First, check on international flights—sometimes you will be able to find some very good deals on airfare flying to either San Jose or Liberia. San Jose usually offers the best options, and it’s a great place to start your vacation if you are interested in seeing the Arenal Volcano, Monteverde or the Central Pacific. If, on the other hand, you are able to find a good deal to Liberia (which are becoming more common), it’s perfect for a beach vacation as Liberia is much closer to all the beaches in the North Pacific of Costa Rica. Even if you wait to get flights until after you plan your trip, it’s good to know what to expect for availability and cost. And if you find an amazing deal, don’t sleep on it—they don’t last long!
Meet your guide upon pickup from your San Jose hotel and stop for breakfast at Rancho Roberto's in Guapiles. After your meal, you'll travel through the Braulio Carrillo National Park, one of Costa Rica’s largest national parks. Pass numerous rivers, waterfalls and mountains covered in dense forests on your drive, until you reach a banana plantation. Here, board a boat and set sail for Tortuguero National Park. Since there are no roads to the park from Tortuguero village, access to the vast network of freshwater lagoons and creeks is by boat. Ride for approximately one hour to reach the canals and keep an eye out for all kind of birds in the lush vegetation along the way.Tortuguero, meaning ‘turtle catcher,’ formed from an archipelago of volcanic islands where high rainfall eventually created the bio-diverse wetlands – great for nature lovers! During your 3-hour boat tour of Tortuguero National Park, your expert guide will be on hand to teach you about the history and wildlife as you cruise between the marshy isles. Midday, you’ll have time for a lunch break at Evergreen Lodge, located just five minutes by boat from the entrance to the park. Under the high ceilings of the lovely main dining room, enjoy the ambiance that complements the surrounding jungle landscape.Get an up-close look at the park's great variety of flora and fauna as you ride among the canals. If you’re lucky, you might spot such wildlife as the spectacled caiman, southern river otter and possibly even the endangered West Indian manatee. The park is also home to sloths, howler and capuchin monkeys, tiny frogs and green iguanas.The secluded, black-sand beaches of Tortuguero National Park are some of the most important breeding grounds for the green sea turtle. These ancient reptiles once neared extinction as adults were hunted for their meat and their eggs were taken. You'll get the chance to see the sites where the green sea turtles nest and learn from your guide about the park’s efforts to protect this important species.After exploring the national park, enjoy a return 1-hour boat ride to dry land and then board your coach for the trip back to San Jose, where you’ll be dropped off at your hotel in the evening.
An estimated 30,000 Americans have retired in Costa Rica, with another 50 nationalities represented among the expatriate population. Stop and take a deep breath if you hear yourself uttering the words: “Honey, that nice real estate agent we met in the hotel lobby told us how easy it would be to move down here. Let’s do it.” As happens to countless other visitors, the sunshine syndrome has snuck up on you. Before you sell the farm and make the move here, the experts suggest doing a trial rental of a few months to see if day-to-day life in Costa Rica is for you. Living here—with all the mundane, attendant tasks of grocery shopping, banking, and making doctor’s appointments—is much different than being on vacation.
Lying in the heart of the verdant rainforest in Tenorio Volcano National Park, the Rio Celeste (Blue River) is one of the most remarkable natural assets of Costa Rica. It is thought that the surprising azure color of the river is caused by minerals in the rocks of the river bed, combined with reflected sunlight. For one of the most rewarding photo opportunities of your Costa Rica vacation, you will need to take on a fairly challenging 4.5 mile hike – the trail will reward you with views of virgin rainforest, thermal springs, and a startlingly blue lagoon. A shorter 1-mile hike directly to the Rio Celeste Waterfall is also available from the entrance of the park. Organized tours to Rio Celeste are available from La Fortuna.
This is my favorite tour I’ve ever done in Costa Rica and there are also multi-day white water rafting trips for the more adventurous ones. You can even go white water as a way to get around Costa Rica as many companies pick up in San Jose and drop off in La Fortuna or Puerto Viejo! This is definitely one of the top adventure activities in Costa Rica.

Amazing! The tours were animal filled and the hotels were beautiful and relaxing. Giovanni, our tour guide, was knowledgeable, humorous and very good at keeping 37 people on time. He had a wealth of both biological and cultural information that made the longer bus rides bearable. The food was beyond amazing! Thank you for another perfect trip! Already thinking about where I will go next with Gate 1.
In the event of a traffic accident, do not move the vehicle. Both the traffic police and an insurance investigator must make accident reports before the vehicles can be moved. Drivers using rental cars should clarify their company’s policy in the event of accidents. Rental companies may levy additional charges on drivers for failing to file a report.

Alternatively one can travel into the rainforest and go for a zip line ride, or take a canopy tour in the rainforest. Water activities in the interior of the country are also available. The traveler can do a little white water rafting on one of the many rivers, or go horseback riding to some of the many waterfalls that are found throughout the country.

The Arenal Volcano is a truly picturesque volcano. If you can imagine how you would have drawn a volcano when you were a kid, that is basically what it looks like: a perfect symmetrical cone. Surrounding the volcano are lush forests that are bursting with wildlife. There are beautiful waterfalls, hanging bridges, hiking and horseback riding trails, butterfly gardens, hot springs, and zip lines tours. The Arenal Volcano National Park pretty much has it all.


Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport (LIR), between Liberia and Playa Hermosa in Guanacaste province, is Costa Rica’s second-busiest airport. It’s convenient to the endless beaches of the Nicoya Peninsula and the inland parks and protected areas of northwestern Costa Rica, including Arenal, Monteverde, Rincon de la Vieja, Guanacaste, and on and on.
Southwest Airlines offers routes that fly into both San Jose (the capital, smack-dab in the middle of the country, close to popular tourist areas like Punta Arenas) and Liberia (a small town in the north that offers a quick means of getting to the beautiful Nicoya Peninsula). Both are non-stop flights, both take around three-and-a-half hours, and both cost around $350 round-trip. And once you're here, lodging can be found at every price point, from tidy hostels for $30 a night, boutique hotels for $90, or flat-out luxury resorts where you're treated like royalty for $200.
Environment - current issues: This entry lists the most pressing and important environmental problems. The following terms and abbreviations are used throughout the entry: Acidification - the lowering of soil and water pH due to acid precipitation and deposition usually through precipitation; this process disrupts ecosystem nutrient flows and may kill freshwater fish and plants dependent on more neutral or alkaline conditions (see acid rain). Acid rain - characterized as containing harmful levels of sulfur dioxi . . . more
Most folks associated with the tourism industry here speak English—good English at that—so never fear if your Spanish is nonexistent. But don’t be afraid to dust off and pull out whatever Spanish you might know. Greet people with a hearty “Buenos días” (good morning), “Buenas tardes” (good afternoon) and “Buenas noches” (good evening). Sprinkle your requests with those “Por favor” (please) and “Gracias” (thank you) niceties. You’ll elicit a smile. Plus, you have to love a people whose “You’re welcome” response is not the standard “De nada” (it’s nothing) heard in other Spanish-speaking countries, but rather, “Con mucho gusto” (with much pleasure).
“I am still impressed that the large Caravan Tours has scheduled almost-daily departures from January through March of its escorted tour of the beaches, volcanoes and rain forests of Costa Rica. It’s a sign of how firmly tourism has taken hold of that Central American republic, and a tribute to the appeal of unsullied nature, which Costa Rica represents. However, it’s also because of the brilliant, affordable pricing of this tour by Caravan.”
Welcome to the world as seen through the eyes of Cameron and Natasha. On this site you’ll find our experiences, photography, and informative travel guides. We love getting to off the beaten path destinations and aren’t afraid to go it alone. We hope to inspire other independent travelers and provide the resources to do so. If you want to find us, just head to the nearest coffee shop or check back here!
Another important factor behind Costa Rica's poverty was the lack of a significant indigenous population available for encomienda (forced labor), which meant most of the Costa Rican settlers had to work on their own land, preventing the establishment of large haciendas (plantations). For all these reasons, Costa Rica was, by and large, unappreciated and overlooked by the Spanish Crown and left to develop on its own. The circumstances during this period are believed to have led to many of the idiosyncrasies for which Costa Rica has become known, while concomitantly setting the stage for Costa Rica's development as a more egalitarian society than the rest of its neighbors. Costa Rica became a "rural democracy" with no oppressed mestizo or indigenous class. It was not long before Spanish settlers turned to the hills, where they found rich volcanic soil and a milder climate than that of the lowlands.[39]
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