The country may look small, but there are so many amazing activities in Costa Rica. There are hundreds of beaches to explore, two dozen national parks, half a dozen of volcanoes and an immense number of activities to take part it during your visit. Many travelers ask whether it is possible to see Costa Rica in a week and our answer is, it really isn’t.
For much of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, the Arenal volcano terrorized the predominantly agricultural communities at its base with frequent belches of caustic smoke, ash, and lava. A major eruption in the late 1960s killed scores and seriously damaged local infrastructure, but things have quieted down significantly – the volcano hasn’t seen much activity since 2010.
So when you’re trying to get your money together, don’t stress too much about exchanging it all beforehand as it’s not 100% necessary if you live in the US. You can use dollars in pretty much every touristic destination and they will give you your change back in colones. If you are Canadian however, it will be better for you to have colones due to the Canadian dollar and USD exchange rate. Ask the hotels or tour companies if you can pay in colones instead.
Hello! Thanks for the wonderful advice. I will be studying abroad in Costa Rica January through April. I will primarily be in Heredia but will be traveling throughout the country as well. Several packing lists recommended trial runners or hiking boots. I do not have either but have considered purchasing a pair if it is worth my while. I will be packing in a large checked bag a carry on duffle and a backpack so light weight is a priority, I certainly plan on bringing my chacos. Is it redundant to bring keens as well? Do I need hiking shoes that cover my ankles? Also is it safe to go for a jog/run in most cities.
note: active local transmission of Zika virus by Aedes species mosquitoes has been identified in this country (as of August 2016); it poses an important risk (a large number of cases possible) among US citizens if bitten by an infective mosquito; other less common ways to get Zika are through sex, via blood transfusion, or during pregnancy, in which the pregnant woman passes Zika virus to her fetus

The impact of indigenous peoples on modern Costa Rican culture has been relatively small compared to other nations, since the country lacked a strong native civilization to begin with. Most of the native population was absorbed into the Spanish-speaking colonial society through inter-marriage, except for some small remnants, the most significant of which are the Bribri and Boruca tribes who still inhabit the mountains of the Cordillera de Talamanca, in the southeastern part of Costa Rica, near the frontier with Panama.
We love taking night walking tours while in Monteverde. There are multiple companies that offer tours, but the best way to get a good deal is to reserve your tour through your hotel. The hotels in the area typically partner with local night tour companies and they can get you the best deal with transportation to the tour included. On your night walk you will see a lot of wildlife including cool frogs, tarantulas, sloths, snakes, and more!
My trip was wonderful! It was my first trip with Gate1, and it was also my first ever solo trip and I must say that I could not have been more happy with my experience. Our tour manager was great, our driver was top notch and the people I met on the trip were the cherry in top. Thank you for your help with my reservation I will definitely travel with Gate1 again.
A recent culinary revolution has given new life to overlooked districts like Barrio Escalante, in the capital. Many young chefs, craft brewers, and mixologists can be found transforming San José into a gastronomic boomtown. And with the opening of Liberia’s International Airport in 2012, new luxury developments have begun extending beyond established beach communities. Plan your trip—be it a high-octane adventure or a mellow, family getaway—with Travel + Leisure’s guide to Costa Rica.
Population growth rate: The average annual percent change in the population, resulting from a surplus (or deficit) of births over deaths and the balance of migrants entering and leaving a country. The rate may be positive or negative. The growth rate is a factor in determining how great a burden would be imposed on a country by the changing needs of its people for infrastructure (e.g., schools, hospitals, housing, roads), resources (e.g., food, water, electricity), and jobs. Rapid population growth can be seen as . . . more
According to Lonely Planet, Parque Nacional Corcovado houses “the last great original tract of tropical rainforest in Pacific Central America.” It’s home to half of all Costa Rican species, including the world’s largest bird of prey (the harpy) eagle and several endangered mammals. Some naturalists regard Corcovado as the most biologically diverse place on the planet, as measured by density of unique species.
Central America is loaded with volcanos and Costa Rica is no different. April 2017 saw activity from the famous Poas Volcano which shut out visitors ever since, but it’s no reason not to explore the others in the area. Volcan Arenal, dormant since 2011, is Costa Rica’s most famous volcano site. Towering over 5,000 feet into the sky, Volcan Arenal is surrounded by lush green jungle, and the famous Arenal Lake. Hike the volcano, visit the La Fortuna waterfall, and explore the adventures in this area.
Amazing! The tours were animal filled and the hotels were beautiful and relaxing. Giovanni, our tour guide, was knowledgeable, humorous and very good at keeping 37 people on time. He had a wealth of both biological and cultural information that made the longer bus rides bearable. The food was beyond amazing! Thank you for another perfect trip! Already thinking about where I will go next with Gate 1.
Tortuguero National Park, or the “Amazon of Costa Rica” is a place like no other in the country. It’s famous for turtle nestings and rainforest canals thatmake up the national park. The national park and town are boat access only so it’s quite an adventure to get there! Once in Tortuguero, you can take boat rides through the national park to see wildlife but our favorite way is to go by kayak.
In 1838, long after the Federal Republic of Central America ceased to function in practice, Costa Rica formally withdrew and proclaimed itself sovereign. The considerable distance and poor communication routes between Guatemala City and the Central Plateau, where most of the Costa Rican population lived then and still lives now, meant the local population had little allegiance to the federal government in Guatemala. From colonial times to now, Costa Rica's reluctance to become economically tied with the rest of Central America has been a major obstacle to efforts for greater regional integration.[44]
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