For a good indicator of how tourism to Guanacaste has grown in recent years, one simply needs to see how many passengers travel through Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport in Liberia.
In 2003, Liberia’s airport handled fewer than 100,000 people. Last year, it welcomed more than 1.1 million.
One of the more well-known beach communities in Guanacaste is Playas del Coco, located just 30 minutes from the airport (and 45 minutes from downtown Liberia).
From an overlook near the town, it’s easy to see what draws visitors to Guanacaste. The province has some of the best beaches — and clearest waters — in Costa Rica, with forest-covered hills stretching as far as the eye can see.
The province is home to tremendous natural beauty and biodiversity (including Costa Rica’s newest National Park), and also some discomforting examples of inequality. A suite at the Four Seasons on Papagayo Peninsula, for instance, can cost $10,000 per night — in a country where the average household has a monthly income of about $1,250.