Recently, the tiny Central American nation of Costa Rica has emerged as one of the most popular spots for luxury vacations. Only a few years ago, many travelers may not have considered Costa Rica among their top luxury travel spots, but that has certainly changed, as about 1.5 million people visit the country each year, Lonely Planet states.
Here are just a few of the reasons we just can't get enough of Costa Rica:
1. Pura vida! Costa Ricans, or "Ticos," keep the expression "pura vida," or "pure life," in the backs of their minds at all times. In fact, it has become somewhat of a national motto, highlighting Ticos' lust for living the good life. On your Beach Bum Vacation to Costa Rica, you will surely see that locals tend to be easy going, gracious & infectiously friendly. Above all else, they don't sweat the small stuff. With such a great attitude toward life, it's hard not to fall in love with the Ticos, give them a thumbs up, & greet them with a lively "pura vida, mae!"
2. Booming biodiversity If you want to see some unique flora & fauna on your next trip, Costa Rica is definitely the spot for you. While the country itself is small, it's home to about 5 percent of the world's biodiversity. At the same time, more than one-quarter of Costa Rica's land is protected, meaning that on your luxury vacation to Costa Rica, you may have the chance to see creatures like colorful toucans, curious capuchin monkeys, laid-back sloths, slithering boa constrictors & countless species of butterflies.
3. Adrenaline-pumping adventure Despite Costa Rica's easy-going pura vida style, it offers plenty of opportunities to get your heart racing. In Monte Verde, for example, you can explore the rainforest at night, getting up close & personal with some of Costa Rica's most fascinating wildlife with the help of a knowledgeable guide (& a flashlight, of course). Throughout the country, you'll also find ziplining tours, white water rafting, waterfall cascading, bungee jumping, windsurfing & scuba diving.
4. Breathtaking beaches Costa Rica has 750 miles of coastline along its Pacific & Caribbean shores, which means it has plenty of gorgeous beaches, whether you want to surf, swim or simply soak up the sun. Some of the country's best – & most popular – beaches are inside Manuel Antonio National Park, where you can relax on soft, white sand on the edge of a stunning, verdant rainforest. Another popular spot is Tortuguero, a long stretch of unspoiled sand known around the world for its sea turtles. Still, don't pass up a chance to visit other breathtaking beaches in Costa Rica, including Montezuma, Playa Tamarindo & Corcovado.
5. Hot, hot, hot volcanoes There are more than 200 volcanic formations in Costa Rica & half of them show signs of volcanic activity, meaning your Beach Bum Vacation to Costa Rica is sure to be hot, hot, hot. The country's most famous volcano is Arenal. For decades, this 7,000-year-old volcano erupted regularly, attracting visitors from around the world who watched its glowing lava flow from a distance. In 2010, Arenal entered a resting phase, but travelers can still see hot lava flowing down its sides as clouds of ash rise from its crater.
6. Pure relaxation If you want to treat yourself to some simple R&R, Costa Rica features plenty of eco-friendly spas that use fresh, local ingredients to help you relax & unwind. The Hilton Papagayo Resort & Spa in Guanacaste, for example, provides treatments like herbals wraps with organic honey, golden citrus body polishes & tropical aroma massages. At the same time, Costa Rica is dotted with hot springs, where you can slip into the warm water & let your stress melt away.