Top things to do

Top Choice Dive Site in Ambergris Caye

Hol Chan Marine Reserve

At the southern tip of Ambergris, the 6.5-sq-mile Hol Chan Marine Reserve is probably Belize's most oft-visited diving and snorkeling site due to its spectacular coral formations, and abundance and diversity of mari…
Top Choice Notable Building in San José

Teatro Nacional

On the southern side of the Plaza de la Cultura resides the Teatro Nacional, San José’s most revered building. Constructed in 1897, it features a columned neoclassical facade that is flanked by statues of Beethoven …
Top Choice Fusion in Tortuguero Village

Wild Ginger

On a dirt path near the beach north of town, the simple, tucked-away place could be straight out of California or Portland (the owner has lived in both cities). It's dimly lit with paper lanterns, has a striking pai…
Top Choice European in San José

Park Café

At this felicitous fusion of antique shop and French restaurant, Michelin-starred chef Richard Neat offers an exquisite menu of smaller sampling plates (Spanish tapas–style), normal-sized mains, and a thoughtful win…
Top Choice Park in Panajachel

Reserva Natural Atitlán

A former coffee plantation being retaken by natural vegetation, this reserve is 200m past the Hotel Atitlán on the northern outskirts of town. It makes a good outing on foot or bicycle. You can leisurely walk the ma…
Top Choice Waterfall in Tilarán

Viento Fresco

Driving between Monteverde and Arenal, there is no good excuse for skipping this stop. Viento Fresco is a series of five cascades, including the spectacular Arco Iris (Rainbow Falls), which drops 75m into a refreshi…
Top Choice Breakfast in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Bread & Chocolate

Ever had a completely homemade PB&J (with bread, peanut butter and jelly all made from scratch)? That and more can be yours at this dream of a cafe, serving sandwiches, soups and salads, and of course the treat …
Top Choice International in Nuevo Arenal

Gingerbread Hotel & Restaurant

Don’t miss the chance to eat at one of the best restaurants in northwestern Costa Rica, right on the lake. The larger-than-life, New York–trained Israeli chef turns out transcendent meals from the freshest local ing…
Top Choice Seafood in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Laszlo's

Whaddya get when you take a champion sport fisherman, born and raised in Transylvania, and transplant him to Puerto Viejo by way of New Jersey? Answer: an amazing, eclectic eatery with no sign and no menu that only …
Top Choice Panamanian in Panama City

Donde José

Elevating humble Panamanian staples to haute cuisine, this four-table eatery is Panama's hottest reservation, though overpriced. Chef Jose prepares ñandu beans (native black beans), crisp, tender pork and ñame (an…