North Pacific Coast: Places to Explore

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Papagayo Peninsula

The Papagayo Peninsula, a crooked finger of land cradling the west side of Bahía Culebra (Snake Bay), has guaranteed sun from January to April, making it a prime site for all-inclusive hotels catering to snowbirds escaping northern winters. Five large hotels are already situated around Papagayo Bay, and many others are slated to be built here, all part of a government-sponsored development program modeled after Cancún. Although the hotels are modeled on their Caribbean counterparts, the beaches are distinctly Costa Rican, with brown sand and aquamarine water that grows cool from January to April. Isolation is the name of the game here, which means that getting out of man-made "paradise" to explore anything off-property often entails a pricey tour.

High season here coincides with dry season, when the heat is intense and the landscape becomes brown and brittle. In the rainy season (August to December), the landscape is greener and lusher. Sparkling water and spectacular sunsets are beautiful year-round.

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