A low-lying, four-building property atop the lush, 1,250-foot Bejuco Ridge on Costa Rica’s southern Pacific coast, Kurá Design Villas is barely visible from the beach and surrounding hills. The property has almost zero ecological impact; solar panels and rain-collection systems keep the owners, Alejandra Umaña and Martin Wells, from relying on civilization for much of anything. Even the hammocks have minimalist steel stands. But the best part about Kurà is the access. While most of the country’s two million annual tourists focus on areas like Guanacaste, the southern coast around Uvita—and its three surfing beaches within a 15-minute drive—saw a fraction of that last year. Beginners: start at two-mile-long Uvita beach and its gentle, four-foot waves. Experts: head north to Dominical, a three-mile-long beach with strong left and right breaks. Everyone else: walk out to Whale’s Tail, a Pacific sandbar along the wintering area of humpback whales, or snorkel alongside dolphins and sea turtles in nearby Caño Island Biological Reserve. Then head back to that hammock.
ACCESS: Fly Sansa or Nature Air from San José to Quepos; the lodge arranges pickups. Villas from $540.
CLIMATE: February: 79 degrees (high), 66 degrees (low), Less than an inch of rain.
DETOUR: Rappel down waterfalls: $90.
FOOD: Drive 20 minutes to Dominical’s Bar Jolly Roger and choose from 21 varieties of chicken wings.