Some of our best tours combine a little of this and a little of that, to create Costa Rica vacation packages like no other. Take to the thrilling zip lines of a canopy tour that winds through a monkey and sloth-studded forest; sail out to snorkel Pacific reefs and witness an unforgettable sunset; and hike a volcano before settling in for Mother Nature’s massage in steamy, thermal hot springs. With these tours, Costa Rica is at your fingertips.
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 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."
Located approximately 45 miles east of San Jose, Turrialba Volcano National Park protects one of Costa Rica’s least visited active volcanoes. The Turrialba Volcano reaches an elevation of over 10,000 feet and is covered in verdant montane rain forest. Prior to 2016, the last time that a major eruption occurred was in 1866, and it was possible to hike to the summit along a variety of scenic trails. Along the way you could explore various lava flows and at the apex you were rewarded for your efforts by brilliant 360-degree views. Since 2016 Turrialba has produced several substantial eruptions, some of which caused the closure of the airport and deposited ash as far away at San Jose, and the national park remains closed to visitors until further notice.
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.”
Few tourists make it this far down the peninsula, so you’ll have whatever beach or trail you choose to explore to yourself. Just don’t expect any true stunners: the closest broad beach is Playa Carmen, up the road a few miles. Stay the night at Hotel Vista de Olas or Hotel Moana, both rustic but comfortable properties within walking distance of the shore.
Like the rest of Central America, Costa Rica never fought for independence from Spain. On 15 September 1821, after the final Spanish defeat in the Mexican War of Independence (1810–21), the authorities in Guatemala declared the independence of all of Central America. That date is still celebrated as Independence Day in Costa Rica even though, technically, under the Spanish Constitution of 1812 that had been readopted in 1820, Nicaragua and Costa Rica had become an autonomous province with its capital in León.
Venture deep into the jungle to visit some of the last untouched land in Costa Rica. Casa Corcovado is located on one hundred seventy acres of private reserve bordering Corcovado National Park. The region is famously known for its extensive biodiversity, look out for squirrel monkeys, scarlet macaws and jaguars. When you return from an excursion into the jungle teeming with wildlife, you can relax in your large plush bed while gazing at the wood beam ceiling and stained glass handcrafted by local artisans. Although the lodge is tucked away in the jungle there is no shortage of amenities on site. Enjoy delicious meals at their Spanish style restaurant and a swim in a clear blue pool fed by natural spring water. Casa Corcovado seamlessly blends the beauty of nature with upscale luxurious accommodations.
Costa Rica has a rich and vibrant history that first marked the history books on September 18th 1502. This date was when the land mass was first discovered by Christopher Columbus. Originally the land belonged to the four tribes of Carib, Boruca, Chibcha and Diquis Indians (The Carib met Columbus as he landed there and showed him the island). There is also further evidence to suggest that the country had human life up to 10,000 years prior. Although it cannot be pinpointed to an exact date this is the closest scientists can estimate intelligent lifeforms living in the territory. The name Costa Rica (Rich Coast) was given to the land by a Spanish man who noticed the heavy golden jewelry that the Indians wore. When the Spaniards started to move into Costa Rica to colonize the territory in 1524, many of the indigenous people died from disease or moved away. This did not lead to a huge rise in immigration because there was not many resources from the land to make a profit on. The people there lived a simple life with the bare minimum and worked to sustain themsleves. Many only moved there to further their claims in Central America where the gold and silver was heavily mined. Others used it as a stepping stone to reach Mexico, Central America and North America. Juan Vasquez De Coronado created the first city in 1562, before that it had only been small communities and towns. Later on in 1821 Costa Rica successfully declared independence from Spain and two years later after disputes in the capitol declined to be a part of Mexico. In 1848 "Don Pepe" took charge of the country and Costa Rica became a republic. This granted voting right to minorities and established rules and regulations to check and balance the country when needed. It then hit a peaceful period which some would call "neutral." Peace and stability reigned over the land and prevented uneccessary conflicts. This is when Costa Rica constitutionally and permanently abolished its army in 1949. Finally in the 1970's the economy there took a serious hit and instead of relying on exports, the country now looks to the mass tourism it receives every year.
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.
Our trip was wonderful. We enjoyed every moment. Our guide, Jose, was incredibly helpful, very knowledgeable and super funny. The best guide ever! While the trip was only 7 days, we felt like we've seen a lot, learned a lot and experienced amazing things. Really, every day offered unforgettable adventures, a boat ride where we saw howler monkeys, a hike in the rain forest to see a volcano nearby, a zip-lining adventure where you couldn't see the other end of the zip-line. We really had a great time. Thank you Gate 1! (also, if possible, please say thank you to Jose. He made our trip stress-free, filled with excitement, and fun. We really appreciate that!).
Playa Avellana’s seclusion belies its worldliness. One of the Costa Rican Pacific’s most exclusive resorts, the JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort and Spa, lies just to the north. Yes, it’s pricey, but it’s also all-inclusive – a perfect honeymoon destination for a truly unforgettable post-wedding experience. Hacienda Pinilla Beach Club, on the beach itself, is only slightly less accommodating.
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.
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.
If you are planning on renting a car it is almost always possible to experience the same activities as the day tours you will come across online but on your own. For example, a popular travel tour company offers a day trip from San Jose to La Fortuna for volcano viewing and relaxing at a fancy hot spring. This tour also includes lunch and dinner for $130.
All meals are included on your Costa Rica tour. Included meals for each tour are listed at the end of each day. Meals are shown by B (breakfast), L (lunch) and D (dinner). Full, buffet, or deluxe continental breakfasts are included everywhere. Bottled water is provided free on the motorcoach and purified water is provided at the meals. Alcoholic beverages are not included unless specified.
You can certainly change your dollars into colones, but it won't matter either way, as most taxis, restaurants, surfboard rental shops, boutiques, bars, tour companies—you name it—take both forms of currency, often giving change in a mix of American dollars and Costa Rican coins. If you're in a particularly touristy area, such as Tamarindo or Jaco, you'll find prices listed for goods and services in U.S. dollars, with nary a colón in sight. Pro tip: Spend those colones, if you do have them, before you hit the airport for your return trip, as the conversion rate back to dollars is pretty dismal.
Civil aircraft registration country code prefix: This entry provides the one- or two-character alphanumeric code indicating the nationality of civil aircraft. Article 20 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation (Chicago Convention), signed in 1944, requires that all aircraft engaged in international air navigation bear appropriate nationality marks. The aircraft registration number consists of two parts: a prefix consisting of a one- or two-character alphanumeric code indicating nationality and a registration suffix of one to fi . . . more
The park also offers a great habitat in which to view the endangered great green macaw and Fin whales that are found swimming off of the coast. The average rainfall reaches 200 inches annually, making it the wettest in the country, and the humidity is palpable throughout the year, allowing the plant life to flourish in the thick, tropical heat along the marshlands, swamps, lagoons, and slow-moving rivers.
Had a wonderful trip to Costa Rica. Very well organized every step of the way. The tour director, Gilbert was simply awesome. He is very knowledgeable about Costa Rica -on history, bio diversity and all kind of interesting tidbits. He was always available to address any of our problems and made sure we enjoyed the trip and did not worry about anything else. Kudos to Gate1 for having employees of such caliber.
Capital: This entry gives the name of the seat of government, its geographic coordinates, the time difference relative to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) and the time observed in Washington, DC, and, if applicable, information on daylight saving time (DST). Where appropriate, a special note has been added to highlight those countries that have multiple time zones.
Adventure vacations are one of the best reasons to go to Costa Rica! If you’re going to visit somewhere new, why not get as many fun experiences out of it as possible? If you haven’t tried surfing, head on over to Tamarindo and take a few lessons. Any adrenaline-junkie will love the rush of canopy zip lines – what could be better than a bird’s eye view as you glide over the rainforest? The Pacuare River has some of the best whitewater rafting in the world, and rafting adventures can be planned for just the day or for the next three. When it comes to getting your heart racing, you can’t beat Costa Rica!
Costa Rica’s many natural wonders make it a special place to explore, and to offer much more than a typical vacation destination. A visit to Costa Rica is hardly complete without a walk through its dense, tropical forests, where giant trees are home to hundreds of epiphyte plants, the sounds of rare bird species can be heard in the air, and slow-moving sloths can be...
Explore Costa Rica from coast to coast on this active 10-day multisport vacation. From river rafting, snorkeling, kayaking, and canyoning to relaxation time, you'll enjoy the best that Costa Rica has to offer while staying in sustainable eco-lodges and reserves. Cahuita National Park, La Tirimbina Reserve, the Pacuare River, & Arenal volcano await.
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.
Kayaking allows you to go to areas that motored boats can’t go and you don’t disturb the wildlife as much so you can get very close. See toucans, macaws, turtles, monkeys, anteaters and all sorts of wildlife as you glide quietly on the water, surrounded by lush jungle with no one around. This is one of our favorite things to do in Costa Rica because we saw so many animals super close!
Many roads are unpaved, and even the paved roads have lots of unpaved sections and washed out or unfinished bridges. Bridges are often only wide enough for one vehicle; one direction usually has priority. Do not expect to get anywhere quickly; supposed three-hour journeys can turn into five or more hours easily: there are always slow cars/buses/trucks on the road. This causes a lot of crazy driving, which you begin to emulate if you are in-country for more than a day. The government does not seem to be fixing the infrastructure well (or at all!); 50km/h is good over unpaved roads. Some hotels located in the mountains require a four-wheel-drive vehicle to reach the destination. Call ahead. This is more for the ground clearance than the quality of the road. Four-wheel-drive vehicles are widely available at the car rentals near the airport, but call ahead.
For a developing country, Costa Rica is an expensive destination, something that is particularly noticeable when compared to its neighbours, Nicaragua and Panama. Prices for hotel accommodation, restaurant meals, and private transportation are on par with what's found in the United States and Canada, and only slightly less than typical prices found in Western Europe.
Costa Rica was an early innovator in eco-tourism, a breed of travel that gives back to the local environment and community by minimizing negative impacts of travelers. Numerous eco-lodges opened and offered tours of the rain forest with local guides that not only explain the value of the rainforest to travelers, but instill value of the rainforest in the minds of locals to avoid further deforestation by local populations. Over 25% of Costa Rica's land is protected, mostly by their excellent system of National Parks.
five horizontal bands of blue (top), white, red (double width), white, and blue, with the coat of arms in a white elliptical disk placed toward the hoist side of the red band; Costa Rica retained the earlier blue-white-blue flag of Central America until 1848 when, in response to revolutionary activity in Europe, it was decided to incorporate the French colors into the national flag and a central red stripe was added; today the blue color is said to stand for the sky, opportunity, and perseverance, white denotes peace, happiness, and wisdom, while red represents the blood shed for freedom, as well as the generosity and vibrancy of the people
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
The Pacuare Nature Reserve - was established by the Endangered Wildlife Trust and protects 800 hectares of rainforest and deserted beach on Costa Rica's Caribbean coast between the sea and the Tortuguero canal. The mission of the reserve is to protect Leatherback Turtles and it's one of the most important nesting sites in Central America for this critically endangered species. Visit on our Costa Rica Quest or Turtles & Rainforest Pacuare Reserve tours.
Argentina Vacations: Buenos Aires, Iguazu Falls, El Calafate - Lago Argentino | Belize Vacations: Ambergris Caye, Placencia, San Ignacio | Brazil Vacations: Rio de Janeiro, Iguassu Falls, Salvador da Bahia | Chile Vacations: Santiago, Torres del Paine, Puerto Varas | Colombia Vacations: Cartagena, Santa Marta, Bogota | Costa Rica Vacations: Arenal Volcano, Monteverde Cloud Forest, Guanacaste Beaches - Liberia | Ecuador and Galapagos Vacations: Galapagos Islands, Quito, Guayaquil | Guatemala Vacations: Antigua, Flores - Tikal, Chichicastenango | Honduras Vacations: Roatan, Copan, La Ceiba - Pico Bonito | Mexico Vacations: Mexico City, Oaxaca, San Cristobal de las Casas | Panama Vacations: Panama City - Canal, Soberania National Park, Boquete - Chiriqui | Peru Vacations: Machu Picchu, Cuzco, Lima City, Sacred Valley | Uruguay Vacations: Montevideo, Punta del Este, Colonia
Dive sites abound on both sides of Costa Rica, though the Pacific coast is more heavily trafficked. There, the area around Herradura Bay and Jaco has a number of relatively shallow, high-visibility sites that are appropriate for novices. On the Caribbean side, the area around Cahuita National Park is a hidden gem that sees just a fraction of the dive traffic of Pacific alternatives, and has sites appropriate for all skill levels. If you’re not already scuba-certified, enroll in a certification course through a local resort. These can be found for $200 to $400, depending on the location and nature of the course.
Discover Costa Rica delights travelers seeking to explore the highlights of Costa Rica by visiting 3 strikingly different areas, Arenal Volcano, Monteverde Cloud Forest, and the beautiful pink beach at Playa Conchal. Along the way, you’ll have a choice of exciting activities that can turn it into an action-packed adventure, or make it an enlightening safari, or simply choose to enjoy a perfect balance of both. This 9-day vacation combination culminates with some restful ME TIME at a luxurious all-inclusive beach resort.
Costa Rica is one of Central America’s most popular destinations—and for good reason. With so much to see and do in this spectacular country, it’s important to make the most of your trip. To help guide you to make the best decisions, we give you a baker’s dozen suggestions of things not to do in Costa Rica to ensure a great vacation. And if you are looking for places to stay, we’ve got you covered with hotels.
For our 2017-2018 High Season Print Edition, we brought together a group of long-time Costa Rican residents – and our favorite urban tourism guru – to discuss their tips for a successful visit to Costa Rica during its busiest time of year. This week, we’re presenting more of their do’s, don’ts and secrets. To download our full print edition, pick up a copy, or learn more about distributing or advertising in The Tico Times, click here.
Price is per person, based on double occupancy, and includes hotel rates, hotel taxes, roundtrip airfare, and gov't taxes/fees applicable to airfare based on specified departure city. Price may vary for other departure cities. Price shown is sample price found 11/10/15 on jetblue.com/vacations for travel departing JFK on 1/23/16 - 2/6/16 and may not represent current savings. Package/price subject to availability; may change without notice; valid for new bookings only; capacity controlled; may not be available on all dates or with all flights; and may be restricted to certain hotel room categories.
Wow what an awesome post! Thank you for all this information! I am heading down for 8 nights in mid May with my husband and 3 littles – almost 2, 3 & 5 – so we’ll be limited by their activity level, yet still so much we can do and see. I have a lot of parsing through to figure that all out so we don’t drive 3 hours and end up not being able to do something. Hiking, beaches, bridges, volcanoes, jungle, and some boating are on the list, as well as lots of fresh seafood! Any suggestions on areas we should avoid because of their ages? I am hoping we can find a boating excursion that doesn’t have an age minimum, as well as maybe horseback riding. Oh and dolphins! That’s my oldests’ request 🙂
Planning a vacation abroad is exciting, but let’s face it: it can be overwhelming. There is so much information on line that it’s hard to know what is current and what sources you can trust, not to mention what is useful and what is just wasting your time. That’s where we come in! Not only can you find everything you need right here, but we can assure you that our expert travel consultants are a fountain of information and willing to help when you decide it’s time to start planning.
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.
San José, September 7, 2018 Local media report that Costa Rican unions are planning to strike starting on Monday, September 10, in downtown San Jose. Strikes will continue throughout the week. Protestors may express their opposition to the new fiscal plan being discussed in National Assembly by shutting down certain government services and creating traffic jams ...
Don’t be turned off by popularity. No two travelers will ever have the same experience on the trails, see the same wildlife, have the same guide, etc. Our popular packages are still uniquely yours. Furthermore, they can be customized to be exactly what you want them to be. Scared of heights? Pull the canopy zip line tour out of your trip. Have to swim in a rainforest waterfall during your visit? Add it on! Hotel and resort upgrades are available and highly encouraged. This is your trip. Do it your way!
One of the most popular destinations for those interested in Costa Rica’s unique cultural ambiance is the craft city of Sarchi. Set within Costa Rica’s Central Valley, this easily-accessible town is one of the best-known in the country. Traditionally, the elaborate and brightly painted oxcarts that make Sarchi famous were the only means of transportation for the coffee that makes up so much of this areas agriculture. Now, visitors delight in the abundance of small family-owned woodworking or crafting shops. Sarchi also features one of the country’s most beautiful churches, an expansive 17-acre botanical garden, and the world’s largest oxcart – crafted in 2006 in a (successful) attempt to get the town’s name in The Guinness Book of World Records!
Once in Costa Rica, distances traveled are relatively short in this small Central American country. In a few hours from the capital of San Jose by car, van or bus, one can get to both the Caribbean coast and the Pacific coast. The Panamerican highway runs from Nicaragua in the north to Panama in the south where you'll find the remote Osa Penisula & Corcovado National park.
The location receiving the most rain is the Caribbean slopes of the Cordillera Central mountains, with an annual rainfall of over 5,000 mm (196.9 in). Humidity is also higher on the Caribbean side than on the Pacific side. The mean annual temperature on the coastal lowlands is around 27 °C (81 °F), 20 °C (68 °F) in the main populated areas of the Cordillera Central, and below 10 °C (50 °F) on the summits of the highest mountains.