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Costa Rica is a peaceful country where conservation of its richly diverse wilderness has been a priority for decades. Protected national parks and wildlife refuges make up more than a quarter of its territory. As a result, it's a renowned ecotourism destination where visitors can explore volcanic mountains, tropical forests and pristine coastal waters teeming with exotic species in their natural habitat. It’s also top-rated for beach holidays.
Luxury hotels have sprouted up along its Pacific coast where upscale development is carefully balanced with respect for the natural environment. Many hotels in Costa Rica overlook its beautiful beaches. Costa Rica eliminated its military in 1948 after a devastating civil conflict, and since then conservation has been its transcendent mission.
Seclusion and luxury are the hallmarks of this carefully planned resort area, where premier Costa Rica hotels are tucked into the forested landscape along Culebra Bay. White sand and gentle surf make for ideal seashore holidays. Hotels in Papagayo provide all the expected upscale amenities along with secluded swimming spots and shady nooks for relaxation. Adults-only hotels cater to couples seeking romantic getaways where sparkling clear water affords splendid snorkelling, scuba diving, kayaking and sailing.
Day trips into the surrounding Guanacaste Mountains promise breath-taking vistas of volcanoes, forests and wild animals. Papagayo hotels in Costa Rica are close to nature but highly convenient. The upgraded airport and excellent paved roads make for easy travelling to and from resorts.
This seaside town is the perfect setting for a holiday spent revelling in beach activities such as swimming, sunbathing, and walking along the stretches of white sand that surround these Costa Rica hotels. Surfing is excellent, and Langosta Beach is renowned for its long breakers. Nearby Las Baulas National Marine Park shelters the nesting sites of endangered leatherback turtles, the largest sea turtles in the world. During egg-laying season, visitors are almost guaranteed to spot them coming ashore to make their nests. It’s even possible to see them underwater if they go Snuba diving, a new form of diving in which divers breathe through an air hose attached to a raft. This makes it easier than scuba diving but provides many of the same thrilling views of turtles, whales, fish, and octopus.
Tambor is located on the southern end of Nicoya Peninsula at the head of Ballena Bay, a horseshoe-shaped body of water with volcanic sand beaches and calm surf. Tambor hotels feature an easy-going atmosphere with enticing extras such as alfresco massage, nightclub shows, tennis, and golf. Boat trips are enormously popular on the bay, which is dotted with islands and has an almost lake-like calm. Crossing Nicoya Bay on the ferry is a one-hour trip that opens up views of gorgeous coves and inlets along the coastline. A top-rated day trip is sailing on a catamaran to Tortuga Island, which has white-sand beaches and clear water perfect for diving. An excursion to Parque Nacional Curú promises sightings of Costa Rica's iconic animals: monkeys, agouti and sloths.
Costa Rica’s capital city blends a lively urban centre with beautiful natural landscapes. To the north, a chain of volcanoes rises above the Central Valley. To the south, the Talamanca Mountains stretch into Panama. San Jose is filled with impressive Victorian-era architecture. Just walking around town brings outstanding examples into view, especially in Barrio Amón. The imposing National Theatre is a prime example of neoclassical style, and a tour of its ornate interior is time well spent. The Museum of Gold is in a subterranean museum complex beneath the city's central plaza. It is a rare collection of ancient artefacts crafted in solid gold. A day trip to Arenal Volcano brings sightseers within the shadow of the famous peak. Natural hot springs provide many opportunities for a refreshing warm soak.