Another Costa Rican tour highlight is the Arenal Volcano, considered one of the most active volcanoes in the world. You may witness the red lava streaming down the sides as you hear the volcano’s grumbling. Relax as you soak in the ecothermal hot springs and perhaps watch the lava flow down the volcano—a spectacular sight! In Monteverde, visit the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve, home to forest fauna such as jaguars, resplendent quetzal, monkeys, ocelots, and many species of birds—not to mention the large diversity of plant species.

You may think that Costa Rica is a cheap destination to travel to given its location in Central America. We found out first hand that couldn’t be further from the truth. While traveling around Costa Rica we found park fees to be high for the tourists (remember those waterfalls I talked about?), fuel prices expensive at $1.20/liter, car rental prices high given that you had to add insurance to everything, and food prices a rip off.
An eco-tourist's dream, Costa Rica has become synonymous with all an unspoiled tropical paradise can be. Rarely does reality measure up to hype, but Costa Rica certainly comes close. The country's quiet history as a backwater free of colonial excesses has today become a boon, and Costa Rica has cashed in on its purity. And not without merit: blessed with beaches and biodiversity, this is a verdant land of misty volcanoes, roaring rivers, and lush jungles teeming with exotic fauna. Throw in the friendly, educated Ticos (as Costa Ricans are known) and you can see why down here they call it Pura Vida – "pure life."
Hi! We had an AMAZING TRIP! ... Larry our tour guide was Fantastic and made our trip that much better! The hotels we stayed at were BEAUTIFUL and were more then we could have hoped for! We cant wait for the day until we can return to the BEAUTIFUL COSTA RICA!!! We look forward to joining Gate 1 on another tour, and maybe to a different destination! I hope one day I can show my 5 kids all the beauty there is to offer in Costa Rica! Thank you for making our trip the best possible .... Pura Vida!!
The diversity of Costa Rica is not limited to the ecosystems and the microclimates but is also embodied in the range of accommodations that allow visitors to experience the jungle terrain, the stunning cloud forests, the vibrant rainforests, and the secluded beaches as they desire. With a range of four and five-star resorts, along with boutique eco-friendly lodges, the remote countryside could be as luxurious and opulent as the bustling heart of the capital city.  Travelers in search of relaxation can find comfort in the form of resplendent soulful retreats hidden in the mountains or listening to crashing waves on the Pacific while thrill-seekers discover gorgeous eco-luxury resorts reachable only by traversing whitewater.
"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.
Had a wonderful trip to Costa Rica. Very well organized every step of the way. The tour director, Gilbert was simply awesome. He is very knowledgeable about Costa Rica -on history, bio diversity and all kind of interesting tidbits. He was always available to address any of our problems and made sure we enjoyed the trip and did not worry about anything else. Kudos to Gate1 for having employees of such caliber.
Visitors seeking metropolis-aimed vacations can enjoy San Jose's colonial-era architecture juxtaposed with the city's urban street art - the dichotomy creates a dynamic beauty that no other city can quite encapsulate. The sweet smells of Costa Rican bananas, fresh coffee beans and chocolate can be found at the Central Market, and if you'd like to pick up a souvenir, everything from artisan leather goods to handmade musical instruments can be found here.
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.
When you need a break from surf, sun, and hiking, you should consider a visit to the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum in San Jose, which is home to an astonishing 1,600 individual gold artifacts that date back to the pre-Columbian era. You can start your visit by watching a short orientation video (in English), which will pave the way for you to explore the exhibits in your own time – audio guides are available for rental and you can pre-book a guided tour if you prefer a more in-depth experience. Located in the same building, you will also find the National Coin Museum and the Casa de Moneda, which documents the history of minting in Costa Rica.
An estimated 30,000 Americans have retired in Costa Rica, with another 50 nationalities represented among the expatriate population. Stop and take a deep breath if you hear yourself uttering the words: “Honey, that nice real estate agent we met in the hotel lobby told us how easy it would be to move down here. Let’s do it.” As happens to countless other visitors, the sunshine syndrome has snuck up on you. Before you sell the farm and make the move here, the experts suggest doing a trial rental of a few months to see if day-to-day life in Costa Rica is for you. Living here—with all the mundane, attendant tasks of grocery shopping, banking, and making doctor’s appointments—is much different than being on vacation.
Visitors seeking metropolis-aimed vacations can enjoy San Jose's colonial-era architecture juxtaposed with the city's urban street art - the dichotomy creates a dynamic beauty that no other city can quite encapsulate. The sweet smells of Costa Rican bananas, fresh coffee beans and chocolate can be found at the Central Market, and if you'd like to pick up a souvenir, everything from artisan leather goods to handmade musical instruments can be found here.

In 2011, there were over 104,000 Native American or indigenous inhabitants, representing 2.4% of the population. Most of them live in secluded reservations, distributed among eight ethnic groups: Quitirrisí (in the Central Valley), Matambú or Chorotega (Guanacaste), Maleku (northern Alajuela), Bribri (southern Atlantic), Cabécar (Cordillera de Talamanca), Guaymí (southern Costa Rica, along the Panamá border), Boruca (southern Costa Rica) and Térraba [es] (southern Costa Rica).
The official currency of Costa Rica is the Costa Rica Colon, though the United States dollar is widely accepted.  The conversion rate hovers between 500 – 550 Colones to $1 US dollar.  Most tourist related businesses list their rates in US dollars.  Prices in Costa Rica are generally a little higher than other Central Amercan countries due to the higher standards of living.
The expert team at Asclepios Wellness & Healing Retreat take pride in caring for guests’ physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. The serene environment provides the perfect space for self growth. Enjoy the ionized swimming pool, fully organic cuisine, meditation pavilion and much more all conveniently located on site. Several wellness approaches are considered from massage to regenerative medicine. A complete team of holistic practitioners and therapists will guide guests through their wellness journey. The holistic approach to health at Asclepios Wellness will leave guests feeling refreshed upon their return home.
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!
“Be careful where you put your hands while walking in the rainforest. There are fire ants and other nasty stuff in the jungle. While hiking in La Fortuna, we had a guide who showed us lots of spiders and caterpillars and tarantulas and other nasties. One boy in our group kept putting his hands on everything, and at one point, the guide suddenly stopped him, because he was about to put his hand on a deadly caterpillar.”—Tony Baloney
The best hotels offer a blend of soothing atmosphere and cultural heritage through a connection with the surrounding wildlife and preserved scenery. Boutique hotels contain hidden coffee plantations and working biological field studies. Whether in the mood for a jungle-themed room in the vicinity of waterfalls or settling into a room with a view of the Arenal’s volcanic peak, Costa Rica emphasizes wonder and adventure, scenery and ambiance. 
“I love driving in Costa Rica because they are aggressive drivers like myself. Be considerate, let faster drivers go around you. Avoid driving at night unless you know exactly where you are going. The roads are not marked like they are in your home country. DO NOT drive through moving water. Give yourself extra time to get where you are going because you want to stop at the local fruit stands. Also, look out for animals when you are driving. Numerous creatures can and will run across the road.”—seaprozac
Costa Rica’s inarguable mantra is “Pura Vida,” which stands can mean “full of life.” It commonly refers to the way Ticos greet each other, reflecting on their day, week, or life as “going great.” A first-time visit to Costa Rica can be a test in patience for newcomers as locals refer to their timeliness as “la hora tica,” or Tico Time, referring to the slow, relaxed pace of life.  Ticos take their time and do not view tardiness or steadiness as rude, unless in adhering to the rigid timetables of movie showings or health clinic appointments. Whether on a public street or in the privacy of their homes, Costa Ricans will say hello and goodbye to friends with a light kiss on the cheek. Women kiss women; men kiss women; men do not kiss men. However, friendly men will often give one-armed hugs or firm handshakes.
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.

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.
The best way to get the most out of your Costa Rica, Panama, or Nicaragua adventure is with a guided tour! An experienced naturalist is a must for any bird or wildlife watching trip – natural camouflage in addition to the dense rainforest undergrowth makes animal spotting tough. With the help of a bilingual guide, travelers might be lucky enough to spot some of Costa Rica’s shyer wildlife – like the near-mythical Resplendent Quetzal, the surprisingly sneaky tapir, or the ever-elusive jaguar.

Like the rest of Central America, Costa Rica never fought for independence from Spain. On 15 September 1821, after the final Spanish defeat in the Mexican War of Independence (1810–21), the authorities in Guatemala declared the independence of all of Central America. That date is still celebrated as Independence Day in Costa Rica[40] even though, technically, under the Spanish Constitution of 1812 that had been readopted in 1820, Nicaragua and Costa Rica had become an autonomous province with its capital in León.
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