Costa Rica is an up and coming destination for incentives that want to offer something a little out of the ordinary, and it most definitely has it all. Luxurious beaches, five-star resorts, exotic wildlife and an array of rainforest adventures, there is something for everyone.
Everywhere you go you hear ‘Pura Vida’, translating to a pure life. This expression is the essence of the Costa Rican lifestyle, meaning ‘take it easy’, ‘life ain’t so bad!’ or a simple good morning greeting. With no army, a relaxed culture and panoramas of stunning scenery, it’s not surprising that Costa Rica is considered the happiest country in the world.
I was lucky enough to be invited on the first UK FAM trip to the Four Seasons resort in the Peninsula Papagayo, a truly outstanding hotel located in the northwest province of Guanacaste. Set on a long strip of Jurassic Park-style landscape, the hotel is the perfect setting for a tropical getaway, for groups of any size.
Private beaches, fine-dining restaurants, an array of meeting space and an award-winning golf course are just some of what’s available. The resort was designed to fit in within the stunning landscape, and you don’t have to look far before spotting an iguana or howler monkey!
The Four Seasons shares the peninsula with the Andaz Hotel, where a private marina offers catamaran cruises. An abundance of activities is also available at the resort including water sports, culinary tastings and a wellness package at the luxury spa.
We travelled to Costa Rica on British Airways newest route directly to San Jose. This capital city is located in the centre of the country, a 4-hour drive or 35-minute flight to Liberia, the Four Season’s closest airport. After an 11 hour flight it can be daunting to face a 4-hour transfer, so for UK groups, I would highly recommend a split programme to include one of the USA’s many destinations. Atlanta, Miami and New York fly directly to Liberia, combining with Costa Rica to create an incredible city/adventure programme.
For groups of any size, a range of activities are on offer. The Witches Rock Canopy Tour is an excellent adrenaline rush, zip lining through the trees with views over the forests. This activity is only a 10-minute drive from the Four Seasons, however many other excursions are up to a 2-hour drive away. The Palo Verde National Park is a popular choice, offering hikes to stunning views, rainforest walks and a cruise along the Tempisque River where we spotted a variety of wildlife including crocodiles and tropical birds.
For a taste of tradition, a visit to a Costa Rican coffee plantation is a must. On our transfer back to San Jose, we stopped off at the Doka Estate, an authentic plantation with mountain backdrops and friendly guides, a great opportunity to learn about traditional coffee making and sample the various roasts.
I will definitely be suggesting Costa Rica as a long haul incentive for those who are looking for somewhere completely different. The range of what’s on offer makes Costa Rica an unmissable destination, and the Pura Vida lifestyle is one to live by.
Written by Eppie Shepherd, Banks Sadler