Bus travellers journeying between San José and the beach towns of Sámara and Nosara need to make connections at the country town of NICOYA, inland and northeast of the beaches. Set in a dip surrounded by low mountains, Nicoya is the peninsula’s main settlement. The town is permeated by an air of infinite stasis but is undeniably pretty, with a lovely Parque Central, cascading bougainvillea, colourful plants and the white adobe church, the Parroquis San Blas. Founded in 1644, the church has survived multiple earthquakes and has recently undergone extensive renovation. Nicoya has a considerable Chinese presence, with many of the town’s restaurants, hotels and stores owned by descendants of Chinese immigrants.

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