Nicoya - Costa Rica

Nicoya is the oldest colonial town in Costa Rica. Allegedly the parish church was built in the year 1522.

Before Nicoya was founded the Corotega tribe had a settlement at this location. The natives welcomed the Spaniards with presents of gold. Gil Gonzales Davila was very impressed and named the place after the native leader, Nicoya. In the native language Nicoya means "water to both sides". This relates to the Golf of Nicoya and the Pacific Ocean.

Visiting the oldest colonial town of the country...

The old parish church doesn't exist anymore, today's church, San Blas, was built in the 16th century. After a strong earthquake in 1822 it had to be renovated. There is a small museum inside that displays objects of copper, silver and gold.

Travelers can take a break in Nicoya and can wash off the road dust in the public swimming pool.

The Festival of the Virgen of Guadelupe is celebrated each year on the 12th of December. During the Catholic procession a dark skinned virgin is carried through the town accompanied by musicians and dancers.

The origin of this tradition is a legend of the Chorotega tribe. Supposedly two native brothers killed each other over the love to a native princess.

Nicoya on the map

Alajuela on the map

Facts about Nicoya, Costa Rica

  • Nicoya is located in the province of Guanacaste.
  • Nicoya is the oldest colonial town in Costa Rica.

Driving times and distances

  • Distance from San Jose to Nicoya: 203.7 kilometers respectively 126.6 miles.
  • Travel time from San Jose to Nicoya: 3.54 hours.
  • Distance from Liberia to Nicoya: 77 kilometers respectively 47.8 miles.
  • Travel time from Liberia to Nicoya: 1.28 hours.

The festival is celebrated with bull fights and fireworks. As well as typical Costa Rican dancing and drinking that takes place later in the evening.



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