Although Costa Rica occupies a modest 19,700 square miles – West Virginia is about 22% larger, to give you an idea of the scale – it has immensely rich biodiversity that belies its small size. In fact: The Central American country claims 5% of all species in the world, thanks to microclimates ranging from dry, sun-heated beaches to scorching jungles and the government’s unwavering commitment to the environment.
As well as spotting flora and fauna at every turn, you’ll hear the locals (“ticos” as they call themselves) constantly say “Pura Vida”. Literally translated as “pure life”, it is much more than an everyday expression. Essentially: it’s a nod to finding simple joy in the moment, no matter the circumstances, a mindset that seems uniquely suited to our current times.
While there are plenty of options when it comes to accommodations, few convey this ethos more than the Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo — which earned a five-star rating this year. Forbes travel guide, making it the only property in Central America to earn this distinction. Sprawling over 1,400 scenic acres on the Papagayo Peninsula and surrounded by Culebra Bay to the east and the Gulf of Papagayo to the west, this pioneering eco-luxury has 181 rooms, suites and private residences , including the just-unveiled Casa Las Olas, a sleek, secluded six-bedroom home with luxe accents like an interior garden and near-Olympic-size pool overlooking the bay.
There’s also a locally inspired spa — the Nourishing Costa Rican Coffee Scrub highlights freshly ground organic beans for a pleasantly aromatic and invigorating experience — resort activities and excursions ranging from rum tastings to guided waterfall hikes , and four restaurants including Nemare, the elegant steakhouse where Karen Arceyuth, beloved head mixologist and Costa Rican native, concocts imaginative cocktails like La Zafra, an invigorating concoction of local Centenario rum, cinnamon and bitters to orange.
But while most people vacation here during the peak tourist months of December through April, when the weather is dry, here’s a travel tip: Now through November, during the country’s rainy season, also known as the green season, is an equally wonderful time to visit.
You will obviously witness rain at this time of year, but you won’t encounter perpetual downpours. Instead, Costa Rica’s rainy season is punctuated by relatively short, intense bouts of adverse weather that make the natural backdrop even more lush and verdant. Plus, bouts of rain provide lovely breaks of calm throughout the day – best enjoyed from your room’s fully furnished private terrace or at Añejo, the resort’s al fresco lounge, complete with bar ceviche and a Crystal Skull, a rum cocktail infused with banana, pineapple and passion fruit.
To make your stay even more memorable during these quieter months, the resort has launched thoughtful activations to help you connect more to your tropical surroundings and local culture. Its popular Coral Gardening program – which was developed in conjunction with Peninsula Papagayo and the Culebra Reef Gardens Alliance – now includes a unique coral planting session where guests dive and plant their own sponsored structures in Culebra Bay.
And just in time for Guanacaste Day on July 25, a holiday commemorating the annexation of the province of Guanacaste to Costa Rica, the station announced the Chorotega Experience. The hands-on class led by local artisan Jose Salomón Villafuerte Grijalba invites guests to delve into the centuries-old tradition of colorful handcrafted pottery made famous by the indigenous Chorotega tribe.
And in September, wellness season returns to the resort with unlimited yoga and fitness classes – it’s the perfect time to try the new Wine-Down Yoga and Beach Boot Camp – and visits from practitioners such as the holistic doctor Dr. Ruth Lopez (September 4-10 and September 25-30) and “Happiness Coach” Yaniv Shanti (October 16-22 and October 27-31). The spa also encourages guests to take the time to prioritize their well-being during the season by offering a free third spa treatment after two bookings.