Small Ship Cruises in Nicoya Peninsula

A Nicoya Peninsula Cruise sweeps guests away to a tropical island paradise in South America. Cruises to Nicoya Peninsula Costa Rica offer a wonderful balance between a cruise from Costa Rica to Panama and private yachting and sailing with numerous adventure activities to enjoy at various ports in the Pacific Ocean. Guests will have access to incredible beaches on this landmass separated from mainland Costa Rica by the Gulf of Nicoya and the Tempisque estuary. The vast coastline expanses make countless coves and areas to enjoy water sports. Tourists and ex-pats populate the coast, and the interior is largely uninhabited, except for cattle farms. The plentiful and rich vegetation and a mountain range transverses the landscape. It is an often overlooked yet excellent destination for eco-tourism.

Beaches, wildlife encounters, and adventure activities in the water are very popular on the Nicoya Peninsula. The Tortuga Islands and local nature reserves also make most guests' must-do lists.

Top things to do and see in the Nicoya Peninsula

The Cúru National Wildlife Refuge lies on the southern portion of the Nicoya Peninsula in northwestern Costa Rica. This is the premier spot to see many of the native animals of Costa Rica, including White-faced monkeys, Howler monkeys, Spider Monkeys, Frigate birds, Scarlet Macaws, Hummingbirds, White-tailed Deer, Collared Peccary, Coati, Raccoons, Leatherback and Olive Ridley Turtles, Coyotes, Iguanas, Tanagers, and Trogons. The rich ecosystems create an ideal habitat for flourishing plant and animal species. There are even exciting insects to see, like Army Ants, Leaf Ants, and Blue Morpho Butterflies.

The refuge is also home to one of the area's most beautiful beaches and protected bays. A trip to the refuge is a great way to experience one of the many tropical forests you'll encounter on your Costa Rica boat cruise. Many take the opportunity to go hiking on jungle trails in the park.

Continue your Costa Rica Cruise with a stop on Tortuga Island, a serene and lush location off the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula covered in iconic coconut palms. The local villages are great examples of the laid-back island life and the immaculate white sand beaches are all you could hope for. Swim, snorkel, sun yourself, hike, or play volleyball on the beach or try a canopy tour by zip line to get your adrenaline rushing.

Other famous beaches on the Nicoya Peninsula include Santa Teresa/Mal Pais, known for epic surfing; Playa Pelada, with its rocky landscape; and Playa Ostional, known particularly for the annual arribada, or mass turtle nesting.

Water bikes are popular ways to enjoy the scenic area, as are glass-bottomed boats. Scuba diving is also extremely popular on Tortuga Island, and guests frequently encounter Stingrays, Angel Fish, sharks, Spinner dolphins, and octopuses as they explore the sunken boats in the surrounding waters and the unique underwater coves.

Water activities are popular throughout the peninsula. Kayaking, surfing, and stand-up paddleboarding are popular along the coast and in secluded bays and coves. The surf on the Pacific side of Costa Rica is considered some of the best in the entire world.

Top Tips for visiting the Nicoya Peninsula on a cruise

Before visiting the Nicoya Peninsula on a cruise, you must pack some necessary items. Here are our recommendations to make the most out of your Costa Rica small ship cruise:

  • Sun protection: sunblock and protective clothing, including a hat!
  • Insect repellant can be helpful in the lush forests and preserves.
  • Heavy-duty hiking shoes, underwater shoes, and comfortable deck shoes are all important on this trip.
  • A camera for the Costa Rican wildlife and beautiful white sand beaches!
  • A waterproof cell phone protector sleeve and a dry bag to safeguard your electronics.
  • Own a snorkeling mask? Bring it along.
  • Bring a serviceable day pack to bring what you need when you leave the boat.

Best time to cruise the Nicoya Peninsula

Any adventure trip requires effort to plan. It's the same for your Costa Rica Boat cruise. The best time to take a Nicoya Peninsula Cruise depends on what you hope to experience there.

The first distinct season in the Nicoya Peninsula is the Dry Season, which starts in November and lasts until May. The sun shines almost constantly, and temperatures are warm, reaching up to 36°C. The trees lose their leaves, and dust abounds from the lack of rain.

May brings the start of some rain, indicating that the rainy season or winter is approaching. Rain begins intermittently but increases in volume until the peninsula is transformed into a tropical rainforest climate. Temperatures can get as low as 22ºC. A Nicoya Peninsula Cruise in May through September can still be rewarding, especially if you've come to see the plant life in all its splendor.

Nicoya Peninsula holidays in Costa Rica are always rich with wildlife. You can see parrots, sea life, turtles, and other animals all year round. There are several species of turtles in the Nicoya Peninsula, and each nest at a different time. Therefore, you have a good chance of seeing baby turtles at almost any time of year. One point to note is that the Playa Ostional turtle nesting occurs sporadically between July and December.

Where do Nicoya Peninsula cruises depart from?

Once you arrive in San José, Costa Rica, at the Juan Santamaría International Airport, you will have to get to the port your ship leaves from. Generally, our Nicoya Peninsula cruises depart from Puerto Caldera, Herradura, or Punta Arenas. Your Costa Rica cruise itinerary will specify your departure point.

A crew member will meet you at the airport in San José and assist you to the ship, including any necessary domestic travel. You'll be well taken care of by our trained staff.

Book your next adventure cruise to Costa Rica's Nicoya Peninsula today.