A slice of Central American paradise, Costa Rica has long been a favourite of eco-conscious travellers and surfers. Its varied landscape is made up of mountainous rainforests, white-sand beaches and canal-tangled lowlands. From the capital city of San José – itself filled with historic neighbourhoods, age-old mansions and vibrant parks – there’s direct access to Pacific coast beach resorts like Jacó and Tamarindo. Looking for something more adventurous? Then waste no time in heading to Arenal Volcano, which towers over the lively crossroads of La Fortuna. Watch as Arenal spews hot ash, steam and molten rock in the distance, before unwinding in one of the nearby bubbling hot springs. Costa Rica is also rich in wildlife. Go trekking in national parks like Corcovado and Monteverde Cloud Forest for the chance to spot wild animals in their natural habitat. From howler monkeys and white-faced capuchins to coral snakes, red-eyed tree frogs and the brightly-billed toucan, there’s plenty to see. When you’re ready for a change of pace, venture east for a taste of Costa Rica’s laid-back surfing culture. Hubs like Limón and Puerto Viejo are magnets for surfers, with the warm and choppy waters of the Caribbean Sea bringing in big swells all year round. Further north along this unspoiled stretch of Caribbean coastline, you can find Tortuguero National Park, famous for being one of the main nesting sites of leatherbacks and green turtles. There’s ample choice of accommodation in Costa Rica, from boutique hotels and luxury villas to beachside hostels and eco-friendly jungle retreats.
The 12 best places to stay in Costa Rica: Top hotels, B&Bs, inns, and vacation rentals — Based on real reviews from real guests