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. 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).
The Barcelo San Jose Palacio Hotel is located 1 mile from downtown San José, amidst beautifully landscaped gardens in a quiet residential area. This five star hotel features two indoor restaurants, two bars, a casino, a large swimming pool and pool bar and restaurant, spa with Jacuzzi, steam bath, sauna, tennis and squash courts, massage therapists, hairdresser, and gift shops. Your hotel is fully air-conditioned. Internet access is available in the lobby internet cafe for a fee.
Tucked away on an isolated stretch of Caribbean coast, just west of the Panamanian border, is Costa Rica’s other Playa Manzanillo – more commonly known by its English name. The area’s isolation, and the fact that much of the surrounding coastline is protected by a wildlife refuge, makes for a truly secluded experience. If you’re up for exploring the coastline by boat, rent a kayak in nearby Puerto Viejo or hop on a guided boat tour for $50 per day and up.
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.
Thanks for these tips! I’m a single 31 year old female traveling to Costa Rica this July 2016 for 17 days. I’m staying at a yoga retreat for the first 8 days and the remaining time I have not yet planned. I will be in line for the first week and would really like to be on the coast for the second week. I heard Santa Teresa is amazing what recommendations do you have for a single female traveling alone looking to stay on a budget but also willing to spend a little.
Enjoy wondrous views high above the clouds at this secluded mountain top oasis. Las Nubes Natural Energy Resort specializes in sustainable indulgence, sourcing energy from solar panels and water from mountain springs. The gourmet cuisine is prepared with fresh vegetables and meat from the small on site farm. In the mornings, the unique open air bungalows let in beams of golden sunlight and fresh mountain air. Spend your days basking in the sun where you can wholly appreciate the natural scenery. After fully embracing barefoot luxury, you will return home feeling newly recharged.
Caravan's vacation packages include complimentary arrival transfers from Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) in San José, Costa Rica to your hotel in San José on the day the tour begins. These transfers are only available on the day the tour begins. Please see Costa Rica FAQ’s “Airport Information” for more detailed information for all incoming passengers. Tour members arriving on earlier days will need to arrange transfers on their own. After you clear customs, Caravan’s representative will meet you at the taxi stand, about 20 feet from the international terminal, with a “Caravan” sign. You may have to wait a couple minutes as your representative might be transferring another client. Please be sure to call the Caravan office before your flight to make sure that we have received your correct flight information. The airport representative is available to meet all flights with Caravan passengers, but will only meet your flight if we have received your flight information and are expecting you on that flight. If you miss your flight please call the Caravan office at 800-227-2826 or 312-321-9800 to notify us. Driving time to your hotel can run from 30 to 60 minutes, depending on traffic. If you take a taxi, use “Taxis Unidos Aeropuerto,” the official taxi service, and expect to pay $25.00 U.S. Dollars per taxi, plus tip. To enter Costa Rica, you will need a U.S. passport valid for 6 additional months after the date of your arrival into Costa Rica. A 3 month tourist visa is automatically issued to U.S. citizens after clearing Costa Rica customs. Non U.S. citizens, please check passport and visa requirements. Note: It is recommended that children under 18 years old traveling internationally without both parents or legal guardians, carry a notarized letter of authorization signed by the missing parent(s) or guardian(s). A notarized birth certificate showing only one parent, a parent’s death certificate, or a court order of child custody may also be permissible. Failure to have proper documentation could result in denial of boarding by the airline, due to international child protection laws.
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.
Tabacon, Baldi and Titoku are just a few places you can bathe in and enjoy the thermal waters. Baldi is best for kids, Tabacon is ideal for couples and Paraiso and Ecotermales are great for those who don’t want to be around a lot of people. If you’re visiting La Fortuna, going to the hot springs is a must! You can read more about the best hot springs in Arenal in this post.
Biting and Stinging Insects and Arachnids: Unfortunately, there are too many to name. Spiders, centipedes, scorpions, ants: all have poisonous stings or bites that demand varying degrees of concern (and impart varying degrees of pain). Since it’s nearly impossible to sort (relatively) harmless critters from dangerous ones, it’s best to avoid them all – but, at the same time, not to panic and risk antagonizing them.
Although explored by the Spanish early in the 16th century, initial attempts at colonizing Costa Rica proved unsuccessful due to a combination of factors, including disease from mosquito-infested swamps, brutal heat, resistance by natives, and pirate raids. It was not until 1563 that a permanent settlement of Cartago was established in the cooler, fertile central highlands. The area remained a colony for some two and a half centuries. In 1821, Costa Rica became one of several Central American provinces that jointly declared their independence from Spain. Two years later it joined the United Provinces of Central America, but this federation disintegrated in 1838, at which time Costa Rica proclaimed its sovereignty and independence. Since the late 19th century, only two brief periods of violence have marred the country's democratic development. On 1 December 1948, Costa Rica dissolved its armed forces. Although it still maintains a large agricultural sector, Costa Rica has expanded its economy to include strong technology and tourism industries. The standard of living is relatively high. Land ownership is widespread.
Matute is a small cafeteria, or coffee shop, that can be found in the celebrated coffee-growing region of Tarrazu. The baristas here are known for their infectious excitement about coffee and produce unique combinations of flavors enhanced by the noticeable quality of the local beans cultivated on the local micro-mills. The baristas also use their talents to produce delightful coffee and rum cocktails.
Drive past Lake Arenal from Tilaran and you’ll eventually run into La Fortuna, the biggest and most tourist-friendly town in the Arenal area. This is a natural overnight spot for tourists continuing on to the volcano or the mountainous national parks between there and San Jose, and the hotel supply reflects that: you’ll find everything from $400-a-night luxury resorts built around hot springs to $30-per-night ecolodges half-hidden in the jungle here.
Are you looking for the ultimate in Costa Rica vacations? Our team of local experts will design your custom, vacation package. We do NOT sell cookie-cutter trips. Instead, we take the time to get to know your unique “travel personality”. Then we match you with a hand-picked selection of hotels, tours & transportation. The result is a tailor-made Costa Rica journey that will fit you like a glove.
The best way to get the most out of your Costa Rica, Panama, or Nicaragua adventure is with a guided tour! An experienced naturalist is a must for any bird or wildlife watching trip – natural camouflage in addition to the dense rainforest undergrowth makes animal spotting tough. With the help of a bilingual guide, travelers might be lucky enough to spot some of Costa Rica’s shyer wildlife – like the near-mythical Resplendent Quetzal, the surprisingly sneaky tapir, or the ever-elusive jaguar.
It’s the classic travel tale – overworked professional realizes that the 9-5 to grind isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and sets out to seek greener pastures. This witty tale comes from Nadine Pisani, who shares her story of quitting her job to forge a new life in sunny Costa Rica. This is a nice, light read for when you’re just flaking out on the beach or by the pool. But along the way you’ll learn why Costa Rica is one of the happiest places on earth.
Hi Stacey! Yes definitely that’s one of the greatest (and most confusing) thing about Cost Rica is that there are soo many places to go but it’s so hard to get around, even with a car because of times and schedules for places opening, traffic and long drives. Right now is rainy season so it does get pretty cold in the mountains and central Valley. Always best to bring a rain jacket!
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 2/5/16 - 2/12/16 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.
Languages: This entry provides a listing of languages spoken in each country and specifies any that are official national or regional languages. When data is available, the languages spoken in each country are broken down according to the percent of the total population speaking each language as a first language. For those countries without available data, languages are listed in rank order based on prevalence, starting with the most-spoken language.
Action-packed Costa Rica has plenty of idyllic beaches to lounge on, but adventurous locals and visitors prefer surfing. Hermosa Beach on the nation’s Caribbean coast is off the beaten path and a favorite for its curling waves and soft sand. If you’re not looking to hang ten, opt for sea kayaking, beach horseback rides, or simply lounging on the sand and watching surfers instead.
Costa Rica is a birdwatcher’s paradise and beckons both to amateur and professional birders from around the world eager to view the variety of avifauna in the remarkable biodiversity that spans rainforest, dry forest, wetlands, mangrove swamps, cloud forest, and more. An estimated 850 bird species reside in the country across the 12 ecological regions and climatic zones. 630 of the bird species are resident, with 19 species found on the endangered list. A birding hotspot route protects nearly 120,000 acres of bird ecosystems across Costa Rica through a network of reserves that are connected to private lodges. These properties help to protect the birdlife and wildlife in congruence with the government’s initiative to protect the distinctive ecosystems for which Costa Rica is known.
The promise of pristine nature and secluded beaches protected by dense jungle terrain captures the attention of even seasoned travelers, and there is no greater place to blend rugged beauty and untamed nature than at Tortuguero, located on Costa Rica’s Caribbean Coast. Small charter flights travel between Tortuguero and San Jose, but the majority of travelers must take a boat through the winding canals to reach the banks of Tortuguero Village. The Caribbean Sea laps against the bordering golden beach as palm trees offer an idyllic image of a hidden paradise while the rainforest grows wild against the western backdrop. The Afro-Caribbean culture permeates the tropical atmosphere with the music and flavors in the restaurants.
Lying in the heart of the verdant rainforest in Tenorio Volcano National Park, the Rio Celeste (Blue River) is one of the most remarkable natural assets of Costa Rica. It is thought that the surprising azure color of the river is caused by minerals in the rocks of the river bed, combined with reflected sunlight. For one of the most rewarding photo opportunities of your Costa Rica vacation, you will need to take on a fairly challenging 4.5 mile hike – the trail will reward you with views of virgin rainforest, thermal springs, and a startlingly blue lagoon. A shorter 1-mile hike directly to the Rio Celeste Waterfall is also available from the entrance of the park. Organized tours to Rio Celeste are available from La Fortuna.
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.
Costa Rica is a nature lover’s dream. Adventure blends seamlessly into nature's harmony and the array of wonders in Costa Rica leaves its visitors breathless and spellbound. A bubbling volcano illuminates the star filled night sky and enchanting forests that appear as though they are made entirely of clouds thrive with diverse wildlife. From the Pacific Coast to the Caribbean Sea and the expanse of lush jungles in between, Costa Rica is a place where time slows down and where you can lose yourself in the very essence of life.
Located in the Arenal-Tempisque area, the Curi Cancha Reserve is a privately owned nature reserve that covers 205 acres of tropical cloud forest, which is home to a wide variety of birds, reptiles, and small animals. Curi-Cancha is the perfect place to get back to nature and do some serious bird watching, either on your own or with the help of a specialist guide who knows just where to find all the shy and rare species. You can go hiking along 7miles of trails, which will take you through virgin rainforest as well as some secondary forest – be on the lookout for some really unusual mammals, such as the armadillo, the sloth, and three species of monkeys. The reserve offers several guided tours, including a rather magical night tour.
The Simon Bolivar Zoological Gardens is located in downtown San Jose, where it covers an area of around 14 hectares, part of which is a botanical garden. The zoo serves as a sanctuary to orphaned and injured wild animals, but there is no doubt that it is not one of the more progressive cage-less zoos – if you hate to see wild animals in cages, then this one is probably not for you. However, the zoo is very popular with local families and does give children the opportunity to see a wide variety of animals including birds, fish, capuchin monkeys, and a lion within a manageable space.
Alright, I’ll be honest. National Costa Rican beer is pretty much the equivalent of BudLight, but on hot days there is nothing I enjoy more. If you are into the craft beer scene like we are, have no fear! The craft beer culture is slowly making its way into Costa Rica and it is possible to find breweries in most tourist destinations. Two of our favorites are Fuego Brew Co. in Dominical (that is where the picture above was taken) and Wilk Craft Beer in San Jose.
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!
Our Honeymoon getaways will bring you to paradise where you can share the wonder of each other surrounded by spectacular natural beauty at some of the most romantic settings in Costa Rica. Walk along deserted beaches watching the sun go down (or up! on the Caribbean side), soak together in a secluded river grotto at Arenal’s natural hot springs, encourage each other to swing like Tarzan on thrilling zipline adventures, indulge in all-inclusive resorts with fabulous spas; we have many choices to make yours a memorable special occasion.
The name is a bit misleading: I don’t think anybody ever saw any jaguars there (the center’s name is a dedication to the memory of an abandoned baby jaguar whose mother was murdered by farmers). Yet, the sanctuary does have wildcats, anteaters, owls, marsupials, sloths, monkeys, deer, parrots, toucans, snakes, and frogs, which make it worth supporting, a visiting is one of the nicest things to do in Costa Rica.
Finally, one of the top things to do in Costa Rica is seeing turtles – nesting and hatching. The best place to see them is Tortuguero National Park. Regardless of the place, make sure that watching the turtles has no impact on them. Things such as intense light and touching are extremely bad for these animals – if you opt for a guided tour to see turtles, make sure this is 100% responsible!