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Costa Rican Adventure

Costa Rican Adventure

By
Trip Plan Tags: 
adventure,
diving + snorkeling,
festival,
hiking + trekking,
outdoors + nature
Destinations: 
Barcelona,
Central + South America,
Central Pacific,
Costa Rica,
Europe,
Guanacaste,
Spain

Ok so I've never been there before... but this looks like a great time!

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See + Do

Manuel Antonio and the Central Pacific Coast

The highlight of Costa Rica's Central Pacific coast, and the main reason most travelers visit the region, is Manuel Antonio National Park. Despite its small size, the park is immensely popular for its combination of white-sand beaches, dense rainforest, and the kaleidoscopic array of creatures that can be seen almost within fingertip's reach. Nowhere else in the country is it so easy to spot wildlife, including the increasingly scarce mono tití, or squirrel monkey. Get here early, especially on weekends, as the park fills up quickly with tour groups, hikers, and sunbathers headed to Playa Manuel Antonio. Lodgings, many on the luxury end of the scale (such as Hotel Sí Como No and Los Altos Beach Resort) are in the nearby village of Manuel Antonio and along the ridgetop road that snakes over a forested mountain and drops down to the town of Quepos. The Central Pacific stretch of coastline between the Nicoya and Osa peninsulas has several other low-key beach towns, including the surfers' and backpackers' hamlet of Dominical. Jacó, the largest resort town in Costa Rica, is a center for active daytime adventures and wild nightlife, but its beaches are less than pristine.

Nightlife

Space Barcelona, Spain

141-147 Carrer de Tarragona, Plaça Espanya
Barcelona 08014, Spain
Tel: 34 93 453 0582
Website: www.spacebarcelona.com

Space arrived in Plaça Espanya from Ibiza in 2004, and since then has risen through the ranks to become one of Barcelona's most fashionable nightclubs. Bathed in rainbow hues from its extravagant light show, Space throbs with the rhythm of Barcelona's most beautiful people and DJs flown in from the mother club. Big names occasionally headline, but this place is more for dance fanatics than followers of the music charts. Spanish grooves take center stage midweek, and the gay crowd comes for the hugely popular tea dances on Sundays. Less is more when it comes to the fashion here, except for shades—"the bigger the better" rule applies for those.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
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Hotel

Four Seasons Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo, Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Peninsula Papagayo, Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Tel: 506 2696 0000
Email: reservations.cos@fourseasons.com
Website: www.fourseasons.com/costarica

Costa Rican architect Ronald Zürcher, who cut his teeth on his brother Harold's famous and beloved Hotel Punta Islita, was responsible for the design of this flashy resort. If you prefer to experience nature with L'Occitane products in your outsize soaking tub, speedy 24-hour room service delivered to your broad balcony, and high-thread-count linens on your plush bed, this is the place for you. The resort straddles the northern extreme of the Nicoya Peninsula, with the Pacific Ocean on one side and the calm Bahía de Culebra on the other. But don't expect smashing views: Most of the 173 rooms are shaded by the tropical canopy. In summer, the trees thin out at the top, so opt for rooms on the upper floors for an ocean outlook. Hit the Arnold Palmer golf course or treat yourself to a Selva de Osa mud mask in the Serenity spa after dumping the kids at their own (free) club; there's even a separate program for teens. Four Seasons has four dining options, the most popular of which is the formal restaurant Di Mare, serving Italian fare.—Updated by Christopher P. Baker

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.