Paving the way in ecotourism, Costa Rica is an adventure from the off. Over the years it’s become a vacay hotspot for A-listers, such as Beyoncé, Demi Moore, Miley Cyrus, Leonardo DiCaprio and tennis champ Rafa Nadal.
For Kim Kardashian it’s clearly her number one happy place and safe haven. She has stayed their numerous times, famously heading there in 2017 for her first family holiday after the Paris robbery incident.
There’s a long list of reasons for taking a trip to the beautiful country in Central America, but here are our top five…
1. The wildlife
Only 20 minutes into our journey from Liberia airport, our driver pulled over at the roadside to point out one of the many poisonous snakes that inhabit the Central American nation!
Luckily, from then on our nature encounters were magical rather than menacing. Just days later, as we whizzed through the lush arboretum on the 1,360m-long Superman zip line at Diamante Eco Adventure Park – snatching views of the Gulf of Papagayo and seeking out jaguars Nico and Sama enjoying a spot of lunch – we realised we’ d fallen utterly in love with the beautiful nation.
Landing surprisingly smoothly, we then jumped on quad bikes and zoomed across one of the many beaches before finally sitting back to watch monkeys swinging in the trees and lizards scooting tippy-toe across the sands. The Pura Vida – Simple Life – approach adopted by Costa Ricans, or Ticos, was catching on fast!
2. The natural beauty
We hiked in the rainforest at Tenorio Volcano National Park, experiencing a wanderlust hit at the enchanting Rio Celeste waterfall. Exploring the cloud-topped canopy among hummingbirds and butterflies was unforgettable, too. But Ecocentro Danaus, a biological reserve near Arenal Volcano, is where we truly got to immerse ourselves in nature.
As the sun set on another day, we ventured torches in hand, into the heart of the rainforest in search of iguanas, sloths, frogs and birds.
Keep up-to-date with all the very latest celebrity, health, beauty, parenting and entertainment news with the OK! app
Only select news that interests you by picking the topics you want to display on the app’s homepage.
Go behind the scenes on your favorite OK! shoots, take a look inside your favorite star’s homes and be introduced to their new babies before anyone else!
Download it now and get involved.
Click here to download from the app store. or here for Google Play.
Thanks to our brilliant tour guide Elias, we were successful in our quest, with standout spots being the tiny “blue jeans” frogs sitting snug on the lush leaves and a nonchalant sloth snoozing in the branches. When Elias casually remarked that we should “huddle together” if we saw a jaguar approaching, we were glad to be led by such a knowledgeable and calm expert!
3. The luxury hotels
If you’re after a hotel with a choice of pools, a sandy beach and unrivalled tranquillity, then the all-inclusive Riu Palace is your bolthole. Just a 40-minute drive from the airport, you’ll be off the plane and into your cossie before you can say, “Meet me at the swim-up bar!” Highlights include the four outdoor pools, a Pacha night club, excellent entertainment, buffets galore and the sight of racoons strolling past as you head for breakfast.
Do you love celebrities, fashion, home interiors and beauty? Then do not waste another minute of your time and sign up to our daily newsletter, where you will receive all that – and more – straight to your inbox at 5pm every day.
From exclusive at home tours, cleaning hacks, the latest in beauty trends – and of course, all the latest celebrity gossip, look no further.
Pop your email address in the box at the top of this article, and et voila! Enjoy
4. The cuisine
Fancy eating out? Make for Sentido Norte on the Guanacaste coast. Often coined one of the most romantic restaurants in the world, you can feast on Costa Rican-influenced cuisine, from panko-cashew yellowfin tuna to tacos. Father Rooster is the place for an Instagrammable setting and a margarita – or the national drink guaro, distilled from sugar cane juices – while touristy Tamarindo is where it’s at for a surf ‘n’ shop.
For souvenirs head to villages such as Guaitil, where you can pick up a vase or plate at an artisan shop. The Chorotega pottery process, using natural paints and dyes, was a pleasure to witness.
5. Easy travel days
Tui operates directly into Liberia airport throughout the year, but if you can, aim for the dry season, mid-November to April. It offers excellent guided tours, so insect repellent and hiking boots are essential – wear in new boots before you travel, to avoid blisters.
If you do one water-based activity, take a trip on a 28ft Mini Marlin from Playas del Coco for snorkelling and, hopefully, dolphin-watching.
And don’t miss the hot mineral waters flowing from Arenal Volcano, which are a wellness wow. Visit Baldi Hot Springs where you can relax in 25 mineral pools, or shoot down a water slide. The country’s volcanic soil and high altitudes provide ideal growing conditions for coffee beans, as we discovered on the Don Juan Coffee Tour, where we tasted the beans, pumped sugar cane juice and made chocolate.
“We have problems like anyone else, but we sip our coffee and remain positive,” our guide Chino told us. We’ll drink to that!
How to book
Tui offers seven nights at the 5T Riu Palace Costa Rica on an all-inclusive basis from £1,315 per person. The price is based on two adults sharing a junior suite with balcony or terrace, departing from London Gatwick in August 2022, including transfers.
Upgraded premium seats with additional benefits are available. To find out more, or to book, go to tui.co.uk, visit your local Tui holiday store or download the app.
For all the latest lifestyle news, sign up to our daily newsletter here.