Not a beach person? Costa Rica is rife with waterfalls and hot springs. Arenal Volcano’s La Fortuna Waterfall is one of the best things to do in Costa Rica for a reason—this visitor-favorite offers an easy hiking path to a massive blue pool at the base of chaotic, 270-foot falls. About 90 minutes outside San Jose, Bajos del Toro cloud forest is home to a 300-foot waterfall accessible by foot—but rather than swim, you can get up close and personal on a foot path to get soaked by the falls’ mist.
Our Learning and Family vacations provide an enormous outdoor biological classroom to explore both geological wonders as well as the rich diversity of wild plant and animal life. What better place than Costa Rica for you to engage in fun, meaningful activities together? Throw in a caving tour or zip-lining over a river canyon for added thrills. We provide the best bilingual naturalist guides to ensure you don’t miss a thing as you explore this amazing country and culture.
Eating Costa Rican food is a great way to learn more about the culture and history of the country. Staples at meal time include black beans and rice known as gallo pinto, a favourite for breakfast. Dinner brings delectables like sopa negra (black bean soup) and casado which highlights rice with an array of side dish like fried plantains, vegetables, fish, beef or chicken. For dessert, try the Costa Rican rice pudding known as arroz con leche and quench your thirst with a traditional shot of guaro which is a liquor made of sugar cane.
Mauricio Ventura, Minister of Tourism, explained : “2016 was the year of the airlines. Costa Rica had never witnessed such an important increase in the arrival of new airlines, the growth of frequencies and the creation of new routes to the country. This strengthens the connectivity of the nation with the rest of the world, and this effort gave and will continue to generate, positive results. Therefore, it is essential that our tourism sector prepares even more to offer quality services that lead to rewarding experiences in the destination.”
Tortuguero National Park protects more than 46,800 acres of pristine habitat, including 20 miles of coastline on which Olive Ridley, leatherback, loggerhead, and hawksbill turtles hatch. A surprising addition to the diversity of the protected waters’ is the West Indian manatee, which populates shallow estuaries near open water. Traveling in Tortuguero feels more akin to the raw wonders of the Amazon as the park is home to over 300 species of birds, along with jaguars, spotted caiman, boa constrictors, and common tink frogs.
Monkeys: You’re virtually guaranteed to see (or hear) monkeys in Costa Rica. Howler monkeys are among the loudest mammals on earth – their roars echo for miles through the jungle. If they keep their distance, they’re cute enough, but attacks aren’t unheard of. The biggest risk here isn’t trauma – it’s rabies, an invariably fatal disease that’s quite common in Costa Rican monkeys. Even a trivial-seeming scratch or bite requires immediate medical attention – an emergency vaccine course can stave off the disease.
Legal system: This entry provides the description of a country's legal system. A statement on judicial review of legislative acts is also included for a number of countries. The legal systems of nearly all countries are generally modeled upon elements of five main types: civil law (including French law, the Napoleonic Code, Roman law, Roman-Dutch law, and Spanish law); common law (including United State law); customary law; mixed or pluralistic law; and religious law (including Islamic law). An addition . . . more
Visit the emerald forest and glittering sea in Costa Rica’s wild Osa Peninsula. Ojo del Mar provides a one of a kind eco-friendly base for your exploration. The lodge features airy cabanas with breathtaking views of the surrounding tropics. The building is artfully crafted using tall bamboo shoots, a sustainable alternative to traditional building materials. Practice morning yoga before a packed day of adventure. Connect with nature by repelling down dramatic waterfalls. With some luck, guests may even experience majestic sea turtles nesting. Outdoor enthusiasts will fall in love with the enchanted Osa Peninsula.
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
On the Pacific side, heavy surf is a year-round phenomenon. In fact, it’s advisable to check weather and surf conditions before venturing out, since offshore storms can create dangerous rip currents even when beach-side conditions appear fair. Boca Barranca is renowned for its half-mile wave breaks, while Playa Escondida is popular with novice and intermediate surfers. Board rentals generally start around $10 and range up to $20 or more for high-end options.
All the way back in the 80’s the first boom of ecotourism began in Costa Rica. Travelers began to learn of the country’s wealth of natural flora and fauna and acted fast to preserve. As tourism dollars continued to come in the Costa Ricans were quick to fall in step and preserve the beauty of their country. It’s now trickled down to almost every level, we even found small soda shops (local restaurants) using biodegradable straws and ditching styrofoam take away.
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.
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.
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.
Attracting all art lovers and anyone interested in modern design innovation, the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design is housed across a cluster of buildings in San Jose’s historic downtown area. You can admire works by predominantly Costa Rican and other Central and South American countries in the museum’s large permanent collection, while regular temporary exhibitions are held in four special exhibition spaces. The museum also has an auditorium and you can access an extensive website and video library featuring past exhibitions. You can join a guided tour, attend a lecture or workshop, or simply explore at your own pace.
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.
For the word "you" (singular informal form), instead of "tú", most people of Cartago use "vos" (as in "vos sos" - you are) which is also common to other American dialects of Spanish (Argentina, Uruguay, Guatemala...), but the word "usted" is prominent in south Pacific Costa Rica and the Central Valley, and preferred over "vos". Either way, formal Spanish is understood and you may use any form of the word "you" you consider proper.
Costa Rica’s May–November wet season doesn’t have to deter you from travel here. For much of that time, you’ll have rain for a couple of hours in the afternoon, and you can plan your activities around that schedule. Rains become heavier and more prolonged in September and October, and if you fancy a beach vacation during those two months, it could be a washout. Nature excursions go on rain or shine, though, and some outfitters provide ponchos and boots. A few of the big eco-lodges provide umbrellas for use on their grounds, but you can’t go wrong packing a collapsible one. The bonus of rainy-season travel is the lush green landscape and lower prices, and in a stroke of marketing genius, the tourism industry here bills the wet months as the “Green Season.” As a side note, Costa Ricans call the rainy season invierno (winter) and use the term verano (summer) to refer to the dry season, technically the opposite of what they should be in the Northern Hemisphere.
Miles and miles of brilliant beaches are one of Costa Rica’s prime attractions on both the Caribbean and Pacific coastlines, beckoning visitors to come and enjoy a perfect beach vacation. The Peaks ‘n Swells Surf Camps are located on the renowned Nicoya Peninsula, which is blessed with some of the world’s most consistent surf breaks – a pure paradise for surfers of all levels. At Peaks ‘n Swells’ fully inclusive camps, you can enjoy professional surfing tuition for all ages, fresh organic meals, yoga workshops, and close proximity to a host of other holiday attractions, such as horseback riding, snorkeling excursions, and visits to a sea turtle sanctuary. The camps are located within walking distance of Montezuma, offering a unique family-friendly vacation.
Pro Tip: Most Costa Rican vehicles have standard transmissions – stick shifts. This is a scary prospect for most North Americans, many of whom have no reason to know how to drive stick. If you know anyone with a standard transmission vehicle, ask them to show you the ropes before you arrive in Costa Rica. It’s better to learn in a parking lot near your house than an unfamiliar dirt road with jungle on one side and a sheer drop on the other.
"Visiting Costa Rica was the best vacation we ever had. It was a relaxing trip with lots of sun, the climate and the people were amazing. The country have breathtaking sceneries and wildlife, the food was sumptuous and the citizens were so far the happiest people I know. Some of the highlights of the trip were, a hike near Arenal Volcano, a boat ride on Lake Arenal, crossing the hanging bridges, zip lining in the rain forest and and at the top of the canopy, soaking up the sun on a Pacific Ocean beach and we had fun traveling with a diverse group of wonderful people."
The Latinobarómetro survey of 2017 found that 57% of the population identify themselves as Roman Catholics, 25% are Evangelical Protestants, 15% report that they do not have a religion, and 2% declare that they belong to another religion. This survey indicated a decline in the share of Catholics and rise in the share of Protestants and irreligious. A University of Costa Rica survey of 2018 show similar rates; 52% Catholics, 25% Protestants, 17% irreligious and 3% other. The rate of secularism is high by Latin American standards.
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.
What makes Carara one of Costa Rica attractions is the fact that, covering close to 13,000 acres, apart from so many bird species, it is also home to a diverse array of other wildlife to keep an eye out for. This list includes sloths, monkeys, deer, armadillos, peccaries and even big cats and crocodiles. The park also has various interpretative trails to explore, even for those who are less active. Many tour companies operate tours (including hiking, river boating, and birding excursions) in Carara, so it is easy to find guides to help see this part of Costa Rica in depth.
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.
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.
San José, September 18, 2018 Local and social media report that last week’s demonstrations against the host government’s fiscal plan likely will continue this week throughout Costa Rica, and particularly in San Jose. Protesters may express their opposition by interrupting government services, creating traffic jams, and disrupting local commerce. This may occur with little or ...
If there is one thing that killed us (and our electronics) it was the humidity in Costa Rica. We found the humidity in Costa Rica particularly bad in the south, along with the coast, and pretty much anywhere away from the cloud forest. It was particularly hard to dry our clothes and keep them from not smelling and molding, but the real problem was with our electronics going haywire.
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.
This is one of the most important things to know about Costa Rica. Many people assume that Central America automatically equals cheap travel. Nope. That is the biggest common misconception about Costa Rica. Yes, its northern neighbor, Nicaragua is dirt cheap but it’s is also one of the poorest countries in Latin America so you can stretch your money very far there.
So about that "Switzerland" nickname: Costa Rica's military was famously abolished in 1949, with the budget instead allocated towards education and culture. It's the most stable country in Central America, with a democratically elected government that steadfastly refuses to involve itself in regional conflicts. As a result, its crime rate is also quite low, with violent crime rates well below those in the U.S. (Petty crimes, like theft, can be a problem in more tourist-ridden areas though, so don't leave your purse or backpack laying around unattended.)
Did you know you can bring up to 5 liters of alcohol per person into Costa Rica? Yeap! It’s true. Alcohol is not that cheap here. If you plan on doing some drinking it may be best to bring your own (as long as you don’t mind lugging around alcohol bottles in your suitcase). You can buy alcohol from a duty-free shop in the airport at your departure location for some added savings. If you do buy alcohol in Costa Rica we suggest buying it at any of the mini markets you come across. As strange as it is, the hard at these mini markets is usually cheaper than in the supermarket. Also, if you like rum it is probably cheaper to buy it here than in your home country.
The highest point in the country is Cerro Chirripó, at 3,819 metres (12,530 ft); it is the fifth highest peak in Central America. The highest volcano in the country is the Irazú Volcano (3,431 m or 11,257 ft) and the largest lake is Lake Arenal. There are 14 known volcanoes in Costa Rica, and six of them have been active in the last 75 years. The country has also experienced at least ten earthquakes of magnitude 5.7 or higher (3 of magnitude 7.0 or higher) in the last century.