Boston Traveler: Costa Rica

Costa Rica beckons those in search of paradise this winter.

Boston Traveler: Costa Rica Guide

Blue and green as far as the eye can see on Costa Rica’s shores / iStock


Your best bet is to leave on a Saturday—that’s when JetBlue offers a nonstop flight to Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport in Liberia, which unveiled a $10.3 million renovation last summer.


The glam Santarena Hotel, which takes inspiration from the old mansions of Havana and Cartagena, opened its doors in the village of Las Catalinas this month. Make yourself at home in one of 45 bright, uncluttered rooms, many of which have private terraces flaunting ocean views.

Santarena Hotel Costa Rica Boston Travel Guide

A light, bright room at the brand-new Santarena Hotel. / Courtesy of Santarena Hotel


Fuel up with a fresh-fruit smoothie at Las Catalinas’ new high-end market, Copper & Stone, before exploring trails through 1,000-plus acres in the village’s natural forest reserve. Take a hike or rent a mountain bike from Pura Vida Ride and keep your eyes peeled for families of howler monkeys, birds, iguanas, and wildcats while enjoying sweeping views of the Pacific. If you prefer to play in the waves, the calm surf at nearby Playa Danta is ideal for paddleboarding, kayaking, and snorkeling. Hungry after an active morning? Lunch awaits at the beach café Limonada, where you can fill up on ceviche before refreshing salty, sun-drenched skin with a hydrating body wrap at nearby Wake day spa.


It’s time to leave the calm of Las Catalinas behind for a bit more excitement—all you have to do is pick your direction. Just over an hour’s drive northeast brings you to the city of Liberia, nicknamed the “White City” for its chalky gravel roads and whitewashed buildings. The area is home to several cattle ranches, so don’t be surprised to see cowboys trotting around on horseback—especially during the annual weeklong Fiestas Civica Liberia, which gives visitors the chance to witness a traditional rodeo, starting February 27. A one-hour drive south, meanwhile, is all it takes to get to the surf town of Tamarindo. Skip the usual tourist traps in favor of Seasons at the Hotel Arco Iris, which offers a taste of the pura vida with fresh seafood and even fresher live music.