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Costa Rica Nicoya Peninsula

The Travel Guide to the Peninsula de Nicoya, Costa Rica, with detailed Maps, Hotels and Tourist Information

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Manzanillo, Santa Teresa

Beach north of Manzanillo
Beach scenery north of Manzanillo

The area north of Manzanillo is one of the last long uninterrupted stretches of pristine beach wilderness on the Nicoya Peninsula.

Birds breed in the thickets by the river estuaries and sea turtles come to lay their eggs in the sand. The area is an important nesting site for olive ridley and the highly endangered leatherback seaturtles and has therefore been converted into a wildlife sanctuary. The Wildlife Reserve Caletas Ario stretches north as far as Punta Coyote.

Rio Bongo
The majestic Rio Bongo with heaps of driftwood

From Manzanillo to the estuary of the Rio Bongo it is 7 kms. Driving on the beach is strictly prohibited, but you can take a tour on horseback, or walk by foot.
Pack enough water, take sun protection, and check on the tides because you have to ford two rivers. Shortly after Manzanillo is the Rio Manzanillo and 2 km further there is another, smaller river to cross.
You won't meet many people on your tour, instead you find seclusion on lonely beaches littered with driftwood and shells.

Guanacaste Costa Rica
The landspit near the Bongo estuary

The Rio Bongo is one of the biggest rivers on the Nicoya Peninsula and forms the border between the provinces of Guanacaste and Puntarenas.
Before you arrive at the river mouth you wander along an extended spit of land which the river has formed over the years. Here you have the pounding ocean on the one side, while on the other side are the serene and calm waters of the majestic river.

At low tide you can cross the Rio Bongo by wading through waist-high water at the outer edge of the river mouth. Watch out for crocodiles that inhabit the river. From the other side of the Bongo estuary you can further continue for another 8 km along the pristine beach of Playa Caletas until you reach the Punta Coyote.