Costa Rica

Full of adventure, crammed with amazing landscapes and captivating peoples, the only thing you should ask yourself is why you haven’t gone before?

GOOD TIME TO VISIT: all year round

With 4 percent of the earth’s wildlife species, vast tracts of tropical rain forest, and live volcanoes, this former backpacker’s haven in Central America offers a fantastic range of hotels and lodges to suit even the most discerning traveller. Now this tiny country’s treasures are being steadily discovered by the rest of world.

Famous not only for its natural diversity, Costa Rica is also Latin America’s oldest republic, making it one of the safest destinations in the western hemisphere, not to mention the birthplace of ecotourism and responsible travel.

After touching down into San José, the nation’s capital and home to a third of the population, you can get ready to see one of the country’s great highlights. Lying just north of the city are the magnificent Poás and Arenal volcanoes offering a dazzling display of nature’s raw power and beauty.

To the north are the most popular areas of Alajuela and Northern Guanacaste famed as one of the last regions of virgin rainforest. The area is full of exotic macaws, Technicolor frogs and doe-faced sloths, which then lead down to pristine stretches of white Pacific sand. Pure paradise!

As you move southwards again, but this time along the coast, you will find yourself in the Nicoya Peninsula and Quepos. And after all that jungle trekking and volcano watching, there’s no better place to relax and enjoy the area’s lovely beaches in one of the many ecofriendly luxury resorts that dot the coastline.

Finally, what better way to end your trip than to gaze in wonder at the seasonal beaching of the turtles on the Caribbean side at Tortuguero. This part of the country is more akin to the dense and verdant rainforests of the Amazon, but has the advantage of being relatively easily reached overland.

What better way to end your stay than a final night in the company of these beautiful prehistoric creatures beneath a star-filled tropical sky and the sound of Caribbean waves lapping against a sandy shore.