The local’s guide to a weekend in… Vienna, Austria

Though it is not the world’s biggest country, Costa Rica has five percent of the world’s biodiversity, across four mountain ranges, 800 miles of coastline, 200 volcanic formations and hundreds of national parks, that are easy to get to from the capital, San Jose.

One day you could be climbing through cloud forest and the next be visiting an active volcano, and later taking time out relaxing on a pristine white beach or bathing in natural hot springs and living the cowboy life on a working ranch.

But most people head here to get close to wildlife, notably cuddly sloths, white faced capuchin monkeys, howler monkeys and hundreds of tropical birds including the gorgeous quetzal – called by some birdwatchers the most beautiful bird in the world.

Costa Rica prides itself on its green credentials and this, together with its peaceful democracy (it has had no army since 1948) and abundance of natural beauty has earned it the accolade of one of ‘the world’s happiest countries’.

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