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La Cruz


La Cruz y Santa Rosa National Park

La Cruz is a small town north of Guanacaste next to the Nicaraguan border.  It’s one of Costa Rica’s treasures, as it played an important role in the country’s history, and nowadays is a popular spot for surfers and nature lovers.

Santa Rosa, an old fort which is now a national monument, marks the spot where Juan Santamaria and his men stopped an armed invasion by the USA. Maybe you never heard the story? William Walker and his army were defeated in a colorful, bloody, pathetic story


La Cruz, Guanacaste Costa Rica

Cow resting in a cattle ranch close to la cruz, Guanacaste.
    Grassland nearby La Cruz

La Cruz is the tenth canton of Guanacaste province, established since 1969. La Cruz bounded on the north with Nicaragua and is where the main border crossing is ( Peñas Blancas). La Cruz is located on the shores of what is known as the viewpoint La Cruz, from where there are wonderful and breathtaking sunsets, with the sun hiding in the Pacific Ocean, under the broad horizon. This viewpoint, and the Santa Rosa National Park are its biggest tourist attractions, where the Casona de Santa Rosa, preserved since the mid nineteenth century, is a monument to the history of the country. La Cruz beaches are wonderful. The best known are: Junquillal, Cuajiniquil, Jobo, Rajada, Salinas Bay and Manzanillo Santa Rosa itself has some of the most beautiful beachesof Costa Rica and we could considered them almost virgin since its access is very difficult by land. 


History of La Cruz.

In pre-Columbian times the area currently known as the canton de La Cruz, was part of a province of indians called Chorotegas whose domains ranged from the Nicoya Peninsula to the Lake of Nicaragua and were made up of several villages or domains.
The region was discovered by Don Gil Gonzalez Davila in 1522, on his march to another province of the Chorotegas, which was under the authority of the chief of Nicarao (today known as Nicaragua). In 1561 Don Juan de Cavallon, from Granada passed through this area reaching the Central Valley in his expedition. In September 1562 Juan Vazquez de Coronado passed by this area too, bringing cattle and horses from León. He also went through the region of Perafán de Ribera in his journey towards Cartago.
In the second half of the nineteenth century came to this region, the first farmers from Rivas, Nicaragua, beginning the formation of ranches. On March 20, 1856, our troops fought their first battle against the filibusters of William Walker in the Hacienda Santa Rosa, defeating and expelling the invaders from our territory.

In the government administration of Ascensión Esquivel Ibarra, in 1906 the school was located fifty meters east of the existing lookout, built by the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo (National Tourism Chamber). In 1953, a new school was built called Salvador Villar Muñoz. The high school named Liceo La Cruz began teaching in 1969 during the government of José Joaquín Trejos Fernández, as a supplementary educational secondary school, at first in the day and then at night, located at the school, in 1973 opened the current premises.

Law No 20, the 18 th of October 1915, enacted the territorial division for administrative purposes, in which La Cruz was the third district of Liberia´s canton.The first chapel was built in 1923, located at the northeast corner of the existing park. During the archbishop Monsignor Víctor Manuel Sanabria Martínez, second Archbishop of Costa Rica, in 1949, the parish was erected, with devotion to the Holy Cross, which is currently suffrage of the Diocese of Tilarán of the Ecclesiastical Province of Costa Rica.
The pipe was opened in the year 1946, in the administration of former president Teodoro Picado Michalski.

In the government of José Joaquín Trejos Fernández, on July 23, 1969, law No 4354, was granted the title of Villa of the town of La Cruz, head of canton set up with that purpose. Later, in Act No 4574 of May 4, 1970, promulgated the Municipal Code, third article, that confirmed that this villa was now a City.

On August 10, 1970 was held the first meeting of the Council of La Cruz, composed of the following owners: Mr Piedad Loáiciga Salgado, President: Victor Manuel Hernandez Ortega, Vice President: Carlos Manuel Rodriguez Campos. The Municipal Executive was Sancho Felix Gallo and the City Clerk: Jose Luis Fallas Leitón.

The name of La Cruz, dates back to an incident occurred at the time when the mules carried the cattle from Nicaragua to Esparza, when one of them passing through the region, fell dead while pursuing a cow that had escaped from the herd, his peers buried him and placed a log cross on his grave. Later, this cross served as a reference to the mules that stopped over there for a break and to count the cattle, before continuing their journey to their final destination. Over time the site led to the formation of a burgeoning population, which began to be known as La Cruz.

Approximately 72% of its economically active population worked in livestock, agriculture and fisheries. Its further development was due to the opening of the Interamericana highway. The trade of Costa Rica with the rest of Central America has led the increase in the passage of vehicles to be bound by crossing La Cruz.

The development of tourism in the region has generously helped the people of this canton, as many work in informal trade activities; others have turned their houses into small hotels and sodas. The arrival of tourists (domestic and foreign) to the beaches of the canton has been growing steadily, generating demand for luxury hotels and homes that have been developed across the coastal zone. The lack of appropriate places of healthy amusement leads to the consumption of alcohol, making it one of the major ills afflicting the canton.

The limit is set by dividing the Guanacaste Volcanic Mountain Range, where the Orosi Volcano is located, with a beautiful faraway view from the Bolaños Bay area. La Cruz is a small city that offers all the basic services and is located 45 minutes from Liberia which is the biggest city in Guanacaste.


How to get there

La Cruz is located 65 km north of Liberia, on the Inter-American Highway.  There are two immigration checkpoints along the way.
What to do and where to go in La Cruz

La Cruz is home to two of the best surf spots in Costa Rica, Bahía Potrero and Playa Naranjo.

Windsurf at Salinas Bay, the second biggest winsurfing spot after Arenal.

Islas Murcielago is the perfect diving spot.  Don’t miss out!

There are 2 good options for camping in La Cruz:
Murcielago Station in Santa Elena Peninsula
Junquillal Bay Wildlife Refuge

Turtle watch: Enjoy turtle watching at Playa Nancite, located 17 km from La Cruz town.

Santa Rosa National Park:
Explore the dry tropical forest, abundant wildlife and remote beaches in one of the most important historical places in the Costa Rica.

La Casona:
Learn about Costa Rica’s history at La Casona museum.  Open from 8am to 4pm.


Accommodations in La Cruz and surroundings


Amalia`s Inn: (phone. 2679-96-18) $20 shared bathroom, $30 private bathroom.
Hotel Cabinas Santa Rita: (phone: 2679-90-62) $10 shared bathrooms, $15 private bathrooms, $23 w/private bathroom.
Hotel Bella Vista: ( phone: 2679-80-60), 125m west of La Cruz, at top of hill, variety of modern cabins ($5-16), fans, some hot water, pool, parking, restaurant/bar, view, tours.
Kite Surfing Center 2000 (phone: 2672-02-18)  Rooms at $15 per person with shared bath. Cabins at $45.


Hotel Cañas Castilla: (phone: 8381-40-30) Cabins at $45 with fan.
Hotel La Mirada: (phone: 2679-90-84) Rooms at $29 with fan A/C, fridge, microwave and TV.


Hotel Progetto Pura Vida: (phone: 2676-10-55)  Luxury villas at $50-100 & Studios at $35-40. Pet friendly.
Hotel EcoPlaya Beach Resort: (phone: 2289-89-20) Rooms at $105. Wheelchair accessible and pet friendly.


Hotel Recreo in La Cruz Road to Hotel Recreo in La Cruz, Guanacaste
          Recreo Hotel in Guanacaste           



Restaurant Copal (located in Playa Copal): (phone: 2676-10-06) European food, pizza and seafood.

Bar Restaurant El Yugo: (phone: 2666-24-01) Costa Rican food.

Other stores in town

Center Service Muñoz ( Phone: 8897-65-49) photocopies, back & white and color printing.

La Carreta Tank Timber: ( phone: 2679-90-03), construction materials.

Arial Boutique: ( phone: 2679-91-89) casual wear.

Andina Pizza: ( phone: 2679-99-00), delivery service.

La Cruz Drug Store: ( phone: 2679-80-48), 175 meters north of the park.


La Cruz nearby Beaches


Featured La Cruz hotels

Bahia Santa Elena Lodge, Costa Rica
Bahia Santa Elena Lodge



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