Introducing Península de Nicoya
The Nicoya Peninsula, a hook-shaped, beach-fringed and sun-drenched strip of land, has always figured prominently in the history of Costa Rica. Following the independence of Central America from Spain, the peninsula (along with Northwestern Costa Rica) comprised the bulk of Guanacaste, a province of the newly formed country of Nicaragua. However, on July 25, 1824, Guanacastecos voted to secede and join Costa Rica, creating yet another grievance between Nicas and Ticos.
Today, the region still holds on to its dream of independence, and it’s not uncommon to see the Guanacaste flag flying high (sometimes higher than the national one). However, like most Ticos, Guanacastecos are fierce adherents to the philosophy of pura vida, and their separatist plans usually play second fiddle to something much more important, namely enjoying a coastal sunset.
Much of the Nicoya Peninsula is the domain of the sabanero, Guanacaste’s equivalent of the American cowboy. However, in true Tico fashion, sabaneros are peaceful and honorable, and most carry themselves with an air that will remind you as much of a samurai or knight as of a cowboy.
In the past, poor roads and slow ferries kept development in check, though the recently constructed Friendship Bridge and new international airport in Liberia have made the region easier to access than ever. Today, record numbers of foreigners are flocking to Nicoya, and the government’s ‘ambitious’ Papagayo Project will ensure that they keep coming.