Living in New York City, peace can often seem like a rare blessing. That’s why a short, 3.5 hour flight to Costa Rica felt like time traveling. Pura vida (pure life) is a saying communicated in nearly every part of this Central American country, and although it’s also plastered on coffee mugs and key chains for tourists, the veracity of the phrase is never lost on me. It’s a way of living with gratitude that Ticos do well, and that I’m reminded to pursue each time I visit.

Luxury meets the essence of pura vida at Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Resort, a stunning property nestled between the verdant Gulf of Papagayo and the azure waters of Culebra Bay in Guanacaste. Just a 30-minute plane ride from Liberia Airport leads to Papagayo’s open-air lobby, a cocoon of quiet and minimalist design that sets the tone for the laid-back vibe of the environment.

In the distance, lush Costa Rican mountains remind any visitor that it’s time to leave those city blues behind. Costa Rican architect Ronald Zurcher brings his funky aesthetic to the property, and it shows in everything from the staff dressed in chinos to a vintage purple Volkswagen waiting in the lobby to take guests surfing nearby.

Nearly three million visitors headed to Costa Rica last year, and for good reason. Almost 25% of the country’s natural land is protected, making it one of the most bio-diverse regions in the world. Add to this the ability to lounge on the beach all day, or zipline past century old volcanoes, and you’ll soon realize there’s very little you can’t do. Whether it’s your first time or you’re ready for another visit, here are three reasons why Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Resort should top your list of where to stay.

1. LOCATION: Just a short ride from the airport and perched above one of the country’s most scenic bays, Andaz provides the intimacy of exploration in the great wide open. Guests can kayak, enjoy the adults-only pool or head into town for a closer experience with local life.

2. DESIGN: Nature reigns supreme in Andaz’s bedrooms. Pebble-floored showers, driftwood panels above the bed and the sounds of nature give guests a truly immersive experience. All guestrooms and suites also feature a view of Culebra Bay.

3. FOOD: At Andaz, there’s truly no need to leave the property for a good meal. For breakfast, the open-air Rhio Bhongo serves up Costa Rican classics like gallo pinto (rice and beans) as well as plantains decadently stuffed with salty cheese. In the evening, the place to be is Chao Pescao, and the man to see is mixologist Clark Jimenez.

Nibble on tapas like tuna ceviche and yucca fries while trying to decide whether or not you should have another tequila based cocktail with fig butter. (The answer will be yes.) For an intimate meal, Ostra offers delicious local seafood and a ceviche bar, where guests can create their own dish to enjoy.

With winter just around the corner, what are you waiting for?