Costa Rica

MC's fashion team finds a nicely priced tropical hideaway in Central America

WE FLEW TO…

The Costa Rican capital, San José, then took a five-hour drive south to Dominical, a laid-back village on the Pacific coast with surfers, dark sand beaches and terrific sunsets. With a rainy season that runs from May to October, Costa Rica is best for a winter break but you’ll need to book flights and hotels well ahead. American Airlines (www.americanairlines.co.uk) flies from London Heathrow via Miami, in December return fares cost from £685 including taxes.

WE STAYED AT…

Villas Rio Mar (00 506 787 0052; www.villasriomar.com), a jungle and beach eco-resort on the banks of the Baru River. It’s surrounded by amazing tropical forests and guests stay in wooden bungalows with a terrace and hammock, plus there’s a big pool, spa and lush gardens. You can rent mountain bikes and surfboards, go diving and horseriding, or the many rewarding excursions include visits to the Parque Nacional Corcovado and boat trips to see whales, dolphins and turtles. In high season double rooms cost from £38 including tax.

WHILE YOU”RE THERE…

Dominical is an ideal place to relax after exploring other parts of Costa Rica. Nature and eco-tourism are the big draws – English is widely spoken, and it’s easy to get around. Top sights include the active volcano of Arenal, the Monteverde cloud-forest, and wildlife-rich Tortuguero on the Caribbean coast. Geodyssey (020 7281 7788; www.geodyssey.co.uk) can arrange tailormade tours either driving yourself or with guides and transfers. Costa Rica 2007 (Fodors £12.99) is an up-to-date guide, or see www.visitcostarica.com.

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