San Rafael de Guatuso


Costa Rica is divide into 7 provinces and each province is divided into cantons. Within the Alajuela province the capital of the Guatuso canton is San Rafael de Guatuso. This is also home to the Maleku indigenous tribe, which you can visit while driving through. For short most just call the town Guatuso. The town is a bit off the beaten path, but will soon increase the number of visitors due to tourism. More so with the major improvement of the road that leads directly to Rio Celeste. For local residents that are not interested in tourism and are en route to the Guanacaste beaches, this road means a short cut that saves a little over and hour of travel. For tourist in the Guanacaste area, this also means shorter travel time to visit the local tribe and also nearby sites of interest such as Venado Caves, Caño Negro or Arenal area. Another advantage to those heading towards Arenal area this road means a less winding road which would be the alternative when traveling the usual route around Lake Arenal. 

The main activity in Guatuso is agriculture, specifically cattle ranching, rice farming, pineapple and yuca. The town population is just a little over 7,000 people. Guatuso was officially named a town in 1970 and the majority of the indigenous population did not receive government ID until the early 1990's.

For those travelers that enjoy exploring off the beaten path this is a great recommendation. Specially if traveling from Arenal to Guanacaste or vice versa.