Top Attractions in Nicoya Peninsula | Barra Honda National Park
Located on the central, western coast of Costa Rica, the Nicoya Peninsula is just removed enough from the main tourist traffic to offer an authentic travel experience. Wildlife, national parks, and pristine beaches are some of the main attractions. The Nicoya Peninsula is also one of 7 “Blue Zones” in the world that indicate longevity based on a healthy and outdoor lifestyle. Read on below about some of the top attractions and visitor favorites in our area.
Barra Honda National Park is a series of 42 under ground limestone caves, only 19 of which have been explored. Some of the caves are open to the public to explore by descending down a ladder into the narrow cave entrance. Enjoy the wildlife as you hike through the park to get up to the caves. To explore the caves, you’ll need to purchase a guided cave tour.
List of Top Attractions in Nicoya Peninsula
Cabo Blanco is named after the large white rock island off of the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula. Known for it’s incredible wildlife, rare tree species and hundreds of species of birds.
What’s Cool: Cabo Blanco was the very first protected land and national park in Costa Rica.
Curu is one of the most popular parks in the country for natural wildlife sighting. With rare species of animals and birds, you will enjoy seeing them in the wild.
What’s Cool: Take a hike through the park and you’ll be rewarded with one of the most beautiful beaches of the Nicoya Peninsula. Cool off with a swim and continue on with your adventure!
This natural wonder is a series of 42 underground, limestone caves. To explore the caves, you desend down a ladder and into the underground landscape.
What’s cool: The caves are home to around 5,000 bats.
As tropical wetlands, Palo Verde National Park is one of the best places for bird watching in Costa Rica. Palo Verde is incredibly important to migratory bird patterns. The park is full of incredible Costa Rica wildlife including birds, insects, trees, flowers, and animals.
What’s Cool: Depending on the time of year, Palo Verde hosts over 250,000 birds.
The Ostional Wildlife Refuge was created to protect the Olive Ridley sea turtles that come onto the beach each year to lay their eggs in the black sand beach. Visit to watch the the sea turtles lay eggs or the baby sea turtles hatch and make their way to the ocean.
What’s Cool: If the baby sea turtles survive to maturity, they return to the same beach to lay their own eggs.
The Montezuma Waterfall is fun for the whole family. A great nature hike through the jungle and along the river leads you to a large pool with 75 foot, beautiful waterfalls.
What’s Cool: These waterfalls are actually a series of 3 waterfalls. Hike up higher and experience other pools and waterfalls.
One of seven waterfalls in the world that drops from river to ocean, El Chorro is a special experience. Along a beautiful beach and with large rock formations, you’ll see the waterfall cascading below into the ocean.
What’s cool: El Chorro is on a secluded beach called Cocalito. The easiest way to get there is on horseback on the beach!
Refugio Romelia is a refuge and protected land that runs along Playa Grande. Volunteers run the refuge and work hard to protect the wildlife and sea turtles.
What’s Cool: The volunteers collect and protect sea turtle eggs and then release the baby turtles once they hatch!
The ASVO turtle hatchery is located right on the beach in Montezuma. Volunteers patrol the beach day and night to collect and protect the sea turtle eggs. When they are ready to hatch, the volunteers make sure they safely make their way to the ocean.
What’s Cool: Baby turtle releases are open for public viewing! Most of the year, they are released each day around 4pm.
Located between Ylang Ylang Beach Resort and Playa Grande, this untouched piece of land offers beautiful walking trails along the beach and through the jungle.
What’s Cool: Nicolas Wessberg and his wife Karen Mogensen were the founders of the Costa Rica national park system and spent much of their life living in Montezuma.
The Karen Mogensen reserve is a large piece protected land and an important piece of Costa Rica’s biological corridor. Rare plants, animals and flowers are protected in this lush primary forest.
What’s Cool: For a day hike, venture to the “Velo de Novia” waterfalls. At 84 meters high and a blue swimming hole, they are not to be missed!
Where to Stay
Ylang Ylang Beach Resort Long considered one of the most scenic resorts in Costa Rica, with beachfront rooms. For over 8 years we’ve received the Certificated of Excellence by TripAdvisor, and listed on leading travel publications including Fodor’s Choice.
Relax on our beach that is nestled between a rain forest teeming with exotic life. More adventurous travelers can explore the endless activities available including; surfing,scuba-diving, zip-lining, ATV, horseback riding and even trails through the jungle!