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.
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.
For a place to unwind and enjoy Costa Rica’s natural wonders, visit Arenal Kioro. The property sits perched on a hilltop resulting in extravagant views of Arenal Volcano’s summit and the valley below. Two natural streams wind around the grounds providing a tranquil atmosphere. There are 7 hot springs present complete with hydro massage features for guests to enjoy. The on site spa treatments will rejuvenate your mind, body and spirit with a day filled with pampering. Arenal Kioro Suites & Spa provides first class service to those visiting La Fortuna.

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.
You can find many places to stay all over Costa Rica, including hotels, aparthotels, condos, vacation rentals, and cabinas. Hostels, Vacation Homes, Cabinas, and Condos can be less expensive than hotels and provide more flexibility in your adventure to Costa Rica. Costa Rica is known as a world leader for eco and sustainable travel and accommodations are often listed as 'eco-lodges'. They do tend to be more expensive though the government does have a well functioning certification program.
Refined petroleum products - consumption: This entry is the country's total consumption of refined petroleum products, in barrels per day (bbl/day). The discrepancy between the amount of refined petroleum products produced and/or imported and the amount consumed and/or exported is due to the omission of stock changes, refinery gains, and other complicating factors.

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.


hi! i love your site. i’ve gotten so much information from it. i’m heading to costa rica at the end of february for my birthday! im so excited and through my research i’ve found so many things that i’d like to do there. we will be renting a car and i think i have finally narrowed our trip down to 4 stops being, arenal, monteverde, manuel antonio, and uvitas. i would like to see a couple of waterfalls, probably la fortuna and nauyaca, hanging bridges, zipline, take a dip in the hot springs, hike, and scuba dive off cano island. now for the tricky part. i only have 7 full days! is it possible? how many days should i spend at each stop? i know that the trouble is that there are 4 stops instead of 3 which means one stop will have to be for one night only. do you think there is a way we can perhaps stop and pass through one of them? for instance when going from monteverde to san manuel. is there a way we can drive down to san manuel. spend the day at the park/beach and then drive on through to uvita? would it be safe to drive that route after sundown? many thanks for any insights you can provide.
San José, September 18, 2018 Local and social media report that last week’s demonstrations against the host government’s fiscal plan likely will continue this week throughout Costa Rica, and particularly in San Jose. Protesters may express their opposition by interrupting government services, creating traffic jams, and disrupting local commerce.  This may occur with little or ...
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.
Independence: For most countries, this entry gives the date that sovereignty was achieved and from which nation, empire, or trusteeship. For the other countries, the date given may not represent "independence" in the strict sense, but rather some significant nationhood event such as the traditional founding date or the date of unification, federation, confederation, establishment, fundamental change in the form of government, or state succession. For a number of countries, the establishment of statehood . . . more
Major urban areas - population: This entry provides the population of the capital and up to six major cities defined as urban agglomerations with populations of at least 750,000 people. An urban agglomeration is defined as comprising the city or town proper and also the suburban fringe or thickly settled territory lying outside of, but adjacent to, the boundaries of the city. For smaller countries, lacking urban centers of 750,000 or more, only the population of the capital is presented. 

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:


Don’t let the high likelihood of rain dampen your spirits though. Tapanti boasts a slew of plant and animal species not found anywhere else, including newly discovered miniature orchid species smaller than 5 millimeters (less than one-fifth of an inch). Expect to pay $10 per person, per day, to enter. If you want to fish in any of the dozens of rivers here, you can buy a permit (cost varies) at the visitor center.

Generally speaking, the Caribbean side’s waters are calmer and slightly warmer, while the Pacific side is rougher and more temperamental. Both sides are stunningly beautiful, with broad beaches, lush forests, dramatic cliffs, and engaging marine environments. Just be sure to obey all posted warnings, including wildlife warnings and “no trespassing” signs. And never swim alone, especially on the Pacific side: Costa Rica’s Pacific waters are notorious for dangerous, changeable rip currents.
This morning, visit CHILDREN’S ETERNAL RAINFOREST for a guided walking tour. Over 600 species of butterflies and 400 species of birds have been recorded inside this private reserve, along with 100 reptile and 120 mammal species that hide within the dense vegetation. Later, visit the family-owned ECOLOGICAL SANCTUARY, where you will explore the trails through coffee and banana plantations filled with endemic wildlife and beautiful scenery. After the walk, enjoy a COOKING CLASS to learn how to prepare authentic Costa Rican food like hand-made tortillas, picadillos, and gallo pinto. Dine on your creations for a homemade lunch! Tonight, your Tour Director hosts a farewell dinner, toasting an unforgettable discovery of Costa Rica.

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.

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.
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.

Most visitors returning home are not allowed to bring back any raw foods or plants. Accordingly, the single most desirable commodity for visitors to take home may be roasted (not green) coffee,considered by many as some of the world's best. Numerous web sites explain the fine qualities of various growing regions, types of beans, types of roasting and sources for purchase. Best prices come by purchasing several (sealed) bags of 12 ounces or so, but you can also buy in larger quantity if you look hard enough (the Mercado Central in San José has a coffee vendor that sells many varieties, including organic, by the kilo). And experts definitely recommend buying whole beans (entero): in any kind of storage, they last longer, and ground coffee sold in Costa Rica often contains sugar because it preferred by locals -- if you want pure coffee without additives look for "puro" on the package. The stores in San José airport will sell you excellent coffee, but other good quality blends can be found in local supermarkets and direct from the roasters. It can be an expensive but delicious habit. If you're serious about your coffee, bring at least a partially-empty suit case and fill it with perhaps a year's supply (web sites explain how to store it that long). Take care with tourist outlets (especially at the airport) where small quantities may cost as much as ordering on the Internet.


With breakers that routinely reach 15 feet or higher, this south-southeast-trending stretch is one of Costa Rica’s best surfing spots. If you prefer to stay onshore, no worries: It’s rarely crowded, so you’re virtually guaranteed a spread of sand to call your own. Play your cards right and you might just run into Lola, the oversized hog who doubles as the area’s spirit animal.
Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of their trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.
The tropical landscape provides stunning fruits most often associated with South America or Southeast Asia due to their introduction to Central America by historical trade. Dragon fruit, star fruit, and rambutan are examples of the delicious and distinctive produce once uncommon to the landscape and markets of Costa Rica, but can now be found growing on the plantations around pineapple or mango. Achiote is an example of a native fruit Costa Rican’s have harvested for millennia, often turning the scarlet seeds into a paste to use as food coloring. 
Caravan's vacation packages include complimentary departure transfers from your hotel in San José to the Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) in San José, Costa Rica on the day the tour ends, scheduled to arrive at the airport at 5:00 a.m, 7:00 a.m, 9:00 a.m., and 11:30 a.m. These transfers are only available on the day the tour ends. If you wish to extend your stay in Costa Rica, you will need to transfer on your own, at your own expense. Please ask the hotel bellman to arrange a taxi. Expect to pay $25.00 U.S. Dollars per taxi, plus tip. The driving time from the hotel to the airport is approximately 30-60 minutes, depending on traffic. Please advise the Tour Director if you will be taking your own taxi separately.   
“We had the perfect tour director, very knowledgeable of Costa Rican history, local cultures, and coconuts. Caravan, you should be proud! Besides the fact that you guys do a great job staging all of the sights, wildlife and timing (it was all fake right?!),it was obvious to us that the guides, the hotel staffs, the tour director, the restaurant personnel, etc. All seemed to rise to the occasion for a Caravan tour. You guys are doing something right. Keep it up!”
Among the things to do in Costa if looking for romance and when wanting to relax is going on a sunset boat or sailing cruise. You can do this in many places in the country. The most popular places for a sunset cruise are on the Pacific Coast, for obvious reasons: Playa Tamarindo, Playa Flamingo and Playas del Coco are all excellent places for that.
Internet users: This entry gives the total number of individuals within a country who can access the Internet at home, via any device type (computer or mobile) and connection. The percent of population with Internet access (i.e., the penetration rate) helps gauge how widespread Internet use is within a country. Statistics vary from country to country and may include users who access the Internet at least several times a week to those who access it only once within a period of several months.
Hi Alessia! Selvatura Park is super fun, you don’t have to have a guide with you for the hanging bridges, you can walk the ones in Selvatura on your own. If you want to do just do the hanging bridges, you have to pay for the entrance so for example if you go to Sky Adventures and you just want to do their hanging bridges, you’ll have to pay the entrance fee to that. At Selvatura you can pick which activities you want to do is you can do zipline + hanging bridges if you like.
Costa Rica historically managed to stay away from the political turmoil and violence from which neighbouring nations still suffer. The nation constitutionally abolished its army permanently in the 1940s. It has also managed to be the only Latin American country included in the list of the world's 22 oldest democracies, paying homage to its stance as a peaceful and politically stable nation. Costa Rica has also consistently been among the top Latin American countries in the Human Development Index, and is cited by the UNDP as one of the countries that has attained much higher human development than other countries at the same income levels.
Costa Rica is a country with an extraordinary wealth of things to do, but regardless of your travel interests, you're going to want to spend time at one of the country's great beaches. The lion's share of beach tourism is concentrated on the Pacific side, in the Central Pacific region near San José, the Nicoya Peninsula, and in the dry tropical forests of Guanacaste. Less touristed, but no less beautiful are the beaches in the tropical rainforest of the southern Pacific coast near Corcovado National Park, or on the exotic, rastafarian, eco-tourism paradise of the Caribbean side.
“I love driving in Costa Rica because they are aggressive drivers like myself. Be considerate, let faster drivers go around you. Avoid driving at night unless you know exactly where you are going. The roads are not marked like they are in your home country. DO NOT drive through moving water. Give yourself extra time to get where you are going because you want to stop at the local fruit stands. Also, look out for animals when you are driving. Numerous creatures can and will run across the road.”—seaprozac
In San José there is not one central bus station, but rather several different ones, with each station roughly serving a different area of the country, with some exceptions. For example, most of the service to the Caribbean side of the country leaves from the Terminal Gran Caribe. However, in November 2012 the direct service to the far south Caribbean coast moved to the Puntarenas bus station, which mostly serves the west side of the country. Still, you can still get to the Caribe side by taking a bus (on the Autotransportes Caribeños‎ line) from the Terminal Gran Caribe to Limón, and then transferring there to another bus south (the Mepe line). Or just go to the Mepe terminal in SJ for a direct bus to Puerto Viejo or any other place on the South Caribean coast. In short, do some research beforehand so you don't get lost looking for your bus. Often you can just call or email your final destination (e.g. your hotel) and they will tell you what bus to take, where to catch it and how often it runs. Schedules are available online.
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.
Over 840 species of birds have been identified in Costa Rica. As is the case in much of Central America, the avian species in Costa Rica are a mix of North and South American species. The country's abundant fruit trees, many of which bear fruit year round, are hugely important to the birds, some of whom survive on diets that consist only of one or two types of fruit. Some of the country's most notable avian species include the resplendent quetzal, scarlet macaw, three-wattled bellbird, bare-necked umbrellabird, and the keel-billed toucan.[74] The Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad is allowed to collect royalties on any biological discoveries of medical importance. Costa Rica is a center of biological diversity for reptiles and amphibians, including the world's fastest running lizard, the spiny-tailed iguana (Ctenosaura similis).[75]
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