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Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Seal of Guanacaste, Costa Rica  Guanacaste is a province of Costa Rica located in its northwestern area, along the coast of the Pacific Ocean; very rich in history, culture, folklore and a peculiar nature. It borders Nicaragua at N, with Alajuela province at E, Puntarenas Province at SE, and Pacific Ocean at W. The capital of Guanacaste is the city of Liberia, and the province has an area of 10,140.71 km2 (3,915.35 sq mi), and a population of 280,488 (the most sparsely populated in Costa Rica). The province is divided into 11 cantons and 59 districts.

(En Español: Guanacaste)

Province of Guanacaste

Map of Guanacaste in Costa Rica Location: At the northwestern zone & Pacific Ocean coast of Costa Rica.
Coordinates: 10°26'N 85°24'W
Subdivisions: Cantons: 11, Districts: 59
Area: 10,140.71 km² (1) (3,915.35 sq mi)
Population: 280,488 (2010) (2)
Capital City: Liberia.
     Elevation: 144 m ASL (472 feet)
     Average Temperature: 27.1 °C (80.8 °F)
     Annual Rainfall: 1,500 - 2,000 mm (59-79 inches)
Features & Attractions:
* 25th July is the commemorative date of the annexation of Guanacaste to Costa Rica in 1824. (3)
* La Casona Museum at Santa Rosa, Nicoya Colonial Church.
* The Guanacaste tree, "árbol de Guanacaste" (Enterolobium cyclocarpum).
* Tropical Dry Forest and the "Area de Conservación Guanacaste" (ACG), one of the most successful environment restoration project in the world.
* Guanacaste, Santa Rosa, Palo Verde, Diriá & Barra Honda (cave) National Parks, Las Baulas Marine National Park.
* Orosí, Rincón de La Vieja, Miravalles & Tenorio volcanoes (on the border with Alajuela); Golfo de Nicoya; Arenal Lake; Tempisque, Bebedero & Colorado rivers.
* Beaches: Playa Hermosa, Playas del Coco, Flamingo, Tamarindo, Langosta, Avellana, Junquillal, Lagarto, Ostional, Nosara, Sámara.
* Daniel Oduber International Airport.
* Ecotourism: Las Pumas Wildlife Rescue Shelter (Cañas).

The Province of Guanacaste and its Cantons
Notes & References for this table:   [1] IGN 2009.   [2] INEC (Jan 2009).  [3] Range of temperature throughout the province.  [4] Distance (in km) and direction, from the capital of province.  [5] Altitude (in m above sea level) and temperature at the capital city of the province.  [6] Capital of province.  [7] From San José.
 Canton Name  Area [1] (km2) Population (2009) [2] Temp. [3] Capital km from CoP [4] Altitude (m ASL),
Temp. [5]
Rainfall (mm/year) Foundation
1 Liberia [6] 1,436.47 56,520 27-28ºC Liberia   [7] 144 | 27ºc 2,000 Dec 7, 1848
2 Nicoya 1,333.47 48,139   Nicoya 80, S123 2,500 Dec 7, 1848
3 Santa Cruz 1,312.27 46,890   Santa Cruz 50, SSW49 2,500 Dec 7, 1848
4 Bagaces 1,273.49 18,508   Bagaces 25, SW 80 2,000 Dec 7, 1848
5 Carrillo 577.54 32,509   Filadelfia 2, NE 17 2,000 Jun 16, 1877
6 Cañas 682.20 28,163   Cañas 50, SE 86 1,700 Dec 7, 1848
7 Abangares 675.76 18,421   Las Juntas   150 2,500 Jun 4, 1915
8 Tilarán 638.39 20,454   Tilarán 58, SE 564 3,000 Aug 21, 1923
9 Nandayure 565.59 11,261   Carmona 78, SSE 80 2,700 Oct 9, 1961
10 La Cruz 1,383.90 20,194   La Cruz 56, NNW 255 2,000 Jul 23, 1969
11Hojancha 261.42 7,327  Hojancha 63, S 350 3,000 Nov 2, 1971

Map of Guanacaste
Guanacaste, Costa Rica.
"Playas del Coco":
Coco Beach. Guanacaste, Costa Rica.

© 2010 (Derechos reservados) Costa Rica 21 S.A.

A young Guanacaste tree  Climate and culture of Guanacaste are distinctive among Costa Rican provinces. It experiences few rains and persistent heat from November to April, which is what the tourists from cold and snow covered lands are looking for: dry heat and blue sky to enjoy the breathtaking Guanacaste beaches. From May to October, the climate very similar to that of San José, consisting of daily rains and moderate temperatures. Logically, Guanacaste is considerably warmer than other regions located at higher altitudes from other provinces.

As interesting facts, it must be noticed that the Guanacaste tree (Enterolobium cyclocarpum), was declared the national tree of Costa Rica at August 31, 1959; and the Colorado river has a canyon whose walls have Pre-Columbian relics showing that this place had a sacred role. Guanacaste was annexed to Costa Rica in 1858, and is distinctive from the rest of the country in its culture and its geography. The culture and traditions in Guanacaste are an heritage from the Pre-Columbian indigenous known as Chorotegas (northern "Mesoamérica" influence), and the Spanish colonists.

This pre-Columbian and colonial influence is reflected in the typical recipes of Guanacaste, very tasty rural dishes based on corn and livestock products, among which can be mentioned: the "bizcochos" (small salt donuts of corn with cheese), the "chorreadas" (pancakes of corn and flour), "arroz de maíz" (corn rice), pozol (corn stewed with meat) and "moronga" (homemade sausage based on pig blood, rice and herbal spices).

Guanacaste is the second province in size of the country, featuring wide plains with some hills as backgrounds, where horses and cattle, and cultivation areas as well are the the life of its people. But there is a nature very specialized to the weather conditions of low or no rain for several months, which produces what is called the Tropical Dry Forest, the second terrestrial environment in biodiversity; and there are wildlife refuges, national parks, and of course beaches of extraordinary beauty, some of the most popular of Costa Rica.

Notes & References:
(Repeated citations ordered in parenthesis)
1 (1,2) - Instituto Geográfico Nacional (IGN), 2009.
2 (1,2) - Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos (INEC), most recent publications.
3 - "Anexión del Partido de Nicoya a Costa Rica, 25 de julio de 1824". National Archive of Costa Rica.

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