1-4,San Jose

Surrounded by beautiful countryside and protected National Parks, the Costa Rican capital can be quite a culture shock if you’ve just arrived from the countryside. Linger a while, however, and this sprawling city grows on you. Check out the Spanish colonial architecture of the National Theatre and the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum before you leave.

3h01m to Arenal Volcano National Park

5-8,Arenal Volcano National Park

Chill out on the slopes of one of Costa Rica’s most active but most predictable volcanoes. Lava bombs and pyroclastic ejections are a common sight, but the geothermal heat from this mountain also supplies the nearby Hot Springs. Other activities to try include zip lining, kayaking, white water rafting and fishing.

2h50m to Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve

9-11,Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve

Immerse yourself in the beauty and majesty of one of the most incredible cloud forests to be found anywhere in the world. Bromeliads, orchids, mosses, vines and ferns are just a few of the 2,500 species of plants you might encounter. Traverse suspension bridges, ride zip lines, visit the frog pond, butterfly garden, serpentarium or bat jungle and take a horseback tour of the area to get the best out of your visit.

3h43m to Manuel Antonio

12-14,Manuel Antonio

Perched above the national park bearing its name, Manuel Antonio offers exciting views, sandy beaches that sparkle in the sunshine, iridescent blue water, and ocean breezes that gently caress the skin. There’s plenty to do: visit the Villa Vanilla Spice Plantation, go fishing, scuba dive, take a boat tour or hike the rainforest.