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The concept here is simple but brilliant

The effect is like walking around a whimsical little village from a fairy tale, only with palm trees. Even better, the rooms have names like Cabina Piscina painted over the doors.

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The Happiest place in the World!

Denmark is no longer the happiest country in the world. Actually, the Danes are far from being happy, according to a new global happiness measurement, the Happy Planet Index (HPI). Instead, Costa Ricans are now the merriest in a list of 151 countries. The index, compiled by the London-based New Economics Foundation (NEF), is different from the more well-known happiness index issued by the United Nations. In addition to life expectancy and happiness, the HPI takes environmental sustainability into consideration. “The Happy Planet Index measures what really matters -- long and happy lives now and the potential for good lives in the future,” said Nic Marks, creator of the index, in a press release. “For too long we have relied on incomplete measures of progress that focus only on economic activity, such as GDP.”

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Best Destinations in Costa Rica

Your morning in Nosara: Wake to the sounds of the jungle. Walk two minutes to Playa Guiones and do a few yoga poses at sunrise while surfers ride the waves.

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Waves and Wildlife in Costa Rica

IT’S not every day that you step out from a sunset surf session straight into a jungle habitat of howler monkeys dangling in leafy guarumo trees, cicadas conducting a symphony, and a pair of white-nosed coati — raccoon-like animals with striped tails and masks — strolling across a dirt road, sending geckos darting out of their path. It was so enchanting that I even forget to swat at the mosquitoes hovering about, getting ready to divebomb my legs. Such is the charm of Nosara, a small village in the Nicoya Peninsula, on the northwest Pacific coast of Costa Rica. This hamlet’s remoteness has long kept the crowds away, but surfers in the know — like the big-wave legend Richard Schmidt — have been making the pilgrimage for years. Now aspiring wave-riders far from the world tour are heading there for the handful of surf schools that have popped up around town, and for the undeveloped jungle beauty, small hotels and yoga culture.

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Surf's up: Costa Rica a divine spot for even the mildly adventurous

From Pavones, one of the longest left-hand waves in the world, to Witches Rock, a 12-foot-high, 300-yard-long wave featured in "Endless Summer," Costa Rica has some of the best surfing known to humanity. And if none of that registers with you, don't worry. Because while this surf mecca attracts the world's best, it's also great for beginners. My travel partner had never picked up a surfboard in her life. By the end of the vacation, she was ripping it up. So, if you're curious about surfing and looking for a vacation that's part adventure, part exercise and all relaxation, buy a round-trip ticket to San Jose, rent a four-wheel drive with a roof rack and tour Costa Rica's west coast.

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World's 20 Best Surf Towns

A great surf town is the nearly magical sum of consistent waves, inviting accommodations, friendly locals, fun nightlife, delicious food, and plenty of activities should the ocean go flat. The following is a list of the world's best surf towns, picked not necessarily because they are home to the best waves, but because the sum of their parts makes them inviting for locals and visitors alike. Plus, for each town, locals tell us where to eat, stay, and play.

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Nosara, Costa Rica: From Surf Town to Posh Retreat

The effect is like walking around a whimsical little village from a fairy tale, only with palm trees. Even better, the rooms have names like Cabina Piscina painted over the doors.

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