For many of us, 2016 was a year to forget – global political upheaval, domestic stresses and the unimaginable reshaping of Toblerone bars… As such, 2017 should be about rebalance, the resetting of the happiness equilibrium, and what better way to do that than with a stress-free holiday of a lifetime. The important thing to remember though, is that a stress-free holiday experience can start long before you arrive at your chosen destination, before you’ve boarded your plane even…

One of the most arduous pre-trip admin tasks for a number of destinations is the acquisition of a travel visa. This can often involve lengthy queues and wait times at an embassy as well as a not-insignificant payment. This can quite often mean time off work or a stressful weekend trip. So why not forgo all that nonsense and start 2017 as you mean to carry on – by opting for an easygoing visa free holiday destination!

The next important question is: where? There’s one destination that we think stands out from the crowd. It’s a place that allows you to simply buy a plane ticket and whizz on down. It’s a country that boasts beautiful beaches and stunning jungle. It’s a destination with an array of wildlife that would put even the finest zoo to shame. It is a place that should feature on all travellers’ must-visit lists, especially this year. It is a place that offers tranquillity and rejuvenation. It is Costa Rica.

Nestled between Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the south, this diminutive Central American nation belies its size with regards to what it offers holidaymakers. With both Caribbean and Pacific coastlines, there is plenty for the water babies, whether you’re a sunbathe-and-swim type of person or an all-out surfer (the surf here is world-class!). If hiking is your thing, then head for the hills. There are winding trails to be discovered and volcanoes to be scaled. If walking isn’t your thing, then why not discover your surroundings on horseback or by the comfort of a 4×4? Now that’s travelling in style!

Regardless of the specifics of your experience – whether you’re beachside or looking down at the beaches from a local peak – the one aspect of this country that truly must be appreciated by all is the wildlife. Costa Rica, which is clad in thick jungle, is one of the most biodiverse countries on the planet. So whether you’re donning the walking boots and searching for spider monkeys or pulling on the fins to snorkel with turtles, you’re guaranteed to come face-to-face with some of Costa Rica’s most famous and friendly residents. The experiences of meeting such creatures are ones that will live with you forever – magic moments that we all hope to encounter whenever we travel abroad. And Costa Rica has them in abundance. There’s little more relaxing that coming face-to-face with a turtle, whether underwater or on the beach. Could that be the ultimate 2016 antidote? We think it might just be…