The capital San Jose is often overlooked, as it has lost its appeal over the years, however a day at the many museums, art galleries, parks and restaurants would be a great option for anyone wanting to take in the urban history and culture of this country.
Outside the city are the areas Heredia and Alajuela, home to several boutique properties offering a peaceful escape on arrival or at the end of a trip. Alajuela is also where you can find the unspoilt Bajos del Toro area. Hidden away in a valley between extinct volcanoes, here you will encounter an abundance of refreshing waterfalls, flowing rivers, and many trails to be hiked.
For adrenaline adventures, Arenal is the perfect choice and home to the best-known volcano in the country. Enclosed by lush rainforest, dotted by pristine waterfalls and bubbling hot springs, this national park offers spectacular views and a dizzying array of activities. The misty cloud forest of Monteverde is easily reached from here, another top destination for soaring through the jungle canopy on a zip line or navigating the suspension bridges up high with the chattering monkeys. World class rafting is best experienced on the Pacuare River in Turrialba, a charming area also in the abundant and beautiful Central Valley.
There are plenty of excellent lodges, country inns and hotels to choose from in this area.