Nicoya may be a small town, but it is one of the oldest in Costa Rica and definitely deserves a spot on anyone’s itinerary. If this is your first time visiting, you want to make sure to see the best Nicoya has to offer before continuing on around Costa Rica.

The Iglesia de San Blas should be everyone’s first stop. As one of Costa Rica’s first Christian churches, the Iglesia de San Blas is of historical, as well as religious interest. There is even a museum inside to help visitors better understand Christianity’s centuries-old role on the island. Just a few minutes from Iglesia and the center of town is Casa de Cultura, a gallery that displays local art and handicrafts and has an especially good collection of pottery.

In addition to all of these cultural attractions, Nicoya has abundant opportunities to explore nature. Compared with other Costa Rica destinations, Nicoya is less traveled by tourists, making it the perfect place to observe nature in a relatively unspoiled state. The “Salto” waterfall, which actually feeds into the Rio Grande, is located within a network of caves and caverns, open to experienced adventurers and also those on guided tours. Before you leave, stop over at Curu National Wildlife Refuge or Nosara Beach to commune with tropical and aquatic animals.