The word Guanacaste means ear pod tree which is found abundantly throughout the province. It also used to be the name of the capital city which was renamed in 1854 to Liberia. Guanacaste is a province with plenty of history and lost culture. Much of this due to the Spanish conquest. Back in those days prior to the conquistadores, Guancaste was Chorotega territory the chieftains were known as Caciques. The center of their culture was the Kingdom of Nicoya. The chieftains would gift each other gold medallions as means to social relations. These gifts were noted by the Spaniards yet no gold was found in the Kingdom of Nicoya. It is believed the gold was mined other parts and brought in along the coast.
Later a conquistador named Gil Gonzalez, killed the top cacique Nicoa and reported that all inhabitants had been converted to the catholic faith. His original purpose was to find a route from the pacific to the Atlantic, which he had been told about (more than likely the San Juan River on the border of Nicaragua and Costa Rica). He failed to find the route and left Costa Rica reporting that they had conquered Costa Rica.