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For visitors to Costa Rica with little time to waste, Forbes Travel Guide’s editors recommend getting out of San Jose for a day trip to Irazú Volcano. Just a scenic hour’s drive outside of the capital, Irazú’s lagoon-filled crater is easily accessible by car and, on a clear day, you can see both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans from its peak.
If you’ve got more time in Costa Rica, head the other way, toward the Central Pacific coast. Some of the country’s best beaches are hidden away at resorts less than an hour and a half from the airport — check out Villa Caletas and Punta Leona for the absolute quickest routes from seat to sand.