Restaurants: San Jose is the epicenter of Costa Rica’s haute cuisine movement, such as it is. If you have room in your budget for a culinary splurge, I’d highly recommend doing it in San Jose rather than a beachfront or hot springs resort. You’ll have more choice and probably pay less. Of course, if your main goal is reducing your dining out budget, you can find plenty of cheap cafeteria-style eateries. We had great success with Google Maps.
We all had a great time. Our tour guide, Manfred, was great. All our needs were anticipated. I loved all the things that we did in nature. I loved learning about the country and culture of Costa Rica. I have already recommended this trip to others. The places that we stayed were beautiful and the food was so good. I was able to eat and drink everything, and not have any problems. What a terrific vacation!
That’s another bonus: you don’t have to be a pioneer in Costa Rica. There are well-established expat communities throughout the country. Things are “set up” so to speak, when it comes to shipping your household goods, using the healthcare system, buying property, and more. And by following this well-trodden path, your transition to your new life is much easier.
The literacy rate in Costa Rica is approximately 97 percent and English is widely spoken primarily due to Costa Rica's tourism industry. When the army was abolished in 1949, it was said that the "army would be replaced with an army of teachers". Universal public education is guaranteed in the constitution; primary education is obligatory, and both preschool and high school are free. Students who finish 11th grade receive a Costa Rican Bachillerato Diploma accredited by the Costa Rican Ministry of Education.
Costa Rican is not known for the best road conditions. This is attributable to the mountainous terrain and extreme climates. While primary roads are generally paved, many side roads are not or are in poor condition. Distances that may appear like a short drive when looking at a map, may take much longer to traverse than expected. In some cases, roads are seasonal depending on river levels.
Living up to environmental virtues and sustainable development remains a constant battle throughout the country, whether due to lucrative contract offers, corrupt politics, or illegal poaching and logging. Nevertheless, Costa Rica has largely resisted opportunities to exploit its vast natural resources for valued commodities, despite having a high density of precious metals in the South Pacific, oil along the Pacific Coast, and rare hardwoods in the rainforest. Instead, Costa Rica has opted for an ethic of sustainable development and a commitment to develop renewable energy. Already, Costa Rica is on track to become the first carbon-neutral country, with 99 percent of the country’s energy needs meet through a combination of geothermal, hydroelectric, and wind power. Read more
Looking for standard street addresses? If they exist, folks here generally don’t know them or use them. Costa Rica relies instead on a charming, exasperating system of describing places in reference to landmarks, where “100 meters” denotes the distance to the next cross street, regardless of the actual measurement. “200 metros al norte y 50 metros al oeste de la iglesia” means your destination is two blocks north and a half-block west of the church. Modern Costa Rica uses anything—a gas station, a McDonald’s, a mango tree—as a reference point. As you can imagine, getting a pizza delivered here is a challenge. There is a bright side: Costa Ricans are amazingly helpful. Keep asking. You’ll get where you’re going eventually.
“If you are a coffee lover, there’s a lot of good coffee to be found. Head to Cafeoteca, Franco, or Café la Mancha and order a Vandola (a Costa Rican pour over), and pick up a free San José coffee walking tour pamphlet – it’s both a great reference, and a gorgeous piece of art. In addition, most shops in the San José/Alajuela area use lactose-free milk, which is fantastic for someone lactose-intolerant like me.”—Alan Ray
Rising to an elevation of 2,194 meters, one of the top things to do in Costa Rica is a trip to the Talamanca Mountains. The journey is worth it, especially as you step into a paradise filled with the lyrical humming of more than 170 bird species. Spot a quetzal, or take snapshots of other remarkable birds as you wander into a cloud forest blessed with the crisp mountain air.
Chocolate in Costa Rica has a long history and dates back to before the cultivation of coffee. The original beans grew in the Brazilian Amazon and traveled north by bird migration, human trade, or both. Chocolate was even used as currency between neighboring civilizations due to its coveted qualities until the arrival of the Spanish in the 15th century. Costa Rican chocolate remains a delicacy as the country produces organic, fair-trade chocolate made with all natural ingredients and competes with other Central and South American countries, along with many African nations, in the production of quality cacao cultivation.
Day 5 – Hanging Bridges, Guanacaste Morning visit to the Hanging Bridges. With a naturalist guide, hike the suspension bridges. Weather permitting, enjoy views of majestic Arenal Volcano. Next, enjoy a scenic drive around Lake Arenal. Lunch. Then, to Costa Rica’s beautiful Pacific Coast. Continue to the J.W. Marriott Guanacaste Resort and Spa for a relaxing two night stay. Dinner. BLD
Stock of domestic credit: This entry is the total quantity of credit, denominated in the domestic currency, provided by financial institutions to the central bank, state and local governments, public non-financial corporations, and the private sector. The national currency units have been converted to US dollars at the closing exchange rate on the date of the information.
Taxis are available in most large cities. They are usually expensive for foreigners, charging you whatever they want. It is not recommended to use any cab, but if you have to, ask for help at your hotel or ask other locals who use taxis. The meter is called "la maria"; ask the driver to turn it on immediately upon getting in the car, or he may leave it off and make up his own, more expensive, price when you get to your destination. Also try checking it wasn't running before you got in, the initial fare shouldn't be higher than 600. Most Drivers know familiar routes such as San Jose to Santa Ana and you can find the rate by asking "Cuanto para ir a _____" and he will tell you the flat rate. This can keep you from paying too much because the driver will not make unnecessary detours. Official taxis are red with a yellow triangle on the side. They also have yellow triangles on the side of the car which will have a number in it. If the number matches the number listed on the license plate, it is an official taxi. Do not get in if the numbers do not match. "Pirate Taxis", though sometimes cheaper, are NOT SAFE. Do not risk it. If you are alone, especially. If you are female, ride in the back seat, as riding in the front with the driver can be seen as suggestive. Caution should be exercised when using this service, extra caution. Do not ride non-red cabs.
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.
Costa Rica is an amazingly diverse country, unlike anywhere else in the world. The country features a wide array of attractions including scores of beautiful beaches along both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts, rainforests teaming with exotic wildlife, cloud forests that seemingly disappear into the sky, and active volcanoes with hot springs. Within Costa Rica, there are twelve distinct climate and life zones. These zones provide habitat for nearly 4% of Earth's species making it one of the most biologically diverse places on the planet. The people of Costa Rica are just as beautiful as the country, ever warm and welcoming.
Costa Rican cuisine is a blend of Native American, Spanish, African and many other cuisine origins. Dishes such as the very traditional tamale and many others made of corn are the most representative of its indigenous inhabitants, and similar to other neighboring Mesoamerican countries. Spaniards brought many new ingredients to the country from other lands, especially spices and domestic animals. And later in the 19th century, the African flavor lent its presence with influence from other Caribbean mixed flavors. This is how Costa Rican cuisine today is very varied, with every new ethnic group who had recently become part of the country's population influencing the country's cuisine.[unreliable source?]
109 different mammals and 184 different bird species populate the combination of evergreen, primary, and secondary, along with the mangrove studded lagoons and canals. Dolphins swim in the calm Pacific often performing for passing boats while humpback, pseudo-orca, and pilot whales travel near the edges of the park between August to October, and again between December and April. Night hikes in the rainforest reveal red-eyed tree frogs and night owl monkeys. Other celebrated activities around the national park include sunset cruising, scuba diving, a visit to Damas Island, zip lining and sea kayaking.
Housed in what was once a notorious prison, the Museo de los Ninos is a children’s museum dedicated to fun, laughter, and learning. Families can have hours of fun exploring the original cells of the old military penitentiary, which have been converted into 40 themed, interactive exhibits. Children can learn about everything from astronomy and science to natural history and everyday life in Costa Rica. A few of the highlights your children will love include the earthquake simulator, the zip lines and suspended walkways, and the dinosaur exhibit. The museum hosts regular special exhibitions, particularly during school vacations, when it can get very busy indeed. You can avoid ticket queues by booking online.
Maritime claims: This entry includes the following claims, the definitions of which are excerpted from the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which alone contains the full and definitive descriptions: territorial sea - the sovereignty of a coastal state extends beyond its land territory and internal waters to an adjacent belt of sea, described as the territorial sea in the UNCLOS (Part II); this sovereignty extends to the air space over the territorial sea as well as its underlying s . . . more
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.
As I mentioned in the beginning, we created this list of activities in Costa Rica with budget travelers in mind. However, there are plenty of other amazing things to do in Costa Rica that will be a bit of a splurge on your budget. For example, we think that zip lining in Costa Rica is a must do activity, but it is not so budget friendly. If you are interested in zip lining we suggest going to La Fortuna or Monteverde for the best views.
Tortuguero National Park, or the “Amazon of Costa Rica” is a place like no other in the country. It’s famous for turtle nestings and rainforest canals thatmake up the national park. The national park and town are boat access only so it’s quite an adventure to get there! Once in Tortuguero, you can take boat rides through the national park to see wildlife but our favorite way is to go by kayak.
We have just returned from the 9-Day Classic Costa Rica trip. Our tour guide, Ricardo, was absolutely superb. I especially appreciated his extensive knowledge of the area and how well-organized the pace of the tour was. It definitely made our trip a fun and memorable experience. Special thanks goes to Jose, our bus driver. I thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful scenic vistas and local, natural wildlife as we drove across the country--from the numerous kinds of birds seen from Selvatura Hanging Bridge in the rainforest, to the relaxing Eco Termales Hot Springs near Arenal Volcano, to the beautiful sunset at Tamarinda Divia Beach. This has been one of the best tours we've had with Gate 1 Travel thus far, and we are already looking forward to the next one!
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.
Monteverde was established in the 1950s by Quaker families eager to leave the United States and the political climate of the time behind them. The families formed dairy farms that eventually grew into the Monteverde Cheese Factory. The small town sits atop the mountainous terrain surrounded by dirt roads and trails that lead into the Cloud Forest Reserve. The protected landscape encompasses more than 40 square miles and offers refuge to the stunning wildlife and embodying Costa Rica’s incredible biodiversity. Bird watchers and enthusiastic lovers of wildlife enjoy guided treks through the untouched forest terrain populated with strangler fig trees as dense forest canopy washes over the Continental Divide with views to both the Caribbean and Pacific shores on a clear day.
Costa Rica has one of the highest levels of social care in the world. Its doctors are known worldwide as some of the best. Many people from U.S, Canada and Europe go there to be treated, not only because the quality of the service but for the cost. First class Hospitals can be found in the capital. There is a public/private hospital system. There is excellent care in each. The public system has much longer waits, while the private system has shorter waits. If you are unfortunate enough to have a very sick child requiring hospitalization, the child will be transferred to the only children's hospital in CR, located in the capital. This children's hospital is public.
We had a great time! Our tour guide Luis was amazing. The country is beautiful and we saw a lot of nature and got along well with the others in the group. We did all the optional side trips which were definitely worth it. Accommodations and food were very good and all in all it was a great trip. Thank you! Looking forward to the next Gate 1 vacation!
Todd Staley (Puerto Jiménez) has managed sportfishing operations in Costa Rica for 25 years. He was co-recipient of the International Game Fish Association’s Chester H. Wolfe Award in 2015 for his conservation efforts in Costa Rica. Todd now works full-time as director of communications for FECOP, a sport fishing advocacy federation. Learn more here or read more Tico Times content from Todd here.
Tourism plays a vital role in the economic growth of Costa Rica. There is an official tourism board to oversee this, the ICT. Costa Rica also recognizes the importance of sustainable tourism, which is a primary purpose of the ICT. Recognizing the importance of sustainable tourism, the country has dedicated over 25% of the land to national parks and protected refuges. This will ensure not only the protection of endangered wildlife and rainforest, but also leave this treasure for generations to come.
Airports - with paved runways: This entry gives the total number of airports with paved runways (concrete or asphalt surfaces) by length. For airports with more than one runway, only the longest runway is included according to the following five groups - (1) over 3,047 m (over 10,000 ft), (2) 2,438 to 3,047 m (8,000 to 10,000 ft), (3) 1,524 to 2,437 m (5,000 to 8,000 ft), (4) 914 to 1,523 m (3,000 to 5,000 ft), and (5) under 914 m (under 3,000 ft). Only airports with usable runways are included in this listing. Not all . . . more
There are also miles of quiet coastline and pristine beaches to explore (some of them are among the best beaches in Costa Rica), plus activities like mountain bike riding, swimming, kayaking, snorkeling, and horseback riding. Birdwatchers can find much of interest in this part of the country too. Easy to see why this part of the country is among Costa Rica attractions.
More than the wide variety of coastal tours in Costa Rica, however, is the draw of the quality of these adventures! Costa Rica is dedicated to providing a pristine environment for thrill-seekers of any kind, and the beaches are of noticeable importance. The Blue Flag Ecological Program tracks beach cleanliness, safety, and community outreach annually – a beach that has been awarded the Ecological Blue Flag is a good bet!
Nature lovers can explore over 100 national parks, reserves, refuges and protected lands - which makes up about 25 percent of the country's land. Catch site of a scarlet macaw in Corcovado National Park, hang out with mantled howler monkeys at Manuel Antonio National Park or get lost in the beauty of native magnolias in Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve.
Costa Rica has free trade agreements with many countries, including the US. There are no significant trade barriers that would affect imports and the country has been lowering its tariffs in accordance with other Central American countries. The country's Free Trade Zones provide incentives for manufacturing and service industries to operate in Costa Rica. In 2015, the zones supported over 82 thousand direct jobs and 43 thousand indirect jobs in 2015 and average wages in the FTZ were 1.8 times greater than the average for private enterprise work in the rest of the country. In 2016, Amazon.com for example, had some 3,500 employees in Costa Rica and planned to increase that by 1,500 in 2017, making it an important employer.