While it’s true that each Caribbean island is at least a bit different from every other Caribbean island, there still isn’t much diversity compared to the rest of the world. Those looking for something kind of similar but more adventurous should consider Costa Rica, which has a great tourist infrastructure and similar weather patterns and prices to the Caribbean, with a twist.
We all know people who had a wonderful week at a resort in, say, St. Thomas, and then they go to not only the same island but also the same resort year after year until they realize that it’s become a grind. Even if you aren’t in that sort of rut, you should really look into something a bit new on your next winter trip.
The Pacific side of Costa Rica is where the action is
The geography experts among you will already be thinking that Costa Rica has one of its coasts on the Caribbean so it probably isn’t very different. While that is true, the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica is quite sleepy and not well developed. It’s where hippies and drop-outs tend to go, which is great for some people, but there aren’t enough options for most people.
Tamarindo is one of the more famous resort areas in Costa Rica, and there are also popular beach resorts in Coco, Samara and Carrillo. In this area along the northern Pacific coast of the country you’ll find international quality resorts ranging from 2 stars up to 5, along with golf courses and surfing beaches plus good nightlife and many family activities.
You can certainly find a hotel room at a beach resort along this stretch for around US$100 per night in high season, and if you are willing to pay more you’ll get world-class quality at a reasonable price. Costa Rica isn’t quite as cheap as Dominican Republic or Jamaica, but it’s close and it offers a great product at a very good price.
Explore the jungles
Perhaps the most compelling thing about Costa Rica is that a full one-quarter of the country is made up of protected national parks. This means that nature walks and many other tours through the rain forests and other natural phenomenon are easy to find and reasonably priced. The country is well known for zip-lining and that activity can be found in almost every corner of the country.
Even if you are staying along the northern Pacific coast, you can literally drive to the center of the country in only a few hours. Better still, the Liberia Airport has better deals than even the main airport near the capital city of San Jose, so really affordable packages are available and the trip from the airport to the resort can be only 30 to 60 minutes or so.
The country also has excellent surfing and interesting wildlife to offer, and both of those things are hard to find in most of the Caribbean. The flight might cost a bit more to get there, but once you arrive you are likely to find one of your new favorite places on the planet.