Another popular waterfall in the country and one of the top places to visit in Costa Rica is the otherworldly Rio Celeste Waterfall. It’s situated in Tenorio Volcano National Park, in the northern region of Alajuela. The waterfall occurs where the Celeste River spills over a cliff and down into a waiting pool below. The freshwater river is an amazing blue color because of a chemical combination of sulfur and calcium carbonate, and as a result, sometimes the waterfall actually glows blue too as it tumbles down. It is a decent hike to get to the waterfall but well worth it for the stunning sight at the end. Tours of Rio Celeste can be booked online.
The lion’s share of our business comes from returning customers and referrals largely in part from our obsession in providing only the highest level of customer satisfaction. The team at Costa Rica Vacations are all highly skilled local travel experts who are ICT (Costa Rica Tourism Institute) certified and have extensively traveled from one corner to the next in search of only the highest grade accommodations and tours designed specifically for you!
The law permits pre-trial detention of persons accused of serious crimes. Due to overcrowding in local prisons, courts may instead utilize an “exit impediment.” Individuals subject to these measures cannot depart Costa Rica, must be able to support themselves, and must check in with judicial authorities on a regular basis. Defendants have the right to a public defender and an official translator for important hearings.
The picturesque beach town of Jaco anchors one of Costa Rica’s busiest stretches of coastline. Here, you’ll find the other Playa Hermosa, a famed surfing beach that hosts the Quicksilver International Surfing Competition every August. If you visit in late summer, you’ll definitely want to head down this way to catch a glimpse of elite amateurs mixing it up with 15-foot swells. Or skip the crowds and seek out one of the area’s quieter black sand beaches – pristine reminders of the region’s volcanic origins.
In 1838, long after the Federal Republic of Central America ceased to function in practice, Costa Rica formally withdrew and proclaimed itself sovereign. The considerable distance and poor communication routes between Guatemala City and the Central Plateau, where most of the Costa Rican population lived then and still lives now, meant the local population had little allegiance to the federal government in Guatemala. From colonial times to now, Costa Rica's reluctance to become economically tied with the rest of Central America has been a major obstacle to efforts for greater regional integration.[44]
Vacation in the rainforest canopy at the acclaimed Aninga Lodge. Your stay begins with an epic boat ride through Tortuguero’s canals, home to wild crocodiles, monkeys and iguanas. Once you arrive at the lodge, you’ll be amazed by the sky-high property, which was intentionally built on 5 foot stilts to preserve the surrounding natural habitat. Enjoy the views of the lush jungle and dazzling ocean from your private bungalow, and be sure to take a stroll through the enchanting wilderness. With over 500 species of birds and 6,000 species of plants you’ll never forget the rich biodiversity that Tortuguero has to offer.
You will find the fascinating Butterfly Conservatory located close to the shores of beautiful Lake Arenal in the Alajuela Province. Within the conservatory, nature-lovers of all ages can take an interesting and educational tour, which will introduce you to the life of butterflies and other creatures that inhabit the four different microclimates found around the lake. You can visit the greenhouses where the butterflies are bred, the frog habitat, and an orchid exhibition as well as follow the Rainforest River Walk, where you have the chance to spot monkeys, sloths, toucans, and parrots. From the Volcano View Gazebo you can get an excellent view of Arenal Volcano, Arenal Lake, and more.

In 1996, the Forest Law was enacted to provide direct financial incentives to landowners for the provision of environmental services.[65] This helped reorient the forestry sector away from commercial timber production and the resulting deforestation, and helped create awareness of the services it provides for the economy and society (i.e., carbon fixation, hydrological services such as producing fresh drinking water, biodiversity protection, and provision of scenic beauty).[65]

When encountering a new currency, learn the exchange rate from a reliable source (online ahead of time or a local bank, preferably) and create a little cheat sheet converting it to US dollars or the other Central American currency you are comfortable with. Travel with small denominations of US dollars (crisp 1s, 5s, 10s) as back-up... usually you'll be able to use them if you run out of local currency.
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List – Costa Rica does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts declined in 2014, with fewer prosecutions and no convictions and no actions taken against complicit government personnel; some officials conflated trafficking with smuggling, and authorities reported the diversion of funds to combat smuggling hindered anti-trafficking efforts; the government identified more victims than the previous year but did not make progress in ensuring that victims received adequate protective services; specialized services were limited and mostly provided by NGOs without government support, even from a dedicated fund for anti-trafficking efforts; victims services were virtually non-existent outside of the capital (2015)

Costa Rica requires valid Yellow fever certificate if arriving from most neighbouring countries. If such is not presented you would not be allowed to enter/board the flight. At Bogota airport - if you have certificate you can have it emailed to the airline and then proceed to the local vaccination authority for duplicate certificate to be issued free of charge. The critical part is to get the printed version on time. If you don't have certificate or cannot get it on time you will probably be approached by friendly police officers to arrange such for a fee. Keep in mind that the date of the vaccination should be at least 10 days prior entering the country from which you are flying.


Costa Rica has developed around coffee, shaping its social and political structures along with the culture. Oxen and the colorful ox carts are celebrated as art across the country that once hauled coffee exports from the Central Valley over the mountains to the Pacific Coast over a 15-day period. Coffee remains one of the major exports of the country and dates back to the 18th century. Marks of the prestigious coffee trade continue to decorate the country, most notably in the San Jose neighborhoods of Amon and Aranjuez, where colonial, Victorian, and art deco mansions recall the prestige of the coffee barons from the late 19th to early 20th centuries.
A recent culinary revolution has given new life to overlooked districts like Barrio Escalante, in the capital. Many young chefs, craft brewers, and mixologists can be found transforming San José into a gastronomic boomtown. And with the opening of Liberia’s International Airport in 2012, new luxury developments have begun extending beyond established beach communities. Plan your trip—be it a high-octane adventure or a mellow, family getaway—with Travel + Leisure’s guide to Costa Rica.
Our trip was wonderful! Ricardo Bolanos, our tour guide was wonderful!! Very personable, knowledgeable, organized, and just a great guy. Gate 1 has a real asset in Ricardo. Also, Jose , our bus driver was unbelievably good! He navigated the narrow mountain roads with numerous, narrow, one lane bridges exceptionally well. He definitely earned his money! Looking forward to our next trip with Gate 1.
Hotel Belmar is located in Monteverde's cloud forest where guest will experience the best of nature, luxury, and sustainable practices. This world-renowned hotel offers a wide range of amenities including handmade organic soaps with biodegradable shampoos, locally made snacks, and fresh Costa Rican brewed coffee delivered to the exquisite rooms. Guests will experience only the best at this peaceful accommodation. 
Costa Rica’s inarguable mantra is “Pura Vida,” which stands can mean “full of life.” It commonly refers to the way Ticos greet each other, reflecting on their day, week, or life as “going great.” A first-time visit to Costa Rica can be a test in patience for newcomers as locals refer to their timeliness as “la hora tica,” or Tico Time, referring to the slow, relaxed pace of life.  Ticos take their time and do not view tardiness or steadiness as rude, unless in adhering to the rigid timetables of movie showings or health clinic appointments. Whether on a public street or in the privacy of their homes, Costa Ricans will say hello and goodbye to friends with a light kiss on the cheek. Women kiss women; men kiss women; men do not kiss men. However, friendly men will often give one-armed hugs or firm handshakes.

There have been outbreaks of dengue fever in some areas of the country and an outbreak of malaria was reported in November 2006 from the province of Limon but just a few cases. Protection against mosquito bites is very important, wearing lightweight long pants, long sleeved shirts and using insect repellents with high concentrations of DEET is recommended by the CDC. If you are going to be in very rural areas known to be malaria-infested areas, you might want to consider an anti-malarial med. However, most travelers to Costa Rica do just fine with updated childhood immunizations and taking preventative measures against mosquito bites (rather than take anti-malarial medication). The CDC has a complete list of recommended vaccines when traveling to Costa Rica.
MC: Yes, don’t look at a map and decide that just because something is “close” you can cram it in to a day trip. It is roughly twenty kilometers from the heart of Santa Elena to Guacimal (down the mountain). Depending on the current condition of the road, construction, traffic and acts of God, it can be as short as 40 minutes or well over an hour each direction. Those not accustomed to driving here will also find it very draining; this is not like driving on a freeway in the U.S. using one finger to stay in your lane while talking to your friends via a Bluetooth connection. Take your time.
Beach lovers will be enthralled with the hundreds of miles of coastline on both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Beaches in the Guanacaste region in the Pacific Coast such as Tamarindo are idyllic spots of white sands, palm trees and plenty of surf. Other fabulous spots include the Nicoya Peninsula where you will find Santa Teresa and Tortuga Island.
There is an extensive network of bus routes within the country with reasonable fares. Departures are very punctual, though routes often take longer than expected. Stop by the Tourist Office downtown (underneath the Gold Museum in the Plaza--ask anyone and they'll be able to help you out). The bus system is a safe and even fun way to see a lot of the country cheaply and not have to worry about car rentals. Getting around without Spanish is no problem.

With such a vast amount of avifauna, it is important to know what types of birds you would like to find during your time in Costa Rica. For the tropical rainforest species, you can explore La Selva Biological Station and Reserve. Carara National Park hosts the largest population of remaining scarlet macaw while Tapanti National Park and Cerro Silencio host tanagers, barbets, ornate hawk-eagles and a plethora of hummingbirds. With stunning colors, interesting calls, and fascinating characteristics, it is no wonder that more than 30 percent of all travelers to Costa Rica visit to see the birds. 
Whether you are seeking a family vacation to a top all-inclusive resort, a luxury romantic honeymoon to a secluded boutique hotel, or an adrenaline-filled expedition packed with adventure tours, we will craft a Costa Rica getaway that is right for you!  With over 15 years of local experience, you can trust our recommendations and the high-quality service we provide.
Corn is a popular ingredient often used in Costa Rica both in tortillas or pancakes. Plantains and yucca often take the place of potatoes as an accompanying side dish and are fried, dressed with salt, and favored for their starchy qualities. Near the coastal waters, you can find an abundance of delectable ceviche dishes with locals squeezing sour lemon over fishes such as tuna, swordfish, red snapper, or shellfish like shrimp, lobster, or conch.
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.
Just west of Parque Nacional Guanacaste is Parque Nacional Santa Rosa, probably the country’s second best place to experience a Pacific dry forest. Sadly, much of the original habitat was destroyed by intentionally set fires and replaced by imported a mix of cultivated and non-native plants; it’s been a long, mostly fruitless slog to get things back to the way they were.
Parque Nacional Guanacaste is one of the best places in Central America to experience a pristine Pacific dry forest. Perhaps because the dry forest lacks the jungle’s charisma, it’s under relentless attack by prosperous cattle ranchers hungry to expand their holdings elsewhere in northwestern Costa Rica and western Nicaragua. Just bear in mind that it’s not particularly scenic during the dry season, when most trees lose their leaves and the understory turns various shades of brown and yellow.
The trip was amazing! We had such a great time. Gate1 had everything organized and ready to go down to the rest stops! Loved it! Our guide Ricardo was so fantastic! He had so much knowledge about all the places we visited, made jokes, and really just took an interest to his job and we could tell he wanted us to have a great experience. We enjoyed the optional excursions (we did all) and also the planned trips (coffee plantation and school visit). Amazing trip, met amazing people. Will travel with Gate1 again!
Football is the most popular sport in Costa Rica. The national team has played in five FIFA World Cup tournaments and reached the quarter-finals for the first time in 2014.[157][158] Its best performance in the regional CONCACAF Gold Cup was runner-up in 2002. Paulo Wanchope, a forward who played for three clubs in England's Premier League in the late 1990s and early 2000s, is credited with enhancing foreign recognition of Costa Rican football.[citation needed]
The Pachira Lodge is conveniently located just minutes from the world famous Tortuguero National Park. One of the highlights of the property is a stunning turtle shaped pool where you can relax, slice open a fresh coconut and enjoy the crisp air. Guests who visit between July and September can join an organized turtle nesting tour where you will witness thousands of green turtles lay their eggs on the beaches of Tortuguero National Park. Since it is difficult for sea turtles to navigate across sand, they become easy targets for predators during the egg laying process. The national park aims to protect the endangered turtles from predators during this highly susceptible time. For guests looking to experience the wonders of the green sea turtle and other Costa Rican wildlife, Pachira Lodge is an ideal place to stay.
Known for its ecotourism, Costa Rica has plenty of sustainable hotels and eco-lodges that require you to unplug from civilization and revel in Pura Vida. The Pacuare Lodge, perched in the remote Central Valley, is as luxe as it is unplugged. Swap electricity and Wi-Fi for a personal open-air villa complete with an infinity pool, deck, hammock, and claw-foot tub. The lodge also boasts some of the best things to do in Costa Rica: zip lines, waterfalls you can swim in, and authentic home-cooked food (dinner is by candlelight only, of course).
The natural protected areas represent 31% of the national territory. Here, there are majestic primary and secondary forests, cloud forests such as the Monteverde Reserve, Santa Elena and San Gerardo de Dota, extensive rainforests such as Braulio Carrillo National Park, Sarapiquí, Corcovado National Park, Manuel Antonio National Park, the unique transitional rainforest of the Carara National Park, or the dry tropical forest of Santa Rosa National Park in the North Pacific.
Text is available under [http://wikitravel.org/shared/Copyleft Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0] images are available under [http://wikitravel.org/shared/How_to_re-use_Wikitravel_guides various licenses], see each image for details. This site is owned, operated, and maintained by MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands.
__gads,PISID, BEAT, CheckConnection TempCookie703, GALX, GAPS, GoogleAccountsLocale_session, HSID, LSID, LSOSID, NID, PREF, RMME, S, SAPISID, SID, SSID,__utmv, _twitter_sess, auth_token, auth_token_session, external_referer, guest_id, k, lang, original_referer, remember_checked, secure_session, twid, twll,c_user, datr, fr, highContrast, locale, lu, reg_ext_ref, reg_fb_gate, reg_fb_ref, s, wd, xs
Railways: This entry states the total route length of the railway network and of its component parts by gauge, which is the measure of the distance between the inner sides of the load-bearing rails. The four typical types of gauges are: broad, standard, narrow, and dual. Other gauges are listed under note. Some 60% of the world's railways use the standard gauge of 1.4 m (4.7 ft). Gauges vary by country and sometimes within countries. The choice of gauge during initial construction was mainly in resp . . . more
My trip was wonderful! It was my first trip with Gate1, and it was also my first ever solo trip and I must say that I could not have been more happy with my experience. Our tour manager was great, our driver was top notch and the people I met on the trip were the cherry in top. Thank you for your help with my reservation I will definitely travel with Gate1 again.

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.


Grab your camera and get ready for a wonderful vacation to Costa Rica! Witness bountiful wildlife in their natural habitat, enjoy relaxing dips in ecothermal hot springs, and learn about the Costa Rican culture on this thrilling adventure. Among the many highlights of this tour is Tortuguero National Park, where you'll take a boat ride along remote, unspoiled sections of the park to view wildlife. Your guide will look out for the wildlife—including freshwater turtles, egrets, toucans, and monkeys—so you can sit back, relax, and take plenty of pictures.
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.
The marvelous biodiversity is amplified with a wealth of agriculture as the warm, fertile soils and abundant minerals are present amidst an average rainfall of more than 13 inches a year. Guanacaste, a large producer of Brahman cattle, sugar cane, cotton, and rice, receives irrigated water from Lake Arenal during the dry season. The use of irrigation has allowed farms in the more arid regions across Costa Rica to farm crops that are usually found in wetter, tropical areas, such as pineapple, mangos, bananas, and sugar cane. An abundance of wild fruits grows along the roadside, such as cashew fruits, mangoes, papaya, and guava. However, plantations fill the markets both large and small, from tiny villages near the Caribbean to the megastores of San Jose.
Bring a good insulated reusable water bottle with you and refill it straight out of a tap. We recommend HydroFlask, it’ll keep your water cold for up to 12 hours even in the hot sun on the beach. We love ours! Their double wall, vacuum insulated technology makes HydroFlask so effective. Cold drinks stay icy for up to 24 hours, and hot drinks will stay steaming for up to 6 hours. There is a good variety of colours and designs to choose from too, and it protects against flavour transfer. So, your water won’t end up tasting like yesterday’s juice.
Another Costa Rican tour highlight is the Arenal Volcano, considered one of the most active volcanoes in the world. You may witness the red lava streaming down the sides as you hear the volcano’s grumbling. Relax as you soak in the ecothermal hot springs and perhaps watch the lava flow down the volcano—a spectacular sight! In Monteverde, visit the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve, home to forest fauna such as jaguars, resplendent quetzal, monkeys, ocelots, and many species of birds—not to mention the large diversity of plant species.
Natural fruit drinks offer a range of natural sweetness and refreshing flavor amidst the tropical heat and cool temperatures of the cloud forests. Roadside vendors and small restaurants provide delicious homemade natural fruit drinks known as “bebidas naturales.” Most vendors offer the common fruits such as pineapple, watermelon, papaya, mango and sour guava. In the tropical lowlands, it is common to find vendors selling cold coconut. The merchant drills a hole in the top of a chilled coconut and sticks a straw directly into the center for a cold, energizing refreshment referred to as pipas. There are also eight different beers brewed in Costa Rica, the most popular of which is Imperial., followed by Pilsen, and then Bavaria. 

For those who want to spend more time in the Arenal area – one of the nicest places to visit in Costa Rica – Sky Adventures also operates a Sky Walk. This experience involves walking across a series of suspension bridges and trails, and allows travelers to be introduced to the flora and fauna of the forest canopy in a more relaxed way, and from a fresh perspective.


The impact of indigenous peoples on modern Costa Rican culture has been relatively small compared to other nations, since the country lacked a strong native civilization to begin with. Most of the native population was absorbed into the Spanish-speaking colonial society through inter-marriage, except for some small remnants, the most significant of which are the Bribri and Boruca tribes who still inhabit the mountains of the Cordillera de Talamanca, in the southeastern part of Costa Rica, near the frontier with Panama.
×