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.
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.
There have been outbreaks of dengue fever in some areas of the country and an outbreak of malaria was reported in November 2006 from the province of Limon but just a few cases. Protection against mosquito bites is very important, wearing lightweight long pants, long sleeved shirts and using insect repellents with high concentrations of DEET is recommended by the CDC. If you are going to be in very rural areas known to be malaria-infested areas, you might want to consider an anti-malarial med. However, most travelers to Costa Rica do just fine with updated childhood immunizations and taking preventative measures against mosquito bites (rather than take anti-malarial medication). The CDC has a complete list of recommended vaccines when traveling to Costa Rica.
MC: Yes, don’t look at a map and decide that just because something is “close” you can cram it in to a day trip. It is roughly twenty kilometers from the heart of Santa Elena to Guacimal (down the mountain). Depending on the current condition of the road, construction, traffic and acts of God, it can be as short as 40 minutes or well over an hour each direction. Those not accustomed to driving here will also find it very draining; this is not like driving on a freeway in the U.S. using one finger to stay in your lane while talking to your friends via a Bluetooth connection. Take your time.
GDP (purchasing power parity): This entry gives the gross domestic product (GDP) or value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year. A nation's GDP at purchasing power parity (PPP) exchange rates is the sum value of all goods and services produced in the country valued at prices prevailing in the United States in the year noted. This is the measure most economists prefer when looking at per-capita welfare and when comparing living conditions or use of resources across countries. The measur . . . 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.
The Arenal Volcano is a truly picturesque volcano. If you can imagine how you would have drawn a volcano when you were a kid, that is basically what it looks like: a perfect symmetrical cone. Surrounding the volcano are lush forests that are bursting with wildlife. There are beautiful waterfalls, hanging bridges, hiking and horseback riding trails, butterfly gardens, hot springs, and zip lines tours. The Arenal Volcano National Park pretty much has it all.
My trip to Costa Rica was one of best vacations I have been on to date. Since this was my first tour on Gate1, and the cost was so reasonable, I was wondering about the quality of the entire tour. I have to say that EVERYTHING was excellent. Our tour guide, Luis Miguel Cruz Comparaz, was so knowledgeable about the areas we visited. I could tell Luis was very proud of Costa Rica and took great pride in taking care of his family (tour participants). Our bus driver, Marvin , was an excellent driver and maneuvered that large bus with confidence. I felt extremely safe with him. The hotels, food, tours were first class. Lastly, I am recently retired and on a fixed income. Gate1 actually made it possible for me to visit Costa Rica. This will not be my last trip with Gate1.
If you plan to spend most of your time in this part of the country (or all of your time at a beach resort – no judging), skip San Jose and fly directly to LIR. Depending on your final destination, you can expect to spend four or five hours driving from San Jose to the Nicoya Peninsula, compared with less than an hour from LIR. That means more time on the beach.
Bosque Eterno straddles several minor mountain ranges at the crest of the continental divide separating the Atlantic (Caribbean) and Pacific watersheds, from about 750 meters altitude (roughly 2,500 feet) to the highest peaks (about 1,850 meters or 6,100 feet). Most of it is off-limits to humans, but enough is preserved in the singular Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve to make your visit worthwhile. I spent the better part of a day in the reserve and can say without hesitation that it was the highlight of my trip.
Hi Nastassia, The trip to Costa Rica was amazing! We had a wonderful time. We really enjoyed all the tours and activities. Our guide, Gilbert, was awesome. The accommodations were excellent. We had so much fun traveling with this group of people. All the transfers went off without any problems. Thanks for planning and implementing a headache-free trip!
Adventure vacations are one of the best reasons to go to Costa Rica! If you’re going to visit somewhere new, why not get as many fun experiences out of it as possible? If you haven’t tried surfing, head on over to Tamarindo and take a few lessons. Any adrenaline-junkie will love the rush of canopy zip lines – what could be better than a bird’s eye view as you glide over the rainforest? The Pacuare River has some of the best whitewater rafting in the world, and rafting adventures can be planned for just the day or for the next three. When it comes to getting your heart racing, you can’t beat Costa Rica!
Similar to how it is done in the United States, there are apartments available in Costa Rica to rent for short-term (well, long-term for you but short-term as far as leases go). Apartments are great to rent if you want to get a really authentic feel for one of the major cities in Costa Rica, like San José or Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. With an apartment rental, you can be right in the hustle and bustle of the cosmopolitan atmosphere of Costa Rican cities, instead of being housed away on a hotel property.
Don’t think that your phone plan from back home is going to give you a good deal on cell/data service here. Other than T-Mobile, which offers a good international data/call plan, most visitors find that they end up paying a lot for extras. Stop at a tienda and get a local SIM. Download both Waze and WhatsApp on your device (Waze for directions, WhatsApp to communicate).
In 1996, the Forest Law was enacted to provide direct financial incentives to landowners for the provision of environmental services. This helped reorient the forestry sector away from commercial timber production and the resulting deforestation, and helped create awareness of the services it provides for the economy and society (i.e., carbon fixation, hydrological services such as producing fresh drinking water, biodiversity protection, and provision of scenic beauty).
Dear Vacation Traveler, Welcome to a great vacation and an affordable tour. Your Costa Rica tour is all inclusive with all meals, all activities, all hotels, a great itinerary, all airport transfers, all transportation and excursions. A professional Tour Director accompanies you for the entire Costa Rica vacation. Our travel packages also offer purified water at meals and on the motor coach. Join the smart shoppers and experienced travelers who have chosen Caravan since 1952.
Rio Celeste is one of the only places on the planet you can relish magical, turquoise waters. It is created by a natural chemical reaction when waters from two rivers, Rio Buena Vista and Rio Quebrada Agria, filled with sulphur and carbonate collide together at Tenidores. The short 6 km hike starting from the entrance to the national park, all the way to Tenidores is ideal for viewing these pristine blue hued waters as you hike through the lush tropical scenery and native wildlife. Hike a little further and you reach the Blue Lagoon where you can really admire the water’s blue hues.
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.
“I very much appreciate the professional manner that we were treated. I am a travel agent, and working in this industry can sometimes be a thankless job, therefore when I am treated with respect, I try to acknowledge. We are truly grateful to Caravan and our tour director for being so accommodating. I can guarantee you that I will be selling Caravan tours enthusiastically in the future! Our tour director’s knowledge and passion for his country is so evident by the way he describes customs, culture, education, wildlife among many other things. All of the sightseeing, I loved every minute of it, great activities and some free time.”
There are so many national parks in Costa Rica! Most tourists flock to Manuel Antonio National Park, but our personal favorite is Cahuita National Park because it is absolutely beautiful and not overly filled with tourists. We also created a guide to our favorite places to hike in Costa Rica. This will definitely help you find the best national parks (including some you have definitely never heard of).
The biggest complaint about travel towels is that they often feel nothing like the plush cotton towels we are accustomed to at home and in hotels. However, with the PackTowl you can forget about all of that because they set out to create a towel that mimics its cotton counterparts with the technical features of a travel towel. It comes pretty close to the real thing.
All you need to drive in Costa Rica is a valid North American driver’s license. The local road system is rudimentary, with one main highway on which traffic moves at about 65 miles per hour, a decent network of curvy paved roads on which traffic moves at an average of 20 to 40 miles per hour, and a ton of unpaved roads (some comically rutted) on which you’ll be lucky to average 15 or 20 miles per hour. Speed limits and other rules of the road are more suggestion than law. Watch for frequent slowdowns and backups caused by animals, workmen, and trucks struggling up steep grades.
Fully licensed by the Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT) and based in Costa Rica, CRS Tours provides its worldwide clientele with travel services at its highest standards of quality and best value. CRS Tours’ years of commitment to the tourism sector of Costa Rica (including hotels, restaurants, transportation, tours and local airlines) has enabled CRS Tours to acquire a strong working relationship that allows the agency to offer clients great deals in packaged tours.
English was more prevalent in the touristy areas we visited, notably the northwestern beaches and the Monteverde area. We had the most trouble in the least touristy areas. In Tilaran, the couple who ran our hotel relied for English-language help entirely on a younger employee who’d previously worked at a call center. The Rincon de la Vieja area was more remote than Tilaran, of course, but our resort catered mostly to English-speaking tourists and most staff communicated accordingly.
According to the UNDP, in 2010 the life expectancy at birth for Costa Ricans was 79.3 years. The Nicoya Peninsula is considered one of the Blue Zones in the world, where people commonly live active lives past the age of 100 years. The New Economics Foundation (NEF) ranked Costa Rica first in its 2009 Happy Planet Index, and once again in 2012. The index measures the health and happiness they produce per unit of environmental input. According to NEF, Costa Rica's lead is due to its very high life expectancy which is second highest in the Americas, and higher than the United States. The country also experienced well-being higher than many richer nations and a per capita ecological footprint one-third the size of the United States.
If you have an unlocked cell phone (either one from home or bought in Costa Rica -- all cell phones sold in Costa Rica must be unlocked), prepaid (prepago) SIM cards can provide a local number and service can be purchased throughout the country by anyone with a passport from any country, or a cedula (Costa Rican ID card). At the baggage claim at the San José airport is a Kölbi kiosk, and you will also see signs Kölbi, Movistar, Claro, and others throughout the country where service is for sale. Rates are set by the government and you can get a SIM for as little as USD2 (Movistart 2014-11-1) and 3G (or sometimes just EDGE) data service is also available by the day, week, or month for ¢300 or less a day. To add value you buy a recarga (recharge card), scratch off the card to get a PIN, and text the PIN from your phone to a special number. To keep the card active, it must be recharged at least once in a 120 day period. If it is not charged within a 120 days, you have a 30 day grace period before your SIM chip is deactivated and you lose your phone number. Also keep in mind that you may have trouble getting your SIM activated on Sunday, because like many things in Costa Rica, the SIM activation system may be shut down on Sundays. Also not all shops sell SIMs -- many just sell the recharge cards. Get your SIM at the airport if you can.
Costa Rica is ranked third in the world and first among the Americas in terms of the 2010 Environmental Performance Index. And the New Economics Foundation (NEF) ranked Costa Rica as the happiest nation in the world, both in 2009 and in 2012. This same organization (NEF) ranked Costa Rica as the "greenest" country in the world. Among budget travelers and increasingly among ordinary tourists Costa Rica is ranked as the most expensive country in Central America and perhaps in the whole of Latin America. Wine, chocolate, coffee, entrance fees for national parks, are expensive compared to prices in Western Europe and North America.
Topping out well above 12,000 feet, Cerro Chirripo is Costa Rica’s highest peak. Along with surrounding high peaks, it harbors rare high-altitude ecosystems: supermontane forests, dwarf forests, and paramo, among others. Above the treeline, it’s harder for wildlife to hide, so you’re more likely to see rare mammals like Dice’s rabbit, charismatic carnivores like cougars (known locally as pumas), and – of course – colorful birds like quetzals. The high slopes and summit boast unusual vertical rock formations called crestones, which resemble the pinnacles and spires found in the badlands of North and South Dakota.
Costa Rica has numerous private international K-12 schools where students are taught in either English or a mixture of English and Spanish. Education standards in these schools are comparable to that of private schools in countries such as the United States, at around a third of the cost. Lincoln School is one of the most highly regarded international schools in Costa Rica and Central America. Some of these schools also offer Spanish lessons for those who wish to learn.
Local legend claims that the reason Rio Celeste is its magical and surreal shade of blue is because when God painted the sky he used the river to clean his paintbrush. While this is probably not the case, seeing this river in person does inspire the imagination. Rio Celeste is part of the Tenorio Volcano National Park. The hike in can be a bit treacherous, especially during the rainy season due to the mud, but it is worth it. You have to see this river and the waterfall that cascades into these magical waters in person.
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List – Costa Rica does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts declined in 2014, with fewer prosecutions and no convictions and no actions taken against complicit government personnel; some officials conflated trafficking with smuggling, and authorities reported the diversion of funds to combat smuggling hindered anti-trafficking efforts; the government identified more victims than the previous year but did not make progress in ensuring that victims received adequate protective services; specialized services were limited and mostly provided by NGOs without government support, even from a dedicated fund for anti-trafficking efforts; victims services were virtually non-existent outside of the capital (2015)
The active traveler to Costa Rica will have no shortage of trails and hikes from which to choose. 30 percent of the land is protected as national parks, preserves, and wildlife refuges, and each speckled with well-marked trails that lead to pristine beaches, primary rainforest, or bubbling volcanic foothills. An abundance of flora, fauna, and avifauna rewards travelers eager to discover the footpaths winding along the forest floor or sweeping through the treetops. The suspension bridges offer another form of active exploration and decorate the canopies around the diverse biospheres.
Whether you’re a family looking for an adventurous vacation, a couple desiring a romantic beach getaway, or a thrill-seeking backpacker, Costa Rica delivers. With a year-round tropical climate and one of the most diverse landscapes in the world, you will find endless opportunities in every corner of Costa Rica. Sandwiched between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean the country offers a playground of stunning beaches, spectacular mountains, a wealth of wildlife, and friendly welcoming people who truly believe in Pura Vida, the Pure Life!
Since 2010, Costa Rica has enjoyed strong and stable economic growth - 3.8% in 2017. Exports of bananas, coffee, sugar, and beef are the backbone of its commodity exports. Various industrial and processed agricultural products have broadened exports in recent years, as have high value-added goods, including medical devices. Costa Rica's impressive biodiversity also makes it a key destination for ecotourism.
The Nicoya Peninsula offers an incredibly diverse and beautiful region of Costa Rica with miles of pristine Pacific coastline. Part of the Guanacaste province, it provides off-the-beaten-path beaches and old world Costa Rican charm. Here you’ll find a variety of beaches, secluded coves, big wave surf breaks, sea turtle nesting sites, snorkeling, fishing, surfing, and the occasional all-inclusive resort.
The people of Costa Rica, who call themselves “Ticos,” are the proud stewards of this natural heritage. In contrast to the rest of Central America, which suffered a series of ruthless dictators and bloody civil wars throughout the 20th century, Costa Rica is a stable democracy that abolished its army in 1949 and invested in its people. Today its citizens are among the most educated and prosperous in Latin America.
Distribution of family income - Gini index: This index measures the degree of inequality in the distribution of family income in a country. The index is calculated from the Lorenz curve, in which cumulative family income is plotted against the number of families arranged from the poorest to the richest. The index is the ratio of (a) the area between a country's Lorenz curve and the 45 degree helping line to (b) the entire triangular area under the 45 degree line. The more nearly equal a country's income distribution, the closer its . . . more
Great trip, the four of us enjoyed it almost as much as our trip to Peru and that one was close to a ten. The tour guide is a top selection for this trip; very knowledgeable in bio-science and the local and mix that with enthusiasm and devotion to duties and willingness to give of his time, and you have the best of the best. I'm quite certain we will travel with and recommend Gate 1 in the future.
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.
Go off the grid, without sacrificing modern comforts, at the Macaw Lodge. The family owned property is named for the Scarlet Macaw, a formerly threatened species, which now thrives in the region thanks to the research and conservation efforts of the eco-lodge. During your stay, dine on fresh farm to table meals while you enjoy the view of the botanical gardens. Attend an early morning guided bird walk to spot the vibrant species home to the Carara area. Practice yoga and meditation in a bamboo forest. The lodge’s cocoa plantation is an absolute must. You’ll discover the ancient purposes of the bean and witness chocolate making process from bean to bar. Be sure to buy a couple bars of Macaw Kakau chocolate to take home as souvenirs. Macaw Lodge demonstrates that anyone can enjoy sustainable getaways.
Hi Jim, I have seen a couple of ATM’s around the Flamingo Beach hotel and most of the North American Cards works here, just make sure to ask your bank about international withdrawal fees and all that. In the worst case scenario you will have to go to Tamarindo downtown where you will find many banks and ATM’s people from all over world use them without any problem.
San Jose is an arts and culture hub, featuring the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design, the Costa Rican National Museum, and unique institutions like the Pre-Colombian Gold Museum, and the Jade Museum. There’s also a Peace Museum—Costa Rica is known for its pacifist ideology, which may be why its locals make it so easy to relax and indulge in Pura Vida.
Ticos enjoy long weekends or a day trips from San Jose to relax in the variety of hot springs and thermal baths that rush along the verdant landscape. The natural volcanic activity heats the waterways that course through the tropical trees and underbrush to populate the foothills beneath the smoking volcano. Luxury travelers, honeymooners, and backpackers alike will enjoy the variety of activities the region offers while taking advantage of the rejuvenating waters. Local activities include cave tours, horseback riding, zip lining, fishing, hanging bridges, chocolate tours, cultural experiences, river rafting and whitewater rafting, rappelling, canyoning and day and night treks.
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.