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.

Instead we paid about $35 each to stay at Heliconias, walk out the door of our cabin to the bridges whenever we wanted day and night, and used their private trail to cross the reserve to Tenorio National Park and continue up to Lago Danta (which you can’t even reach from the main paid park entrance).  A total of $280 for two nights lodging plus $0 for activities for the four of us.
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.
Most people who visit Costa Rica head straight to the coast – either the Pacific or the Caribbean. Yet, one of the nicest things to do in Costa Rica is exploring the Central Valley. There are many nice places to visit, most of them completely off the beaten path. I truly enjoyed Sarchi – where I must have been the only tourist the locals had seen in a while, and Tucurrique.

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 best places to take a chocolate tour is Puerto Viejo and La Fortuna. We did a chocolate tour with the BriBri indigenous community outside Puerto Viejo which was fascinating since chocolate plays such an important part in their culture. The Puerto Viejo chocolate tour is another excellent one. We also did one with Rainforest Chocolate Tour in La Fortuna which was really fun and informative.
At the bottom of the Nicoya coast is the hippy backpacker town of Santa Theresa. This “town” really nothing more than a beach with a road lined with eateries, surf shops, and hostels. Not much goes on here as everyone is up early to hit the waves. I like this place as it is a good place to just go, lay on the beach, hang out with people, and relax. It’s an easy place to fall into and spend weeks. Or, like most people, months.
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.
Costa Rica has one of the highest levels of social care in the world. Its doctors are known worldwide as some of the best. Many people from U.S, Canada and Europe go there to be treated, not only because the quality of the service but for the cost. First class Hospitals can be found in the capital. There is a public/private hospital system. There is excellent care in each. The public system has much longer waits, while the private system has shorter waits. If you are unfortunate enough to have a very sick child requiring hospitalization, the child will be transferred to the only children's hospital in CR, located in the capital. This children's hospital is public.
Death rate: This entry gives the average annual number of deaths during a year per 1,000 population at midyear; also known as crude death rate. The death rate, while only a rough indicator of the mortality situation in a country, accurately indicates the current mortality impact on population growth. This indicator is significantly affected by age distribution, and most countries will eventually show a rise in the overall death rate, in spite of continued decline in mortality at all ages, as declining . . . more
Staying connected while in Costa Rica is really easy without paying $30-50 for a roaming plan.  WiFi is fairly easy to find in touristy areas in Costa Rica. Most hotels and restaurants that cater to foreigners will have free wifi for you to use during your stay. You can call and message your family/friends back home for free on your phone over the internet using Whatsapp, Facebook, Viber, Facetime, or Skype.
Rincon de la Vieja, an active volcano with a heat-sterilized summit and ominous scores running down its upper slopes, looms over the northwestern city of Liberia. Parque Nacional Rincon de la Vieja protects the twin-peaked massif and the surrounding moist forests. We spent two nights on the far side of Rincon de la Vieja, lounging in hot springs and hunting for hidden waterfalls, and had a blast.
If you choose to stay at a luxury resort for your long-term vacation rental, you’re likely to be supplied with everything you need onsite, and if you need something, you can probably request it. If you decide to rent a personal property, you are likely to see that the place is fully furnished and equipped with everything you need, or equipped with the staff to help you have a great stay. Check out our Costa Rica Vacation Rentals listings often, as many properties come and go off the market quite quickly.
Topping out well above 12,000 feet, Cerro Chirripo is Costa Rica’s highest peak. Along with surrounding high peaks, it harbors rare high-altitude ecosystems: supermontane forests, dwarf forests, and paramo, among others. Above the treeline, it’s harder for wildlife to hide, so you’re more likely to see rare mammals like Dice’s rabbit, charismatic carnivores like cougars (known locally as pumas), and – of course – colorful birds like quetzals. The high slopes and summit boast unusual vertical rock formations called crestones, which resemble the pinnacles and spires found in the badlands of North and South Dakota.
Upon arrival to Costa Rica, we meet you at the airport and escort you to your transport. For guests arriving through San Jose, we offer a VIP meet & greet service which will help you navigate customs and escort you to your driver. From the minute you step off the plane, our friendly, bilingual drivers and tour guides will make you feel at home during your holiday.
"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.

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.


Costa Rica has protected over 25% of the natural terrain through reserves and national parks. In total, the country has 27 national parks to choose from located all over the country. With over 615 wildlife species per 10,000 square km and 12 key ecological zones. Most parks are loaded with a variety of the adventures previously mentioned. So, pick your park(s), and book your adventure(s) for an unforgettable trip.

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.

Let's go surfin now, everybody’s learning how, come on and safari with meeeee! With this classic song the Beach Boys introduced the idea of surfing to people around the world. Our Surfing Safaris, taught by dedicated expert surfers, will teach you either how to surf for the first time if you’re a beginner, or show an old pro some new board moves. If you’ve always wanted to try it, Costa Rica’s the place. Most people learn in one lesson. From regular rollers to epic waves, these ocean surf breaks rock! You’ll also enjoy traveling through the scenic countryside to get there. So what are you waiting for? Let’s go surfin now!


If you plan on driving in Costa Rica it’s best to know that the roads can be pretty awful, some of the worst in all the Americas to be exact. It all depends on where you travel, but almost any road not part of the national highway we found to be pretty meh. The worst we personally traveled on was from Nicoya to Santa Teresa (I may or may not have had back spasms from the constant crater-like potholes).
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!
In case you didn’t know, Costa Rica has something called the rainforest. It’s a safe bet that you’ll be caught in one of the countries many thunderstorms. If you are traveling Costa Rica in the wet season (May-December), a rain jacket is essential, but I would bring one any time of year just to be safe. The rain is typically short-lived, but you won’t want to get soaked during that time.
There are a few things that are important to know about Costa Rica before visiting. The following Costa Rica travel tips will help you better understand the country. The busiest travel times in Costa Rica are during Christmas and New Year's, as well as the week leading up to Easter Sunday, which is known as Semana Santa, or “Holy Week.” If you plan to travel during these weeks you must book your hotel well in advance — but it’s a better idea to simply plan your visit to Costa Rica for another time.
In 1945, by a total accident, the Venado Caves were discovered by a farmer who literally fell into them. There are eight magnificent chambers that make up a maze of limestone deep down in the earth. The rooms, which are filled with stalagmites and stalactites, were carved over the course of millions of years from underground rivers and the shifting plates of the Earth near the Arenal Volcano. This is not an experience for those who are claustrophobic. However, if small spaces don’t faze you and you want to dip down below sea level to these ancient caverns, then checking out the Venado Caves is a must-do.

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!
San Bada is a spectacular new hotel in Manuel Antonio, located directly at the entrance to the world famous Manuel Antonio National Park. It is the closest hotel to the Park and a short, easy walk to the breathtaking public beaches of Manuel Antonio. Here at San Bada, you'll sleep to the magical sounds of the jungle. The beautifully furnished guest rooms have balconies and include free Wi-Fi. The hotel features two pools. Enjoy magnificent views of the ocean from San Bada's unique Sunset Terrace Bar.
Costa Rica’s economy also faces challenges due to a rising fiscal deficit, rising public debt, and relatively low levels of domestic revenue. Poverty has remained around 20-25% for nearly 20 years, and the government’s strong social safety net has eroded due to increased constraints on its expenditures. Costa Rica’s credit rating was downgraded from stable to negative in 2015 and again in 2017, upping pressure on lending rates - which could hurt small business, on the budget deficit - which could hurt infrastructure development, and on the rate of return on investment - which could soften foreign direct investment (FDI). Unlike the rest of Central America, Costa Rica is not highly dependent on remittances - which represented just 1 % of GDP in 2016, but instead relies on FDI - which accounted for 5.1% of GDP.
You will find the fascinating Butterfly Conservatory located close to the shores of beautiful Lake Arenal in the Alajuela Province. Within the conservatory, nature-lovers of all ages can take an interesting and educational tour, which will introduce you to the life of butterflies and other creatures that inhabit the four different microclimates found around the lake. You can visit the greenhouses where the butterflies are bred, the frog habitat, and an orchid exhibition as well as follow the Rainforest River Walk, where you have the chance to spot monkeys, sloths, toucans, and parrots. From the Volcano View Gazebo you can get an excellent view of Arenal Volcano, Arenal Lake, and more.
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.
Costa Rica was sparsely inhabited by indigenous peoples before coming under Spanish rule in the 16th century. It remained a peripheral colony of the empire until independence as part of the First Mexican Empire, followed by membership in the United Provinces of Central America, from which it formally declared independence in 1847. Since then, Costa Rica has remained among the most stable, prosperous, and progressive[peacock term] nations in Latin America. Following the brief Costa Rican Civil War, it permanently abolished its army in 1949, becoming one of only a few sovereign nations without a standing army.[16][17][18]
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