The impressive 12km band of soft tan sand that is PLAYA LAS LAJAS lies 124km west of Santiago and 81km east of David. At weekends and during holiday periods it attracts hordes of city-dwellers desperate to escape the heat, who fill up the handful of hotels and cabañas or camp under thatched shelters lining the back of the beach. At other times, the place is deliciously deserted. There’s nothing to do but play in the waves, watch the formations of pelicans and chill out. It’s perfect for wild beach camping, and there are a couple of local restaurants. A new dive centre offers dive trips to Coiba and Islas Secas (wlaslajasbeachdivers.com) but will take people out snorkelling too.