Real Simple Travel
The Ultimate Destination Guide

A vacation should melt away problems, not create more of them. Make the planning easier with this map to finding your perfect trip.

Whoever said “It’s the Journey, not the destination, that counts” wasn’t planning a vacation at the time. After all, who doesn’t prefer wading through the ocean to wading through piles of brochures? Vacations are all about the destination, of course, but the act of picking one can make anybody seek a self-help mantra.

To ease the stress, Real Simple, with the advice of travel experts and local residents worldwide, created a guide to satisfy all types of wanderlust. This way, when you start planning, you’ll have some direction. As the Chinese philosopher Lao-Tzu said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Or a single turn of this page.

…….Get lost at an eco-lodge in the rain forest.

Where: Bosque del Cabo, Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

The resort sits on the tip of the Osa Peninsula, in the southwest corner of Costa Rica, surrounded by jungla. Guests fly into Puerto Jimenez, where a lodge staffer picks them up and drives them 45 minutes into the rain forest to reach the lodge.

What to do: Hike from your cabina, through the rain forest, to the coast, looking at macaws, toucans, and monkeys along the way. Or snag one of the hotel’s naturalist guides to go searching for pumas. Although the bungalows and restaurants are solar-powered and eco-friendly, they don’t skimp on pampering. There are outdoor showers, hammocks on the porches, and massages offered in a forest clearing.

When to go: The driest season runs from December through April (although March is considered one of the most humid months). Avoid August to November, the rainiest months. Doubles from $175 a person for one night, including meals.