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. 

Navigation can prove challenging. Road signs are relatively few, and those that do exist can be inaccurate. It is recommended that you have a good road map with the small towns listed, since road signs will often only indicate the next town, not the direction of the next major city. Towns generally do not have town-limit signs; it is best to look at the names on the roadside food stores and restaurants to determine the place you are passing. Stop and ask, practice your Spanish. The center of town is usually a public park with a Catholic church across from it.
When people hear “Costa Rica”, images of a tropical paradise come to mind. Whether it’s the rainforest, beach, volcanoes, wildlife, the friendly locals, or the slower pace of life that draws over 2 million visitors yearly, Costa Rica has become the most visited country in Central American. “Why choose Costa Rica?” you ask; keep on reading to find out.
The government helps to regulate industry and development to keep the biodiversity intact and rewards eco-friendly hotels, tour providers, and those that implement green business practices to help sustain the awe-inspiring beauty of the celebrated biodiversity. This allows Costa Rica to stay on track to become the first carbon-neutral country in the world, meeting its energy needs through a combination of hydroelectric, wind, and geothermal power.
Jaco was once a sleepy resort town whose main attraction was its excellent surfing, but growing tourism has transformed it into a haven of beach parties and pumping nightclubs. Surf lessons and rentals are widely available on the beaches and sport-fishing is also popular here. For a more sedate affair, head to the nearby Carara Biological Reserve to spot scarlet macaws, armadillos and hundreds of species of bird.
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.
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 country has been considered economically stable with moderate inflation, estimated at 2.6% in 2017,[76] and moderately high growth in GDP, which increased from US$41.3 billion in 2011 to US$52.6 billion in 2015.[77] The estimated GDP for 2017 is US$61.5 billion and the estimated GDP per capita (purchasing power parity) is US$12,382.[76] The growing debt and budget deficit are the country's primary concerns.[11]

Although this nation encapsulates a mere 51,100 square kilometers, Costa Rica's biodiversity could fill an entire continent. Encompassing 12 distinct ecological zones, Ticos are well aware of their natural treasures: it is on its way to becoming the first carbon neutral nation by 2021. Costa Rica is home to 5 percent of the world's biodiversity, and locals are serious about protecting this magnificent environment.

In 2011, there were over 104,000 Native American or indigenous inhabitants, representing 2.4% of the population. Most of them live in secluded reservations, distributed among eight ethnic groups: Quitirrisí (in the Central Valley), Matambú or Chorotega (Guanacaste), Maleku (northern Alajuela), Bribri (southern Atlantic), Cabécar (Cordillera de Talamanca), Guaymí (southern Costa Rica, along the Panamá border), Boruca (southern Costa Rica) and Térraba [es] (southern Costa Rica).


For Americans, tipping is a part of daily life and therefore follows travelers to countries around the world. Tipping might not apply to all Costa Rica customs, but there are moments when a tip is considered appropriate. Restaurants already add a 10 percent tip to any bill. As a rule, Costa Ricans do not tip servers in restaurants unless they feel the service went above and beyond the percentage attached to the bill. Cab drivers do not receive tips, but hotel attendants who help carry luggage to the rooms should receive a tip between one and two dollars per bag. Naturalist, local, and river guides could receive ten percent of the service or between five to 10 dollars per person, depending on how you feel about the tour, guide, and the service provided. 
Thanks to the variety of things to do in Costa Rica, visitors to Costa Rica have the benefit of being able to do so many different things in a single trip! A simple charter flight or ground transfer (just a few hours) can bring you somewhere completely new – with all different options! You want to go sport fishing, and then spend the rest of the vacation relaxing in geothermal hot springs and horseback riding? We can plan that! A rafting trip down the Pacuare River, then surf lessons for you and the kids? Done! With so many things to do in Costa Rica, the choice may be tough, but we’ve got over 30 years of experience just ready to help you out!
Parque Nacional Guanacaste protects Costa Rica’s northernmost volcanoes, Orosi and Cacao. Like some of the other parks on this list, it encompasses a wide range of altitudes and ecosystems: from the Pacific dry forests near sea level to the premontane cloud forests above 3,000 feet, to the true cloud forests above 5,000 feet or so. It’s well worth the $10-per-adult price of admission.

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.


In November 2017, National Geographic magazine named Costa Rica as the happiest country in the world.[146] The article included this summary: "Costa Ricans enjoy the pleasure of living daily life to the fullest in a place that mitigates stress and maximizes joy".[147] It is not surprising then that one of the most recognizable phrases among "Ticos" is "Pura Vida", pure life in a literal translation. It reflects the inhabitant's philosophy of life,[148] denoting a simple life, free of stress, a positive, relaxed feeling.[149] The expression is used in various contexts in conversation.[150] Often, people walking down the streets, or buying food at shops say hello by saying Pura Vida. It can be phrased as a question or as an acknowledgement of one's presence. A recommended response to "How are you?" would be "Pura Vida."[151] In that usage, it might be translated as "awesome", indicating that all is very well.[152] When used as a question, the connotation would be "everything is going well?" or "how are you?".[148]
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.
In Playa Conchal, the water is very calm, it has very few waves, and the water is super clear. The water has a perfect temperature, It does not feel too cold in the morning and the in afternoons it's warm, which is ideal for enjoying snorkeling. You can see fish, in all their variety, small and full of beautiful colors. You can also see many black sea urchins; you can carefully play with them. You can also observe the beautiful ecosystems where they live. This is one of the things you can do in this Costa Rican beach, at no cost, the only that you need is a snorkel mask and you’re ready to enjoy.
One of the most fun things to do in Costa Rica is going on a boat tour. This is the best way to admire the beaches and the islands of the Pacific Coast. I recommend opting for a private tour as opposed to a public boat, as these may only take you to specific places, whereas a private tour will follow your requests and stops wherever you like, for however long you want.
Another popular waterfall in the country and one of the top places to visit in Costa Rica is the otherworldly Rio Celeste Waterfall. It’s situated in Tenorio Volcano National Park, in the northern region of Alajuela. The waterfall occurs where the Celeste River spills over a cliff and down into a waiting pool below. The freshwater river is an amazing blue color because of a chemical combination of sulfur and calcium carbonate, and as a result, sometimes the waterfall actually glows blue too as it tumbles down. It is a decent hike to get to the waterfall but well worth it for the stunning sight at the end. Tours of Rio Celeste can be booked online.
Costa Rica also comprises several islands. Cocos Island (24 square kilometres or 9.3 square miles) stands out because of its distance from the continental landmass, 480 kilometres (300 mi) from Puntarenas, but Isla Calero is the largest island of the country (151.6 square kilometres or 58.5 square miles). Over 25% of Costa Rica's national territory is protected by SINAC (the National System of Conservation Areas), which oversees all of the country's protected areas. Costa Rica also possesses the greatest density of species in the world.[58]
Whether you’re a family looking for an adventurous vacation, a couple desiring a romantic beach getaway, or a thrill-seeking backpacker, Costa Rica delivers. With a year-round tropical climate and one of the most diverse landscapes in the world, you will find endless opportunities in every corner of Costa Rica. Sandwiched between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean the country offers a playground of stunning beaches, spectacular mountains, a wealth of wildlife, and friendly welcoming people who truly believe in Pura Vida, the Pure Life!

Many foreign companies (manufacturing and services) operate in Costa Rica's Free Trade Zones (FTZ) where they benefit from investment and tax incentives.[10] Well over half of that type of investment has come from the U.S.[79] According to the government, the zones supported over 82 thousand direct jobs and 43 thousand indirect jobs in 2015.[80] Companies with facilities in the America Free Zone in Heredia, for example, include Intel, Dell, HP, Bayer, Bosch, DHL, IBM and Okay Industries.[81][82]
There have been outbreaks of dengue fever in some areas of the country and an outbreak of malaria was reported in November 2006 from the province of Limon but just a few cases. Protection against mosquito bites is very important, wearing lightweight long pants, long sleeved shirts and using insect repellents with high concentrations of DEET is recommended by the CDC. If you are going to be in very rural areas known to be malaria-infested areas, you might want to consider an anti-malarial med. However, most travelers to Costa Rica do just fine with updated childhood immunizations and taking preventative measures against mosquito bites (rather than take anti-malarial medication). The CDC has a complete list of recommended vaccines when traveling to Costa Rica.
We offer exciting Costa Rica vacation packages for the active soul who is planning to travel to a tropical destination. See all of Costa Rica. Visit beaches. Visit a rainforest. Visit a volcano. Vacation packages give you plenty of time for activities as well as time to relax. We also have eco tours for a sustainable vacation while fully immersed in nature.
“I very much appreciate the professional manner that we were treated. I am a travel agent, and working in this industry can sometimes be a thankless job, therefore when I am treated with respect, I try to acknowledge. We are truly grateful to Caravan and our tour director for being so accommodating. I can guarantee you that I will be selling Caravan tours enthusiastically in the future! Our tour director’s knowledge and passion for his country is so evident by the way he describes customs, culture, education, wildlife among many other things. All of the sightseeing, I loved every minute of it, great activities and some free time.”
Located along the Pacific coastline of Costa Rica, the Las Baulas National Marine Park is named for the leatherback turtle (baulas), which it endeavors to both showcase and protect. The park encompasses Tamarindo/Playa Grande Beach, where leatherback turtles have been coming ashore to lay their eggs for thousands of years. At Las Baulas you can go on a night Turtle Tour (after a briefing session) in the hope of seeing one of these enormous sea creatures coming ashore to lay her eggs, or perhaps you may see the baby turtles making their perilous way back to the ocean. The park is also home to mangrove swamps, which can be explored by sea kayak, and you can enjoy beach walks, swimming, and surfing during daylight hours.
During your morning at leisure, you may wish to go on an optional horseback ride or float trip. Or, you can take advantage of your resort’s amenities by walking along the shaded trails nearby. Later this afternoon, visit ARENAL VOLCANO NATIONAL PARK, where your guide takes you on a walk through lava trails of the volcano and shows you how nature has found a way to recover from past lava flows. Next, enjoy a walking tour of the town of La Fortuna de San Carlos, offering spectacular views of the active Arenal Volcano. This evening, drive to nearby famous TABACÓN HOT SPRINGS for a dip in the curative and relaxing pools. Later, enjoy a dinner at the hot springs.
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. 
Our trip was wonderful! Ricardo Bolanos, our tour guide was wonderful!! Very personable, knowledgeable, organized, and just a great guy. Gate 1 has a real asset in Ricardo. Also, Jose , our bus driver was unbelievably good! He navigated the narrow mountain roads with numerous, narrow, one lane bridges exceptionally well. He definitely earned his money! Looking forward to our next trip with Gate 1.
My boyfriend and I are going to Costa Rica the first week of April. We’re going for ten days and are hopping from San Jose to Manuel Antonio National Park, La Fortuna, and finally the coast for beautiful beaches. As for La Fortuna, I’ve noticed that both the Waterfall and Arenal closes at 4pm. What do you recommend for activities after 4pm? Also, which beach do you recommend going first?
The 2011 census counted a population of 4.3 million people[125] distributed among the following groups: 83.6% whites or mestizos, 6.7% mulattoes, 2.4% Native American, 1.1% black or Afro-Caribbean; the census showed 1.1% as Other, 2.9% (141,304 people) as None, and 2.2% (107,196 people) as unspecified.[1] By 2016, the UN estimation for the population was around 4.9 million.[4]
Tourists are unaware of this system. Some even have the notion that they can get a discount on a ticket if they go straight to the desired attraction to buy it; short answer is no, the attractions will not give you a discount if you purchase directly from them but they will make a greater profit on your visit. If you are with a large group and make all of your arrangements through one hotel or travel provider, you are generating a substantial amount of commissions. Be aware of this in your planning and negotiations. You as the tourist cannot have an impact on the commission spigot, but you should be aware of its power… Ask questions and make sure the recommendations you receive align with your needs/desires.
If there is one thing that killed us (and our electronics) it was the humidity in Costa Rica. We found the humidity in Costa Rica particularly bad in the south, along with the coast, and pretty much anywhere away from the cloud forest. It was particularly hard to dry our clothes and keep them from not smelling and molding, but the real problem was with our electronics going haywire.
Chepe, as San José is fondly known, is the cradle of art in Costa Rica. The largest city in the country offers a neoclassical appeal in form of historic architectures aficionados will revel in. Take a jaunt into colonial mansions, now converted into fine art galleries and boutique hotels. Among your best stops: Museo de Oro, Teatro Nacional and Barrio Amón.
Another way to get to Costa Rica that many people are unaware of is travelling by car and driving the Pan-American highway that stretches from Alaska all the way to Southern Panama and passes right through Costa Rica. If you enter Costa Rica by car, crossing the border with Nicaragua at Peñas Blancas, expect it to take 3-6 hours. All passengers have to leave the car with their luggage and pass it through a scanner, the car and driver goes through a different scanner, you line up for passport control, fill in several forms for the car, find an official who stamps and signs every form etc. Everything is chaotic, totally inefficient and obviously corrupt. The procedure is repeated on the other side of the border. Take note that a car insurance, written in Spanish and mentioning explicitly that it is valid for Costa Rica, will not be accepted, you have to buy a new one and pay 37 dollars.

Sitting perfectly between the North and South American continents gives Costa Rica yet another benefit for curious travelers – the sheer amount of flora & fauna you can find! About 3-5 million years ago, the South and North American continents met – and the land-bridge between them is Costa Rica. The two drastically different collections of plants and wildlife started to mix, and it’s their descendants found in Costa Rica today!  Costa Rica is only the size of the USA state of West Virginia – but it contains literally hundreds of endemic species: creatures that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. Bird and animal lovers can schedule tours specifically to see the stunning wildlife– like a Safari Float down the Penas Blancas River (keeping an eye out for sloths, monkeys, caimans, and more!) or visiting the amazing Butterfly Garden at Peace Lodge. A hike through a National Park is a great way to sight-see, and an experienced eagle-eyed naturalist guide will help you spot the more elusive animals. The adventurous-at-heart might plan a tour of the Tarcoles River – renowned for its massive crocodiles. Even without a specific tour, guests might spot Costa Rica wildlife while out and about. Or possibly without leaving the resort – colorful toucans, vibrant parrots, curious coatis, and relaxed iguanas have been known to show up in hotel gardens!
Speaking of chicken nuggets, Costa Rican cuisine is accessible for even the fussiest American palate. It's essentially rice, beans, chicken, fish, seafood, eggs and tropical fruit, in abundance. Should you, for some dire reason, not want to partake of this cornucopia of amazingly fresh food, American food is also found in abundance, as is Italian, German, French, Argentinean, Chinese and Japanese. You'll pay American prices for this, however; sticking to comida típica is both healthier and cheaper, and you really can't beat a bowl of red snapper and shrimp ceviche on the beach, enjoyed a few yards away from where it was just hauled in that morning. Pura vida, indeed.
These men’s Vaha pants are lightweight and weigh nothing in a carry-on bag. I could literally live in these pants if it were acceptable to wear them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner out. While in the Costa Rica, they were a wardrobe staple for nighttime as they are appropriate to wear barefoot out to a restaurant or bar while covering our legs from the pesky mosquitos.
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.
Costa Rica is among the Latin America countries that have become popular destinations for medical tourism.[168][169] In 2006, Costa Rica received 150,000 foreigners that came for medical treatment.[168][169][170] Costa Rica is particularly attractive to Americans due to geographic proximity, high quality of medical services, and lower medical costs.[169]

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!


“There was so much food. I got a good idea of foods of Costa Rica. There was variety and lots of bottled water! There was great diversity in visiting different parts of country with attractions, just enough shopping opportunities. The tour director was the sweetest person I ever met. She was always smiling, had great English, always available, very knowledgeable on history, vegetation and country of Costa Rica. She kept things moving, always left on time, very respectful of everyone on tour. She was conservation and safety conscious, had good sense of humor and very accommodating.”
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.
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.
Some of our favorites are El Salto where the Río Fortuna crosses the road to Tigra south of La Fortuna Arenal, on the Río Toro east of Pital, Piscina Natural 1 km north of Cahuita, 1 km upstream from Dominical on the Rio Barú, the Río Claro 1 km north of Playa San Josecito on the Osa, Montezuma waterfall, the rope swing by the bridge on the Río Rincón 1 km west of La Palma on the Osa and too many others to mention.
What could be more romantic than holiday in the rainforest?  Experience the forest sundown romantic dinner at El Silencio Lodge, where a chef will dazzle and delight you with amazing courses, all surrounded by the lush tropical forest.  If you’re looking more for 5-star hospitality consider a resort, where a relaxing night can be spent in your own personal over-sized Jacuzzi, glass of wine in hand.
It’s worth noting that anytime you eat out whether it be at a cafe, soda shop, or restaurant there will be a 10% service charge and 13% tax added to every bill. So don’t be surprised if your bill is 23% more than what you thought it was going to be. This also means that there is no need to leave an extra tip for your server unless you want to (looking at you Americanos)

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).
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.
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: This entry gives the dollar value for the stock of all financial assets that are available to the central monetary authority for use in meeting a country's balance of payments needs as of the end-date of the period specified. This category includes not only foreign currency and gold, but also a country's holdings of Special Drawing Rights in the International Monetary Fund, and its reserve position in the Fund.
Costa Rica is a true diamond in the Central American rough. Situated between Nicaragua and Panama, it’s less than 100 miles wide in places. From the tops of the highest peaks, it’s possible to glimpse both the Atlantic and Pacific basins on a clear day – though, as we’ll see, clear days are (ironically) in short supply in some of Costa Rica’s fairest provinces.

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.
"As I travelled to Costa Rica, our tour guide (Bryan Mendez) was outstanding as he was very knowledgeable, hilarious and seamless. Even though it was my first time to tour with a group, I still had an amazing experience. The tour offered a lot of activities and it was a perfect mixture of wildlife, adventure and relaxation. I would highly recommend this tour to anyone who wants to go on an adventure to Costa Rica."
Did mostly everything mentioned in here, pura vida! A thing that I figured is important, no matter how much repellent you use, you’lo still get some horrible mosquito bites. I find something that works just great with that, it’2 micellar water. I use it mostly to clean my face, but now I find that works better then anything else on my legs! Try it, really works
Pro Tip: Most Costa Rican vehicles have standard transmissions – stick shifts. This is a scary prospect for most North Americans, many of whom have no reason to know how to drive stick. If you know anyone with a standard transmission vehicle, ask them to show you the ropes before you arrive in Costa Rica. It’s better to learn in a parking lot near your house than an unfamiliar dirt road with jungle on one side and a sheer drop on the other.
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.   

Situated at the end of a scenic beach, Ylang Ylang Beach Resort's property offers 22 well-appointed rooms for today’s leisure travelers in Montezuma, offering a wide range of activities offered on the premise. The resort spans across an abundant rainforest nature reserve teeming with wildlife, so be sure to carry a camera at all times. While in Montezuma, explore the vibrant local flavors by venturing to the acclaimed El Sano Banano Restaurant, a natural foods restaurant, which seamlessly blends classic Costa Rican cuisine with an international twist.  Whether you want to simply relax by the beach or pamper yourself at the spa, consider the Ylang Ylang Beach Resort.
Costa Rican culture is often summed up in two words: ‘pura vida’. It literally means, ‘the pure life’, and it is often said as a greeting, farewell or to show appreciation. The concept of ‘pura vida’ is better experienced than explained, but essentially, it is both an attitude and a feeling. It means being friendly and polite, taking it easy, relaxing, and being thankful for what you have.
We’ve never received a consistent response to the question: “How long must my passport be valid to travel to Costa Rica?” The official answer is “for the duration of your stay in the country.” We’ve heard reports, however, of airlines refusing boarding to anyone with less than 30 days, 90 days, or six months remaining before their passports expire. We recommend you err on the side of caution. Before you travel to Costa Rica, renew your passport if you’re getting down to the six-month mark. (That’s the requirement for entry to many countries anyway.)
We offer exciting Costa Rica vacation packages for the active soul who is planning to travel to a tropical destination. See all of Costa Rica. Visit beaches. Visit a rainforest. Visit a volcano. Vacation packages give you plenty of time for activities as well as time to relax. We also have eco tours for a sustainable vacation while fully immersed in nature.
If you’re already certified and interested in a day dive, costs range from $75 to more than $200 per person, depending on the site’s location – some are offshore and require transportation by boat. It’s also worth checking out resort packages. Depending on the dates of your stay, some resorts may offer room-plus-dive packages starting at just over $200 per night.
If we’d chosen Arenal we each would have paid $24 (unguided) for a daytime visit and another $47 (guide required and included) for a night time visit to the Arenal Hanging Bridges, plus $15 for the entrance fee to the National Park plus about $50 for transfers plus $35 each per night for a simple place to stay.  A total of $280 for two nights lodging plus $394 for activities for the four of us.
International calls are fairly expensive. The cheapest way to make them is over the internet using a service such as Skype at an Internet café. But making short calls using the domestic calling cards (you can make international calls using these but the denominations of the calling cards are quite small so your call will be short!) or the international calling cards available within Costa Rica is the next best deal. Certainly better than credit card calls or using a US calling card generally.
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.
Walk across six suspension bridges that are pushing 800 feet (245 meters) long and 25 storys high above the lush and lively rainforest in Quepos. The view from the bridges is unmatched by any other; the feeling of being so high up in the treetops where most of the rainforest inhabitants live is truly phenomenal. Just before you get to the first bridge, you will encounter a beautiful waterfall and natural swimming pool where you can take a dip and cool off. This zone is bursting with wildlife, especially birds, amphibians, reptiles, and small mammals like monkeys.
For a water-adventure equivalent, white-water rafting is also one of the most popular things to do in Costa Rica. The Pacuare River is a favorite rafting spot for its proximity to eco-lodges and stops at waterfalls and swimming holes along the way. Suit up and row your way through class four rapids in between sandy coves and rocky ledges where you can jump into the river’s calmer spots. The Pacuare Lodge staff leads guests on white water rafting expeditions often—rafting is the easiest way to get to and from the property.
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List – Costa Rica does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts declined in 2014, with fewer prosecutions and no convictions and no actions taken against complicit government personnel; some officials conflated trafficking with smuggling, and authorities reported the diversion of funds to combat smuggling hindered anti-trafficking efforts; the government identified more victims than the previous year but did not make progress in ensuring that victims received adequate protective services; specialized services were limited and mostly provided by NGOs without government support, even from a dedicated fund for anti-trafficking efforts; victims services were virtually non-existent outside of the capital (2015)

There are several opportunities to engage in volunteer work in Costa Rica. Volunteer projects range from turtle conservation, building houses, teaching English and community development work. Some schools offer visits to Costa Rica as part of the World Challenge activity, which combines a Trekking expedition with some of the students time assigned to helping local people on community projects.
The Lankester Botanical Gardens, located in the Central Valley, is home to 15,000 orchids and 3,000 other types of plants. This impressive and gorgeous botanical garden is a must-visit for plant and orchid enthusiasts, or anyone who just loves being surrounded by flowers. Since the 1940s, these gardens have been thriving and attracting visitors from all over the country and the world. Also, due to all of the flowering plants, there is quite a large population of butterflies and birds that make their home here.
According to Lonely Planet, Parque Nacional Corcovado houses “the last great original tract of tropical rainforest in Pacific Central America.” It’s home to half of all Costa Rican species, including the world’s largest bird of prey (the harpy) eagle and several endangered mammals. Some naturalists regard Corcovado as the most biologically diverse place on the planet, as measured by density of unique species.
In 1996, the Forest Law was enacted to provide direct financial incentives to landowners for the provision of environmental services.[65] This helped reorient the forestry sector away from commercial timber production and the resulting deforestation, and helped create awareness of the services it provides for the economy and society (i.e., carbon fixation, hydrological services such as producing fresh drinking water, biodiversity protection, and provision of scenic beauty).[65]
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