Nicoya is the second canton of the province of Guanacaste, Costa Rica, founded on December 7,1848, which makes it one of the first thirteen cantons that the country had. It has a territorial extension of 1333.68 km² and is divided into seven districts. Its head is the city of Nicoya, located 207 km by road from the capital of the country San José, in the heart of the peninsula of the same name. Located at 123 m s. N. M., was the land of Chorotegan Amerindians until the Spanish arrival in 1520. It is known by some as the colonial city of Costa Rica. Nicoya and the entire territory of Guanacaste were annexed by their own will to Costa Rica on July 25,1824.
The population for the 2000 census was 13,334 inhabitants in the city and 20,945 inhabitants for the corresponding district. One of the most outstanding ancient buildings, the parish church located in the town's park, was built a few years after the colonization. It was successfully restored in recent years and is being exhibited to the public today. It dates from 1544, and its architecture is a first of the Latin American baroque.
Nowadays Nicoya is a busy commercial and service center: it has one of the two hospitals in the province, and it is a transport hub that connects several tourist centers on the south coast of Guanacaste, such as Sámara and Nosara, which grows every more time with the tourist expansion and with the facilities that allows the modern Bridge over the Tempisque River, which facilitates by much the transit towards the rest of the country. International Living magazine published a report highlighting Nicoya as one of the 5 healthiest places to live in the world.