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.
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.
And no matter which location you choose, you can benefit from bargain real estate, whether you buy or rent. Three-bedroom homes in the Central Valley start at $119,000 to buy and $500 a month to rent. And two-bedroom condo, a short walk to the beach on the central Pacific coast, in a lively town will cost about $700 a month, and a similar property is selling for $165,000. Deals like this can be found throughout the country.
It really depends what part of the country you want to visit. Some parts, especially Guanacaste stay fairly dry for the majority of the year, so September or end of November would be good times to travel. It’s the lowest season and you’d find the best rates, but unfortunately for the same reason, you will find fewer options. Many hotels and restaurants close in Sept-Oct. South Pacific gets more rain and places like Monteverde for example, are rainy no matter what time of the year you visit. Generally, May to November is considered to be Green Season, so if you want a good balance of sun/value, plan a visit for the start or very end of the green season.
Most visitors returning home are not allowed to bring back any raw foods or plants. Accordingly, the single most desirable commodity for visitors to take home may be roasted (not green) coffee,considered by many as some of the world's best. Numerous web sites explain the fine qualities of various growing regions, types of beans, types of roasting and sources for purchase. Best prices come by purchasing several (sealed) bags of 12 ounces or so, but you can also buy in larger quantity if you look hard enough (the Mercado Central in San José has a coffee vendor that sells many varieties, including organic, by the kilo). And experts definitely recommend buying whole beans (entero): in any kind of storage, they last longer, and ground coffee sold in Costa Rica often contains sugar because it preferred by locals -- if you want pure coffee without additives look for "puro" on the package. The stores in San José airport will sell you excellent coffee, but other good quality blends can be found in local supermarkets and direct from the roasters. It can be an expensive but delicious habit. If you're serious about your coffee, bring at least a partially-empty suit case and fill it with perhaps a year's supply (web sites explain how to store it that long). Take care with tourist outlets (especially at the airport) where small quantities may cost as much as ordering on the Internet.
"Canopy tours" or zip-lines are very popular tourist activities and are found all over Costa Rica. These typically cost between USD30-50 depending on the company and use a series of zip-lines to travel between platforms attached to the trees, through and over the forest canopy and over rivers. The person is secured with harnesses to the metal cords, as some go very high off the ground. Be sure to ask about the zip-line certification before booking and be sure to take part in the safety briefing before participating.
Wildlife - Costa Rica is world famous for having an incredibly high level of biodiversity throughout its tropical forests (this covers what you may hear referred to as rain forests, cloud forests, and dry forests). There are tropical mammals such as monkeys, sloths, tapirs, and wild cats as well as an amazing assortment of insects and other animals. There are many many birds (both migratory and resident) - more on that below. With 25% of the country being national parks and protected areas, there are still many places you can go to see the abundant wildlife and lush vegetation of the country. Just like anywhere, the farther you get off the beaten path, the more likely you are to see a wide variety of flora and fauna.
Of native languages still spoken, primarily in indigenous reservations, the most numerically important are the Bribri, Maléku, Cabécar and Ngäbere languages; some of these have several thousand speakers in Costa Rica while others have a few hundred. Some languages, such as Teribe and Boruca, have fewer than a thousand speakers. The Buglere language and the closely related Guaymí are spoken by some in southeast Puntarenas.
Maternal mortality rate: The maternal mortality rate (MMR) is the annual number of female deaths per 100,000 live births from any cause related to or aggravated by pregnancy or its management (excluding accidental or incidental causes). The MMR includes deaths during pregnancy, childbirth, or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy, irrespective of the duration and site of the pregnancy, for a specified year.
San Jose bursts with liveliness and excitement that blends into the daily life of Ticos, Costa Rica natives. The capital of Costa Rica contains an ineffable charm that is strewn beneath the potholed streets and mishmash of corrugated metal and plaster homes. The chaos of rumbling cars, buses, and people reveal a connection to the capitals of Central America but give way to the mixture of traditional and historical buildings. The city was founded in 1737 but remained a forgotten settlement of the Spanish empire until the late 19th century due to the emerging coffee trade.
Activities – Entrance into most national parks is usually around 5,500 CRC (10 USD) with discounts available for students. Canopy tours and day trips are around 25,000 CRC (40 USD). A two tank dive can be between 30,000-53,325 CRC (55-90 USD). Surf lessons start around 11,000 CRC (20 USD) per hour. There are also lots of surf camps where you can spend the week learning how to surf (or honing your skills if you already know how to). Prices vary widely, though expect to pay at least 25,000 CRC (40 USD) for a week.
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.
La Selva Biological Station and Reserve is on a protected 3,700-acre piece of land that is home to some incredible biodiversity, especially birds. The station is also home to almost 300 visiting students and scientists. The combination of this being a learning and research center, protected reserve, and eco-tourism hot spot makes this a must-stop place. Out of the 450-plus birds that make Costa Rica their home, either permanently or seasonally, nearly half of them spend time on the La Selva Reserve. This is a spectacular place to experience some of the unique flora and fauna of Costa Rica in such a small zone.
This is a casual tour. Casual wear is suggested for sightseeing and daytime travelling. Dress code for evenings is casual. Suit jackets for men and dresses for women are never required on the Caravan’s Costa Rica tour. It is recommended to wear drip-dry clothing (such as that offered by Columbia, ExOfficio and Travelsmith) in the rainforest. Shirts with long sleeves and long pants are recommended for rain forest and cloud forest hikes. Pants that zip at the knee to convert into shorts are very comfortable in the rainforest. See Travel Planner: General Clothing Tips
You have to exercise caution when renting a car in Costa Rica; where it is not uncommon for rental companies to claim "damage" they insist you inflicted on the vehicle. It is by far the best policy to rent a car through a Costa Rican travel agent. If you are travelling on a package, your agent will sort this out. Otherwise, go into an ICT-accredited travel agent in San Jose and ask them to arrange rental for you. This should be no more expensive than renting on your own and will help guard against false claims of damage and other accusations; rental companies will be less willing to make trouble with an agent who regularly sends them clients than with individual customers who they may not see again.
Kathryn, you definitely don’t need hiking boots (over the ankle) for Costa Rica. Trail runners or even just regular running shoes will suffice. The only reason why we recommend having something other than chacos, is because you will need closed toe shoes for some activities like ziplining, horseback riding, etc. Parts of San Jose can be a bit dangerous, so depending on where you are staying running alone may not be the best idea, but outside of San Jose it’s pretty safe, especially during the day. Hope you enjoy your time in CR!
The Pacific side generally experiences the Dry Season from December through April and the Green Season from May through November. The mountainous southern Pacific zone of the country experiences the highest precipitation totals from July through November. The drier northwest Pacific coast has a shorter period of heavy rains lasting from the September through October.
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!
If you are heading to La Fortuna it is definitely worth checking out the hot springs. There are a lot of hot springs geared towards tourists where you can expect to pay up to $100 for admission. These hot springs are nicely maintained and look absolutely beautiful. If you are looking for a more local experience check out the smaller hot springs which cost about $10 per person.
Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of their trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.
For the best beaches, we suggest the North Pacific Coast. Tamarindo is one of the most popular beaches in this area. It can get pretty crowded, but it has lots of restaurants, shops, and other facilities. Alternatively, we love the quiet area near Playa Avellanas (just south of Tamarindo). It’s more rustic down here and less developed, but easily accessible by car and a great place to relax and enjoy the Pura Vida lifestyle!
December 20-ish through the end of the year, and Holy Week, the week before Easter, are the country’s monster tourism times. Prices go up and availability goes down dramatically during those weeks. Not only do foreigners flock here, but you’re competing for space with Costa Ricans. They have the time off, too. (Traffic-snarled San José becomes a virtual ghost town during Holy Week, called Semana Santa in Spanish.) Make hotel and car-rental reservations weeks—better yet, months—in advance if you plan to be here during those periods. And be prepared for one arcane oddity of Costa Rican law if you’re here during Holy Week: Holy Thursday and Good Friday are legally dry days in many communities, and no alcoholic beverages may be served or sold.
Health expenditures: This entry provides the total expenditure on health as a percentage of GDP. Health expenditures are broadly defined as activities performed either by institutions or individuals through the application of medical, paramedical, and/or nursing knowledge and technology, the primary purpose of which is to promote, restore, or maintain health.
Along the pristine South Pacific Coast of Costa Rica lies an oasis that remains relatively untouched. El Castillo's preserved location offers guests a sanctuary where they can explore the diverse nature surrounding the property, experience many of the activities on site or simply relax in a slow-paced lifestyle. This boutique resort offers guests panoramic ocean views, lush jungle surroundings and is near some of Costa Rica's finest restaurants. With fewer than 10 rooms and suites, guests can expect a more intimate level of service for a truly memorable experience.
Most Afro-Costa Ricans descend from Jamaican immigrants who worked in the construction of that railway and now make up about 3% of Costa Rica's population. U.S. convicts, Italians and Chinese immigrants also participated in the construction project. In exchange for completing the railroad, the Costa Rican government granted Keith large tracts of land and a lease on the train route, which he used to produce bananas and export them to the United States. As a result, bananas came to rival coffee as the principal Costa Rican export, while foreign-owned corporations (including the United Fruit Company later) began to hold a major role in the national economy and eventually became a symbol of the exploitative export economy. The major labor dispute between the peasants and the United Fruit Company (The Great Banana Strike) was a major event in the country's history and was an important step that would eventually lead to the formation of effective trade unions in Costa Rica, as the company was required to sign a collective agreement with its workers in 1938.