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Nicoya was originally an indigenous city which was founded by the Indian tribe Chortega, and which dates all the way back to the 1500s. The tribe was later pushed out by the Spanish colonists, but remnants of the indigenous culture are still present in the town, most noticeably in the physical appearance of the locals, which have retained the dark features and reserved mannerisms of their ancestors.

Today Nicoya serves mainly as a transportation hub for travelers shuttling themselves either to or from the Guanacaste coast, and though there aren’t many tourist attractions here, it is worth an afternoon or so if you’re looking to experience a bit of authentic Tico culture. The town is more pleasant than neighboring Santa Cruz, and the slightly ramshackle facades of the buildings make for a colorful and interesting stroll around the streets. The San Blas church is the oldest in Costa Rica, and the adjacent park in the center of town is an agreeable focal point; it is always full of boisterous schoolchildren and chatting pensioners.

The town also has some of the best shopping in the area; there is a huge Supercompro market and plenty of slightly offbeat clothing stores, so it’s a good place to stock up if there’s anything you need. Bakeries and cafés are dotted around the side streets and there is a good selection of local sodas and restaurants. The bus terminal tends to be crowded and can get quite confusing, but Nicoya is well-served by public transport and easy to get to and away from once you’ve managed to ascertain the seemingly ever-changing timetables.

Neighborhoods in Nicoya: Puerto Humo, Parque Nacional Barra Honda,

Other places nearby Nicoya: Monteverde, Santa Cruz, Santa Elena , Liberia, Manuel Antonio,quepos, Herradura and Playa Samara.

By Viva User


11 Nov 2010

Top Places in Nicoya

Puerto Humo

This small town is about 27 kilometers northeast of Nicoya. There is little to see in the town itself but the area is known for excellent bird-watching opportunities. This isn’t too ...
City Zone
Puerto Humo, Nicoya, Costa Rica

Things to do in Nicoya

San Blass Church

142294This quaint, humble church was originally built in 1644, but was destroyed by an earthquake in 1822. Nine years later it was completely rebuilt, and the church today remains barely updated since that ...
Historical Building
Nicoya, Costa Rica

Barra Honda National Park

142334Parque Nacional Barra Honda Located 22 kilometers (13.7 miles) northwest of noisy Nicoya is the oasis of calm and tranquillity that is Barra Honda National Park. Founded in 1974, the park ...
Nicoya, Costa Rica


The caves are the highlight of Barra Honda, and if you want to explore them, you’ll have to hire two guides (about $52). They work in pairs because they use a two-person belay system for ...
Other Activity
Nicoya, Costa Rica

Wildlife Watching

Wildlife watching opportunities occur both above and below ground here. In the caves, you’ll most likely see some bats, especially in and around the Trampa Cave chamber known as Stink-Pot ...
Other Activity
Parque Nacional Barra Honda, Nicoya, Costa Rica

Puerto Humo

This small town is about 27 kilometers northeast of Nicoya. There is little to see in the town itself but the area is known for excellent bird-watching opportunities. This isn’t too ...
Other Activity
Puerto Humo, Nicoya, Costa Rica
View Nicoya Map

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