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 European in San José

Park Café

At this felicitous fusion of antique shop and French restaurant, Michelin-starred chef Richard Neat offers an exquisite degustation menu featuring smaller sampling plates (Spanish tapas–style) and a carefully curate…
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 Wildlife Reserve in Reserva Santa Elena

Reserva Santa Elena

The exquisitely misty 310-hectare Reserva Santa Elena offers a completely different cloud forest experience to Monteverde. Cutting through the veiled forest, the 10km of dewy trails see much less traffic, retaining …
Top Choice Steak in La Fortuna

Benedictus Steakhouse

Turn off the highway and drive about 1km up a steep, rough dirt road to arrive at this spectacularly situated steak house (tricky to find in the dark, so arrive before the sun goes down). You’ll be rewarded with a g…
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 Museum in San José

Museo de Jade

Reopened in its brand-new home in mid-2014, this museum houses the world’s largest collection of American jade (pronounced ‘ha-day’ in Spanish). The ample new exhibition space (five floors offer six exhibits) allows…
Top Choice National Park in Parque Nacional Isla del Coco

Parque Nacional Isla del Coco

Remember the opening shot of Jurassic Park, where the helicopter sweeps over the sea to a jungle-clad, mountainous island? That was here. Around 500km southwest of the Costa Rica mainland, Isla del Coco is a pristin…
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…