We’ve been back from Costa Rica for a month now but just wanted to tell you what an awesome adventure you planned for us. Your service in helping us plan it was terrific. Everything went really well. We actually felt like royals with everyone waiting for  us when we were being chauffeured about. Rafting on the Pacuare was totally amazing and hiking in Corcovado with monkeys so close to us were the highlights. Thanks again. I look forward to you planning another trip for us.”
Generally speaking, Costa Rica is a safe destination for LGBTQI travellers. Same-sex relationships and same-sex sexual acts are legal. In 2015, Costa Rica became the first country in Central America to recognize gay relationships, however, recognition of same-sex marriage is currently pending government approval. In many places in Costa Rica, public displays of affection might attract unwanted attention, but there are a few places in Costa Rica with a thriving LBGTQI scene. Quepos has long been known as the LGBTQI capital of Costa Rica, and the actual capital, San Jose has a good number of gay bars, clubs and saunas.
Adventure tours aren’t your only options when visiting this amazing country! While a common perception of Costa Rica involves untouched jungles and deserted white-sand beaches, there are areas of the country that delight in providing a combination of romantic experiences, adventure tours, and 5-star hospitality.  A visit to the Arenal Volcano, for example, might involve a stay at the splendid Tabacon Thermal Resort, where a series of natural hot springs and incomparable service are delightful after a day zip-lining above the forest canopy! Do you dream of a personal balcony Jacuzzi, champagne in hand, with stunning views of Pacific Ocean coastline? How about heading out to watch the sunset from a luxurious sailboat? Eat a romantic private dinner, prepared by a personal chef, just steps from the rainforest, or enjoy a couples’ massage in a casita on the beach – the possibilities are nearly endless! Our Costa Rica Travel Experts are dedicated to creating an itinerary that will leave you with a lifetime of memories. It’s all up to you!
Because things to do in Costa Rica vary by destination, deciding which are of interest to you is important in helping our experts work to plan your dream vacation!  Whether it’s a family trip with surf lessons and horseback riding, or a romantic getaway for the tropical beach and picnic cruises, or an expert’s mountain biking or kayaking adventure, the options are almost limitless. From the rainforest to the ocean to the top of Arenal Volcano, there are new experiences just waiting for you. Activities can be arranged in any combination and with one-day or multi-day adventures. The joy of a custom-built vacation is that it truly is all about you. From the accommodations to the daily tours, each and every choice is up to you!  While we have sample itineraries, nothing is set in stone for your dream trip. Let us help you design your own pick-and-choose adventure.  Between the Costa Rican hospitality and the thrill of new experiences, you’ll have a blast on your vacation!
If you are heading to La Fortuna it is definitely worth checking out the hot springs. There are a lot of hot springs geared towards tourists where you can expect to pay up to $100 for admission. These hot springs are nicely maintained and look absolutely beautiful. If you are looking for a more local experience check out the smaller hot springs which cost about $10 per person.
Our trip exceeded my expectations. We had a wonderful time in Costa Rica. Our guide Luis was exceptional, he took his job seriously, he made sure that everyone in the group was having a good time and safe. But, the most important thing is we learned so much about Mother Nature, Costa Rica, and the restaurants we went with the tour and the hotels were exceptional. Thank you Gate 1.

Pura vida! (That's how Gilbert told us to respond) Anyway, the trip was great. I saw more wildlife than I expected, and all of the accommodations were nice, as usual. Gilbert was an awesome guide. He was personable yet professional, and he was so knowledgeable about Costa Rica's biological aspects. Max was a true professional in his driving, so no complaints there. Overall, I give it a 10/10! I'm currently editing all of my bird and wildlife pictures, and I can't wait to share them! Awesome experience.
Population below poverty line: National estimates of the percentage of the population falling below the poverty line are based on surveys of sub-groups, with the results weighted by the number of people in each group. Definitions of poverty vary considerably among nations. For example, rich nations generally employ more generous standards of poverty than poor nations.

Upon independence, Costa Rican authorities faced the issue of officially deciding the future of the country. Two bands formed, the Imperialists, defended by Cartago and Heredia cities which were in favor of joining the Mexican Empire, and the Republicans, represented by the cities of San José and Alajuela who defended full independence. Because of the lack of agreement on these two possible outcomes, the first civil war of Costa Rica occurred. The Battle of Ochomogo took place on the Hill of Ochomogo, located in the Central Valley in 1823. The conflict was won by the Republicans and, as a consequence, the city of Cartago lost its status as the capital, which moved to San José.[41][42][43]
Costa Rica and Nicaragua regularly file border dispute cases over the delimitations of the San Juan River and the northern tip of Calero Island to the International Court of Justice (ICJ); in 2009, the ICJ ruled that Costa Rican vessels carrying out police activities could not use the river, but official Costa Rican vessels providing essential services to riverside inhabitants and Costa Rican tourists could travel freely on the river; in 2011, the ICJ provisionally ruled that both countries must remove personnel from the disputed area; in 2013, the ICJ rejected Nicaragua's 2012 suit to halt Costa Rica's construction of a highway paralleling the river on the grounds of irreparable environmental damage; in 2013, the ICJ, regarding the disputed territory, ordered that Nicaragua should refrain from dredging or canal construction and refill and repair damage caused by trenches connecting the river to the Caribbean and upheld its 2010 ruling that Nicaragua must remove all personnel; in early 2014, Costa Rica brought Nicaragua to the ICJ over offshore oil concessions in the disputed region
During your morning at leisure, you may wish to go on an optional horseback ride or float trip. Or, you can take advantage of your resort’s amenities by walking along the shaded trails nearby. Later this afternoon, visit ARENAL VOLCANO NATIONAL PARK, where your guide takes you on a walk through lava trails of the volcano and shows you how nature has found a way to recover from past lava flows. Next, enjoy a walking tour of the town of La Fortuna de San Carlos, offering spectacular views of the active Arenal Volcano. This evening, drive to nearby famous TABACÓN HOT SPRINGS for a dip in the curative and relaxing pools. Later, enjoy a dinner at the hot springs.
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.
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.
Costa Rica gained fame as a natural destination with incredible wildlife watching in the rain forests and cloud forests of its national parks and wildlife refuges.  As tourism grew international resorts began sprouting on the amazing beaches of the Guanacaste coast and the number of visitors surged along with activities and adventures to entertain them.
The following optional excursions are examples only for this vacation. These may or may not be offered, and availability is subject to days of operation and seasonality. Please select a departure date to view optional excursions and pricing for a specific date (due to currency fluctuation, pricing shown is subject to change until purchased). Optional excursions are available for purchase on our MyGlobus site 90 days prior to the tour start date.

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.


The Lankester Botanical Gardens, located in the Central Valley, is home to 15,000 orchids and 3,000 other types of plants. This impressive and gorgeous botanical garden is a must-visit for plant and orchid enthusiasts, or anyone who just loves being surrounded by flowers. Since the 1940s, these gardens have been thriving and attracting visitors from all over the country and the world. Also, due to all of the flowering plants, there is quite a large population of butterflies and birds that make their home here.
One of the most important details parents have when travelling is how to give to the whole family some unforgettable vacations without spending a fortune. With our affordable family vacation packages, every member of the family will have an amazing experience for the best price. No matter if you prefer an all-inclusive resort or a small cozy hotel; the beach or the forest…Costa Rica is one of the most family-friendly destinations of the world.
Tourist stays up to 90-Days: Authorities may permit stays up to 90 days without a visa, but are not required to do so. Be sure to leave by your required date of departure. Immigration authorities may levy a fine on foreigners who overstay their visas. Even a short overstay may result in significant delays, deportation, and/or denial of entry to Costa Rica in the future.
Population below poverty line: National estimates of the percentage of the population falling below the poverty line are based on surveys of sub-groups, with the results weighted by the number of people in each group. Definitions of poverty vary considerably among nations. For example, rich nations generally employ more generous standards of poverty than poor nations.
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.

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.)
One of the coolest things to do in Costa Rica is riding a tram through the rainforest. Of course I still think hiking is the best way of getting in touch with nature in Costa Rica, but if this is not your thing or you just don’t feel like it for whatever reason, a tram will allow you to get through the jungle and admire lots of wildlife, including birds and monkeys. Make sure to also have a guide, whose trained eyes will point to all there is to see!
Costa Rica is home to more than 500,000 species with 300,000 of those insects. This staggering number represents nearly 4% of the total species estimated worldwide. That’s a whole lotta wildlife in one little country. Costa Rica is actually one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. No matter where you are in the country there are many amazing animals and birds to be found.
In Playa Conchal, the water is very calm, it has very few waves, and the water is super clear. The water has a perfect temperature, It does not feel too cold in the morning and the in afternoons it's warm, which is ideal for enjoying snorkeling. You can see fish, in all their variety, small and full of beautiful colors. You can also see many black sea urchins; you can carefully play with them. You can also observe the beautiful ecosystems where they live. This is one of the things you can do in this Costa Rican beach, at no cost, the only that you need is a snorkel mask and you’re ready to enjoy.

Costa Rica is a country with an extraordinary wealth of things to do, but regardless of your travel interests, you're going to want to spend time at one of the country's great beaches. The lion's share of beach tourism is concentrated on the Pacific side, in the Central Pacific region near San José, the Nicoya Peninsula, and in the dry tropical forests of Guanacaste. Less touristed, but no less beautiful are the beaches in the tropical rainforest of the southern Pacific coast near Corcovado National Park, or on the exotic, rastafarian, eco-tourism paradise of the Caribbean side.
Founded in 1998, CRS Tours has built a solid reputation over the years. CRS Tours insures personalized travel plans for each client. All personnel place a high value on quality and attention to detail. Each travel expert planner strives to meet or exceed our client’s expectations. CRS Tours’ goal is to have satisfied customers returning for guidance and expertise from our travel experts as well as increased numbers of referrals from satisfied clients. 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. CRS Tours provides perfect travel experiences to Free Independent Travelers (FIT), Families, Groups, Incentive Groups, Special interest groups and anyone looking to travel to Costa Rica. From your very first call or reply to your online request, you will experience a warm welcome from Costa Rica. Your request will be tailor made to your desired travel plans, needs and special interests. We are committed to provide you with the best products, highest service standards and lowest possible price. It’s not just a trip but an unforgettable experience! When travelling in Costa Rica, CRS Tours customer service team is on call 24/7 throughout your stay. We are 100% local experts who get to know all the travel destinations while on the job to give our best advice. We make travel planning easy and enjoyable, because you deserve it! We save you time and money by not having to spend long hours trying to figure out logistics and best deals. Costa Rica Specialized Tours (CRS Tours) stands true to its name, quality in service and best possible offers for you! You deserve the best! We look forward to hearing from you soon!
Celebrate the love in one little piece of paradise like Costa Rica! With our honeymoon packages, you will spend incredible days next to your loved one, discovering one of the most beautiful and exotic destinations of the world. Taking care of all details, our all-inclusive honeymoon packages are made to pamper the new couple and include all kinds of special things such as massages, special decorations and private romantic dinners.
There are several opportunities to engage in volunteer work in Costa Rica. Volunteer projects range from turtle conservation, building houses, teaching English and community development work. Some schools offer visits to Costa Rica as part of the World Challenge activity, which combines a Trekking expedition with some of the students time assigned to helping local people on community projects.
December 20-ish through the end of the year, and Holy Week, the week before Easter, are the country’s monster tourism times. Prices go up and availability goes down dramatically during those weeks. Not only do foreigners flock here, but you’re competing for space with Costa Ricans. They have the time off, too. (Traffic-snarled San José becomes a virtual ghost town during Holy Week, called Semana Santa in Spanish.) Make hotel and car-rental reservations weeks—better yet, months—in advance if you plan to be here during those periods. And be prepared for one arcane oddity of Costa Rican law if you’re here during Holy Week: Holy Thursday and Good Friday are legally dry days in many communities, and no alcoholic beverages may be served or sold.

Price is per person, based on double occupancy, and includes hotel rates, hotel taxes, roundtrip airfare, and gov't taxes/fees applicable to airfare based on specified departure city. Price may vary for other departure cities. Price shown is sample price found 11/10/15 on jetblue.com/vacations for travel departing JFK on 1/23/16 - 2/6/16 and may not represent current savings. Package/price subject to availability; may change without notice; valid for new bookings only; capacity controlled; may not be available on all dates or with all flights; and may be restricted to certain hotel room categories.
Tucked up in the north-east of the country and only accessible by boat or light aircraft, this national park is well worth the trip. The endangered green turtle comes here to lay her eggs, as do the hawksbill, loggerhead and leatherback varieties. Watching them dragging their huge forms up the beach by night is a truly magical sight, as is witnessing the tiny hatchlings making their way into the water for the first time.
Age structure: This entry provides the distribution of the population according to age. Information is included by sex and age group as follows: 0-14 years (children), 15-24 years (early working age), 25-54 years (prime working age), 55-64 years (mature working age), 65 years and over (elderly). The age structure of a population affects a nation's key socioeconomic issues. Countries with young populations (high percentage under age 15) need to invest more in schools, while countries with older population . . . more
I mean, who doesn’t love dinner with a nice sunset view, am I right? One of our absolute favorite places to enjoy dinner with a view is in Manuel Antonio. we like Manuel Antonio because there are a lot of restaurants up on the hills. This means you get the perfect sunset viewing spot. Just a warning though, bring plenty of bug spray. The second the sun goes down it gets super mosquito-y.
Welcome to the world as seen through the eyes of Cameron and Natasha. On this site you’ll find our experiences, photography, and informative travel guides. We love getting to off the beaten path destinations and aren’t afraid to go it alone. We hope to inspire other independent travelers and provide the resources to do so. If you want to find us, just head to the nearest coffee shop or check back here!
Hotel Belmar is located in Monteverde's cloud forest where guest will experience the best of nature, luxury, and sustainable practices. This world-renowned hotel offers a wide range of amenities including handmade organic soaps with biodegradable shampoos, locally made snacks, and fresh Costa Rican brewed coffee delivered to the exquisite rooms. Guests will experience only the best at this peaceful accommodation. 
So about that "Switzerland" nickname: Costa Rica's military was famously abolished in 1949, with the budget instead allocated towards education and culture. It's the most stable country in Central America, with a democratically elected government that steadfastly refuses to involve itself in regional conflicts. As a result, its crime rate is also quite low, with violent crime rates well below those in the U.S. (Petty crimes, like theft, can be a problem in more tourist-ridden areas though, so don't leave your purse or backpack laying around unattended.)
More than 25 percent of the country’s territory is considered protected land through a mix of private reserves and national parks, preserving resources for future generations of Costa Ricans and visitors from around the world. Panama creates the southern border and Nicaragua runs along the border to the north. The undulating landscape reaches its peak at Cerro Chirripo, the highest point in the country, which reaches 12,500 feet above sea level. The tropical climate brings year-round rains. However, the variety of mountains and volcanoes create unique microclimates in which the weather can shift dramatically.

As I mentioned in the beginning, we created this list of activities in Costa Rica with budget travelers in mind. However, there are plenty of other amazing things to do in Costa Rica that will be a bit of a splurge on your budget. For example, we think that zip lining in Costa Rica is a must do activity, but it is not so budget friendly. If you are interested in zip lining we suggest going to La Fortuna or Monteverde for the best views.
The Interamericana (Pan-American Highway) runs through Costa Rica and is the main entry point by car. The border post in the north (to Nicaragua) is called Peñas Blancas and in the south (to Panamá) Paso Canoas (closes at 22:00, Costa Rica time or 23:00, Panamá time). Virtually all travel out of the capital (except to the Caribbean side) will involve travelling this road. The locals call the highway "Via Muerta," and after you have been on it a while you understand why — near San Jose and other major cities, the road is paved and has excellent signage; outside of the major cities, however, the road is gravel in places with fairly tight turns and substantial changes in elevation. You will see more large truck traffic on this road than in any part of Costa Rica. There are many speed traps along this major artery, as well as some random police checks for seat belts and, especially near the borders, for valid travel documents.

Catarata Del Toro is a private reserve in the central mountains of Costa Rica, near San Jose International Airport. The star of the reserve is a magnificent waterfall, the largest in the country, tumbling down into an extinct volcano crater. All around you is breathtaking beauty: The rock formations, the lookouts, and the incredibly diverse flora and fauna. Catarata Del Toro Adventures enables visitors to explore this lush area while they rappel, swim, hike, take photos, watch birds, or enjoy a fresh meal at the open-air restaurant. If you want to stay longer, the reserve offers simple, rustic rooms where you can replenish your energy and continue your exploration another day.


Literacy: This entry includes a definition of literacy and Census Bureau percentages for the total population, males, and females. There are no universal definitions and standards of literacy. Unless otherwise specified, all rates are based on the most common definition - the ability to read and write at a specified age. Detailing the standards that individual countries use to assess the ability to read and write is beyond the scope of the Factbook. Information on literacy, while not a perfect measu . . . more
Climate: This entry includes a brief description of typical weather regimes throughout the year; in the Word entry only, it includes four subfields that describe climate extremes:ten driest places on earth (average annual precipitation) describes the annual average precipitation measured in both millimeters and inches for selected countries with climate extremes. ten wettest places on earth (average annual precipitation) describes the annual average precipitation measured in both millimeters and i . . . more
Now that you have your rental car it’s time to practice safe driving. Again, many of the roads in Costa Rica are pot hole ridden and dirt. They can be tough for an inexperienced driver to navigate. Not to mention as with many countries we found the drivers here to be impatient, fast, and scary and I’m not even talking about the semi-truck drivers who don’t seem to value life. In our 25 days in Costa Rica we saw one motorbike accident and two, yes two, overturned semis in a ditch. Be careful and remember to get travel insurance before you travel to Costa Rica.
There are the bustling market towns surrounded by sugar cane fields and coffee plantations of the Central Valley. Around the pristine 33-square-mile Lake Arenal, expats have taken up residence on the verdant hills rising from the shore, with vast lake views from their homes. On the Caribbean coast, life is laidback and moves to the rhythm of reggae. And that’s just a small taste of all Costa Rica has to offer as far as places to live.
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.
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.
With a name like Lookout at Playa Tortuga, this property boasts secluded beaches and lush jungles unlike any other. Home to over 250 species of birds around the property, guests should keep an eye out for some of the most exotic birds like the toucan. A stay at this truly secluded property means rising to the sounds of howler monkeys that wake you for early morning birding excursions. You may even spot a sloth from the window of your lovely room. This is the property of choice for those looking to experience Costa Rica’s immense biodiversity.
Planning a vacation abroad is exciting, but let’s face it: it can be overwhelming. There is so much information on line that it’s hard to know what is current and what sources you can trust, not to mention what is useful and what is just wasting your time. That’s where we come in! Not only can you find everything you need right here, but we can assure you that our expert travel consultants are a fountain of information and willing to help when you decide it’s time to start planning.

Costa Rican culture is often summed up in two words: ‘pura vida’. It literally means, ‘the pure life’, and it is often said as a greeting, farewell or to show appreciation. The concept of ‘pura vida’ is better experienced than explained, but essentially, it is both an attitude and a feeling. It means being friendly and polite, taking it easy, relaxing, and being thankful for what you have.
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!
In Costa Rica, you can wake up to the sound of howler monkeys or toucans chatting with one another, then spend the afternoon learning about the mysterious stone spheres that weigh up to 15 tons. Nature enthusiasts, environmentalists, surfers, history buffs - no matter what your personality or hobby, a vacation to Costa Rica can provide something amazing to explore or uncover.
If you’re looking for drinks of the alcoholic variety, try guaro, a liquor made from sugar cane that’s best enjoyed in a guaro sour (with lime, simple syrup and soda). The craft beer scene is growing quickly here as well; look for microbrews from Costa Rica’s Craft Brewing Co., Lake Arenal Brewery, Treintaycinco and Volcano Brewing Co. In addition to being the hub of craft beer in Costa Rica, San Jose also has an up-and-coming food scene. Head to Barrio Escalante for the best gastropubs and hip restaurants.

More than the wide variety of coastal tours in Costa Rica, however, is the draw of the quality of these adventures! Costa Rica is dedicated to providing a pristine environment for thrill-seekers of any kind, and the beaches are of noticeable importance. The Blue Flag Ecological Program tracks beach cleanliness, safety, and community outreach annually – a beach that has been awarded the Ecological Blue Flag is a good bet!
Airports - with unpaved runways: This entry gives the total number of airports with unpaved runways (grass, dirt, sand, or gravel surfaces) by length. For airports with more than one runway, only the longest runway is included according to the following five groups - (1) over 3,047 m (over 10,000 ft), (2) 2,438 to 3,047 m (8,000 to 10,000 ft), (3) 1,524 to 2,437 m (5,000 to 8,000 ft), (4) 914 to 1,523 m (3,000 to 5,000 ft), and (5) under 914 m (under 3,000 ft). Only airports with usable runways are included in this listin . . . more
Costa Rica is one of Central America’s most popular destinations—and for good reason. With so much to see and do in this spectacular country, it’s important to make the most of your trip. To help guide you to make the best decisions, we give you a baker’s dozen suggestions of things not to do in Costa Rica to ensure a great vacation. And if you are looking for places to stay, we’ve got you covered with hotels.
Our Costa Rica Travel Guide offers valuable information on the top tourist destinations as well as valuable Costa Rica travel tips. Vacationing in Costa Rica has never been easier and our travel guide offers tips and advice to help you save time, money & get the most out of your next Costa Rica vacation. Find out the best time to travel to Costa Rica, hotels, tours and more. The Costa Rica Travel Guide, written by local experts offers you REAL ADVICE about where to stay and go and how to make your next trip to Costa Rica incredible.
You can also find luxurious houses, condos or apartments anywhere along the coast, in the jungles or on the hillsides overlooking the spectacular Central Valley. Some of these rentals might come with perks, like cleaning and laundry services, as well. These options are definitely something worth considering if you want to stay in Costa Rica long-term and worry free.

"I just wanted to let you know how much we enjoyed our time in Costa Rica.  We were very impressed with the tour which your organised for us.  The hotels were very good, the drivers were punctual and courteous and the guides were amazing - their knowledge and command of English was fantastic. I have already recommended your company to friends who are planning a trip to Costa Rica"
Costa Rica is home to more than 500,000 species with 300,000 of those insects. This staggering number represents nearly 4% of the total species estimated worldwide. That’s a whole lotta wildlife in one little country. Costa Rica is actually one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. No matter where you are in the country there are many amazing animals and birds to be found.
You can also find luxurious houses, condos or apartments anywhere along the coast, in the jungles or on the hillsides overlooking the spectacular Central Valley. Some of these rentals might come with perks, like cleaning and laundry services, as well. These options are definitely something worth considering if you want to stay in Costa Rica long-term and worry free.
Most hotels, as well as tourist information centers, will provide bird watching guides, maps and other essentials for bird watching. Unless you are an experienced neo-tropical birder, it can be a lot more productive to go out with an experienced birding guide. Do not forget to bring a hat, rain gear, boots, binoculars and camera. In hot areas, an umbrella can be more useful than a poncho or jacket. Southern Costa Rica is generally considered the better option for bird watching.
For USD350-700 a week you can rent an Economy or Mid-size 4x4. Insurance is the majority of this cost and it is not optional. Four-wheel-drive is good for extensive travelling outside the Central Valley, especially in the wet season. In the dry season going from La Fortuna to Monteverde via a direct route was over a boulder strewn 15-30mph road. Four-wheel-drive was also useful on the Nicoya coast.(above based on 2001 roads). It's often possible to rent a car with a local driver from the various tour companies, if driving yourself seems a bit daunting.
Restaurants: San Jose is the epicenter of Costa Rica’s haute cuisine movement, such as it is. If you have room in your budget for a culinary splurge, I’d highly recommend doing it in San Jose rather than a beachfront or hot springs resort. You’ll have more choice and probably pay less. Of course, if your main goal is reducing your dining out budget, you can find plenty of cheap cafeteria-style eateries. We had great success with Google Maps.
The tropical landscape provides stunning fruits most often associated with South America or Southeast Asia due to their introduction to Central America by historical trade. Dragon fruit, star fruit, and rambutan are examples of the delicious and distinctive produce once uncommon to the landscape and markets of Costa Rica, but can now be found growing on the plantations around pineapple or mango. Achiote is an example of a native fruit Costa Rican’s have harvested for millennia, often turning the scarlet seeds into a paste to use as food coloring. 
Pick the most middle of nowhere destination you can find within an hour of wherever you are and plunk down $1.50 for a round trip chicken bus ticket.  You may meet some real characters or see a tree full of toucans along the way.  You may end up watching a soccer match, exploring a unique cemetery, or finding out what an old fashioned cattle roundup and branding is like.
"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.
Taxis are available in most large cities. They are usually expensive for foreigners, charging you whatever they want. It is not recommended to use any cab, but if you have to, ask for help at your hotel or ask other locals who use taxis. The meter is called "la maria"; ask the driver to turn it on immediately upon getting in the car, or he may leave it off and make up his own, more expensive, price when you get to your destination. Also try checking it wasn't running before you got in, the initial fare shouldn't be higher than 600. Most Drivers know familiar routes such as San Jose to Santa Ana and you can find the rate by asking "Cuanto para ir a _____" and he will tell you the flat rate. This can keep you from paying too much because the driver will not make unnecessary detours. Official taxis are red with a yellow triangle on the side. They also have yellow triangles on the side of the car which will have a number in it. If the number matches the number listed on the license plate, it is an official taxi. Do not get in if the numbers do not match. "Pirate Taxis", though sometimes cheaper, are NOT SAFE. Do not risk it. If you are alone, especially. If you are female, ride in the back seat, as riding in the front with the driver can be seen as suggestive. Caution should be exercised when using this service, extra caution. Do not ride non-red cabs.
Beaches in Costa Rica are laid back and lovely. Swim, snorkel and even scuba dive in the turquoise waters. Other more adventurous activities you can enjoy on your Costa Rica tour are hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, canoeing and river rafting. Canopy tours are fun ways to get aerial views of the rainforest. And for those who like to pamper themselves on vacation, at some Costa Rican resorts, you can soak in natural healing hot mineral pools or try a mud massage.
The first waterfall we visited in Costa Rica was Catarata del Toro and I was shocked when they asked a whopping $14 admission fee to see it. I mean, I guess I sorta expected I would have to pay something, maybe $5 – but $14? Little did I know that this would not be a first-time occurrence. Throughout our time in Costa Rica we visited countless waterfalls. Always paying and always paying at least $12-$20 per person to visit. Don’t be shocked if you visit La Paz waterfalls and pay a $42 entrance fee! I do hope that all these fees are going back to conservation instead of into a government officials pocket.
We had a wonderful time! Rafael was a wealth of knowledge of the history of Costa Rica, all the wildlife that we saw, and his organizational skills were outstanding throughout the tour. The accommodations were amazing and we were so impressed with how clean all of the areas were and how friendly all the staff of the hotels were. More importantly all of the staff of Gate 1 were very kind and helpful. The bus driver Mauricio was outstanding driving that huge bus through those mountain roads, making sure the bus was spotless, and being helpful and friendly. We will definitely use Gate 1 Travel for other upcoming trips.
Beach Safety: Swimming areas at some popular beaches around Costa Rica can have dangerous rip currents. Most beaches lack lifeguards or warnings of unsafe conditions. U.S. citizens have died in Costa Rica due to these dangers. Check the Costa Rica Tourism Institute (ICT) website, or with your hotel or relevant tour operator to request current information on local swimming and surf conditions.
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
Refrescos or simply frescos are beverages made from fresh fruit (cas, guayaba/guava, sandia/watermelon, mora/blackberry, fresa/strawberry, piña/pineapple, papaya), sugar and either water or milk (depending on the fruit). All sodas serve these. You can also easily buy the standard international soda pops; 'Fresca', 'Canada Dry' and the local 'Fanta Kolita' (fruit punch) are recommended.
The Butterfly Conservatory is located in El Castillo at the east end of Lake Arenal and has the biggest collection of butterflies in Costa Rica. There are six different atriums that mimic the natural habits of the variety of butterflies that live here. The beautiful and giant blue morpho butterfly can be seen here. There is a fabulous educational tour that takes you through the atriums where you will learn all about the different moths and butterflies of Costa Rica, along with the frogs and insects, too. This is a lovely afternoon activity; who doesn’t want to be surrounded by butterflies?
It was so great!! Costa Rica is very beautiful. We have had difficult experiences booking online before and it was very very easy through Gate 1. And everything was taken care of. I recommended gate1 to all of my girlfriends i went to Puerto Vallarta with in May. They were super impressed by the price and quality of my trip. So thankful to Gate 1 Travel. By the way I love the sample itinerary with recommendations for stops while we were driving to the locations. Thanks to that we got to stop off and see some amazing places we would've never stopped at!! Please continue that!
It is important to remember when in conversation with locals that the official religion of the country is Roman Catholic, accounting for approximately 70 percent of the population. Maintain direct eye contact when speaking, for it is a sign of respect and considered polite. A point of pride for many Ticos is the absence of an army. Costa Rica gained the nickname “Switzerland of the Americas,” after the abolition of the army in 1948, choosing instead to fund conservation, teacher training, and higher education, which the latter two have bared fruit in a literacy rate of 96 percent.
I have a bottle of 100% Deet and when I use it, it works like a charm. Granted it’s a lot of chemicals but it really does the job so if you plan to use that, then you should be pretty ok. If you’re really scared or paranoid about getting bit, make sure you’re always wearing long sleeves and pants as that gives the best protection. The mosquitoes in the Guanacaste area are bad, but dengue fever has gone down a lot in the past couple years and it’s quite rare (not impossible) for people to get it, you’d have to be really unlucky. But it seems you are taking the necessary precautions so just make sure always have a bottle handy.
If you’re looking for drinks of the alcoholic variety, try guaro, a liquor made from sugar cane that’s best enjoyed in a guaro sour (with lime, simple syrup and soda). The craft beer scene is growing quickly here as well; look for microbrews from Costa Rica’s Craft Brewing Co., Lake Arenal Brewery, Treintaycinco and Volcano Brewing Co. In addition to being the hub of craft beer in Costa Rica, San Jose also has an up-and-coming food scene. Head to Barrio Escalante for the best gastropubs and hip restaurants.
According to the World Bank, in 2010 about 489,200 immigrants lived in the country, many from Nicaragua, Panama, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and Belize, while 125,306 Costa Ricans live abroad in the United States, Panama, Nicaragua, Spain, Mexico, Canada, Germany, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, and Ecuador.[131] The number of migrants declined in later years but in 2015, there were some 420,000 immigrants in Costa Rica[132] and the number of asylum seekers (mostly from Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua) rose to more than 110,000, a fivefold increase from 2012.[133] In 2016, the country was called a "magnet" for migrants from South and Central America and other countries who were hoping to reach the U.S.[134][135]
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