Visions Art Center and the city of Liberia are located in Guanacaste, Costa Rica's dryest and most northwest province. It extends north to the Nicaraguan border; south over much of the Nicoya peninsula; and east to Tilarán, near Lake Arenal and the Arenal Volcano.
Guanacaste is home to several national parks and reserves, Miravalles and Rincón de la Vieja volcanoes, hot springs, canyons, rushing rivers, rolling ranch lands, farming communities, fishing villages, and a tremendous range of animal, bird and sea life. Its Pacific coast is dotted from top to bottom with over 70 beaches. Many, such as Coco, Flamingo, Tamarindo and Sámara, are hugely popular while others such as Ocotal and Nosara are quieter and less developed.
Map of Guanacaste
Climate and Weather
It’s hot here, especially in the dry season. From November to April, daily high temperatures are typically in the 30’s Celsius (85 to 100 Fahrenheit), but low humidity and regular breezes help the air feel more fresh and pleasant.
During the rainy “green season" from May to October, highs range from the upper 20’s to low 30’s Celsius (75 to 90 Fahrenheit). Weather in this period can be hard to predict, with several days in a row of rain or just as many with no rain at all. Often, days begin sunny, and afternoons bring showers or thunderstorms. The rain can be heavy, even torrential, but very heavy rain usually lasts only a short time.
The word guanacaste is derived from quahnacaztlan, the indigenous name for the national tree of Costa Rica. Until 1854, the community that is now the city of Liberia was named Guanacaste, after a majestic tree that stood where Liberia's Central Park is today. Visions Art Center's owner-operator Francisco Castro Lostalo is pictured below in two recent photos taken in that same park to show an excellent example of the Guanacaste tree's impressive size and canopy.
The first indigenous people to settle in the region arrived about 10,000 years ago.
By the year 1500, as Spain began to colonize Central America, most people in the Guanacaste region were Chorotegas, whose ancestors had migrated south from Mexico more than 600 years earlier. Chorotega ceramics made here were traded and prized for their quality throughout areas that became the countries of Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, and even reached Mexico.
The early 1800's were a turbulent time in the Spanish colonial empire, with uprisings in the colonies in the same period when Spain itself was invaded by France. Central American colonies declared their independence from Spain on September 15th, 1821. At that time, Guanacaste was actually part of Nicaragua, and although much of the region voted to join Costa Rica on July 25th, 1824, the Liberia district remained part of Nicaragua until 1826. Now, however, all of Costa Rica celebrates Guanacaste Day on July 25th each year, and Independence Day on September 15th.