My husband and I are planning a trip to Costa Rica for 10 days over Xmas/New Year. I know it's not the best time to go from a crowds & costs perspective, but that's when we can go.
We're looking for a chilled out, quiet holiday, and for that reason probably want to rent a private villa (one that isn't part of a complex or resort). I'd like to spend a bit of time on the beach, but also like walking and landscapes.
I've read through most of the Rough Guide but I haven't really managed to get a sense of where the best place to base ourselves would be. My preference would be to stay in one place for the whole 10 days, and take trips from there. So really what I'm asking is if anyone can suggest a location where we'd be within 20 minutes or so drive of a beach, but also in an area that's quiet (if anywhere is at that time of year) and there is good hiking and interesting landscapes to see within an hour or so drive.
Also, out of interest, are there any areas that particularly attract European tourists rather than North American tourists?
Thanks very much.