This diminutive nation measures barely 300miles (480km) north to south and 175miles (280km) at its widest point but, stands out as the jewel of South America. With sixty-five percent of its borders made up of coastline it draws parallels with a large tropical island. There are secluded white sand beaches with great surf and amazing scuba-diving as well as active volcanoes and towering rain forests. Costa Rica is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places on earth.
The country is a peaceful haven among its turbulent neighbours and an ecotourism heaven with around 26 per cent of the total land area being set aside as national parks and protected areas. The verdant forests are home to crocodiles, countless lizards, poison-dart frogs, monkeys, sloths and numerous exotic birds, insects and butterflies. Endangered sea turtles have found sanctuary on the coast and cloud forests protect elusive birds and jungle cats.