Word has spread about the hippie-chic outposts of Montezuma and dusty yet developing Santa Teresa. During the dry season, packs of international surfers and wanderers arrive, hungry for the wild beauty and soul-stirring waters on either side of the peninsula. In between – at the very southern tip of the Península de Nicoya – lies the first natural reserve in Costa Rica.
It used to require hours of sweaty bus rides and sluggish ferries from the mainland to access this tropical land’s end, but these days there are more roads and regular boat shuttles, making the southern peninsula altogether more accessible. But if you have the time and money (and a thirst for adventure), embrace the gritty, arduous drive down the rugged western coast, which requires river crossings and low-tide beach traverses, muddy jungle slogs and steep narrow passes. It's hard work, but your arrival in paradise is all the sweeter for it. (Though perhaps not in the rainy season.)