Costa Rica is the land of many tours – a place where you can go white water rafting in the morning, spot monkeys and toucans in the afternoon, and wind down the day at natural hot springs. The country’s diversity of things to do and places to see promises hours of relaxation, adventure, activity, and leisure: in other words, Costa Rica vacations perfectly tailored to your preferences.
Molten hot lava used to spill from this perfectly conical volcano, but in recent years activity has calmed. It still smokes from time to time and you are not allowed to hike to the crater, but the Arenal National Park is an adventure playground where you can fly through the canopy on zip wires, visit hot springs or take the hanging bridges to get as close as possible to the crater.

Hotel Belmar is located in Monteverde's cloud forest where guest will experience the best of nature, luxury, and sustainable practices. This world-renowned hotel offers a wide range of amenities including handmade organic soaps with biodegradable shampoos, locally made snacks, and fresh Costa Rican brewed coffee delivered to the exquisite rooms. Guests will experience only the best at this peaceful accommodation. 
Adventure Sports: Some tour operators take risks, and government regulation and oversight of firms that organize sporting activities may not always adhere to international standards and best practices.  U.S. citizens have died in Costa Rica while participating in adventure sports.  Use caution and common sense when engaging in ALL adventure sports, such as bungee jumping, sky diving, hiking, rappelling, climbing, whitewater rafting, kayaking, etc. Make sure your medical insurance covers your sport. See our section on Medical Insurance under “Health” below.
Stock of domestic credit: This entry is the total quantity of credit, denominated in the domestic currency, provided by financial institutions to the central bank, state and local governments, public non-financial corporations, and the private sector. The national currency units have been converted to US dollars at the closing exchange rate on the date of the information.
Refrescos or simply frescos are beverages made from fresh fruit (cas, guayaba/guava, sandia/watermelon, mora/blackberry, fresa/strawberry, piña/pineapple, papaya), sugar and either water or milk (depending on the fruit). All sodas serve these. You can also easily buy the standard international soda pops; 'Fresca', 'Canada Dry' and the local 'Fanta Kolita' (fruit punch) are recommended.
Welcome to Hotel El Mono Feliz a birders haven. More than one hundred thirty species of birds have been spotted on the grounds. This small slice of paradise boasts a warm and friendly staff dedicated to creating the perfect getaway. Explore tasty local flavors in Ojochal, which is known to be Costa Rica’s foodie capital. Walk along pristine untouched beaches or explore the exotic jungle. The natural scenery in the South Pacific Region will amaze visitors from around the globe.
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.
For USD350-700 a week you can rent an Economy or Mid-size 4x4. Insurance is the majority of this cost and it is not optional. Four-wheel-drive is good for extensive travelling outside the Central Valley, especially in the wet season. In the dry season going from La Fortuna to Monteverde via a direct route was over a boulder strewn 15-30mph road. Four-wheel-drive was also useful on the Nicoya coast.(above based on 2001 roads). It's often possible to rent a car with a local driver from the various tour companies, if driving yourself seems a bit daunting.
Household income or consumption by percentage share: Data on household income or consumption come from household surveys, the results adjusted for household size. Nations use different standards and procedures in collecting and adjusting the data. Surveys based on income will normally show a more unequal distribution than surveys based on consumption. The quality of surveys is improving with time, yet caution is still necessary in making inter-country comparisons.
Costa Rica gave the world the zip-line canopy tour, which whisks you through the treetops courtesy of a cable, helmet, and a secure harness. They’re great fun and have become the country’s signature tourist activity. Gauge your willingness and ability carefully before you set out, however. Remember: there’s no turning back once you start. There are other, more sedate ways to see the rainforest canopy, anyway. A few aerial trams (you’re seated in a slow-moving gondola car) and hanging bridges (you walk) offer a better opportunity to take in the treetop nature spectacle than you get with the high-energy zip-line tours.
Country name: This entry includes all forms of the country's name approved by the US Board on Geographic Names (Italy is used as an example): conventional long form (Italian Republic), conventional short form (Italy), local long form (Repubblica Italiana), local short form (Italia), former (Kingdom of Italy), as well as the abbreviation. Also see the Terminology note.
Stock of domestic credit: This entry is the total quantity of credit, denominated in the domestic currency, provided by financial institutions to the central bank, state and local governments, public non-financial corporations, and the private sector. The national currency units have been converted to US dollars at the closing exchange rate on the date of the information.
Early morning visit to world famous Manuel Antonio National Park, a natural habitat for the white face monkey, the rare squirrel monkey and the three-toed sloth. Hike through the rainforest and along spectacular beach coves. Look for toucans and parrots. (Tours beginning on Mondays will visit the adjacent public beach instead due to newly mandated park closures.) The rest of your morning is at leisure. Enjoy your hotel's pools and rooftop terrace, or visit nearby artisan shops. Lunch at your Manuel Antonio hotel. Then, return to San José. Farewell dinner tonight. BLD

Good, fresh fruit is abundant in variety and low in cost. Mercados provide an excellent place to sample fruit and other Costa Rican fare, with many including sit-down snack bars. You are encouraged to experiment because some of the local fruits do not "travel well" as they are bruised easily and or have a short shelf life. The mango found in store in North America are much more fibrous and less sweet than the mangos found in Costa Rica. The fingerling bananas are much more creamy and less tart than the ones found in North America.
World-renowned for miles and miles of beaches on both its Caribbean and Pacific coastlines along with a wealth of biodiversity, the Central American country of Costa Rica offers visitors an unparalleled vacation destination. The country is home to several active volcanoes, large areas of protected jungle teeming with unique wildlife and offers outdoor enthusiasts a wide range of exciting activities. You can go hiking through superb scenery in Arenal Volcano National Park, visit the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, admire orchids and butterflies on your honeymoon, and see over 500 species of birds. Other activities in Costa Rica include visiting the cultural and historic museums in San Jose, kayaking through mangrove swamps, and learning how to surf on one of the world’s best surfing beaches.
We all had a great time. Our tour guide, Manfred, was great. All our needs were anticipated. I loved all the things that we did in nature. I loved learning about the country and culture of Costa Rica. I have already recommended this trip to others. The places that we stayed were beautiful and the food was so good. I was able to eat and drink everything, and not have any problems. What a terrific vacation!
Your Passport: Though it’s fairly easy for North American travelers to reach and lacks a standing army, Costa Rica is indeed a sovereign nation. Don’t forget your passport and passport card. If your passport is expired, apply at least three months in advance to avoid bureaucratic delays. A new or renewed U.S. passport and card costs $140, per the State Department.
There are the bustling market towns surrounded by sugar cane fields and coffee plantations of the Central Valley. Around the pristine 33-square-mile Lake Arenal, expats have taken up residence on the verdant hills rising from the shore, with vast lake views from their homes. On the Caribbean coast, life is laidback and moves to the rhythm of reggae. And that’s just a small taste of all Costa Rica has to offer as far as places to live.
Restaurants: San Jose is the epicenter of Costa Rica’s haute cuisine movement, such as it is. If you have room in your budget for a culinary splurge, I’d highly recommend doing it in San Jose rather than a beachfront or hot springs resort. You’ll have more choice and probably pay less. Of course, if your main goal is reducing your dining out budget, you can find plenty of cheap cafeteria-style eateries. We had great success with Google Maps.
Most visitors can get into Costa Rica without the need of a Visa and can stay in the country for 90 days. People of ANY nationality holding valid US, Canada, Japan, South Korea or Schengen visas do not need a prior visa. The only conditions being that the visa must be valid for 3 months and should be stamped in your passport. NOTE: on arrival, ensure you are able to show proof of onward travel out of Costa Rica, especially if entering overland! See below for further details
Due to the condition of most roads outside San Jose, car insurance, even with a zero-deductible option, generally does not cover tires and rims. Car rental companies require a guaranty deposit from USD750 during the rental period and a credit card is necessary for this process. Using an insurance program provided by some types of gold or platinum credit cards is a good advantage, since these credit cards would cover small scratches, small dents as well as the entire rented vehicle in case of collision or theft.
The La Fortuna Waterfall is one of the top waterfalls to visit in Costa Rica. There are multiple ways to get to the hiking trail, one being via horseback, where you will then walk down 500 steps to the basin of the waterfall; La Fortuna Waterfall is 230 feet (70 meters) high! The raw power of this waterfall is mesmerizing. After hiking down, you can swim in the pool beneath the cascade of water, which is an incredible experience in and of itself. The surrounding forest is stunning and it is likely that you will see toucans, butterflies, monkeys, and sloths.
There should be taxis in Ojochal but since it’s not a super touristic area, I wouldn’t count on taxis as your main form of transportation. It’s good you’re renting a car because that area is hard to get around without one (you’ll see lots of people hitchhiking). It’s best to have a car, or hire a private driver but that can get expensive. Uber only exists in San Jose.

Visitor volumes slump during the summer months, when North American beaches temporarily become habitable and more persistent precipitation dampens the beachgoing experience down south. Summer is the cheapest time to visit, with flights anywhere from 20% to 40% cheaper, and four- and five-star hotels upwards of 50% cheaper, than winter and early spring. Last-minute hotel and flight deals are more common in summer, too: great for accommodating a spur-of-the-moment extended weekend on the beach.


On the Pacific slope, the river with the largest volume, El General, is famous for multi-day adventures and for being an incredible playground for kayakers. The Coto Brus River is also part of this watershed. Further north, on the central Pacific coast, are the Savegre and Naranjo Rivers. In this area you have the opportunity to enjoy both half-day trips on the Naranjo River and 1-to-2-day trips on the Savegre River.

One of the best hiking roads we’ve found is in Monteverde.  There’s a 4WD radio tower service road starting 50 meters northwest of the hotel Belmar that goes to the top of Cerro de los Amigos where you can stand on the USGS marker and be in Guanacaste, Alajuela and Puntarenas provinces all at the same time.  When it’s clear there are fantastic views over the lake and all the way to Arenal Volcano.
Your Passport: Though it’s fairly easy for North American travelers to reach and lacks a standing army, Costa Rica is indeed a sovereign nation. Don’t forget your passport and passport card. If your passport is expired, apply at least three months in advance to avoid bureaucratic delays. A new or renewed U.S. passport and card costs $140, per the State Department.

In Costa Rica, education is both free and compulsory; as a result, it has one of the highest literacy rates in the western hemisphere. (Costa Rica also offers universal healthcare, which is a discussion for another time.) And since the primary industry here is tourism, many Ticos speak basic to fluent English, especially in touristy areas. That said, brushing up on your Spanish is a welcome courtesy, and making an effort will earn you friends wherever you go—even if all you learn to say is "pura vida."
Costa Rica is famous for its beaches. Imagine visiting the entire Central Pacific coast of Costa Rica while staying at some of the finest hotels and enjoying a variety of pristine beaches and untouched rain forests. This is one of our more popular packages at CRV and includes stops at the local favorite, Jaco beach and its incredible nightlife. Only a short 1.5 hours from San Jose, Jaco has plenty offer just about anyone.

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.


Costa Rica gained fame as a natural destination with incredible wildlife watching in the rain forests and cloud forests of its national parks and wildlife refuges.  As tourism grew international resorts began sprouting on the amazing beaches of the Guanacaste coast and the number of visitors surged along with activities and adventures to entertain them.
If you have a GSM phone, you can use international roaming, or to avoid roaming charges, use an unlocked smartphone and simply replace the SIM chip with a local chip from Kolbi, Claro, or Movistar and then charge it with a balance based on how much you plan to use it. This can usually most easily be done in the airport upon entry at various kiosks.
Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Costa Rica’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Costa Rica’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.
I mentioned above that zika is of significant concern for pregnant and planning-to-become-pregnant visitors. Zika infections are often mild (low fever, chills) or entirely asymptomatic, so you won’t necessarily know that you’ve been afflicted. And it’s not just women who have to worry: though more research needs to be done, it appears that sexual transmission is possible.

Combo adventure tours are one of our favorite things to do in Guanacaste. We love Guachipelin Adventure Park in the Rincon de la Vieja area which is a full day of ziplining, horseback riding, lunch, river tubing, hot springs and mud baths. It’s an awesome adventure in Costa Rica that allows you to experience the best of the volcano and dry tropical forest.
South Pacific Eco Extreme will engage you in an epic adventure exploring places few have dared to go! You’ll stay in African style safari tents, a cave behind a waterfall (yes, you read that right!), and a jungle ecolodge on the South Pacific coast. This 9-day extreme adventure includes mountain hiking, horseback riding, waterfall rappelling, plus whitewater rafting, and will undoubtedly be the most memorable vacation you’ve ever experience!
“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.”
Since the late 1980s Costa Rica became a popular nature travel destination, and its main competitive advantage is its well-established system of national parks and protected areas, covering around 23.4% of the country's land area, the largest in the world as a percentage of the country's territory, and home to a rich variety of flora and fauna, in a country that has only 0.03% of the world's landmass, but that is estimated to contain 5% of the world's biodiversity. The country also has plenty of world renowned beaches, both in the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, within short travel distances between both coasts both by air and land, and also several active volcanoes that can be visited with safety.
The Butterfly Conservatory near Lake Arenal in La Fortuna, is a really nice place to spend a couple of hours. You’ll see some really cool butterflies and reptiles, take a nice nature walk and meet some very knowledgeable people who work there. You could combine this with a hike on the Arenal 1968 trail or a kayak trip around the lake. They are all located close together.

Easily accessible from Tamarindo, Playa Flamingo, Conchal, and Papagayo, the Catalinas Islands offer some of the best scuba diving in Costa Rica. This island chain is located off the Nicoya Peninsula in the northwest part of the country. The depth ranges between 18–75 feet (5.4–23 meters) and within this range there is an incredible diversity of wildlife. The islands are famous for their population and variety of rays, as well as tropical fish, sharks, sea turtles, and even sometimes whale sharks and pilot whales. Diving is incredible here all year around.

Welcome to the world as seen through the eyes of Cameron and Natasha. On this site you’ll find our experiences, photography, and informative travel guides. We love getting to off the beaten path destinations and aren’t afraid to go it alone. We hope to inspire other independent travelers and provide the resources to do so. If you want to find us, just head to the nearest coffee shop or check back here!

They aren’t exactly a substitute for trails through the rain forests in the national parks because any area that has road access has also been mostly clear-cut for pasture or farmland.  There’s rarely shade and except for a couple of hours early in the morning or late in the afternoon the lack of tree cover can make it excruciatingly hot under the tropical sun.
Lapa Rios Ecolodge - is located in a private nature reserve of over 1,000 acres of tropical rainforest near Corcovado National Park and overlooks the point where the Pacific Ocean meets the Golfo Dulce. Made from local materials, each bungalow has an intricately woven thatched roof. Guests can experience hiking, birdwatching, boating trips, dolphin and whale watching. VIsit on our Wild Costa Rica tour.

In a territory of only 51,100 square kilometers, the varied natural landscapes are extraordinary, nature is developed here with strength and amazing energy. With such a diverse topography is the ideal place for adventure tourism. In Costa Rica you can zipline through the canopies of giant trees, raft in beautiful rivers surrounded by vegetation, climb deep cliffs, bungee jump and of course surf in the Pacific and the Caribbean.

The eco-tourism hub of Central America, Costa Rica’s sunny climate creates the perfect atmosphere for some of the planet's best gifts – forest fringed beaches, whimsical volcano springs, and conservation areas that preserve a nice percentage of the earth's biodiversity. The green-covered geography offers opportunities for a wild adventure, whether it is trekking high-altitude routes or experiencing the white-water rapids. And for those who want a more laidback getaway, the stunning landscape and the colorful Costa Rican culture is exciting enough just to experience.
The beautiful National Theatre of Costa Rica is located on the southern side of the Plaza de la Cultura in San Jose and is one of the city’s most notable buildings – a must-see for all lovers of art and architecture. The theatre was built in 1897 in the neo-classical style and features an elaborate marble lobby and auditorium decorated with paintings depicting 19th-century life in Costa Rica. Your entrance fee entitles you to a free guided tour (every hour, on the hour), which will greatly enhance your visit. If you can spare the time, you can attend one of the many scheduled performances at the theater, which has excellent acoustics.
I have written about my love for Costa Rica before. And as I write this, I am once again in Costa Rica, sitting on the patio of my wonderfully inexpensive room in a charming boutique hotel (called, appropriately enough, La Ramona Charming Hotel), overlooking a calm pool and lush gardens, still stuffed from a bountiful breakfast of fresh fruit and eggs, relaxing after an early morning swim in the Pacific Ocean a couple of short blocks away.
Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport (LIR), between Liberia and Playa Hermosa in Guanacaste province, is Costa Rica’s second-busiest airport. It’s convenient to the endless beaches of the Nicoya Peninsula and the inland parks and protected areas of northwestern Costa Rica, including Arenal, Monteverde, Rincon de la Vieja, Guanacaste, and on and on.
One of the top things to do in Costa Rica to admire wildlife is going on a guided night tour. Most animals are night creatures, and go out of their nests after sunset. This is a great time to spot frogs, snakes and – for the lucky ones – even jaguars. Night walks are offered in Tortuguero Natioanal Park, in Arenal and in Osa Peninsula. Needless to say, you will need a guide for this – first so that you don’t get lost, and secondly because unless you are an expert, you’ll need someone pointing the animals to you, and following their tracks.
Insurance on car rentals is mandatory in Costa Rica, but be aware that it’s not included in the price listed on many car rental websites online. Typically the additional cost is around $10/15 a day for mandatory third party insurance and unfortunately in 9 cases out of 10 it’s not something that can be covered by your travel insurance or your credit card insurance, so budget accordingly.
The scenic landscape offers surprise and adventure, luxury and wonder across less than 19,800 square miles, and the country also supports nearly four percent of the world’s total species. Whether backpacking through the volcanic ridges north of the Central Valley or reveling in luxury on a secluded resort nestled between the Pacific Ocean and a protected rainforest, taking the time to tour Costa Rica will bring unparalleled experiences for both active adventurers and enthusiastic idlers. The country hosts more than 500,000 plant and animal species across 11 Conservation Areas. Local communities help to protect the wild lands and ensure the safeguard of natural resources and natural beauty based on grassroots, sustainable efforts.
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 picturesque beach town of Jaco anchors one of Costa Rica’s busiest stretches of coastline. Here, you’ll find the other Playa Hermosa, a famed surfing beach that hosts the Quicksilver International Surfing Competition every August. If you visit in late summer, you’ll definitely want to head down this way to catch a glimpse of elite amateurs mixing it up with 15-foot swells. Or skip the crowds and seek out one of the area’s quieter black sand beaches – pristine reminders of the region’s volcanic origins.

Costa Ricans tend to use the term Regaláme, literally "gift me", instead of "get me". An example is when a Costa Rican says: "regáleme la cuenta", literrally "gift me the bill", which is unusual to other Spanish speaking countries, however, it is a very common Costa Rican term. Another such case might be when Costa Ricans go out to buy something, in which case they might use the term this way: "Regáleme un confite y una Coca", literally, "Gift me a piece of candy and a Coke", but it is understood that the person asking is going to buy said things and is not expecting the other to gift him or her those things. A more precise phrase in standard Spanish would be: "Me vende un confite y una Coca", meaning: "Sell me a piece of candy and a Coke".

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.
Apart from checking out the rainforest and surrounding lake and other lands while zipping along, not to mention spotting wildlife, the zipline tour gives a prime view of the Arenal Volcano. (Up until 2010 this volcano was one of the most active in the whole world, but its eruptive cycle has paused and it’s currently in a resting phase.) Arenal Volcano looms large over the hillsides surrounding it, and reaches close to 5,500 feet high.
For those who want to spend more time in the Arenal area – one of the nicest places to visit in Costa Rica – Sky Adventures also operates a Sky Walk. This experience involves walking across a series of suspension bridges and trails, and allows travelers to be introduced to the flora and fauna of the forest canopy in a more relaxed way, and from a fresh perspective.
High quality health care is provided by the government at low cost to the users.[86] Housing is also very affordable. Costa Rica is recognized in Latin America for the quality of its educational system. Because of its educational system, Costa Rica has one of the highest literacy rates in Latin America, 97%.[87] General Basic Education is mandatory and provided without cost to the user.[88] A US government report confirms that the country has "historically placed a high priority on education and the creation of a skilled work force" but notes that the high school drop-out rate is increasing. As well, Costa Rica would benefit from more courses in languages such as English, Portuguese, Mandarin and French and also in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).[87]
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