Another important factor behind Costa Rica's poverty was the lack of a significant indigenous population available for encomienda (forced labor), which meant most of the Costa Rican settlers had to work on their own land, preventing the establishment of large haciendas (plantations). For all these reasons, Costa Rica was, by and large, unappreciated and overlooked by the Spanish Crown and left to develop on its own. The circumstances during this period are believed to have led to many of the idiosyncrasies for which Costa Rica has become known, while concomitantly setting the stage for Costa Rica's development as a more egalitarian society than the rest of its neighbors. Costa Rica became a "rural democracy" with no oppressed mestizo or indigenous class. It was not long before Spanish settlers turned to the hills, where they found rich volcanic soil and a milder climate than that of the lowlands.[39]
Corn is a popular ingredient often used in Costa Rica both in tortillas or pancakes. Plantains and yucca often take the place of potatoes as an accompanying side dish and are fried, dressed with salt, and favored for their starchy qualities. Near the coastal waters, you can find an abundance of delectable ceviche dishes with locals squeezing sour lemon over fishes such as tuna, swordfish, red snapper, or shellfish like shrimp, lobster, or conch.
Monteverde Orchid Garden: The entrance might be hidden at the far end of a restaurant parking lot, but it’s worth turning around for. Monteverde Orchid Garden has hundreds of species of epiphytic and terrestrial orchids, many native to the Monteverde area. Come in time for a regularly scheduled English tour. And don’t laugh when the guide hands you a magnifying glass – some miniature orchids are barely large enough to make out with the naked eye. Admission is $12 per adult.
Costa Rica has been cited as Central America's great health success story.[166] Its healthcare system is ranked higher than that of the United States, despite having a fraction of its GDP.[167] Prior to 1940, government hospitals and charities provided most health care. But since the 1941 creation of the Social Insurance Administration (Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social – CCSS), Costa Rica has provided universal health care to its wage-earning residents, with coverage extended to dependants over time. In 1973, the CCSS took over administration of all 29 of the country's public hospitals and all health care, also launching a Rural Health Program (Programa de Salud Rural) for primary care to rural areas, later extended to primary care services nationwide. In 1993, laws were passed to enable elected health boards that represented health consumers, social insurance representatives, employers, and social organizations. By the year 2000, social health insurance coverage was available to 82% of the Costa Rican population. Each health committee manages an area equivalent to one of the 83 administrative cantons of Costa Rica. There is limited use of private, for-profit services (around 14.4% of the national total health expenditure). About 7% of GDP is allocated to the health sector, and over 70% is government funded.
Independence: For most countries, this entry gives the date that sovereignty was achieved and from which nation, empire, or trusteeship. For the other countries, the date given may not represent "independence" in the strict sense, but rather some significant nationhood event such as the traditional founding date or the date of unification, federation, confederation, establishment, fundamental change in the form of government, or state succession. For a number of countries, the establishment of statehood . . . more
Tortuguero National Park protects more than 46,800 acres of pristine habitat, including 20 miles of coastline on which Olive Ridley, leatherback, loggerhead, and hawksbill turtles hatch. A surprising addition to the diversity of the protected waters’ is the West Indian manatee, which populates shallow estuaries near open water. Traveling in Tortuguero feels more akin to the raw wonders of the Amazon as the park is home to over 300 species of birds, along with jaguars, spotted caiman, boa constrictors, and common tink frogs.
Coffee and chocolate (cacao, technically) go great together. They also grow in similar climates, so it’s no surprise that both are found in close proximity in Costa Rica. Most Costa Rican cacao plantations are in the country’s southern region, around Puerto Viejo. Some offer a glimpse into Costa Rica’s distant past: ChocoRart, an organic farm near Puerto Viejo, harvests and processes cacao in the millennia-old Mayan tradition, while Caribeans focuses on heirloom varieties not widely available outside Central America.
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.
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]
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.
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-): This entry records the difference between national government revenues and expenditures, expressed as a percent of GDP. A positive (+) number indicates that revenues exceeded expenditures (a budget surplus), while a negative (-) number indicates the reverse (a budget deficit). Normalizing the data, by dividing the budget balance by GDP, enables easy comparisons across countries and indicates whether a national government saves or borrows money. Countries with high budget deficits (relat . . . more
Scenic rainforests, active volcanoes, relaxing hot springs and sandy beaches await you on a Costa Rica tour. Then there are the colonial cities and interesting cultural sites, unusual birds and animals you only find in the tropics, and plenty of opportunities to sample native foods, like Gallo Pinto, the national dish of fried rice and black beans.
As for swimming at the beach, definitely don’t leave your valuables at the beach unattended. Find a place where there are a lot of people and try to bring minimal valuables as possible. You can ask people near you to keep an eye on your stuff and always swim close to your things, don’t swim off far away and always look at it every couple minutes, if it’s a popular beach with lots of people. We don’t recommend swimming and leaving your things at a beach where there is nobody because it only takes a minute for the thieves to take your stuff and unfortunately, beach theft is something to be concerned about if you are going to an empty beach.

As one of the most biologically diverse places on earth, Corcovado National Park is an absolute must for hikers and wildlife lovers. It’s such a unique place in Costa Rica, you’ll feel like it’s a different world with the sheer amount of wildlife around. Corcovado National Park is in the Osa Peninsula, which holds around 6% of the world’s biodiversity.

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 2/5/16 - 2/12/16 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. 

We understand the importance of providing high value Costa Rica Travel services for our clients and therefore we’ve negotiated the best deals from hotels and resorts to river rafting, zip lining and para-sailing tours. Every hotel or resort listed on our site has been experienced by at least one of our travel experts in order to ensure all live up to the high standards our clientele have come to expect from CRV.

“The hotels were an outstanding value. Each was clean, comfortable and had a special charm of its own. The meals were ample, excellent choices wide enough to satisfy a picky eater like me. It ranged from excellent to superb. Mexico’s Ancient Civilizations last year rated ten out of ten with our tour director. This tour director made Costa Rica fifteen out of ten. I will schedule Tikal, Copan sometime next year.”

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.
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.
Or skip cash altogether. Every brick-and-mortar merchant we patronized, including hole-in-the-wall restaurants in Liberia, accepted major credit cards. Because they’re dollar-denominated at contemporaneous exchange rates, credit card transactions with foreign-transaction-fee-free cards are cheaper than cash transactions, which require withdrawals from ATMs charging 2% to 3% for the privilege. If you rent your own car and avoid the informal economy, you can get by without touching a paper note.
Looking for standard street addresses? If they exist, folks here generally don’t know them or use them. Costa Rica relies instead on a charming, exasperating system of describing places in reference to landmarks, where “100 meters” denotes the distance to the next cross street, regardless of the actual measurement. “200 metros al norte y 50 metros al oeste de la iglesia” means your destination is two blocks north and a half-block west of the church. Modern Costa Rica uses anything—a gas station, a McDonald’s, a mango tree—as a reference point. As you can imagine, getting a pizza delivered here is a challenge. There is a bright side: Costa Ricans are amazingly helpful. Keep asking. You’ll get where you’re going eventually.
It was wonderful! Our guide 'Rafael' and Driver 'Jose' were exceptional. Costa Rica was beautiful, but both of them made it even better. Rafael is intelligent, helpful and friendly. Jose was polite and could drive through almost any conditions. Rafael helped us to really 'see' what is special about Costa Rica. I have already recommended Gate 1 to others.
If you want to use a local Costa Rica number, you can rent cell phone service, and of course anyone can buy a cell phone. You used to have to be a documented resident of the Costa Rica to own your own cell phone number, and even then you only got one if there are numbers available. You still have to be a resident if you want monthly billed service to an address (such as in the U.S.). But since the passage of the CAFTA treaty in 2009, the government cell phone monopoly has been broken and service is now provided by many operators, including Grupo ICE [5] under the Kölbi brand, TuYo Movil (reselling the ICE service), Movistar and Claro (the latter two also providing service throughout Latin America). Currently coverage on Kölbi is best because the network is the oldest and most built out (e.g. there is no Movistar service in Monteverde. Update: 2014-11-2 There is now HSPA+ Movistar service in Monteverde).
Many trails in Costa Rica come with entrance fees but there are some that don’t.  It can be difficult to find the access points and to be certain you’re not trespassing so we don’t list many of them here.  Instead we suggest you take a look at (and post questions on) some of the facebook pages dedicated to hiking in Costa Rica.  Two good ones are Ruta la Cima and Picoaventuras Talamanca.
A house rental is a great idea for a family. Makes things easier than stuffing all of your a small hotel room. So thumbs up for that. We would suggest that you choose the location of your rental based on the activities available nearby. What do you want to get out of your trip? Do you want to spend time on the beach? See some wildlife? Try surfing? Maybe go ziplining? What kind of vacation are you looking for? If you want to chat further drop us an email at [email protected]
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.
Costa Rica’s culture is rooted in a peaceful, Catholic, agrarian society, and many of Costa Rica's most interesting cultural experiences are on the coffee farm, visiting the pineapple plantation, or eating a delicious helping of *gallo pinto* at the local soda (Costa Rican restaurant.) The country’s few museums and performing arts are mostly centered in the capital...
Tortuguero National Park protects more than 46,800 acres of pristine habitat, including 20 miles of coastline on which Olive Ridley, leatherback, loggerhead, and hawksbill turtles hatch. A surprising addition to the diversity of the protected waters’ is the West Indian manatee, which populates shallow estuaries near open water. Traveling in Tortuguero feels more akin to the raw wonders of the Amazon as the park is home to over 300 species of birds, along with jaguars, spotted caiman, boa constrictors, and common tink frogs.
Cano Island is a protected marine park, with fishing prohibited for three miles around it. The harvesting of marine life and collection of shells is also against the law. As such, the waters are full of coral, fish, and other sea creatures such as reef sharks, sting rays, turtles, and eels, making it one of Costa Rica points of interest for marine life.
These adult only studio apartments are an excellent option for short or long term stays to Manuel Antonio. Embrace the true Pura Vida lifestyle as you spend your day sipping on an Imperial in the shade of the rainforest canopy or swimming in the crystal clear water. While relaxing in the garden, many visiting sloths and monkeys will stop by to greet you. The exquisite apartments house charming kitchenettes equipped with everything you need to prepare a delicious meal, a great excuse for you to visit one of the local fruit stands. You will stay in one of their vibrant newly upgraded studios decorated with modern furnishings. Tico Tico Villas is a fantastic option for travelers looking for a secluded getaway in the increasingly popular destination of Manuel Antonio.
Sanitation facility access: This entry provides information about access to improved or unimproved sanitation facilities available to segments of the population of a country. Improved sanitation - use of any of the following facilities: flush or pour-flush to a piped sewer system, septic tank or pit latrine; ventilated improved pit (VIP) latrine; pit latrine with slab; or a composting toilet. Unimproved sanitation - use of any of the following facilities: flush or pour-flush not piped to a sewer system, septic tank . . . more
Much of the historical machismo of the Central American culture has changed over the past 30 years. Where women once stayed in the home tending to the children and housework, they now pursue careers and occupations with salaries equal to men. It is still common for men to stare, whistle, or tout pickup lines at passing women, but is often considered complimentary by both the men and women involved. Confrontations are rare and considered ill-mannered in a society that prides itself on serene ambiance and politeness. Ticos say please and thank you whether speaking to servers at a restaurant, staff at a shop, or friends inside the home, formality remains integral to the culture.
Rising to an elevation of 2,194 meters, one of the top things to do in Costa Rica is a trip to the Talamanca Mountains. The journey is worth it, especially as you step into a paradise filled with the lyrical humming of more than 170 bird species. Spot a quetzal, or take snapshots of other remarkable birds as you wander into a cloud forest blessed with the crisp mountain air.
The Barcelo San Jose Palacio Hotel is located 1 mile from downtown San José, amidst beautifully landscaped gardens in a quiet residential area. This five star hotel features two indoor restaurants, two bars, a casino, a large swimming pool and pool bar and restaurant, spa with Jacuzzi, steam bath, sauna, tennis and squash courts, massage therapists, hairdresser, and gift shops. Your hotel is fully air-conditioned. Internet access is available in the lobby internet cafe for a fee.
The Barcelo San Jose Palacio Hotel is located 1 mile from downtown San José, amidst beautifully landscaped gardens in a quiet residential area. This five star hotel features two indoor restaurants, two bars, a casino, a large swimming pool and pool bar and restaurant, spa with Jacuzzi, steam bath, sauna, tennis and squash courts, massage therapists, hairdresser, and gift shops. Your hotel is fully air-conditioned. Internet access is available in the lobby internet cafe for a fee.
If your sights are set on a slightly more exotic destination, look south. Not too far south: just beyond the gleaming waters of the Caribbean. There, straddling the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, lies Costa Rica. From most major U.S. cities, it’s less than six hours by plane to San Jose, Costa Rica’s capital. And, unlike transoceanic tropical destinations like Thailand and Indonesia, Costa Rica doesn’t demand much from your body’s clock: It’s in the Central Time Zone, meaning little to no jet lag for folks from North America.
Walk across six suspension bridges that are pushing 800 feet (245 meters) long and 25 storys high above the lush and lively rainforest in Quepos. The view from the bridges is unmatched by any other; the feeling of being so high up in the treetops where most of the rainforest inhabitants live is truly phenomenal. Just before you get to the first bridge, you will encounter a beautiful waterfall and natural swimming pool where you can take a dip and cool off. This zone is bursting with wildlife, especially birds, amphibians, reptiles, and small mammals like monkeys.
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.

Register Your Trip with the State Department: Take a few minutes before you leave to register your journey with the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. (Other countries’ foreign affairs offices should have similar services as well.) You’ll specify your arrival and departure dates, the purpose of your trip, your general itinerary, and identification details for everyone in your travel party. By registering ahead of time, you’ll alert local embassy or consulate staff to your plans and help them mount a speedier response should you run into trouble.

“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.”
Costa Rica is very safe and often touted as one of the most enjoyable, relaxed destinations to which visitors like to travel. Normal precautions should always be considered in any country, including paying attention to theft, including pickpockets, and petty crimes while in large crowds within big cities. You should also maintain safety standards on the beach to protect from riptides.

We had a great time! Our tour guide Luis was amazing. The country is beautiful and we saw a lot of nature and got along well with the others in the group. We did all the optional side trips which were definitely worth it. Accommodations and food were very good and all in all it was a great trip. Thank you! Looking forward to the next Gate 1 vacation!

“I am still impressed that the large Caravan Tours has scheduled almost-daily departures from January through March of its escorted tour of the beaches, volcanoes and rain forests of Costa Rica. It’s a sign of how firmly tourism has taken hold of that Central American republic, and a tribute to the appeal of unsullied nature, which Costa Rica represents. However, it’s also because of the brilliant, affordable pricing of this tour by Caravan.”
El Chorro Waterfall is one of Costa Rica’s most famous tumbling water attractions, and is just a few miles from Montezuma. While it’s located near Playa Cocolito’s gorgeous white sand beach, which can be a distraction in itself, one should not miss out on watching El Chorro tumble into the Pacific Ocean (it’s one of a select number of waterfalls around the world that drops into the ocean): it definitely is one of the greatest things to do in Costa Rica.
If you’re looking for a rental option that offers luxury, then you’ll want to look into renting your vacation place at a resort. While a resort might sound expensive, it might actually be the most economical choice in the long run. Often times, you’ll have access to money-saving perks that you wouldn’t have elsewhere. All-inclusive resorts will of course offer the most amenities, like meals and drinks, which can be budget-friendly. Resort vacation rentals are great for long term visit, whether business or personal, and can also be a great option for large groups. A luxury resort isn’t limited to hotel properties either; there is a wide range of rental types available.
White, gold, tan, and gray sand decorate the hundreds of beaches found along the Pacific and Caribbean coasts of Costa Rica for incredible surfing. Surfers have flocked to Costa Rica for decades in search of the perfect waves and to soak up the laid-back lifestyle of Pura Vida. Whether an experienced surfer or one eager to learn while under the guidance of a supportive instructor, Costa Rica offers an abundance of celebrated spots, including Matapalo and Jaco Beach on the Central Pacific, Nosara on the Nicoya Peninsula and Puerto Viejo on the Caribbean Coast.
Other spectacular natural sights on Costa Rica vacations include famous Arenal Volcano, which is particularly stunning by night when you can often see lava glowing on its sides. Poas Volcano is known for its bright green lake; it is in a national park that has a number of magnificent waterfalls. You do not want to forget your camera for these once-in-a-lifetime sights! 

For our 2017-2018 High Season Print Edition, we brought together a group of long-time Costa Rican residents – and our favorite urban tourism guru – to discuss their tips for a successful visit to Costa Rica during its busiest time of year. This week, we’re presenting more of their do’s, don’ts and secrets. To download our full print edition, pick up a copy, or learn more about distributing or advertising in The Tico Times, click here.
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.
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.
Visiting Costa Rica for the first time brings excitement and exhilaration for travelers eager to enjoy the adventurous activities, luxury accommodations, or thrilling interactions with the wildlife. Before arriving, it is important to have a passport valid for the entire length of your stay, along with at least one blank page to receive the customs stamp. At the time of writing, all visitors from the United States, Canada, and the majority of European countries receive a 90-day visa upon arrival. Those staying longer than the 90 days, whether for work, schooling purposes, or residential arrangements, must apply for a visa from their local consulate or embassy. Otherwise, a departure ticket must be purchased before entering Costa Rica, detailing your exit earlier than the expiration of the 90-day visa.

Sitting perfectly between the North and South American continents gives Costa Rica yet another benefit for curious travelers – the sheer amount of flora & fauna you can find! About 3-5 million years ago, the South and North American continents met – and the land-bridge between them is Costa Rica. The two drastically different collections of plants and wildlife started to mix, and it’s their descendants found in Costa Rica today!  Costa Rica is only the size of the USA state of West Virginia – but it contains literally hundreds of endemic species: creatures that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. Bird and animal lovers can schedule tours specifically to see the stunning wildlife– like a Safari Float down the Penas Blancas River (keeping an eye out for sloths, monkeys, caimans, and more!) or visiting the amazing Butterfly Garden at Peace Lodge. A hike through a National Park is a great way to sight-see, and an experienced eagle-eyed naturalist guide will help you spot the more elusive animals. The adventurous-at-heart might plan a tour of the Tarcoles River – renowned for its massive crocodiles. Even without a specific tour, guests might spot Costa Rica wildlife while out and about. Or possibly without leaving the resort – colorful toucans, vibrant parrots, curious coatis, and relaxed iguanas have been known to show up in hotel gardens!
Liberia is the capital of Guanacaste province and, thanks to the nearby international airport, the first stop for most out-of-country visitors arriving in Costa Rica’s northwest. Many continue on to the beach or north toward the volcanoes, but Liberia is worth exploring for a day or two. It’s also an affordable alternative to staying right on the beach: our first night found us at Best Western El Sitio, where rooms cost less than $60 per night and dinner cost less than $8 per person.
Argentina Vacations: Buenos Aires, Iguazu Falls, El Calafate - Lago Argentino | Belize Vacations: Ambergris Caye, Placencia, San Ignacio | Brazil Vacations: Rio de Janeiro, Iguassu Falls, Salvador da Bahia | Chile Vacations: Santiago, Torres del Paine, Puerto Varas | Colombia Vacations: Cartagena, Santa Marta, Bogota | Costa Rica Vacations: Arenal Volcano, Monteverde Cloud Forest, Guanacaste Beaches - Liberia | Ecuador and Galapagos Vacations: Galapagos Islands, Quito, Guayaquil | Guatemala Vacations: Antigua, Flores - Tikal, Chichicastenango | Honduras Vacations: Roatan, Copan, La Ceiba - Pico Bonito | Mexico Vacations: Mexico City, Oaxaca, San Cristobal de las Casas | Panama Vacations: Panama City - Canal, Soberania National Park, Boquete - Chiriqui | Peru Vacations: Machu Picchu, Cuzco, Lima City, Sacred Valley | Uruguay Vacations: Montevideo, Punta del Este, Colonia
Activities – Entrance into most national parks is usually around 5,500 CRC (10 USD) with discounts available for students. Canopy tours and day trips are around 25,000 CRC (40 USD). A two tank dive can be between 30,000-53,325 CRC (55-90 USD). Surf lessons start around 11,000 CRC (20 USD) per hour. There are also lots of surf camps where you can spend the week learning how to surf (or honing your skills if you already know how to). Prices vary widely, though expect to pay at least 25,000 CRC (40 USD) for a week.
According to the UNDP, in 2010 the life expectancy at birth for Costa Ricans was 79.3 years.[161] 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.[162][163] 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.[23][24] 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.[164]
If you like culture, I recommend flying into San Jose. There are a handful of museums and cultural sites in the city that are really interesting and the city is really the only place in Costa Rica with that many excellent museums and historical/cultural sites. Then head down to the South Pacific towards Panama. The SOuth Pacific area: Dominical, Uvita and Ojochal are really beautiful and full of nature, here are some things to do in Uvita: Things to do in Uvita and Dominical and here is our San Jose guide: Things to do in San Jose
The waves can be a little rough out there and if you often get seasick, I’d stay away from this Costa Rica activity (or at least take some sea sickness pills before). A lot of beaches will have a place where you can rent sea kayaks. Our favorite spot is definitely at Playa Biesanz near Manuel Antonio. We rented a nice two-person sea kayak for only $12 an hour. Also, Thomas is dying to do some sea kayaking and fishing in Guanacaste. We’ll report back on that!

I wasn’t there at the right time unfortunately, but I highly recommend arranging a trip to Costa Rica to coincide with the migration seasons for humpback and pilot whales, so that there is a chance to see these creatures passing through (after all admiring wildlife is one of the things to do in Costa Rica). The good news is that the humpback whale watching season in Costa Rica is really long, so if you plan your trip carefully you’ll have great chances to see them – it’s one of the things to do in Costa Rica. Other than Drake Bay, the other places to see whales in Costa Rica are Uvita and the Gulf of Papagayo.


Foreign investors remain attracted by the country's political stability and relatively high education levels, as well as the incentives offered in the free-trade zones; Costa Rica has attracted one of the highest levels of foreign direct investment per capita in Latin America. The US-Central American-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR), which became effective for Costa Rica in 2009, helped increase foreign direct investment in key sectors of the economy, including insurance and telecommunication. However, poor infrastructure, high energy costs, a complex bureaucracy, weak investor protection, and uncertainty of contract enforcement impede greater investment.
Located approximately 45 miles east of San Jose, Turrialba Volcano National Park protects one of Costa Rica’s least visited active volcanoes. The Turrialba Volcano reaches an elevation of over 10,000 feet and is covered in verdant montane rain forest. Prior to 2016, the last time that a major eruption occurred was in 1866, and it was possible to hike to the summit along a variety of scenic trails. Along the way you could explore various lava flows and at the apex you were rewarded for your efforts by brilliant 360-degree views. Since 2016 Turrialba has produced several substantial eruptions, some of which caused the closure of the airport and deposited ash as far away at San Jose, and the national park remains closed to visitors until further notice.
Costa Rica is home to over 500,000 species of plants and animals. Those seeking to spot local wildlife will be enthralled by Costa Rica’s unique flora and fauna. And the spectacular variety of wildlife isn’t limited to the land – scuba diving is another popular activity, with Costa Rica boasting some of the most beautiful bays, beaches and reefs in the world.

Costa Rica has protected over 25% of the natural terrain through reserves and national parks. In total, the country has 27 national parks to choose from located all over the country. With over 615 wildlife species per 10,000 square km and 12 key ecological zones. Most parks are loaded with a variety of the adventures previously mentioned. So, pick your park(s), and book your adventure(s) for an unforgettable trip.
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.
In Costa Rica, education is both free and compulsory; as a result, it has one of the highest literacy rates in the western hemisphere. (Costa Rica also offers universal healthcare, which is a discussion for another time.) And since the primary industry here is tourism, many Ticos speak basic to fluent English, especially in touristy areas. That said, brushing up on your Spanish is a welcome courtesy, and making an effort will earn you friends wherever you go—even if all you learn to say is "pura vida."
Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport (LIR), between Liberia and Playa Hermosa in Guanacaste province, is Costa Rica’s second-busiest airport. It’s convenient to the endless beaches of the Nicoya Peninsula and the inland parks and protected areas of northwestern Costa Rica, including Arenal, Monteverde, Rincon de la Vieja, Guanacaste, and on and on.
SJO is currently under remodelling, and in July 2009 its operation was taken over by the same organization that runs the airports in Houston, Texas. An otherwise pleasant airport features the normal assortment of duty-free shops, interesting souvenir and bookshops, but an inadequate selection of overpriced restaurants (Church's Chicken, Burger King, Poás Deli Cafe and Papa John's pizza). SJO is serviced daily by Air Canada, Air Transat (Seasonal) American Airlines, Canjet (Seasonal), Condor, Delta, Frontier Airlines, Iberia, Interjet, JetBlue Airways, Thomas Cook, Spirit Airlines, Southwest Airlines, United, Volaris, Westjet, Avianca, Copa Airlines and AirPanama [1]. Connecting the airport with cities such as: Los Angeles, New York, Houston, Dallas, Miami, Baltimore, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Charlotte, Atlanta, Phoenix, Orlando, Chicago, Newark, Toronto, Montreal, Madrid, London, Frankfurt, Mexico City, Bogotá, Medellín, Caracas, Lima, Guayaquil, Quito and all of Central America.
Playa Hermosa is a comely, uncrowded gray sand beach on the Papagayo Peninsula. The beach itself fronts a deep cove that’s sheltered from the open Pacific, moderating local wave action. Even if you’re not staying at one of the four- or five-star properties near the cove, or at one of the upscale condos just over the ridge on the Pacific side, you can access Playa Hermosa without paying at the public beach along the area’s main paved road. Get the full local resort experience for less at Papagayo Golden Palms Resort, just off the beach: we spent less than $150 per night there and got as nice a five-star resort experience as I’ve ever had.
Government type: This entry gives the basic form of government. Definitions of the major governmental terms are as follows. (Note that for some countries more than one definition applies.): Absolute monarchy - a form of government where the monarch rules unhindered, i.e., without any laws, constitution, or legally organized opposition. Anarchy - a condition of lawlessness or political disorder brought about by the absence of governmental authority. Authoritarian - a form of government in whic . . . more
According to the UNDP, in 2010 the life expectancy at birth for Costa Ricans was 79.3 years.[161] 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.[162][163] 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.[23][24] 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.[164]
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