Named “the rich coast” by Spanish conquistadors who first made landfall here in 1502, Costa Rica is one of the planet’s most naturally splendid and biologically diverse regions. Though largely undeveloped until the mid-20th century (due to its lack of traditional “riches”—gold, silver, spices), the country is today drawing new generations of explorers with more lasting treasures: smoldering volcanoes, misty cloud forests, rare wildlife and bird species, and a surfeit of beaches that are the gateway to world-class surfing, diving, and sportfishing.
- Playa Grande on the Nicoya Peninsula—one of the few nesting sites in the world for endangered leatherback sea turtles.
- Remote, beautiful Drake Bay (Bahía Drake), where crystalline waters border primary rainforest (and several exclusive eco-lodge properties).
- Diving among dolphins, hammerheads, and giant rays, or exploring some 200 stunning waterfalls, many that drop right into the sea, at Isla del Coco, the inspiration for Jurassic Park’s Isla Nublar.