The Nicoya Peninsula
The Nicoya Peninsula is the largest of two peninsulas on Costa Rica’s Pacific side. The long stretch of rugged coastline with a rolling interior of small towns, grasslands, and forests encompasses part of both Guanacaste and Puntarenas provinces. It’s eastern half borders the vast Gulf of Nicoya, which is dotted with small palm-topped islands, many of which are only inhabited by birds and reptiles. The gulf is an important national resource for fishing and its nutrient-rich waters are often used for shrimp and oyster farms. A couple of the islands nearest to the peninsula are home to glamping resorts and the occasional opportunity to camp or board with local families.
The remaining coastline stretching from the southern tip of the peninsula and north into Guanacaste Province boasts some of Costa Rica’s most famous beach towns and stunning beaches. In fact, the area is so beautiful, and the surf so consistent, that many of Hollywood’s famous have built second (or third) homes in the area. Among them are Gisele Bündchen, Tom Brady, Mel Gibson, and the list goes on. The region has a particular draw for health and yoga-minded types as well. Over the past decades, wellness-inspired luxury resorts and yoga retreat centers have multiplied.
This wellness trend was further encouraged by National Geographic’s (2005) discovery that the Nicoya Peninsula is in fact one of the world’s five BLUE ZONES – regions of the world where a higher than usual number of people live considerably longer than average. Reasons for the population’s longevity is attributed to simple factors related to the quality of life, including a healthy diet, good water, a sense of family/community, and relationships, among others.