When people hear “Costa Rica”, images of a tropical paradise come to mind. Whether it’s the rainforest, beach, volcanoes, wildlife, the friendly locals, or the slower pace of life that draws over 2 million visitors yearly, Costa Rica has become the most visited country in Central American. “Why choose Costa Rica?” you ask; keep on reading to find out.
transshipment country for cocaine and heroin from South America; illicit production of cannabis in remote areas; domestic cocaine consumption, particularly crack cocaine, is rising; significant consumption of amphetamines; seizures of smuggled cash in Costa Rica and at the main border crossing to enter Costa Rica from Nicaragua have risen in recent years
One of Costa Rica’s greatest advantages is its ability to cater to so many different groups of people. Whether it be a large family, a group of retirees, a corporate business, a yoga circle, or a big wedding party, you’ll find the perfect accommodations in a paradisiacal atmosphere. Children can discover a world of amazing animals, teenagers can enjoy a day of surfing, Dad can take an offshore fishing charter, and Mom can indulge in a day at a hot springs spa. Costa Rica truly offers something for everyone, ensuring each visitor leaves with a lasting memory to smile about.
For Americans, tipping is a part of daily life and therefore follows travelers to countries around the world. Tipping might not apply to all Costa Rica customs, but there are moments when a tip is considered appropriate. Restaurants already add a 10 percent tip to any bill. As a rule, Costa Ricans do not tip servers in restaurants unless they feel the service went above and beyond the percentage attached to the bill. Cab drivers do not receive tips, but hotel attendants who help carry luggage to the rooms should receive a tip between one and two dollars per bag. Naturalist, local, and river guides could receive ten percent of the service or between five to 10 dollars per person, depending on how you feel about the tour, guide, and the service provided. 
Adventure tours are steeped in adrenaline, from Costa Rica’s iconic canopy zip lines to waterfall rappelling. And when you’re ready to relax after the wild ride, leisure tours step in with bubbling hot springs, rainforest massages, and luxe spa treatments. Of course, Costa Rica is most famous for its nature offerings, and you’ll find plenty of tours to lead you into the great outdoors: national park hiking, birdwatching tours, canoeing into mangrove forests, and more. Get your game face on for sport tours, which extend to old favorites like horseback riding and mountain biking, and up the game with new standbys like sea kayaking and Costa Rica’s world-famous sportfishing. Top it off with cultural tours and get a deeper look at Costa Rican life, on coffee and chocolate tours, visits to indigenous villages, and other fascinating insights.
Most of the coffee exported was grown around the main centers of population in the Central Plateau and then transported by oxcart to the Pacific port of Puntarenas after the main road was built in 1846.[48] By the mid-1850s the main market for coffee was Britain.[49] It soon became a high priority to develop an effective transportation route from the Central Plateau to the Atlantic Ocean. For this purpose, in the 1870s, the Costa Rican government contracted with U.S. businessman Minor C. Keith to build a railroad from San José to the Caribbean port of Limón. Despite enormous difficulties with construction, disease, and financing, the railroad was completed in 1890.[50]

This is the population pyramid for Costa Rica. A population pyramid illustrates the age and sex structure of a country's population and may provide insights about political and social stability, as well as economic development. The population is distributed along the horizontal axis, with males shown on the left and females on the right. The male and female populations are broken down into 5-year age groups represented as horizontal bars along the vertical axis, with the youngest age groups at the bottom and the oldest at the top. The shape of the population pyramid gradually evolves over time based on fertility, mortality, and international migration trends.
Soaring over low-hanging clouds and lush rainforests is exhilarating. Breathe in the crisp air and enjoy the birds eye view. Out of all the adventure activities in this list, we’d say zip-lining is the most tame. While the initial jump can be scary if you’re afraid of heights, this activity is extremely safe and can be a good way to get over a fear.

After you’ve had your fill of Playa Hermosa, head over the ridge – a short drive or long walk – and grab a cheap drink and plate at any of the beachfront cantinas along the area’s main drag. If you’re up for more adventure, sign up for a scuba or boat tour here – you’ll see signs lining the roads. Expect a daylong trip out on the water to set you back $100 per person.
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.
Biting and Stinging Insects and Arachnids: Unfortunately, there are too many to name. Spiders, centipedes, scorpions, ants: all have poisonous stings or bites that demand varying degrees of concern (and impart varying degrees of pain). Since it’s nearly impossible to sort (relatively) harmless critters from dangerous ones, it’s best to avoid them all – but, at the same time, not to panic and risk antagonizing them.
For a developing country, Costa Rica is an expensive destination, something that is particularly noticeable when compared to its neighbours, Nicaragua and Panama. Prices for hotel accommodation, restaurant meals, and private transportation are on par with what's found in the United States and Canada, and only slightly less than typical prices found in Western Europe.

In case it isn’t clear yet, I am a massive fan of wildlife. One of the nicest things to do in Costa Rica is admiring the wildlife, with many beautiful species that can be seen in various regions. First and foremost, Costa Rica is famous for its sloths. These can be seen in Tortuguero, but I was lucky enough to see them as I walked around in the proximity of Puerto Viejo.


San José’s Juan Santamaría Airport (SJO) sits smack-dab in the middle of the country and makes a convenient, centrally located arrival and departure point for most visitors. But if you’re spending all your time in northern Costa Rica, say, lazing on a north Pacific beach with a trip to the Arenal volcano, you have a second option: Daniel Oduber Airport (LIR) lies just outside the small northwestern city of Liberia and receives flights from all the major airlines too. Fares do skew slightly higher to Liberia, but you’ll save a lot of overland hours to and from San José. Both airports are capricious places—upon departure, you might breeze through check-in and security in 15 minutes, or you may encounter lines stretching out the door. Whether or not you abide by the recommended three-hour advance check-in depends on your aversion to risk.

The National Theater is a marvelous architectural and cultural attraction in San Jose. This iconic Neoclassical building is as beautiful on the outside as it is on the inside. Inside there are exquisite murals and interior decorations. The theater hosts all sorts of different live performances ranging from theatrical plays to concerts. If you are in San Jose, you should definitely visit the National Theater for its architectural and interior beauty and definitely try and see a live performance there, if the timing is right.

San José’s Juan Santamaría Airport (SJO) sits smack-dab in the middle of the country and makes a convenient, centrally located arrival and departure point for most visitors. But if you’re spending all your time in northern Costa Rica, say, lazing on a north Pacific beach with a trip to the Arenal volcano, you have a second option: Daniel Oduber Airport (LIR) lies just outside the small northwestern city of Liberia and receives flights from all the major airlines too. Fares do skew slightly higher to Liberia, but you’ll save a lot of overland hours to and from San José. Both airports are capricious places—upon departure, you might breeze through check-in and security in 15 minutes, or you may encounter lines stretching out the door. Whether or not you abide by the recommended three-hour advance check-in depends on your aversion to risk.
The eco-tourism hub of Central America, Costa Rica’s sunny climate creates the perfect atmosphere for some of the planet's best gifts – forest fringed beaches, whimsical volcano springs, and conservation areas that preserve a nice percentage of the earth's biodiversity. The green-covered geography offers opportunities for a wild adventure, whether it is trekking high-altitude routes or experiencing the white-water rapids. And for those who want a more laidback getaway, the stunning landscape and the colorful Costa Rican culture is exciting enough just to experience.
Welcome to the “rich coast,” friendly land of democracy and rare natural beauty. With naturalist guides, see exotic birds and wildlife, hike in jungle rainforests, view volcanoes, soak in hot springs and cruise through biological reserves. Caravan provides transfers from the Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) in San José, Costa Rica to your hotel for a two night stay. Rooms are available for check-in after 4:00 p.m. Join Caravan for an 8:00 p.m. welcome briefing. Dinner is served until 9:30 p.m. at your hotel. D
Net migration rate: This entry includes the figure for the difference between the number of persons entering and leaving a country during the year per 1,000 persons (based on midyear population). An excess of persons entering the country is referred to as net immigration (e.g., 3.56 migrants/1,000 population); an excess of persons leaving the country as net emigration (e.g., -9.26 migrants/1,000 population). The net migration rate indicates the contribution of migration to the overall level of population chan . . . more

Few tourists make it this far down the peninsula, so you’ll have whatever beach or trail you choose to explore to yourself. Just don’t expect any true stunners: the closest broad beach is Playa Carmen, up the road a few miles. Stay the night at Hotel Vista de Olas or Hotel Moana, both rustic but comfortable properties within walking distance of the shore.
All that said, you’ll get a lot farther in Costa Rica with basic Spanish familiarity. My wife and I can both navigate basic social and commercial situations in Spanish, and (not surprisingly) we found that people were both friendlier and more communicative in the local language. If you already know some Spanish, spend a few hours before your trip brushing up,  and get in the habit of beginning interactions in the local tongue.
We’ve done several night walks in Costa Rica. In Arenal, we did a night walk with Jacamar (get 10% off this tour). In Osa Peninsula we did a night walk at Leona station with La Leona Eco-Lodge, in Braulio Carrillo we did a night walk with Rainforest Adventures and in Monteverde we did one at Finca Santa Maria. For night walks in Manuel Antonio, we recommend Si Como No Hotel which has a private reserve. We also did one in Bijagua at Tapir Valley which was absolutely amazing!

You can find many places to stay all over Costa Rica, including hotels, aparthotels, condos, vacation rentals, and cabinas. Hostels, Vacation Homes, Cabinas, and Condos can be less expensive than hotels and provide more flexibility in your adventure to Costa Rica. Costa Rica is known as a world leader for eco and sustainable travel and accommodations are often listed as 'eco-lodges'. They do tend to be more expensive though the government does have a well functioning certification program.
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.
The Basilica of Our Lady of the Angels is a Roman Catholic cathedral dedicated to the patron saint of Costa Rica, located in the town of Cartago. The church was built on the spot where the small statue of the famous Black Virgin was discovered in 1635 and is a place of pilgrimage for Catholics from all over Costa Rica. The basilica was built between 1912 and 1924 and is an impressive structure in the neo-Byzantine style. You can visit the cathedral to admire the architecture and acoustics, see the stained-glass windows, and perhaps dip your fingers in the famous holy water font. The famous statue of the Black Virgin is not on display however – it is kept locked away at the altar.
Hi Barbara, that’s definitely way too many places for only 4 days and all the destinations are very far apart for driving (arenal – monteverde around 3.5 hours, monteverde to MA is 5, MA to Uvita is around 1.5 and Uvita back to San Jose is around 3.5-4). I would cut out a couple places, for only 7 full days we usually recommend two destinations. You could stop by MA on your way to Uvita but Monteverde to MA is already a 5 hour long drive (and to and from Monteverde is a long, windy, curvy mountainous road that can be very tiring to drive because you have to go slow and carefully) and you would want to spend at least 3-5 hours in the park to get a good experience and the park closes at 4 PM. Remember it also gets dark by 6 PM every day.
The trip was amazing! We had such a great time. Gate1 had everything organized and ready to go down to the rest stops! Loved it! Our guide Ricardo was so fantastic! He had so much knowledge about all the places we visited, made jokes, and really just took an interest to his job and we could tell he wanted us to have a great experience. We enjoyed the optional excursions (we did all) and also the planned trips (coffee plantation and school visit). Amazing trip, met amazing people. Will travel with Gate1 again!
Corcovado is best explored on foot: dozens of kilometers of trails ascend and descend the rugged (though, mercifully, relatively low-altitude) terrain, and the ideal visit includes a multi-day long distance hike. That’s the other thing: Corcovado is really isolated, at the far side of the Osa Peninsula in far southern Costa Rica. If you make it all the way down here, you might as well make the most of it.
Tourism plays a vital role in the economic growth of Costa Rica.  There is an official tourism board to oversee this, the ICT.  Costa Rica also recognizes the importance of sustainable tourism, which is a primary purpose of the ICT.  Recognizing the importance of sustainable tourism, the country has dedicated over 25% of the land to national parks and protected refuges.  This will ensure not only the protection of endangered wildlife and rainforest, but also leave this treasure for generations to come.
What could be more romantic than holiday in the rainforest?  Experience the forest sundown romantic dinner at El Silencio Lodge, where a chef will dazzle and delight you with amazing courses, all surrounded by the lush tropical forest.  If you’re looking more for 5-star hospitality consider a resort, where a relaxing night can be spent in your own personal over-sized Jacuzzi, glass of wine in hand.
Costa Rica is one of the world's most popular destinations for eco-tourists because of its biodiversity. Costa Rica possesses the greatest density of species in the world, and around 25% of its national territory is protected by a system of conservation areas and national parks. It has been stated in various places that Costa Rica may contain as much as 6% of the world's plant and animal species. Both tropical plant and animal species abound in Costa Rica. Some of the more impressive plants range from huge ficus trees with epiphytes abounding on their limbs to approximately 1500 different orchids. The animals are equally as impressive, whether it's a jaguar (the largest cat in the New World), the ever-elusive Margay, or the wonderful birds like the green or scarlet macaws (lapas in Costa Rican Spanish.) The amphibians are also quite impressive; the poison dart frogs with their bright colors are bound to catch your attention, or the giant cane toads.
Located in Alajuela, the Territory of Strays is a rather unique dog shelter, which has been established in response to the vast number of stray dogs that roamed the streets of Costa Rica. Animal euthanasia is a criminal offence in Costa Rica and although several animal shelters take in stray dogs, most mixed breeds will never be adopted. At Territory of the Strays one enlightened veterinarian hit upon the idea of advertising one-of-a-kind unique breeds of dogs with invented names, which were suddenly far more attractive than simple mongrels. Adoptions increased dramatically and now the shelter arranges mountain hikes, where the public can go walking with hundreds of stray dogs.
Bus – The cheapest and easiest way to get around Costa Rica is by bus. The public bus system runs frequently throughout the day, including the harder to reach areas. Short bus trips (under 3 hours) are around 2,000 CRC (3 USD) while longer trips will cost closer to 5,500 CRC (10 USD). The Costa Rica tourism board has a really comprehensive schedule and guide.
Why spend long hours trying to plan for yourself, stressed out by info overload?  RELAX and let our travel agency handle the details.  Our 100% local experts live, work and play right here and have decades of combined experience seeking out the best places in Costa Rica to visit.  We will answer your questions and make the travel planning process easy and enjoyable.  Make this trip THE best vacation you have ever had…You Deserve It!
Parque Nacional Tapanti protects part of the high Costa Rican cordillera, which extends south and east from San Jose into western Panama. Thanks to its position on the windward side of Costa Rica’s highest mountain ranges, it’s the wettest place in the entire country: a teeming rainforest that’s more likely to be shrouded in mist (or pelted by torrential rain) than not. The highest elevations harbor paramo, a relatively rare (in Costa Rica) high-altitude grassland ecosystem characterized by tough, deep-rooted grasses and knotted shrubs. The paramo is home to dozens of rare and endemic bird species.
That’s an extreme example and the two experiences aren’t identical.  Arenal Hanging Bridges is about 4 times larger (but also gets 50 times more visitors) and we did actually end up staying another night, going to the main entrance of Tenorio park and paying $15 to enter there and hike to the Celeste waterfall as well.  Still it was less than half the price.

These men’s Vaha pants are lightweight and weigh nothing in a carry-on bag. I could literally live in these pants if it were acceptable to wear them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner out. While in the Costa Rica, they were a wardrobe staple for nighttime as they are appropriate to wear barefoot out to a restaurant or bar while covering our legs from the pesky mosquitos.
Costa Rica is located on the Central American isthmus, lying between latitudes 8° and 12°N, and longitudes 82° and 86°W. It borders the Caribbean Sea (to the east) and the Pacific Ocean (to the west), with a total of 1,290 kilometres (800 mi) of coastline, 212 km (132 mi) on the Caribbean coast and 1,016 km (631 mi) on the Pacific. Costa Rica also borders Nicaragua to the north (309 km or 192 mi of border) and Panama to the south-southeast (330 km or 210 mi of border). In total, Costa Rica comprises 51,100 square kilometres (19,700 sq mi) plus 589 square kilometres (227 sq mi) of territorial waters.
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