Costa Rica is a rugged, rainforested Central American country with coastlines on the Caribbean and Pacific. Though its capital, San Jose, is home to cultural institutions like the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum, Costa Rica is known for its beaches, volcanoes, and biodiversity. Roughly a quarter of its area is made up of protected jungle, teeming with wildlife including spider monkeys and quetzal birds.
Active pursuits include golfing, surfing, and hiking or taking a zip-line canopy tour through Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, a mist-covered sanctuary for animals and rare plants, particularly orchids. Other options include viewing endangered sea turtles as they nest in Tortuguero National Park, touring coffee plantations, visiting the sheltered beaches of Manuel Antonio National Park, and soaking in hot springs near the base of Arenal, an active volcano. Costa Rica is also known for its eco-lodges, hotels that seek to minimize their effect on the surrounding natural environment.