Not only is this northern tract of land leading up to the Nicaraguan border home to the active Rincón de la Vieja volcano, savannah and tropical forest, it also has some of Costa Rica’s most famous beaches. Whether you are looking for sleek resorts in Tamarindo, sleepy Pacific retreats like Nosara, or even pristine national parks by the sea such as Santa Rosa National Park, you are spoilt for choice in Guanacaste.
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.
It was terrific and we can't say enough good things about our guide Geovani and our driver Louis. Geo was knowledgeable on so many levels. Louis navigated us through some crazy but fun roads. It's amazing to be in such diverse environments in a small country. We highly recommend this trip, it has it all. From monkeys to volcanoes to hot springs and beautiful lodging. The cloud forest is another world. Very friendly people. Grab your family and go!
Electricity access: This entry provides information on access to electricity. Electrification data – collected from industry reports, national surveys, and international sources – consists of four subfields. Population without electricity provides an estimate of the number of citizens that do not have access to electricity. Electrification – total population is the percent of a country’s total population with access to electricity, electrification – urban areas is the percent of a country’s urban population w . . . more
“On my Sunday radio program, I’ve several times mentioned the attractive price of $995 per person plus airfare for a 10-day, fully-escorted trip to Costa Rica offered thoughout the year by the distinguished Chicago tour operator called Caravan Tours. The price includes all accommodations, all meals, and all motorcoach sightseeing and transportation...highly affordable vacations. ” ‘The Travel Show with Arthur Frommer’
Costa Rica, which means “rich coast,” offers abundant adventures at its many beach destinations. Marine activities include snorkeling, kayaking, marine mammal observation, scuba diving, sport fishing, and catamaran tours. In addition to enjoying the sun and waves on many of these marine tours, you may also have the opportunity to spot colorful fish, sea turtles,...
Costa Rica’s forests are full of bucket-list activities and exceptional nature, but the bustling capital city of San Jose is worth a visit as well. The historic National Theater of Costa Rica has been a landmark in San Jose since the 19th century, and hosts performances several times a week. It can also be visited on a historical tour for a closer look at the frescoes and gilded ceilings that make up the most beloved building in San Jose.
Costa Rica is very safe and often touted as one of the most enjoyable, relaxed destinations to which visitors like to travel. Normal precautions should always be considered in any country, including paying attention to theft, including pickpockets, and petty crimes while in large crowds within big cities. You should also maintain safety standards on the beach to protect from riptides.
Generally speaking, the Caribbean side’s waters are calmer and slightly warmer, while the Pacific side is rougher and more temperamental. Both sides are stunningly beautiful, with broad beaches, lush forests, dramatic cliffs, and engaging marine environments. Just be sure to obey all posted warnings, including wildlife warnings and “no trespassing” signs. And never swim alone, especially on the Pacific side: Costa Rica’s Pacific waters are notorious for dangerous, changeable rip currents.
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.
If you have a few hours, I highly recommend taking a guided tour. We did the Natural History Walk, a 2.5-hour, English-language wander that set us back $37 per person (including the $20 park entry fee). You’ll learn a lot more about what you’re seeing in the forest – which is of course unlike any temperate forest in the United States – with someone who knows what to point out. We identified dozens of bird species, caught glimpses of sloths and monkeys that we would have otherwise missed, and learned a ton about the history of the reserve. (It was founded in partnership with a local North American Quaker community, whose founding members headed south during the Korean War. It’s an interesting story; learn more on the park’s history page.)
For the more active traveler, Costa Rica is a country full of thrilling and exciting adventures. Choose from activities like zip lining above the rainforest canopy, rappelling down waterfalls, horseback riding through the jungle, hiking around a volcano, strolling across high-up hanging bridges, white water river rafting down roaring rapids, floating through the jungle marsh, kayaking, ATVing, mountain biking, and surfing some of the most famous breaks in the world.
Prices were accurate at the time we posted them. Sample prices were for a specific travel date and specific departure airport, as indicated. Your prices will vary according to departure cities and travel dates. We do not control prices (airlines and hotel reservation systems do). Prices may change dynamically and at times significantly numerous times during any given day.
There is an extensive network of bus routes within the country with reasonable fares. Departures are very punctual, though routes often take longer than expected. Stop by the Tourist Office downtown (underneath the Gold Museum in the Plaza--ask anyone and they'll be able to help you out). The bus system is a safe and even fun way to see a lot of the country cheaply and not have to worry about car rentals. Getting around without Spanish is no problem.
It’s also one of the few places in Costa Rica where English is the de facto language. That’s down to the area’s unique Afro-Caribbean pedigree, which shows in local cuisine and culture too. The best way to experience the unique flavors (literally) of this distinctive corner of Costa Rica is to spring for Wolaba Tours’ 3.5-hour Food and Culture Tour. It’ll set you back $65 per person, but you won’t walk away hungry.
Lying in the heart of the verdant rainforest in Tenorio Volcano National Park, the Rio Celeste (Blue River) is one of the most remarkable natural assets of Costa Rica. It is thought that the surprising azure color of the river is caused by minerals in the rocks of the river bed, combined with reflected sunlight. For one of the most rewarding photo opportunities of your Costa Rica vacation, you will need to take on a fairly challenging 4.5 mile hike – the trail will reward you with views of virgin rainforest, thermal springs, and a startlingly blue lagoon. A shorter 1-mile hike directly to the Rio Celeste Waterfall is also available from the entrance of the park. Organized tours to Rio Celeste are available from La Fortuna.
All of our tour directors, travel specialists, and local hosts have personally explored the beaches, hiked the forests, witnessed the volcanoes and experienced the city highlights, and they are eager to share their insider expertise with you. This in-depth knowledge and experience along with our long-established relationships throughout the region allow us to craft unique vacation packages that encompass and bring out the very best of Costa Rica.
109 different mammals and 184 different bird species populate the combination of evergreen, primary, and secondary, along with the mangrove studded lagoons and canals. Dolphins swim in the calm Pacific often performing for passing boats while humpback, pseudo-orca, and pilot whales travel near the edges of the park between August to October, and again between December and April. Night hikes in the rainforest reveal red-eyed tree frogs and night owl monkeys. Other celebrated activities around the national park include sunset cruising, scuba diving, a visit to Damas Island, zip lining and sea kayaking.
By the early 1990s, Costa Rica became known as the poster child of ecotourism. According to the Costa Rican Tourism Board, 46% of international tourists visiting the country in 2009 engaged in activities related to ecotourism, including trekking, flora, fauna, and bird watching, and visits to rural communities. However, most visitors look for adventure activities, which Costa Rica offers as well. Costa Rica was included by Ethical Traveler magazine in the 2011 and the 2012 list of The Developing World's 10 Best Ethical Destinations.
San José, September 7, 2018 Local media report that Costa Rican unions are planning to strike starting on Monday, September 10, in downtown San Jose. Strikes will continue throughout the week. Protestors may express their opposition to the new fiscal plan being discussed in National Assembly by shutting down certain government services and creating traffic jams ...
The bridge is in the town of Tarcoles, a little bit before Jacoand it’s worth stopping to see the giant crocodiles. Warning: please be very careful walking on this bridge. There is no pedestrian path and the guard rails are not that high. Please don’t climb over the rails! Those crocodiles are waiting to be fed and you do not want to be their next dinner.
Overlooking the picturesque Papagayo Bay sits the distinguished Villa Buena Onda, an elegant mansion turned meal-inclusive resort. The property was designed by a renowned interior decorator who combined leather, silk, iron and traditional woods to create a five element oasis. The earth-toned exteriors complement the greens and blues of the natural environment. During sunset, guests can watch from the garden as the sky’s orange and pink hues contrast with the deep blues of the two tiered swimming pool. Guests will never forget the service oriented staff who are willing to go the distance to make your stay a once in a lifetime experience. Villa Buena Onda is ideal for couples desiring romance and relaxation in beautiful Costa Rica.
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.
Eating and shopping at a local farm or marketplace is one of the coolest things to do in Costa Rica thanks to the country’s dedication to ecotourism. You’ll come away with more than just souvenirs, thanks to educational experiences at farms like Corso Lecheria and friendly vendors at San Jose’s Central Market. Taste fruit you’ve never seen (let alone tasted) at markets—don’t miss the chance to try cas, mamon, soursop, and water apple, or to simply stock up on fresh bananas, papayas, and mangos.
Costa Rica hosts many refugees, mainly from Colombia and Nicaragua. As a result of that and illegal immigration, an estimated 10–15% (400,000–600,000) of the Costa Rican population is made up of Nicaraguans. Some Nicaraguans migrate for seasonal work opportunities and then return to their country. Costa Rica took in many refugees from a range of other Latin American countries fleeing civil wars and dictatorships during the 1970s and 1980s, notably from Chile and Argentina, as well as people from El Salvador who fled from guerrillas and government death squads.
Insider's advice: There are no large resorts or all-inclusive hotels in the Southern Caribbean region. Expect rustic lodges and bungalow-style accommodations with few amenities and amazing surroundings! While the southern Caribbean is best known for its beautiful beaches, the area is also home to loads of wildlife. Cahuita National Park is one of the best places in Costa Rica to observe sloths, monkeys, and other exotic animals.
On 10 September 1961, some months after Fidel Castro declared Cuba a socialist state, Costa Rican President Mario Echandi ended diplomatic relations with Cuba through Executive Decree Number 2. This freeze lasted 47 years until President Óscar Arias Sánchez re-established normal relations on 18 March 2009, saying, "If we have been able to turn the page with regimes as profoundly different to our reality as occurred with the USSR or, more recently, with the Republic of China, how would we not do it with a country that is geographically and culturally much nearer to Costa Rica?" Arias announced that both countries would exchange ambassadors.
For those looking for remote accommodations in search of romance or just for the excitement of reaching somewhere secluded and new, Costa Rica also features tree house lodges and glamorous camping retreats hidden in the rainforest canopy. There are few places more private than hanging out in a luxury camp in the trees with only the passing avifauna and active monkey troops as company. They are also perfect destinations for yoga getaways that connect each breath to the sounds of the surrounding rainforest terrain.
Located in Arenal Volcano National Park in the province of Alajuela, Arenal Volcano is the most famous of Costa Rica’s active volcanoes and has been drawing crowds of visitors since it unexpectedly and dramatically erupted in 1968. For the following 40 years, Arenal Volcano has regularly produced pyroclastic surges sending rivers of lava flowing down its impressive cone-shaped sides. Arenal is currently in a resting phase and is closely monitored to keep visitors to the national park safe. The most popular activities in the park are hiking and bird-watching – there are over 500 varieties of birds to be spotted as you hike through the rainforest to the various observation points. Other activities you can enjoy include bathing in hot water springs and river rafting. Read more
Three volcanoes, two near San Jose and one in the northwest, have become more active in recent years. Ashfall due to volcanic eruptions from Turrialba can disrupt air traffic and cause or aggravate respiratory issues. Visitors should monitor and follow park service guidance and alerts regarding volcanic activity. Never attempt to climb or gain unauthorized access to an active volcano.
In most parts of the country, you will be completely fine drinking water from the sink. Just make sure to ask your hotel ahead of time to make sure the water in your hotel room is actually drinkable. I’m a water addict and I must say the water quality here is pretty great. We always bring a reusable water bottle while traveling and just fill it up as we need. If you are in a really rural area I would suggest buying water just in case.
Day 5 – Hanging Bridges, Guanacaste Morning visit to the Hanging Bridges. With a naturalist guide, hike the suspension bridges. Weather permitting, enjoy views of majestic Arenal Volcano. Next, enjoy a scenic drive around Lake Arenal. Lunch. Then, to Costa Rica’s beautiful Pacific Coast. Continue to the J.W. Marriott Guanacaste Resort and Spa for a relaxing two night stay. Dinner. BLD
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.
You can visit hot springs in La Fortuna, find the Resplendent Quetzal in the Monteverde Cloud Forest, go scuba diving in Cahuita National Park, do yoga in Nicoya, go on a rafting trip in the Pacuare River or canyoning below the Turrialba Volcano, see scarlet macaws in Jaco, go horseback riding in Rincon de la Vieja, watch turtles nest in Tortuguero and relax on any of the hundreds of beaches! Every tourist who visits Costa Rica can find exactly what they need for a perfect tropical vacation.
Cano Island is a protected marine park, with fishing prohibited for three miles around it. The harvesting of marine life and collection of shells is also against the law. As such, the waters are full of coral, fish, and other sea creatures such as reef sharks, sting rays, turtles, and eels, making it one of Costa Rica points of interest for marine life.
Caravan's vacation packages include complimentary departure transfers from your hotel in San José to the Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) in San José, Costa Rica on the day the tour ends, scheduled to arrive at the airport at 5:00 a.m, 7:00 a.m, 9:00 a.m., and 11:30 a.m. These transfers are only available on the day the tour ends. If you wish to extend your stay in Costa Rica, you will need to transfer on your own, at your own expense. Please ask the hotel bellman to arrange a taxi. Expect to pay $25.00 U.S. Dollars per taxi, plus tip. The driving time from the hotel to the airport is approximately 30-60 minutes, depending on traffic. Please advise the Tour Director if you will be taking your own taxi separately.