Given that it sees more than 2 million visitors a year, it’d be fair to assume that every jungle-y corner of Costa Rica has been explored. Look closer, though, and you’ll find a growing number of fresh spins on standard itineraries. Here, Costa Rica remixed.
Don’t Lay Over—Stay Over San José, Costa Rica’s capital, is often just a transit hub for travelers hurrying off elsewhere. But linger and you’ll uncover a mini-metropolis with a rich history and delicious local cuisine. Check into the old Hotel Grano de Oro (HotelGranoDeOro.com) manse, which has been revamped for modern comfort while still retaining its Tropical Victorian opulence. It offers private half-day tours of the city center, which is orbited by plantations growing the rich beans that have earned the country its reputation in the coffee trade. Spend the night at the inn at Finca Rosa Blanca (FincaRosaBlanca.com), designed with a Flintstones-meets-the-future motif, and then wake to comb the fields with staff before cupping a variety of roasted blends. And if coffee’s not your thing, explore CR’s best craft beers on Urban Adventure’s local pub crawl (UrbanAdventures.com).
A Picture-Perfect Adventure During requisite activities like zip-lining or cruising on a catamaran, it’s tempting to whip out your smartphone. But Exclusive Resorts’ (ExclusiveResorts.com) new Destinations in Focus series at its Peninsula Papagayo property offers something more distinctive: an excursion focusing on travel photography, complete with professional Leica gear and ace instructors from its Akademie. The resort’s infinity pools and ocean views are just the beginning: Expect cute capuchin monkeys ready for their close-up as they perch on your balcony.
The Earthier Spa After hiking around the conical Arenal Volcano (a mandatory CR stop), indulge in the spa offerings at Nayara Springs (NayaraSprings.com), which draws its treatment philosophy from nature. Its volcanic-mud massages warm and energize the body with a detoxifying blend of earth-sourced minerals. And sessions are performed in open-air suites, so you can unwind to the soothing sounds of the rain forest.