This unofficial motto helps explain many other facets of Costa Rican culture. Costa Ricans (or Ticos and Ticas) are known for their laid-back demeanour, happy outlook and conflict-averse nature. In fact, peace is so highly valued here that they have no standing army. It was abolished in 1949 with all funds reallocated to create an “army” of teachers instead. It follows that education is also highly valued here. Primary and secondary school is mandatory and free for all, resulting in a 97% literacy rate.
With all these different climates and landscapes, it’s no wonder that this Central American jewel is also one of the most biodiverse spots on the planet. With just 0.03% of the earth’s surface within its borders, the country has an estimated 5% of the world’s species. In Costa Rica, this natural world surrounds you, putting the country on the forefront of eco-tourism and eco-living. Sloths, capuchin monkeys, toucans, and scarlet macaws will be your new neighbors.
Your Passport: Though it’s fairly easy for North American travelers to reach and lacks a standing army, Costa Rica is indeed a sovereign nation. Don’t forget your passport and passport card. If your passport is expired, apply at least three months in advance to avoid bureaucratic delays. A new or renewed U.S. passport and card costs $140, per the State Department.
There is a high fatality rate for pedestrians and those riding bicycles or motorcycles. In the event of a traffic fatality, a judge must arrive at the scene to pronounce a person dead, which could take several hours. If there is an ongoing investigation of a vehicular accident resulting in death or injuries, you may not be allowed to leave the country for several months.
Parque Francisco Alvarado invites all nature lovers and budding gardeners to come and be inspired by the work of artist and topiary master Evangelisto Blanco. Visitors to this unique topiary park in the city of Zarcero can walk through a green tunnel of living arches, which have been coaxed into their present shape since the 1960s. In addition to the impressive green arches, you can also admire a variety of large topiary animals and people of all shapes and sizes. The park lies opposite the ornate pink and the blue Iglesia de San Rafael Church, which was built in 1895 and is also well worth a visit while you are in Zarcero.
Trafficking in persons: Trafficking in persons is modern-day slavery, involving victims who are forced, defrauded, or coerced into labor or sexual exploitation. The International Labor Organization (ILO), the UN agency charged with addressing labor standards, employment, and social protection issues, estimated in 2011 that 20.9 million people worldwide were victims of forced labor, bonded labor, forced child labor, sexual servitude, and involuntary servitude. Human trafficking is a multi-dimensional threat, depri . . . more
Tucked up in the north-east of the country and only accessible by boat or light aircraft, this national park is well worth the trip. The endangered green turtle comes here to lay her eggs, as do the hawksbill, loggerhead and leatherback varieties. Watching them dragging their huge forms up the beach by night is a truly magical sight, as is witnessing the tiny hatchlings making their way into the water for the first time.
The good news is that there is a brand new highway known as Autopista Del Sol (Highway of the Sun) that stretches from the beaches around Orotina all the way into San Jose. This highway is smooth as U.S. or European highways, in fact it was constructed by a company that is based in Spain. There are tolls along this highway but if you travel the entire stretch it will still only come out to be a few dollars in total. 2011 update: unfortunately, problems have been found with this highway and parts of it are sometimes closed for repairs.
If you have a GSM phone, you can use international roaming, or to avoid roaming charges, use an unlocked smartphone and simply replace the SIM chip with a local chip from Kolbi, Claro, or Movistar and then charge it with a balance based on how much you plan to use it. This can usually most easily be done in the airport upon entry at various kiosks.
BCIE, CACM, CD, CELAC, FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAES, LAIA (observer), MIGA, NAM (observer), OAS, OIF (observer), OPANAL, OPCW, Pacific Alliance (observer), PCA, SICA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Weather Appropriate Outerwear: If you’re sticking to the beach, you can get by with beach wear: shorts an dresses, short-sleeved shirts, bathing suits. At altitude, including in San Jose, expect chilly evenings and mornings. At certain times of year, stiff winds contribute to the chill, especially in the mountains. I got by with a windbreaker and warm jeans, though we didn’t venture above 6,000 feet. At higher altitudes, you may need a heavier jacket.
This unofficial motto helps explain many other facets of Costa Rican culture. Costa Ricans (or Ticos and Ticas) are known for their laid-back demeanour, happy outlook and conflict-averse nature. In fact, peace is so highly valued here that they have no standing army. It was abolished in 1949 with all funds reallocated to create an “army” of teachers instead. It follows that education is also highly valued here. Primary and secondary school is mandatory and free for all, resulting in a 97% literacy rate.
The International Monetary Fund stated in June 2017 that annual growth in the economy was just over 4% and that the financial system was sound.[89][90] The IMF expressed concern however, about increasing deficits and public debt as well as the heavy dollarization of bank assets and liabilities. Costa Rica's public debt is problematic, especially as a percentage of the GDP, increasing from 29.8% in 2011 to 40.8% in 2015.[77] Of the proposed 2017 budget (US$15.9 billion), debt payments account for one-third of the total and a full 46% of the budget will require financing. That will increase the deficit and the debt owed to foreign entities.[91] The value of the Costa Rican colone per US$1 was 526.46₡ on 27 March 2015. At the end of July 2017, the value was 563₡.[92][93][94]
From your biggest concerns, like which airline to fly, to the seemingly insignificant details that can make or break your vacation (do you really need five different types of bug repellent?), our experts have you covered. Whatever your question or concern, you’ll find the answer here. It’s everything you need to know to pull off a worry-free, safe, and easy Costa Rican vacation.
Finally, one of the top things to do in Costa Rica is seeing turtles – nesting and hatching. The best place to see them is Tortuguero National Park. Regardless of the place, make sure that watching the turtles has no impact on them. Things such as intense light and touching are extremely bad for these animals – if you opt for a guided tour to see turtles, make sure this is 100% responsible!
Legal system: This entry provides the description of a country's legal system. A statement on judicial review of legislative acts is also included for a number of countries. The legal systems of nearly all countries are generally modeled upon elements of five main types: civil law (including French law, the Napoleonic Code, Roman law, Roman-Dutch law, and Spanish law); common law (including United State law); customary law; mixed or pluralistic law; and religious law (including Islamic law). An addition . . . more
My family enjoyed every moment of the trip that you planned for us. Everything went smoothly and we experienced all there was to offer, which was a gazillion interactions with water, fauna and flora and lovely people and food and places. One great thing is that we did not bring any electronic devices with us, so nothing got in the way of all that was around us to experience. We will all recommend Costa Rica Experts to others.”
We are here in Coco Beach. A lovely town with over 65 restaurants! At least 3 grocery stores, and most palces have free wifi. We are here for 8 weeks, and have been here one. Coconutz is a favorite Gringo hangout with NFL games and specials every night. The best is Wednesday nights- 9.00 pp gets you all you can eat salad, spaghetti and pizza plus a new current movie. Last week was The Accountant and this week is Masterminds. We love Thursdays with a live band. Other good restaurants are the Z lounge and on the beach Bamboo. They also have live music on Sundays. It is only 40 minutes from Liberia airport and a lovely town. We were able to find sim cards at a local shop and are set for Pure Vida!
With a name like Lookout at Playa Tortuga, this property boasts secluded beaches and lush jungles unlike any other. Home to over 250 species of birds around the property, guests should keep an eye out for some of the most exotic birds like the toucan. A stay at this truly secluded property means rising to the sounds of howler monkeys that wake you for early morning birding excursions. You may even spot a sloth from the window of your lovely room. This is the property of choice for those looking to experience Costa Rica’s immense biodiversity.
Road conditions throughout the country vary widely. With the tropical climate and mountainous terrain, many roads are difficult to maintain, and many have never been paved. Relatively short distances can take many hours due to poor road conditions or traffic, and some roads are simply inaccessible during the rainy season when rivers swell. It is always a good idea to check with the locals about current road conditions before planning a day trip or taking off in your rental car. These tips can make or break your day.
After relaxing in the rainforest lodges and on the pristine beaches of Costa Rica, it is time to get into the party spirit. Visit in October and you may just coincide with carnival in the Caribbean coastal city of Puerto Limón, an explosion of extravagant colourful costumes, dancing in the streets and spicy creole dishes. This is where the Caribbean culture of the country comes to life, celebrating its West Indian roots and inviting everyone to join the party.
La Paloma Lodge is situated on a dramatic clifftop providing outstanding views of the Pacific and emerald jungle below. Drake Bay’s natural wonders provide opportunities for endless exploration. Snorkel through the crystal waters at Caño Island and discover the verdant rainforest and wildlife of Corcovado National Park. This boutique ecolodge is the perfect destination for any nature lover.
Costa Rica’s forests are full of bucket-list activities and exceptional nature, but the bustling capital city of San Jose is worth a visit as well. The historic National Theater of Costa Rica has been a landmark in San Jose since the 19th century, and hosts performances several times a week. It can also be visited on a historical tour for a closer look at the frescoes and gilded ceilings that make up the most beloved building in San Jose.

There are the bustling market towns surrounded by sugar cane fields and coffee plantations of the Central Valley. Around the pristine 33-square-mile Lake Arenal, expats have taken up residence on the verdant hills rising from the shore, with vast lake views from their homes. On the Caribbean coast, life is laidback and moves to the rhythm of reggae. And that’s just a small taste of all Costa Rica has to offer as far as places to live.


Attracting all art lovers and anyone interested in modern design innovation, the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design is housed across a cluster of buildings in San Jose’s historic downtown area. You can admire works by predominantly Costa Rican and other Central and South American countries in the museum’s large permanent collection, while regular temporary exhibitions are held in four special exhibition spaces. The museum also has an auditorium and you can access an extensive website and video library featuring past exhibitions. You can join a guided tour, attend a lecture or workshop, or simply explore at your own pace.

Accommodations in the hotels and lodges are rooms with two beds and private bath or shower. A limited number of single rooms are available. Triple rooms are usually two beds, sometimes with a cot or rollaway. On your Costa Rica tour, Caravan sometimes uses more than one hotel or lodge in a given area. Although each property is wonderfully different and may have many unique features, Caravan's goal is to offer a comparable overall selection so that you can experience the same enjoyment regardless of which property combination you find on your actual tour departure. Scheduled Caravan sightseeing will be the same from all the hotels.


Sky Trek’s zipline tour, which is said to be the most thrilling in Costa Rica, starts with an open-air gondola ride that takes visitors up to an observation area. Here it is possible to take in the amazing views, since it is sitting at around 4100 ft. high. Note, too, that this Sky Tram can be taken by itself if you are not keen to do the zipline adventure afterwards. Still, I think ziplining is one of the coolest things to do in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica gave the world the zip-line canopy tour, which whisks you through the treetops courtesy of a cable, helmet, and a secure harness. They’re great fun and have become the country’s signature tourist activity. Gauge your willingness and ability carefully before you set out, however. Remember: there’s no turning back once you start. There are other, more sedate ways to see the rainforest canopy, anyway. A few aerial trams (you’re seated in a slow-moving gondola car) and hanging bridges (you walk) offer a better opportunity to take in the treetop nature spectacle than you get with the high-energy zip-line tours.

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.

Palmares Fiestas: After the festivities of Christmas, New Year’s and the Zapote festival have wound down, it’s time for the Palmares festival. In mid-January, more than 1 million Ticos and tourists head to the town of Palmares for one of the largest festivals in Costa Rica. Revelers drink beer, enjoy food, listen to international acts, watch traditional bullfighting and the ‘tope’ – a horse parade through the streets.


Hi there! Visiting Costa Rica in about 2 weeks and I’m looking into the Selvetura Adventure Park for the ziplining tour! I was just wondering if one was able to do a self tour of the hanging bridges or if it was necessary to go through one of the parks in order to experience them? Your website has been so helpful in planning our trip! And also looking forward to using Adobe rentals for our car!
Costa Rica is the land of many tours – a place where you can go white water rafting in the morning, spot monkeys and toucans in the afternoon, and wind down the day at natural hot springs. The country’s diversity of things to do and places to see promises hours of relaxation, adventure, activity, and leisure: in other words, Costa Rica vacations perfectly tailored to your preferences.
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.

It's no surprise Costa Rica is considered the "happiest place on earth." Once you land, you'll find it's easy to experience what Costa Ricans have been talking about since 1956: Pura Vida - a phrase that truly encapsulates the friendly vibe of Costa Rica, and is used by locals and means everything from "Hello," to "This is the life!" If you're looking to fall into the "Pura Vida" lifestyle, check out some of the top activities and accolades:

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]
Food – By eating at local restaurants you can expect to pay around 535-1,600 CRC (1-3 USD) for meals. These are a local favorite and will save you from paying tourist prices in other establishments. Typical meals like the traditional casado are 2,670 CRC (5 USD). Most restaurant meals will cost around 3,900 CRC (5 USD) or more. A very nice meal in a tourist area will cost around 9,000 CRC (15 USD). For cheap food, eat from the street vendors where snacks and light meals can cost as little as 265 CRC (less than 1 USD). If you plan on cooking for yourself, a week’s worth of groceries will cost around 15,000-20,000 CRC (25-35 USD).
GDP (purchasing power parity): This entry gives the gross domestic product (GDP) or value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year. A nation's GDP at purchasing power parity (PPP) exchange rates is the sum value of all goods and services produced in the country valued at prices prevailing in the United States in the year noted. This is the measure most economists prefer when looking at per-capita welfare and when comparing living conditions or use of resources across countries. The measur . . . more
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 official currency of Costa Rica is the Costa Rica Colon, though the United States dollar is widely accepted.  The conversion rate hovers between 500 – 550 Colones to $1 US dollar.  Most tourist related businesses list their rates in US dollars.  Prices in Costa Rica are generally a little higher than other Central Amercan countries due to the higher standards of living.


Never participate in adventure sports alone. Always carry identification and let others know where you are at all times. Before kayaking and rafting, check river conditions and wear a life jacket and helmet. Even popular rafting locations such as the Rio Naranjo near Quepos can become extremely dangerous in flash flood conditions. When hiking, rappelling, or climbing, carry a first aid kit and know the location of the nearest rescue center. Observe all local or park regulations and exercise caution in unfamiliar surroundings.
Costa Rica is one of the world's most popular destinations for eco-tourists because of its biodiversity. Costa Rica possesses the greatest density of species in the world, and around 25% of its national territory is protected by a system of conservation areas and national parks. It has been stated in various places that Costa Rica may contain as much as 6% of the world's plant and animal species. Both tropical plant and animal species abound in Costa Rica. Some of the more impressive plants range from huge ficus trees with epiphytes abounding on their limbs to approximately 1500 different orchids. The animals are equally as impressive, whether it's a jaguar (the largest cat in the New World), the ever-elusive Margay, or the wonderful birds like the green or scarlet macaws (lapas in Costa Rican Spanish.) The amphibians are also quite impressive; the poison dart frogs with their bright colors are bound to catch your attention, or the giant cane toads.
Palmares Fiestas: After the festivities of Christmas, New Year’s and the Zapote festival have wound down, it’s time for the Palmares festival. In mid-January, more than 1 million Ticos and tourists head to the town of Palmares for one of the largest festivals in Costa Rica. Revelers drink beer, enjoy food, listen to international acts, watch traditional bullfighting and the ‘tope’ – a horse parade through the streets.
Fares vary widely by destination and demand, but you can expect local journeys (under two hours) to cost less than $10 one-way and longer trips to cost less than $20. Be mindful of the difference between directo (direct) and colectivo (multi-stop) buses; the latter might be a few bucks cheaper, but it’s also really slow. Pay close attention to bus stop locations: central bus terminals are unheard of in Costa Rica, even in San Jose, and virtually every company maintains its own hubs in towns served. It’s distressingly easy for non-Spanish speakers to get on the wrong bus.

Area: This entry includes three subfields. Total area is the sum of all land and water areas delimited by international boundaries and/or coastlines. Land area is the aggregate of all surfaces delimited by international boundaries and/or coastlines, excluding inland water bodies (lakes, reservoirs, rivers). Water area is the sum of the surfaces of all inland water bodies, such as lakes, reservoirs, or rivers, as delimited by international boundaries and/or coastlines.
In 2002, there were 0.58 new general practitioner (medical) consultations and 0.33 new specialist consultations per capita, and a hospital admission rate of 8.1%. Preventive health care is also successful. In 2002, 96% of Costa Rican women used some form of contraception, and antenatal care services were provided to 87% of all pregnant women. All children under one have access to well-baby clinics, and the immunization coverage rate in 2002 was above 91% for all antigens.[citation needed] Costa Rica has a very low malaria incidence of 48 per 100,000 in 2000 and no reported cases of measles in 2002. The perinatal mortality rate dropped from 12.0 per 1000 in 1972 to 5.4 per 1000 in 2001.[165]
Eating and shopping at a local farm or marketplace is one of the coolest things to do in Costa Rica thanks to the country’s dedication to ecotourism. You’ll come away with more than just souvenirs, thanks to educational experiences at farms like Corso Lecheria and friendly vendors at San Jose’s Central Market. Taste fruit you’ve never seen (let alone tasted) at markets—don’t miss the chance to try cas, mamon, soursop, and water apple, or to simply stock up on fresh bananas, papayas, and mangos.
Traveling to Costa Rica between December and April is considered the dry season, with May bringing the beginnings of the wet season. The weather’s predictability wanes along the Caribbean coast, with rain falling throughout the year for an endlessly lush landscape. The series of volcanoes and mountains dividing the country from north to south creates a series of microclimates, accounting for the distinctive biodiversity. It is advisable to bring a light rain jacket at any time of the year and warmer clothing when visiting the highlands, including the cloud forests. 
You may think that Costa Rica is a cheap destination to travel to given its location in Central America. We found out first hand that couldn’t be further from the truth. While traveling around Costa Rica we found park fees to be high for the tourists (remember those waterfalls I talked about?), fuel prices expensive at $1.20/liter, car rental prices high given that you had to add insurance to everything, and food prices a rip off.
Can you imagine waking up in a full-of-nature country, where you can make a thrilling white water rafting tours after breakfast and an incredible canopy tours before dinner? Well, if your idea for your next vacations are days filled with adventure, where you can explore every corner of Costa Rica with the adrenaline at your maximum, our adventure packages are waiting for you!

This is a casual tour. Casual wear is suggested for sightseeing and daytime travelling. Dress code for evenings is casual. Suit jackets for men and dresses for women are never required on the Caravan’s Costa Rica tour. It is recommended to wear drip-dry clothing (such as that offered by Columbia, ExOfficio and Travelsmith) in the rainforest. Shirts with long sleeves and long pants are recommended for rain forest and cloud forest hikes. Pants that zip at the knee to convert into shorts are very comfortable in the rainforest.  See Travel Planner: General Clothing Tips
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.
Matute is a small cafeteria, or coffee shop, that can be found in the celebrated coffee-growing region of Tarrazu. The baristas here are known for their infectious excitement about coffee and produce unique combinations of flavors enhanced by the noticeable quality of the local beans cultivated on the local micro-mills. The baristas also use their talents to produce delightful coffee and rum cocktails. 
So where does all this wildlife live? In an effort to protect the beauty over 25% of Costa Rica’s land has been turned into protected parks and reserves. According to Go Costa Rica, there are actually 27 national parks, 58 wildlife refuges, 32 protected zones, 15 wetland areas/mangroves, 11 forest reserves and 8 biological reserves, as well as 12 other conservation regions that protect the distinctive and diverse natural habitats found throughout the country. Wowza!

Magic Mountain Hotel and Spa is located on the northern end of Fortuna. All rooms have either a balcony or a terrace with a view of Arenal Volcano. Magic Mountain has a restaurant, sports bar, swimming pool with pool bar and two jacuzzis. The deluxe spa specializes in a variety of treatments including volcanic mud wraps, massages, facials, pedicures and manicures. Internet access is available in the Internet cafes for a fee in the nearby village of Fortuna.
In the beautiful Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve you can discover a treasure trove of amazing flora and fauna that is seldom encountered outside of this remarkable area of biodiversity. You can explore the reserve on foot along a network of more than 8 miles of hiking trails, enjoying the opportunity to see thousands of species of endemic plants (including orchids) and a variety of small animals. To help visitors get a better understanding of the amazing riches around them, the reserve offers guided birding tours, natural history tours, and even night tours, when all the nocturnal creatures come out to play. Visitors will be pleased to know that their entrance and tour fees all go towards research, education, and conservation.
Hi Mickey, I recommend reading this post: Best places in Costa Rica for first timers to help decide which destinations to go to (I list how long it takes to get there from both airports, things to do and convenience). Costa Rica is very family friendly and there’s a lot to do everywhere but for your specific requests, I’d look into Gulf of Papagayo (families love Playas del Coco and Playa Panama) as you’re close to beaches, volcanoes and hiking and there’s great seafood of course.

The best way to get the most out of your Costa Rica, Panama, or Nicaragua adventure is with a guided tour! An experienced naturalist is a must for any bird or wildlife watching trip – natural camouflage in addition to the dense rainforest undergrowth makes animal spotting tough. With the help of a bilingual guide, travelers might be lucky enough to spot some of Costa Rica’s shyer wildlife – like the near-mythical Resplendent Quetzal, the surprisingly sneaky tapir, or the ever-elusive jaguar.


There are a million reasons to visit Costa Rica, and even more reasons to make your trip an extended one. Staying in Costa Rica for a long period of time isn’t difficult to plan, and can save you some money in the long run. It’s a great way to add a little slice of heaven into your life. As a sought-after vacation destination, Costa Rica businesses make it easy for anyone to stay, for any period of time. There is an abundance of natural beauty, scenic vistas and peaceful surroundings, and there is also an abundance of vacation rentals that will allow you to have the vacation of a lifetime. Here, nature knows no bounds with a wealth of biodiversity, and hospitality knows no bounds with a vast selection of vacation rentals.
For those more interested in history and culture, Costa Rica combines the jungle terrain with important archaeological sites like Guayabo National Monument, home to an ancient pre-Columbian city dating back more than 3,000 years ago. The park encompasses 540 acres of ancient stonework supporting intricate mounds. Archeologists have deduced that the size of the mounds correlate to the importance of the person in the society, with the higher and the larger mounds displaying a higher societal rank. Preserved petroglyphs in the park highlight the connection to the wildlife with images of jaguars and lizards while the surrounding forest also provides a lush trail known for its spectacular bird and butterfly sightings. 
My boyfriend Thomas pretty much lives for fishing. Sometimes he just wants to get out on a boat for some fishing without the intensity and cost of setting up a tour with a deep sea fishing company. Twice he has asked locals if they know of anybody who can take him out on their boat. Both times he was successful in finding someone who would take him out for a fraction of the cost it would be for a deep sea fishing company. People are generally eager to make some extra cash and will help you out with this kind of thing.
Another of the natural gems you will find in the Alajeula Province, the La Fortuna Waterfall is one of Costa Rica’s must-see attractions. The waterfall is located in the heart of the lush rainforest at the base of the (dormant) Chato Volcano in Arenal Volcano National Park and is reached via a 20-minute hike through the lush forest. On arrival at La Fortuna Waterfall, you will find a splendid 75-meter jet of water that drops into a beautiful natural pool, which is perfect for a refreshing swim. Many visitors combine a visit to the waterfall with a hike up the Chato Volcano – you can call in at the visitors center to get a map and buy some souvenirs.
Green and life are everywhere, from the 1200 species of orchids that garnish our trees to life sprouting on the beaches every year when millions of green turtles, leatherback and hawksbill sea turtles reach the Caribbean coast at the National Park Tortuguero to lay their eggs, traveling from miles away. Similarly, at Ostional, in the Pacific thousands of Lora turtles (Kemp's Ridley) reach the beach every year.

Costa Rica has been cited as Central America's great health success story.[166] Its healthcare system is ranked higher than that of the United States, despite having a fraction of its GDP.[167] Prior to 1940, government hospitals and charities provided most health care. But since the 1941 creation of the Social Insurance Administration (Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social – CCSS), Costa Rica has provided universal health care to its wage-earning residents, with coverage extended to dependants over time. In 1973, the CCSS took over administration of all 29 of the country's public hospitals and all health care, also launching a Rural Health Program (Programa de Salud Rural) for primary care to rural areas, later extended to primary care services nationwide. In 1993, laws were passed to enable elected health boards that represented health consumers, social insurance representatives, employers, and social organizations. By the year 2000, social health insurance coverage was available to 82% of the Costa Rican population. Each health committee manages an area equivalent to one of the 83 administrative cantons of Costa Rica. There is limited use of private, for-profit services (around 14.4% of the national total health expenditure). About 7% of GDP is allocated to the health sector, and over 70% is government funded.
The first waterfall we visited in Costa Rica was Catarata del Toro and I was shocked when they asked a whopping $14 admission fee to see it. I mean, I guess I sorta expected I would have to pay something, maybe $5 – but $14? Little did I know that this would not be a first-time occurrence. Throughout our time in Costa Rica we visited countless waterfalls. Always paying and always paying at least $12-$20 per person to visit. Don’t be shocked if you visit La Paz waterfalls and pay a $42 entrance fee! I do hope that all these fees are going back to conservation instead of into a government officials pocket.
Although tap water is considered safe to drink in Costa Rica's cities, it's probably a good idea to avoid drinking tap water in Costa Rica. For environmental reasons, try to avoid bottled water. Ask your leader where filtered water can be found as some hotels provide this. Remember to peel fruit and vegetables before eating and avoid ice in drinks.
Costa Rica is smoke-free, with lighting up prohibited in all public buildings. That takes in all businesses, so the law governs bars and restaurants too. The smoking ban also includes your hotel room and all public areas, indoors and outdoors, of all lodgings. You’ll see the red, white, and black PROHIBIDO FUMAR signs everywhere. Compliance is good; fines are steep for both the errant smoker and the business.
My Costa Rica understands that you might be overwhelmed when planning your Costa Rica vacation and we are here to help! Whether you want to learn about Ticos, holidays and events, species of birds, potable water, renting a car, Costa Rican real estate, rice and beans in the Limon Province, what to pack, which coast or beaches to visit, coffee plantations, the Nicoya Peninsula, or the Irazu Volcano, costarica.org can help you find what you’re looking for.
I mentioned above that zika is of significant concern for pregnant and planning-to-become-pregnant visitors. Zika infections are often mild (low fever, chills) or entirely asymptomatic, so you won’t necessarily know that you’ve been afflicted. And it’s not just women who have to worry: though more research needs to be done, it appears that sexual transmission is possible.
Can you imagine waking up in a full-of-nature country, where you can make a thrilling white water rafting tours after breakfast and an incredible canopy tours before dinner? Well, if your idea for your next vacations are days filled with adventure, where you can explore every corner of Costa Rica with the adrenaline at your maximum, our adventure packages are waiting for you!

Most Costa Rican coffee tours cover a single plantation, though it’s possible to string together several stops, just as in wine country, if variety is a priority. Each tour includes a walk through the plantation’s fields, a discussion of local coffee history and terroir, and a look at the processing facilities that turn coffee fruits into liquid enthusiasm. Fresh-made coffee is almost always available. Some tours allow participants to pick raw coffee fruits as souvenirs, depending on the season.
When travelling in Costa Rica, CRS Tours customer service team is on call 24/7 throughout your stay. We are 100% local experts who get to know all the travel destinations while on the job to give our best advice. We make travel planning easy and enjoyable, because you deserve it! We save you time and money by not having to spend long hours trying to figure out logistics and best deals. Costa Rica Specialized Tours (CRS Tours) stands true to its name, quality in service and best possible offers for you! You deserve the best!
All you need to drive in Costa Rica is a valid North American driver’s license. The local road system is rudimentary, with one main highway on which traffic moves at about 65 miles per hour, a decent network of curvy paved roads on which traffic moves at an average of 20 to 40 miles per hour, and a ton of unpaved roads (some comically rutted) on which you’ll be lucky to average 15 or 20 miles per hour. Speed limits and other rules of the road are more suggestion than law. Watch for frequent slowdowns and backups caused by animals, workmen, and trucks struggling up steep grades.
Vegetarians will find it surprisingly easy to eat well in Costa Rica. There are several International cuisine options also. In addition to American style food, Italian, Mexican, Peruvian and Indian are also available. Indian food generally has vegetarian, vegan and gluten free dishes. Try Indian Naans & Curries dishes. They taste better in Costa Rica because of natural ingredients.
Sitting between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, Costa Rica’s landscape is painted with towering volcanoes and mountains, lush rainforests, sparking coastal plains and amazing tropical beaches. The weather is indeed tropical and because of its diversity many micro climates are found throughout the country. But a vacation offers more than a lovely landscape and beautiful weather - this tropical country is steeped in rich history dating back to the 1500's and boasts a community-centric lifestyle that is rare in much of the world.
Driving at night is highly inadvisable, due to the unpredictability of road conditions and lack of safety features such as guard rails on the many hairpin turns in the hills. To put safety in perspective, Costa Rica's per capita traffic death rate is comparable to that of the United States, but there are undeniably many hazards, and they are likely to be unfamiliar ones.

This is a country of extremes due to the mountainous terrain.  From sea level on the coasts to the highest peak at Cerro Chirripo, there is a difference of 3,810 meters in elevation gain.  To put this in perspective, Cerro Chirripo is located only 40 kilometers inland from the coast.  It can be a balmy 85 degree morning on the beach and there can be frost covered slopes on the highest peaks on the same day.
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.
Eating Costa Rican food is a great way to learn more about the culture and history of the country. Staples at meal time include black beans and rice known as gallo pinto, a favourite for breakfast. Dinner brings delectables like sopa negra (black bean soup) and casado which highlights rice with an array of side dish like fried plantains, vegetables, fish, beef or chicken. For dessert, try the Costa Rican rice pudding known as arroz con leche and quench your thirst with a traditional shot of guaro which is a liquor made of sugar cane.
Much of the historical machismo of the Central American culture has changed over the past 30 years. Where women once stayed in the home tending to the children and housework, they now pursue careers and occupations with salaries equal to men. It is still common for men to stare, whistle, or tout pickup lines at passing women, but is often considered complimentary by both the men and women involved. Confrontations are rare and considered ill-mannered in a society that prides itself on serene ambiance and politeness. Ticos say please and thank you whether speaking to servers at a restaurant, staff at a shop, or friends inside the home, formality remains integral to the culture.
Most major tourist destinations in Costa Rica are serviced by at least two daily buses from and to San José. The advantages of public transportation in Costa Rica are that tickets are cheap (rarely more than USD7 per person) and they cover most towns around the country. However, nearly the entire bus system is based on routes in and out of San José and this can add significant travel time. The buses are also not booked with a reservation system so it is possible to not have a seat on popular routes. However, many do have assigned seats once you buy a ticket at the station and so get there early to be sure you get your bus.
Hi Chayanne, thanks for your kind words and glad the blog is helpful! I don’t know where your house is in Ojochal but many of the houses in that area are up in the mountains and the road into Ojochal is not paved, so a 4×4 is a good idea especially for that area. A lot of roads in the Costa Ballena up in the mountains are steep and unpaved so they do require a 4×4.
A longtime favorite, the 7-day Smooth Tropics Inclusive Adventure sends you first to the rainforest and river area surrounding Arenal Volcano, then over to one of Guanacaste’s beautiful beaches at Playa Flamingo. From hot springs to cool lagoon, you’ll enjoy a perfect balance of ecolodge jungle adventures and vegging out at the beach pampered by an all-inclusive resort.

Pharmaceuticals, financial outsourcing, software development, and ecotourism have become the prime industries in Costa Rica's economy. High levels of education among its residents make the country an attractive investing location. Since 1999, tourism earns more foreign exchange than the combined exports of the country's three main cash crops: bananas and pineapples especially,[98] but also other crops, including coffee.[99] Coffee production played a key role in Costa Rica's history and in 2006, was the third cash crop export.[99] As a small country, Costa Rica now provides under 1% of the world's coffee production.[48] In 2015, the value of coffee exports was US$305.9 million, a small part of the total agricultural exports of US$2.7 billion.[98] Coffee production increased by 13.7% percent in 2015-16, declined by 17.5% in 2016–17, but was expected to increase by about 15% in the subsequent year.[100]
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