Costa Ricans like to use the phrase pura vida (“the pure life”), and it won’t cost you much to figure out why. Just a few miles from the little town of Quepos (a short $30 flight on Sansa Airlines from San José), Manuel Antonio National Park and its nearby accommodations offer a luxury-style tropical weekend for the price of a trip to L.A. Book a suite at Si Como No, a complex of villas camped on a hillside overlooking the jungle canopy and the Pacific. It has all the comforts of a deluxe hotel – except here your neighbors are sloths, toucans, and other exotic wildlife. Hike through the rain forest, pausing on a small quay for a sunbath on a perfect white-sand beach (watch your lunch – those little white-faced monkeys are crafty). Cool off back at the villa’s water bar with a caipirinha before dinner. The hotel has two great restaurants, but take in the sunset views and the best catch of the day just up the road at Café Barba Roja. For inexpensive day outings, check in with Iguana Tours, which offers sportfishing, rafting, a Zodiac tour of the coast, and a chance to swim with dolphins.
John KlineDETAILS Hotel Si Como No, 011-506-777-0777 (rates start at $150 through April 30, $130 after); Iguana Tours, 011-506-777-1262; Café Barba Roja, 011-506-777-0331; Sansa airlines, www.grupotaca.com/ing/sansa.html.