Nicoya is a town in Costa Rica's Guanacaste province, and one of its most important tourist zones. It serves as a transport hub to Guanacaste's beaches and national parks. According to the 2000 census, the city's population is 13,334—second only to Liberia in the province. The city is also the district seat of a cantón of the same name, which in 2000 had 20,945 residents.
It is built in an old colonial style, in the Cordillera Volcánica de Guanacaste. Agriculture and cattle form the backbone of the city's economy, as well as the province which surrounds it.
In early 2006, a group of researchers led by adventure writer Dan Buettner and supported by National Geographic Magazine, the National Institute for Aging, and Allianz Healthcare, designated Nicoya as a Blue Zone. This designation is granted to global regions that are characterized by the longest life expectancies. Among the ideal Nicoyan lifestyle characteristics cited by the research were the water’s high calcium content, intense daily physical activity, year-long fruit consumption, and close inter-generational relationships.
The region is also characterized by responsible tourism global leaders including Hotel Punta Islita, an award-winning destination that has developed in close symbiosis with its surrounding communities, establishing viable partnerships for the conservation of the region's tropical dry forest.