If you've never heard the phrase 'pura vida' before, you'll become pretty acquainted with it from the moment you land in Costa Rica, the small but mighty Central American country that boasts abundant wildlife, a reputation for positivity and happiness unlike any other nation, and a burgeoning ecotourism scene.
While 'Pura Vida' translates to 'pure life' in English, it's way more than just a saying to the people of Costa Rica, it's a mantra that rings through every aspect of life, with people trying to live to the absolute fullest. You'll get your fill of Pura Vida when you visit, too. From the warm, wildlife-filled forests and diverse national parks to the laid-back beach towns and bustling cities, you're sure to relax, unwind and bask in the sheer beauty of Costa Rica in no time at all.
Bordered on the east by the Caribbean Sea and on the west by the Pacific Ocean, the country is blessed with a warm tropical climate, which helps make it a truly year-round destination, and one that's ideal for everything from surfing on the coast to spotting unique birds and animals inland.
In fact, in spite of its relatively small size, Costa Rica proudly shelters 5% of the existing biodiversity on the planet, and 26% of the country is composed of conservation and natural protected territory.
That territory includes more unique habitats and landscapes than most other planets on Earth: in as little as a week in Costa Rica, you could hike near active volcanos, explore mist-covered cloud forests, raft rivers through tropical rainforests and slow the pace by exploring one of the country's 27 national parks.
This is a country that suits adventure seekers, nature lovers, beach bums, luxury travellers and sun worshippers in equal measure, but having such a wide array of natural beauty at your fingertips doesn't mean you have to pay an arm and a leg for it. Costa Rica is the perfect destination for all kinds of budget, too. Whether you're looking to take a road trip from the capital city of San Jose up to the mountains, cloud forests and world-famous coffee plantations, or just fancy pampering yourself with a specialist treatment or two at a luxurious eco-retreat's spa, the choice is yours.
This is a country that suits adventure seekers, nature lovers, and beach bums in equal measure
Speaking of eco retreat, Costa Rica's ecological credentials are world-leading, as well: the country is currently aiming to be carbon neutral by 2021, and more than 98% of its energy comes from sustainable sources. Add to this the fact that it's been recognised as one of the world's happiest countries by both the Gallup World Index and the Happy Planet Index and you know you're in a place that's peaceful, welcoming and easy to explore right from the get-go.
That friendliness and warm welcome extends to its fast-developing hospitality industry. Wherever you go in Costa Rica, there's a hotel for you, too: from the luxury boutique lodges of the country's many bio-reserves, to the international hotel chains found beachside on the Caribbean and Pacific coasts or the simple, affordable bed and breakfast-style accommodation found throughout the country, you'll be able to find the place to meet your needs.
What's more, with direct flights from London to San Jose available with British Airways, direct flights to Liberia with Tui and indirect flights to the capital with Air France, KLM, United and Delta, there's never been a better time to visit this Central American gem than right now.
So what are you waiting for? Unbelievable adventures, unforgettable experiences and a whole world of magic awaits you in Costa Rica. It's about time you booked yourself a return ticket to paradise.
To start planning your Costa Rica holiday today, head to visitcostarica.com