With beaches, rainforest and enough wildlife to warrant a nature channel, holidays to Costa Rica whisk you to Latin America’s very own Garden of Eden.
This tiny sliver of Central America is a bit like a Russian doll when it comes to landscapes and wildlife. Reason being, just when you think you’ve seen the true face of Costa Rica, another crops up and takes you by surprise. There are palm-fringed beaches, lime-green jungles, Ewok-like cloud forests… and that’s before you’ve even considered the cast of animals that call Costa Rica home – think toucans, humming birds, monkeys and tiny tree frogs.
In terms of beaches, most people head to the Guanacaste province on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast. Here, long ribbons of sand backed by tall palm trees give way to deep sapphire seas. Talking of which, the waters are full of weird and wonderful marine life – there are neon fish, manta rays and coral reefs teeming with underwater lodgers. No surprise that snorkelling and scuba diving are popular in these parts.
Head inland from the coast and you’ll find a patchwork quilt of green, thanks to the coffee plantations, rainforests and jungle-cloaked volcanoes – so much so you half expect to see David Attenborough gearing up to do a piece to camera.
If you’re something of an adrenaline junky, Costa Rica lines up some proper bucket list activities. The forests and jungles are prime territory for zip-lining over treetops, white water rafting, river tubing, horse riding and volcano treks. Surfing is big here, too.
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Papagayo Bay is made up of a string of white sandy beaches, each with their own unique viewpoint. Work your way around the bay and you’ll be treated to vistas of everything from volcanic peaks smothered in tropical forest to craggy headlines sheltering deserted white sands. The Pacific here is warm year-round and watersports are everywhere. Take your pick from snorkelling, scuba diving, kayaking or paddle boarding, to name just a few.
Playa de Matapalo
Staying at Playa de Matapalo puts you in a peaceful tropical paradise. It’s a secluded spot where the emphasis is on getting away from it all. The beach is reserved for those staying at Riu Guanacaste and Riu Palace, so it’s likely you’ll see more monkeys than people.
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