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Costa Rica

The beautiful La Fortuna Falls in Costa Rica.

iStockphoto/Thinkstock

Spending a week relaxing on a beach without a care in the world is many people's idea of a good time, which is probably why beach locales are always among the most popular honeymoon destinations. But these days soft sand, sunny skies and rolling blue waters aren't the only things newlyweds seek out for a vacation.

Costa Rica is a nature lover's paradise, with dense forests and warm waters that are home to 5 percent of the world's species of plants and animals. Fully 26 percent of this nation's land is set aside by the government for conservation in order to preserve its pristine environment and stunning biological diversity. In 2011 Forbes magazine even listed Costa Rica's Manuel Antonio National Park -- with its wildlife-filled rainforest, sandy beaches and rocky cliffs -- as one of the 12 most beautiful national parks in the world. But while the country offers endless beauty, it also offers exciting ways to explore it.

For adventurous pairs, Costa Rica is a delight. Explore the rainforests looking for Capuchin monkeys and three-toed sloths. Catch the waves at some of the world's best surfing spots. Spend an afternoon kayaking through mangrove forests and swimming in the clear pool beneath the Nauyaca Waterfall. Paddle your heart out on a whitewater rafting adventure on several of the country's exciting rivers. Take a tour of the spectacular Monteverde Cloud Forest. Whiz through the dense jungle canopy on a zip line 100 feet in the air. After all that, you can take a day trip to the Arenal Volcano and sooth your sore muscles in the nearby Tabacon natural hot springs.

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