Guanacaste

Guanacaste is a province of Costa Rica, located in the northwest part of the country. It borders Nicaragua to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Guanacaste gets its name from the guanacaste tree - or the ear pod tree - which is the national tree of Costa Rica.

Guanacaste is home to about 264,000 people, across an area of 3,915 square miles. In comparison, the state of Connecticut is slightly larger (5,500 square miles) but has a far greater population at 3.5 million people.

Guanacaste was originally part of the Spanish colony of Nicaragua, but when these countries gained independence from Spain in 1821, residents chose to be part of Costa Rica instead.

The eastern border of Guanacaste is marked by volcanic mountains. The volcanic activity creates rich soil, which is home to lush vegetation here. Guanacaste is generally warmer and dryer than the rest of Costa Rica, which along with the heavy forests and Pacific beaches, makes it a destination for tourists.