; one of the earths most endangered ecosystems.
For part of the year in Costa Rica, moisture-laden warm air flows off the Caribbean Ocean. The warm air pushes up against Costa Rica’s volcanic spine, cooling as it rises, until it reaches the dew point and rain falls on the windward slope, creating a rain shadow on the other side of the mountain. The leeward slope, then, is haunted by intense dry winds. During the other half of the year, the winds come off the Pacific Ocean, bringing the rains. Tropical dry forest fauna and flora have evolved to cope with the strong seasonality to the rainfall.
When I arrived last September, the forest was as green as a summer garden. Leaves broad, full, verdant. The drought-deciduous trees species began to lose their leaves when the rains stopped. Now in April, a mountaintop view looks not unlike a temperate winter landscape—if you replace the thin-needed pines with broad-leaf evergreens, subtract the snow, and spin the thermostat up to 95 degrees F. Okay, so they are quite different: no coat required. Also, many TDF trees flower during the dry season so, amidst the mostly nude forest, bouquets of yellow, pink, purple dot the landscape.
The car windows are wide open and the wind rolls through carrying a campfire smell. The air often smells burnt during the dry season, especially in the last couple months. Before people settled in Guanacaste, the main source of fire would have been lightning—in the wet season. People have introduced a fire regime that peaks in the driest months. I drive out of the trees and notice the smoke on the road ahead. The dry, reedy pasture grass on farms on either side of the road is aflame. I have worked on both of these farms. I can see a few trees burning and a wall of hazy smoke across the asphalt. My car hits the smoke and it swirls off the car in tornados.
TDF have been disproportionately settled because it has relatively nutrient-rich soils and a climate favorable for growing crops and raising livestock. And if you’ve ever lived in a tropical rain forest or cloud forest—you’ll know that even freshly laundered T-shirts, folded and put away in a clean dresser begin to smell like the musty back corner of a forgotten part of your garage within a few days. It’s no wonder people preferred sunshine.
I glance in the rearview mirror and can still see the smoke lifting from the fire we passed. Although management patterns are changing, some people still use fire to “clean” pasture. They burn pastures to clear out early forest successional growth and entice new pasture grass to sprout for hungry livestock. Also, crops like sugar cane are burned after the harvest to remove crop residues. Landowners can apply for a burn permit with the Costa Rican Ministry of Environment but illegal burns are common. Regardless of the source or legality of the burn, once a fire escapes, landowners face another problem; there are not enough resources to fight forest fires on private farms. There are fire fighters. Area de Conservación de Guanacaste (ACG), with upwards of 290,000 acres of land, has a trained team firefighters that are kept busy protecting both the immense park and bordering forests on private farms. City fire fighters, on the other hand, must focus their efforts on fires that encroach upon buildings, towns, and roads. Basically, there are not enough resources to fight all the fires on private farms. If the landowner has employees and equipment, they will often fight the fires. But, frequently, the private forests just burn. I drive past the road that runs up the flanks of Rincón de la Vieja volcano. When I was hiking there last week, I stopped at a lookout point and counted seven fires. They looked like industrial smokestacks scattered in the forested landscape.
Guanacaste is in the middle of a forest transition. In the 1970s and 1980s deforestation rates were high, but beginning in the mid-1980s Guanacaste has had high rates of forest regeneration. Importantly, the overwhelming majority of that regeneration has occurred on private lands. What I’m trying to find out is who owns these regenerating forests and how ownership might influence the ecology and management.
I am interested in coupled human-natural systems—intrigued by the links between society and environment. Here in Guanacaste I am looking at how tree biodiversity and carbon storage are influenced by socioeconomic variables such as land ownership. I am interested in how the choices landowners make could influence forest regeneration processes. For example, ranchers retain certain tree species on their lands for the shade or fruit provided for their cattle. Landowners often select particular species such as indio desnudo (Bursura simaruba) to use as live fence posts—fences made of living trees connected by lines of barbed-wire. Indio desnudo is a great live fence post tree because it resprouts so easily: You can cut off a branch, plunk it in the ground and, viola, you’ll get a tree. Landowners may also be more likely to remove ‘weedy’, fast growing species from their pastures and retain valuable timber species such as mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla). These choices may influence the forest biodiversity and carbon stocks in private forests. After completing forest inventory plots on private farms, I will compare my data to a dataset from public forests collected by my adviser. We will use these datasets to test the hypotheses that private forests contain less biodiversity and carbon stocks than public secondary forest of similar ages and soil conditions.
Juan and I arrive at our new farm site. I stop briefly to talk with the farm manger; he is sitting atop a big tractor outfitted with a water container to fight the fires that are on the upper border of the property. Juan and I will work on the lower border of the property to avoid the fires. We drive to the lower part of the property and Juan hops out to struggle with the gate—five wrist-thick branches strung together with barbed-wire. The car lumbers down the road through the pasture and we arrive at a patch of forest. In the forest plot today, we will identify tree species to assess tree biodiversity. For carbon estimates, we’ll measure tree diameter at 1.3 m take species-specific wood density samples to plug into allometric equations. Within the plot, we will also collect soil samples to assess soil physical and chemical properties. We heft on our backpacks and swing the field bags over our shoulders. I rope the machete around my waist in case I need to give the spiked bromeliads in the forest plot a haircut.
If you like horses I strongly recommend the whole day horseback riding you can do here at Hacienda Guachipelin. You don’t have to be good on horseback riding to do this tour!
I do my internship here at Hacienda Guachipelin and works with the horses every day, and this tour is my favorite because you get to see the best sides of Guanacaste Costa Rica. You get to see everything from dry jungle to rain forest. You get the chance to ride in rivers, up on hills and around the area of other farms. Maybe the monkeys jump over your head as you ride in the forest. You will probably see a lot of beautiful birds and other animals.
The adventure tour starts at 8 am and the ride goes to Oropéndola witch is a big and beautiful waterfall where you got the opportunity to jump from the cliffs and swim in the clear water.
After the visit to Oropéndola you get up on the horses again and start the ride to Rio Negro hot springs, when we are arriving at Rio Negro you get to see the beautiful hot springs where you get painted in mud from the volcano. You can sit and relax in the hot springs where the water comes directly from the volcano. There are different pools with different degrees in it, so you can chose the one that fits you best. After the relax at the hot springs you start to ride again.
More bathing and refreshing surprises will be discovered under the day.