Read our pocket guide to Costa Rica
Costa Rica: A pocket guide
Boldly beautiful, Costa Rica inspires a genuine zest for life. Its vibrant arts scene oozes culture, and its natural landscape is a picturesque backdrop for one of the most diverse places on earth. Mystical cloud forests part, presenting rain-forest trails, zip lines, mountain peaks, and whitewater rapids, all of which are yours to be explored, enjoyed, and embarked upon. Some visitors come for the world-class surfing conditions, others for the more serene spa vibe. So there you have it: A Costa Rica holiday quite literally has it all.
For most, the Republic of Costa Rica is synonymous with a spectacular collection of flora and fauna, and rightly so. The plant life is as exotic as the wildlife, and both are responsible for the country’s endearing nickname, Pura Vida, meaning “pure life.” Costa Rica is one of the world’s most peaceful countries; even the sloths, monkeys, and exotic birds of the Manuel Antonio National Park seem undisturbed by their visiting admirers. Guests are invited to wander this marvelous reserve with an expert guide; Raul Barrantes is in particularly high demand. A third-generation coffee farmer, his passion for his homeland is exquisite and wonderfully contagious. Booked by Mead Brown, Raul hosts rain-forest hikes and informative beach walks that often lead to secret waterfalls.
Between July and December, tread carefully upon the white sands of the coast: At this time of year the resident turtles lay their eggs, incubating them under the warm sands. One of the greatest natural phenomena to witness is the hatching of these tiny Jurassic creatures. Sitting quietly on the beach, you can watch as the hatchlings make their way to the shoreline, guided only by the light of the stars—a fantastic experience for the whole family.
While the beaches of Santa Teresa, Mal Pais, Montezuma, and Peninsula Papagayo are popular with sunbathers, there is fun to be had on the water, too. Catamarans and fishing yachts are available for private charter, making the ocean a veritable playground of snorkeling, sunset cruising, and securing the catch of the day. Glide the calm and scenic waters of the Gulf of Nicoya or travel along the Pacific Coast, taking to the water in glamorous style.
With a variety of luxury vacation rentals across the country, whether you choose to settle in super chic Montezuma or immerse yourself in the emerging arts scene of San Jose, there is sure to be more than one suitable luxury villa in Costa Rica for you.