A female hiker crossing a hanging bridge in the dense jungle near Quepos, Puntarenas Province.

©Kathrin Ziegler/Getty Images

Quepos to Uvita

South of Quepos, the well-trodden central Pacific tourist trail begins to taper off, evoking the feel of the Costa Rica of yesteryear – surf shacks and empty beaches, roadside ceviche vendors and a little more space. Intrepid travelers can have their pick of any number of deserted beaches and great surf spots. The region is also home to the great bulk of Costa Rica’s African-palm-oil industry, which should be immediately obvious after the few dozen miles of endless plantations lining the sides of the Costanera.

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