The beaches are blissfully and consistently beautiful on the west coast of Costa Rica. The long stretches of golden sand often rest between the vibrant blue ocean and a rich green forest area behind. Both on land and in the water don't be surprised to spot wild but friendly animals like monkeys or turtles.
In the smaller resorts with no town or commercial centres, you can experience the life of a castaway with a beach at its barest, before heading back to the luxury comfort offered at your hotels.
Other resorts such as Playa Tamarindo and Playa Hermosa have convenient nearby beach bars and shacks to cater for your days by the ocean.
An exciting terrain
Costa Rica has been a popular nature destination since the 1980s and this has meant that tour guides have since discovered the best ways for tourists to experience the forests and jungles that are rife in this country.
The Parque Nacional Santa Rosa is one of the oldest and largest national parks in Costa Rica and there is plenty to discover within. There are swamped mangrove areas to explore as well as tropical forests where you'll see colourful birds, cute capuchin monkeys and peculiarly patterned tree frogs.
Within your chosen resort, there will be plenty of tour guides that can each offer a different nature experience. These can incorporate activities such as rock climbing, zip lining, scuba diving and even horseback riding.
Big on ecotourism
Costa Rica is proud to be one of the most thriving nations in the world when it comes to ecotourism: the phenomena of tourists coming to a country to see the ecological aspects within. In this case, it's the volcanoes, fauna, jungles and marshlands that attract visitors. Because ecotourism is so important to the country's financial infrastructure, it ensures that the majority of land will stay relatively untouched for many years to come.
This Central American country's culture has been formed by Spanish and other European settlers. The nation's primary language is Spanish but you'll see distinctly Mexican influences in the buildings and cuisine.
The evenings are generally tame in this country with the majority of entertainment being provided by the hotels. Many offer live shows every other night but there is always a well-equipped bar or lounge to relax in after dark.
Playa Tamarindo is the only exception to this rule with a small central plaza that hosts fun bars and a discotheque to party in come nightfall. This resort and others also often throw beach parties at night to utilise the soft sands and warm evenings.
Costa Rican cuisine
Much of this country's delicacies incorporate rice and corn into their dishes while others often include the lush vegetation that is ripe across the landscape. The national dish of Costa Rica is gallo pinto; stir-fried rice and beans which is often served at breakfast along with scrambled or fried eggs and sour cream or cheese.
If you're yearning for home comforts, most resorts cater for tourists by providing familiar international options throughout.
Shopping isn't a prominent past time here and many of the resorts don't offer too much outside of the gift shops or supermarkets provided by the hotels. Hermosa and Tamarindo offer the best selections outside of the hotels with small town squares offering clothes and jewellery.
Playa Tamarindo also hosts a farmer's market on Saturday morning where locals sell the freshest locally grown produce.
Depending on the length of your layover, flying from the UK to Costa Rica will take approximately 11-12 hours.
When landing at the Daniel Oduber International Airport in Liberia, transfer times to your resort will vary. The longest transfers are Playa Tamarindo which takes over an hour to reach and El Jobo which takes around an hour and a half.
Once settled into your resort though, the beaches, restaurants and bars are all within walking distance from your hotel. If you wish to explore the outer region, private transfers and taxi companies are good for short trips. Anything longer and you may want to look at hiring a car before you travel.