Santa Cruz Canton is one of Costa Rica’s most historic centers and was first settled by Spanish colonists around 1760. Its capital city, also named Santa Cruz, is situated in the heart of the Nicoya Peninsula in Guanacaste Province.
The area’s inhabitants earned Santa Cruz the distinction of being the country’s most historical city because of their strong ties to culture and tradition. The Central American Institute of Tourism also hailed the colorful town the “Folklore City” of Costa Rica.
Meaning Holy Cross, in English, Santa Cruz hosts several religious festivals throughout the year. Parades, bullfights, and carnivals are equally popular draws for locals and tourists alike. Historically significant dates are another reason to celebrate in Santa Cruz. These include important events such as the Annexation of Guanacaste in July and Independence Day in September.
Tourism Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz has grown in notoriety also because it is situated on the main thoroughfare between Guanacaste & Nicoya beach towns. The town is a short 30-minute drive from Daniel Oduber International Airport, also known as the Liberia Airport.
Its proximity to beautiful beaches has boosted the town’s popularity as a stopping point for visitors looking to experience local folklore and culture. Don’t miss a visit to the nearby village of Guaitil, famous for its delicious traditional fare and locally made ceramics.
The Guaitil art of pottery making has been passed down through the generations by the Chorotega indigenous group. The native peoples have inhabited the area between lake Nicaragua and Nicoya for thousands of years, developing a stylized method of making ceramics and pottery. Their naturally inspired pieces are considered iconic symbols of Costa Rican art and craftsmanship.
Renting a car, Santa Cruz, Guanacaste
The best way to experience Santa Cruz district to Nicoya, neighboring beaches, and national parks is by renting a car. There are several car rental companies to choose from in Costa Rica, but they are not all the same. Many companies are unreliable and don’t disclose extra fees, such as rental deposits and mandatory liability insurance requirements.
We at Adobe Rent a Car guarantee that every step of the car rental process is straightforward and hassle-free with no hidden fees – ever! As a 100% Costa Rican owned company, and with over 30 years in the industry, we know Costa Rica inside and out. We also understand what our clients want from a rental car company.
No matter where you land, whether at the San José or Liberia International Airport, there’s an Adobe Rent a Car office nearby. In fact, there are 15 full-service Adobe offices strategically located throughout the country.
Best time to visit Santa Cruz
The best time to visit the City of Santa Cruz is undoubtedly January, which is also the country’s peak tourist season. The historic city is buzzing with celebrations in honor of its patron saint, Santo Cristo de Esquipulas. The festivities are held throughout the month.
January is also a great time to experience Guanacaste’s vivid cowboy culture. The town’s annual rodeo is a highly anticipated event. Dancing, parades, and traditional cuisine are other highlights of the festivities.
Bull riding and “blood-free bullfights” are the rodeo’s most prominent attractions. The crowd is also welcomed into the arena to taunt and dodge the angry bulls for the spectators’ delight. Usually no animals are hurt during the events. However, participants must beware to avoid getting gored or stepped on by the excited beasts.
Activities in Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz Canton is known for its spectacular beaches in addition to its long-standing traditions and folklore. Most visitors skip the hotels in Santa Cruz, however, and head straight for the coast.
Among its most popular beach towns are Tamarindo, Flamingo, Grande, Nosara, and Conchal, as well as several stunning and less frequented oceanfront villages. Palo Verde and Marino Las Baulas are but two of the renowned national parks in the area and worth visiting. Hiking, kayaking, sightseeing, and guided tours are offered in both.
Because of the region’s diverse topography, there’s plenty to do and see. True to the country’s reputation, there’s a wide variety of eco-adventures to choose from. Canopy tours, zip lines, kayaking, hiking, ATV tours, mountain biking, sailing, sportfishing, and of course, surfing are all available for the young at heart. All you need is a credit card and a taste for adventure.
When shopping for the right tour for you or your family, take a look at the Costa Rica Blue Zone tours.
The Nicoya Peninsula was recently recognized as one of the world’s six Blue Zones, world regions whose inhabitants live considerably longer than the global average. The phenomenon is attributed to a high quality of life. Particularly to their healthy diet, low-stress natural environment, and a strong sense of family and community.
Blue zone tours offer visitors a glimpse into Costa Rica’s secret blend for happiness and longevity. Participants enjoy outdoor activities, meet with local elders to hear personal life stories, and sample traditional farm-grown cuisine.
Vacation packages are available online that combine hotel deals with the best of the culture, folklore, beaches, and national parks in Santa Cruz Canton. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit during your next trip to Costa Rica.