Though Costa Rica occupies a modest 19,700 square miles – West Virginia is approximately 22% larger, to give you a sense of scale – it boasts immensely rich biodiversity belying its small size. In fact: the Central American country lays claim to 5% of all of the world’s species, thanks to microclimates ranging from dry, sun-warmed beaches to steamy jungles and the government’s unwavering commitment to the environment.
In addition to spotting flora and fauna at every turn, you’ll hear locals (“ticos” as they call themselves) constantly say “Pura Vida.” Literally translated as “pure life,” it’s far more than an everyday phrase. In essence: it nods to finding simple joy in the present moment no matter the circumstance, a mindset that feels especially fitting for our current times.
While there are ample options when it comes to accommodations, few channel this ethos more than Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo – which earned a Five-Star rating in this year’s Forbes Travel Guide, making it the only property in Central America to achieve this distinction. Stretching across 1,400 scenic acres on the Papagayo Peninsula and hugged by Culebra Bay to the east and the Gulf of Papagayo to the west, this eco-luxury pioneer has 181 guestrooms, suites, and private residences including the just-unveiled Casa Las Olas, a sleek and secluded six-bedroom house with luxe accents like an interior courtyard garden and near-Olympic size pool overlooking the bay.
There’s also a locally-inspired spa – the Nourishing Costa Rican Coffee Scrub spotlights freshly-ground organic beans for a blissfully aromatic and invigorating experience – resort activities and excursions from rum tastings to guided waterfall hikes, and four dining outlets including Nemare, the stylish steakhouse where beloved head mixologist and native Costa Rican Karen Arceyuth whips up imaginative cocktails like La Zafra, a bracing concoction of local Centenario Rum, cinnamon, and orange bitters.
But while most people vacation here during peak tourist months from December through April, when the climate is dry, here’s a travel tip: now through November, during the country’s rainy season, also called the green season, is an equally wonderful time to visit.
You’ll obviously witness rain this time of year, but you won’t encounter perpetual downpours. Instead, Costa Rica’s rainy season is punctuated by relatively short, intense bursts of inclement weather that make the natural backdrop even more lush and verdant. Plus, the bouts of rain provide lovely pauses of stillness throughout the day – which are best enjoyed from your room’s fully furnished private terrace or at Añejo, the resort’s open-air lounge, with fresh seabass 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 launched thoughtful activations to help you further connect to your tropical surroundings and the local culture. Its popular Coral Gardening program – which was developed in collaboration with Peninsula Papagayo and the Culebra Reef Gardens Alliance – now includes a unique coral planting session where guests snorkel 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 Guanacaste province to Costa Rica, the resort announced the Chorotega Experience. The hands-on class led by area artisan Jose Salomón Villafuerte Grijalba invites guests to immerse themselves in the time-honored tradition of colorful handmade pottery made famous by the indigenous Chorotega tribe.
And come September, Wellness Season returns to the resort with unlimited yoga and fitness classes – it’s a great time to try the new Wine-Down Yoga and Beach Boot Camp – and visiting practitioners such as 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, too, is encouraging guests to take time to prioritize their wellbeing during the season by offering a third complimentary spa treatment after two are booked.