If you are heading to La Fortuna it is definitely worth checking out the hot springs. There are a lot of hot springs geared towards tourists where you can expect to pay up to $100 for admission. These hot springs are nicely maintained and look absolutely beautiful. If you are looking for a more local experience check out the smaller hot springs which cost about $10 per person.
If you want to use a local Costa Rica number, you can rent cell phone service, and of course anyone can buy a cell phone. You used to have to be a documented resident of the Costa Rica to own your own cell phone number, and even then you only got one if there are numbers available. You still have to be a resident if you want monthly billed service to an address (such as in the U.S.). But since the passage of the CAFTA treaty in 2009, the government cell phone monopoly has been broken and service is now provided by many operators, including Grupo ICE  under the Kölbi brand, TuYo Movil (reselling the ICE service), Movistar and Claro (the latter two also providing service throughout Latin America). Currently coverage on Kölbi is best because the network is the oldest and most built out (e.g. there is no Movistar service in Monteverde. Update: 2014-11-2 There is now HSPA+ Movistar service in Monteverde).
From our hillside perch overlooking the Pacific Ocean, our Costa Rican resort is your launching pad into boundless adventures. After a day of zip lining, surfing or hiking a volcano, return to our tropical retreat for farm- and -sea-to-table dining, refreshing swims in our four swimming pools or relaxing spa treatments. With customized itineraries for families and couples alike, we can’t wait for you to experience “pura vida” at Peninsula Papagayo.
The tours takes you through 13 platforms ranging from ground level to over 100 feet above the ground including a Tarzan Swing, Suspension Bridge, Slide and a fully furnished 3 Story Treehouse in the style of Robinson Crusoe. Then go on a guided waterfalls nature walk where your guide will explain about the different areas we pass through and the flora and fauna we encounter.
Enjoy wondrous views high above the clouds at this secluded mountain top oasis. Las Nubes Natural Energy Resort specializes in sustainable indulgence, sourcing energy from solar panels and water from mountain springs. The gourmet cuisine is prepared with fresh vegetables and meat from the small on site farm. In the mornings, the unique open air bungalows let in beams of golden sunlight and fresh mountain air. Spend your days basking in the sun where you can wholly appreciate the natural scenery. After fully embracing barefoot luxury, you will return home feeling newly recharged.
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 cooler climate and moss-strewn trees provide perfect nesting grounds for the rare and endangered resplendent quetzal. The smaller, yet equally majestic neighbor to Monteverde Cloud Forest is Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve, which overtakes 765 acres. The less-visited terrain contains trails that lead through the hanging vines as vegetation drips with moisture from the passing clouds. Guided tours in the region include suspension bridges, zip lines, butterfly gardens, nature walks and horseback riding.
Beyond altitude-related temperature considerations, the biggest issue for first-time Costa Rica visitors is the timing of the rainy season. On the Pacific side, the rainy season runs from April or May through October or November, with a brief pause in June and July. Precipitation levels are highest along the southern Pacific coast, where late summer and early fall are washout seasons. The balance of the year is dry. At low elevations in the northwest, you’re unlikely to encounter anything more than a brief shower between December and April.
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.
Everything gets cheaper in Costa Rica during the rainy season. That means that traveling between the middle of May and the beginning of December is the best time to get cheaper hotel rates and discounted tours. You also won’t have to deal with crazy crowds. The only downside to traveling at this time is you will be forced to combat the rain. Depending on where you go, you won’t deal with completely washed out days (usually) but in the early afternoon the rain will begin and may continue for several hours or into the night.
Most Afro-Costa Ricans descend from Jamaican immigrants who worked in the construction of that railway and now make up about 3% of Costa Rica's population. U.S. convicts, Italians and Chinese immigrants also participated in the construction project. In exchange for completing the railroad, the Costa Rican government granted Keith large tracts of land and a lease on the train route, which he used to produce bananas and export them to the United States. As a result, bananas came to rival coffee as the principal Costa Rican export, while foreign-owned corporations (including the United Fruit Company later) began to hold a major role in the national economy and eventually became a symbol of the exploitative export economy. The major labor dispute between the peasants and the United Fruit Company (The Great Banana Strike) was a major event in the country's history and was an important step that would eventually lead to the formation of effective trade unions in Costa Rica, as the company was required to sign a collective agreement with its workers in 1938.
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.
Costa Rica’s Pacific waters are among the world’s best places to glimpse humpback whales in their natural element. They’re present roughly 50% of the year, in two distinct episodes: late July through November, and December through March. The most reliable sightings happen off the Osa Peninsula, in southern Costa Rica, where distinct populations from both hemispheres intermingle. You’re also likely to encounter bottlenose and spotted dolphins – about 25 cetacean species in all – in this area.
Liberia is the capital of Guanacaste province and, thanks to the nearby international airport, the first stop for most out-of-country visitors arriving in Costa Rica’s northwest. Many continue on to the beach or north toward the volcanoes, but Liberia is worth exploring for a day or two. It’s also an affordable alternative to staying right on the beach: our first night found us at Best Western El Sitio, where rooms cost less than $60 per night and dinner cost less than $8 per person.
Tucked away on an isolated stretch of Caribbean coast, just west of the Panamanian border, is Costa Rica’s other Playa Manzanillo – more commonly known by its English name. The area’s isolation, and the fact that much of the surrounding coastline is protected by a wildlife refuge, makes for a truly secluded experience. If you’re up for exploring the coastline by boat, rent a kayak in nearby Puerto Viejo or hop on a guided boat tour for $50 per day and up.
LIR has direct service to about a dozen major U.S. cities: New York, L.A., Charlotte, Miami, Houston, Minneapolis, and others. Virtually all other major cities and regional hubs have one-stop service through one of LIR’s direct destinations. Pricing is, unfortunately, very seasonal: a weekend-to-weekend itinerary will set you back anywhere from $500 to more than $1,000, round-trip, during peak travel times. During the summer, expect to pay as little as $300 or $400 round-trip. Check airline schedules before you book, as some carriers fly to LIR only during the North American winter and spring.
You say you're more of a thrill seeker? Costa Rica is a nature lover's playground, and no matter what your mood, you'll find a great adventure to suit it. While here, you can fly through the canopy in Selvatura Park, hike to thunderous waterfalls or hot springs next to Arenal Volcano National Park or go white water rafting down the thrilling Pacuare River.
There are two internal airlines that connect the major tourist towns. You are limited to 25 or 30 pounds of carry-on luggage per person, depending on the airline. Nature Air allows more luggage per person, as their planes are larger and are also twin-engine. The main airlines are NatureAir  and Sansa . In 2017, 2 deadly accidents happened with Nature Air : one in september with 2 killed on 6 and in december 2017, all 10 passenger and both crew members aboard Nature Air Flight 9916 were killed in a crash shortly after takeoff. According to Tico Times, the local newspaper from January 14th, announces that Civil Aviation autorities suspend all operations of Nature Air which had to cancel all the flights. Travelers tried to be refunded of the cancelled flights, but Nature Air didn't refund the money and sent to customers this message by email : "Gentleman, I have sent your emails to my superior. I would like to help you but there is nothing more that I can do, in the end I know that you will not have your money back because the company has established it, they are in crisis and do not have money to make these repayments, I am sorry ." So a lot of travelers have never been refunded by Nature Air for their cancelled flights and there a lot of complaints on social networks and travel forums. In april 2018, the situation remains unchanged. To be followed for the future...
The Butterfly Conservatory near Lake Arenal in La Fortuna, is a really nice place to spend a couple of hours. You’ll see some really cool butterflies and reptiles, take a nice nature walk and meet some very knowledgeable people who work there. You could combine this with a hike on the Arenal 1968 trail or a kayak trip around the lake. They are all located close together.
Jellyfish: Don’t laugh. Jellyfish stings vary from annoying to excruciatingly painful. A few species can cause serious complications and even death. They’re pretty common at tourist beaches: At a waterfront restaurant one day, we saw a young woman with a nasty-looking, baseball-sized sting on her shoulder. Ask locals which jellyfish to watch for. Seek medical attention right away if you’re stung.
The Poás Volcano National Park is one of the most visited volcanic parks and for a very good reason: The Poás volcano is the largest and most active volcano in Costa Rica. It rises 8,885 feet (2,708 meters) high, with a main crater filled with a stunning blue-green colored lake called Laguna Botas. Surrounding the volcanic area, there are multiple different ecosystems, including cloud forests, rainforests, and low mountain forests, which are home to 79 species of birds and a lot of small mammals. There are well maintained and marked hiking trails in the park, too.
The mountains surrounding the Central Valley offer a perfect altitude of nearly 3,700 feet above sea level that grows to over 5,575 feet above sea level for an ideal environment in which to cultivate coffee. The valley also keeps an average spring-like temperature year-round. The Talamanca Mountains border the south and the Poas, Barva, and Irazu volcanoes frame the northern edges of the bustling city. Contemporary art galleries bring insight into the seductive art scene while the Central Market provides visitors with a glimpse of the Tico lifestyle as locals traverse the aisles in the 19th century donut-like structure in search of fresh produce, fish, and meat.
It should be easy to see all of Costa Rica in two weeks—the country is only the size of Vermont and New Hampshire combined, after all—but what’s that they say about the best-laid plans? Once you arrive, you’ll see how mountainous the center of the country is, and that the highway system leaves something to be desired. It takes a lot longer to get from place to place than you realize. Map out a couple of locales for a week or three or four stops in two weeks and get to know them well. You’ll appreciate that slower pace. And if you’re like many visitors, during your flight home, you’ll start planning ways you can get back to Costa Rica. What you didn’t see on your first trip, you’ll catch the next time around.
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.
Cell service in Costa Rica is provided using GSM technology at 1800 MHz and 3G data operating at 850MHz. Note that the GSM phone systems in the United States and Canada use different frequencies and that travelers from there will need a "world" handset, such as a tri-band or quad-band phone, if you want to use your existing cell phone. Most of the country has very good GSM coverage (including most of the capital). Roaming is possible with a GSM handset (i.e. using your regular cell number that you use in your home country) but can be extremely expensive.
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.
Three volcanoes, two near San Jose and one in the northwest, have become more active in recent years. Ashfall due to volcanic eruptions from Turrialba can disrupt air traffic and cause or aggravate respiratory issues. Visitors should monitor and follow park service guidance and alerts regarding volcanic activity. Never attempt to climb or gain unauthorized access to an active volcano.
There should be taxis in Ojochal but since it’s not a super touristic area, I wouldn’t count on taxis as your main form of transportation. It’s good you’re renting a car because that area is hard to get around without one (you’ll see lots of people hitchhiking). It’s best to have a car, or hire a private driver but that can get expensive. Uber only exists in San Jose.
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La Paz Waterfall Gardens is a privately owned ecological center that features magnificent rainforest scenery combined with an animal sanctuary. The complex includes both rainforest and cloud forest and there are over 2miles of hiking trails to be explored and a large number of educational animal exhibits, which include the aviary, the butterfly observatory, the serpentarium, the frog exhibit, and the jungle cat exhibit. You can probably see a bit of everything in about 2hours, but a half-day excursion is recommended to get the most out of your visit. Highlights include hand-feeding the humming birds and seeing rare South American jungle cats, such as the jaguar.
This quiet – often deserted – stretch is known for the distinctive “window” formations that punctuate an otherwise nondescript headland jutting out into the waves. At low tide, it’s safe to walk through the window, pausing only to marvel at little critters temporarily marooned in tidal pools. At high tide, stand back and admire the ocean’s awesome power as the waves tear through the waning void.
Molten hot lava used to spill from this perfectly conical volcano, but in recent years activity has calmed. It still smokes from time to time and you are not allowed to hike to the crater, but the Arenal National Park is an adventure playground where you can fly through the canopy on zip wires, visit hot springs or take the hanging bridges to get as close as possible to the crater.
Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport (LIR) is near Liberia in the Guanacaste province. This airport is closest to the Pacific Northwest coast. Liberia receives flights from Delta, American, Southwest, Sun Country, United, JetBlue, Air Canada, Westjet, CanJet (charter), Sun Wing (charter), and First Choice (charter). Connecting the airport with Atlanta, Charlotte, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Houston, Dallas, Minneapolis, Newark, Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, London, etc. The new terminal is open and is a wonderful addition to this airport.