If we told you there is a nation with intensely rich volcanic soil from which some of the finest coffee beans in the world are grown, where a coastline of some 800 miles is hugged by both the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean, and where 25% of its land is protected as a park or natural reserve, would you believe us?
Costa Rica has long been deemed a paradisiacal destination for ecotourism as its unparalleled biodiversity is a match for the incredibly hospitable and enthusiastic people who call this Central American gem home. No larger than Lake Michigan, Costa Rica has a population just under 5 million people, yet counts with over 600 species of fauna per 10,000 square miles (as opposed to 100 species in the U.S.). With such an incredible display of natural beauty, environmental stewardship tends to be as common as the phrase ‘pura vida’ in Costa Rica—and such importance on protection and preservation has allowed this destination to remain ripe for responsible travelers in need of a change of scenery.
Here are a few reasons why we consider Costa Rica a timeless, go-to natural sanctuary now more than ever:
Quick and Easy to Get to
Both of the main international airports in Costa Rica—Daniel Oduber, Liberia (LIR) and San Jose (SJO)—are open and operating.
From Miami, Florida, Costa Rica’s SJO International Airport can be reached by a three-hour flight; from New York City in less than five hours; Austin, Texas in less than four hours, and Los Angelers in six hours. In other words, it is perfectly feasible to plan an extended weekend that finds a balance of lazing on the soft sand beaches of Guanacaste with kayaking through a jungle of mangroves.
Though both international airports will be open, national authorities will reopen the borders mindfully. By October 1, nearly half of the US states will have permission for entry, and gradually more states will gain access over the following weeks.
Our Preferred Properties
Based on our insider knowledge and personal experience, we consider the following properties to be among the best in the country. They have been carefully selected for their outstanding service, amenities and naturally relaxing environments that promote a safe and rejuvenating travel experience.
Nayara Tented Camp
Don’t let the name fool you—this safari-inspired property boasts a “tented camp” that is unlike any sort of outdoor stay you’ve known before. The luxurious, clifftop accommodations of Nayara fully immerse guests in the vibrant and wild nature that makes up the nearly 30,000 acre Arenal Volcano National Park, without forgoing any sense of comfort or tranquility.
Perched on a hill and remotely setback from the other 21 tents, the private tents have a privileged view of the site’s namesake volcano and are complete with a signature plunge pool.
Nayara promotes wellness and self-care, offering calming activities such as yoga and relaxing soaks in the private onsite hot springs. Families will enjoy the connectable tents of two bedrooms, providing plenty of private time and safe space, as well as the impeccable staff. At the core of it all is being immersed in the soothing rainforest that surrounds.
In the unique northwestern town of Guanacaste, surrounded by tropical land and sea, are the private vacation rentals of Las Catalinas. With a focus on healthy and sustainable living, this fully walkable beach destination will reward you with a fulfilling weekend getaway or rejuvenating long-term stay.
Over 22km trails lush with foliage will enrapture you as you take a morning stroll or, perhaps, as you chase an adrenaline rush while mountain biking through the dry forest slopes and valleys. Water-based activities abound, as the year-round warm Pacific waters are prime for snorkeling, kayaking and stand up paddleboarding.
After a day spent reconnecting to nature, it’s time to unwind in a spacious and private villa with your family or an exclusive flat with that special someone. You feel at home in no time, as you dine on local seafood and farm-to-table creations while gazing upon an unmatched sunset.
Alejandro Monge, our Operations Manager and a Costa Rica native, gave us some local insight based on his experience of traveling around his marvelous country recently:
“I’ve visited several of our destinations during this pandemic and have enjoyed an overall positive experience that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to travelers who are ready to get back to exploring,” comments Alejandro. “Most beaches are open until 2:30pm, meaning you have plenty of time during the day to take a refreshing dip and catch some sun on beaches that are far less crowded than usual. My personal favorite beach getaway in the last few weeks has been Nosara beach in the Nicoya Península as it offers a secluded environment, great yoga, meditation and wellness activities and uncrowded beaches.”
Alejandro assured us that all restaurants are open at 50% capacity and that extensive cleaning and disinfection protocols are carried out and staff are required to wear masks.
“You, as a patron, will need to wash your hands upon entry and wear a mask until you sit down at your table, but your memorable experience of chifrijo (typical bar food) will not be diminished!”
Hotel staff, tour guides and drivers always are required to wear masks as well as wash their hands and use hand sanitizer frequently, informs Alejandro. And while tourism remains low and has surely taken a toll on the local economy, there are definite perks to traveling before the industry gets back to normal:
“You’ll find discounted rates in hotels and tours to help reactivate the economy,” points out Alejandro. “Costa Rica hotels are typically small and spread out, so people will find themselves more secluded than in other destinations.”
Upon arrival to Costa Rica, foreign visitors will need to complete a Health Pass, have proof of testing negative for coronavirus in the 72 hours leading up to departure and have travel insurance that covers COVID-19 medical and accommodation expenses. Unlike many other countries, Costa Rica does not enforce mandatory quarantine upon entering, allowing you to savour every moment of your trip. Standard protocols such as social distancing and use of masks are mandatory.
A message from the tourism board of Costa Rica:
Ready to experience Costa Rica for yourself? Talk with us: firstname.lastname@example.org