Among the best zip lining in the country, there is the Sky Trek tour operated by Sky Adventures in Arenal, in the northern part of Costa Rica, which is also home to one of Costa Rica attractions, the Arenal Volcano – a place that can’t be missed even if visiting Costa Rica in a week. I suppose my obsession with volcanoes is clear by now, with all the volcano hikes I did in Sicily last month. So it’s easy to see why I love Costa Rica.
Costa Rica’s unit of currency is the colon, which hovers between 500 - 550 colones/ $1 USD. U.S. dollars are widely accepted, provided the bill is not too large ($50 and $100 bills are rarely accepted). Hotels and tours generally list their prices in dollars. Compared to the rest of Central America, prices in Costa Rica are relatively high, due in large part to the country’s high standard of living. Typical Costa Rican food and produce is quite inexpensive, while imported products are priced similarly to U.S. prices. A typical Costa Rican breakfast and lunch will cost around 2000-5000 colones ($4-10).
Costa Rica has one of the highest levels of social care in the world. Its doctors are known worldwide as some of the best. Many people from U.S, Canada and Europe go there to be treated, not only because the quality of the service but for the cost. First class Hospitals can be found in the capital. There is a public/private hospital system. There is excellent care in each. The public system has much longer waits, while the private system has shorter waits. If you are unfortunate enough to have a very sick child requiring hospitalization, the child will be transferred to the only children's hospital in CR, located in the capital. This children's hospital is public.
Tobías Bolaños International Airport (Spanish: Aeropuerto Internacional Tobías Bolaños) (IATA: SYQ) i(LIR) is in the Pavas district of San José about a 10-15 minute drive from the city centre. This airport primarily serves as the gateway linking to local Costa Rican domestic flights or nearby international destinations of Nicaragua and Panama.Currently, this airport is the hub for Nature Air. The terminal is neat, and clean though small and lacks any food concession so eating before an early morning flight is advisable.
You don't want to worry about nothing but having time to relax in front of a white sand beach? One all-inclusive package is your answer. As we know, sometimes the idea of a vacation is to do nothing more than sunbathing, so we have prepared the best options taking into account the best deals. Booking internal flights that save you time and the best resorts that will add some luxury to your vacations.
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!
Most visitors can get into Costa Rica without the need of a Visa and can stay in the country for 90 days. People of ANY nationality holding valid US, Canada, Japan, South Korea or Schengen visas do not need a prior visa. The only conditions being that the visa must be valid for 3 months and should be stamped in your passport. NOTE: on arrival, ensure you are able to show proof of onward travel out of Costa Rica, especially if entering overland! See below for further details
We email you a detailed travel itinerary filled with info, pictures and videos. Your Costa Rica travel agent will work with you to adjust your vacation package until you are 100% satisfied. When you’re ready to book, we send reservations and payments to each hotel & tour provider for you. This makes for a seamless, worry-free experience that allows you to relax & enjoy the voyage.
Travel with someone else when possible. A trusted friend is best, of course - not just someone you met last night at the hostel, but he or she will do in a pinch. (Trust your gut feeling with new friends – most are great, but some may be con artists!) Traveling with a friend makes the journey more entertaining and more fun: you can talk and share travel stories and each of you can take turns sleeping on long bus rides. Also, there is the fact that "two heads are better than one" and it's always good to be able to brainstorm if you aren't sure what the answer to your travel question or concern is.
We can’t stress enough the importance of travel insurance, especially in a country like Costa Rica. Whether you just plan to hang out on the beach, do a little bit of hiking, or go extreme (think surfing, scuba diving, or zip-lining), being protected on your travels is an irreplaceable peace of mind. We learned about the importance of travel insurance the hard way and now we never travel without coverage.
Arenal Volcano is not only one of Costa Rica’s most beautiful vacation destinations, but also numero uno for adventure and hot springs! Whether you are seeking peace and tranquility or thrilling outdoor challenges, you’ll find it here with an incredible selection of high adventure or nature eco-tours. Combine that with world-class hot spring resorts plus a mild year-round temperature and you’ll wonder why you’d ever want to leave!
The La Fortuna Waterfall is one of the top waterfalls to visit in Costa Rica. There are multiple ways to get to the hiking trail, one being via horseback, where you will then walk down 500 steps to the basin of the waterfall; La Fortuna Waterfall is 230 feet (70 meters) high! The raw power of this waterfall is mesmerizing. After hiking down, you can swim in the pool beneath the cascade of water, which is an incredible experience in and of itself. The surrounding forest is stunning and it is likely that you will see toucans, butterflies, monkeys, and sloths.
Apart from checking out the rainforest and surrounding lake and other lands while zipping along, not to mention spotting wildlife, the zipline tour gives a prime view of the Arenal Volcano. (Up until 2010 this volcano was one of the most active in the whole world, but its eruptive cycle has paused and it’s currently in a resting phase.) Arenal Volcano looms large over the hillsides surrounding it, and reaches close to 5,500 feet high.
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.
The National Museum of Costa Rica is housed in the old Bellavista Fortress, which was built in 1917 and was used a military barracks. Located directly opposite the Legislative Assembly and next door to the Jade Museum in the city of San Jose, the museum documents and showcases the history and culture of Costa Rica and has an expansive collection of archaeological treasures from all over the country. Many of the items on display date back to pre-Columbian times (prior to the Spanish arrival in 1500AD) and more recent additions include a very good butterfly garden and insect exhibit. The museum is closed on Mondays and public holidays.
Insect Protection: In rainforests and cloud forests year-round, and everywhere during the wet season, you’re likely to encounter nasty mosquitoes and other assorted biting insects. Though life-threatening tropical illnesses like malaria, dengue, and yellow fever aren’t super common here, zika is. Pregnant couples and those planning to become pregnant soon need to be fastidious about insect protection: repellent, tucked-in clothing, window screens. Remember the 3-ounce rule in carry-on baggage.
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.
The road to Tenorio Volcano National Park where Rio Celeste is is pretty bad – it is definitely recommended to get a 4×4. If you get stuck, car rental companies have an emergency hotline you can call and they also give you an emergency kit with an extra tire, fire extinguisher and if you get the full insurance, most rental car companies have you covered 100% up to a certain amount, say $5 million.
Kathryn, you definitely don’t need hiking boots (over the ankle) for Costa Rica. Trail runners or even just regular running shoes will suffice. The only reason why we recommend having something other than chacos, is because you will need closed toe shoes for some activities like ziplining, horseback riding, etc. Parts of San Jose can be a bit dangerous, so depending on where you are staying running alone may not be the best idea, but outside of San Jose it’s pretty safe, especially during the day. Hope you enjoy your time in CR!
Temperatures are more moderate along the country’s mountainous spine and in the populous Central Valley. The capital, San Jose, sits at nearly 4,000 feet above sea level, above the worst of the heat. In the eastern mountains, a sort of eternal early spring persists: above 7,000 or 8,000 feet, highs above 65 degrees are rare, and nighttime lows routinely dip below freezing above 10,000 feet or so.
Some of our favorites are El Salto where the Río Fortuna crosses the road to Tigra south of La Fortuna Arenal, on the Río Toro east of Pital, Piscina Natural 1 km north of Cahuita, 1 km upstream from Dominical on the Rio Barú, the Río Claro 1 km north of Playa San Josecito on the Osa, Montezuma waterfall, the rope swing by the bridge on the Río Rincón 1 km west of La Palma on the Osa and too many others to mention.
Commonly referred to as the most biologically diverse place on Earth, Corcovado National Park is the largest stretch of virgin Pacific Coast forest in the world. With species such as the Northern Tamandua, Baird’s Tapir and the countries smallest cat species called Margay, it is home to more than 370 species of birds, 10,000 insects and 140 different mammals. Other famous residents include Spider Monkeys, Howler Monkeys, White-Faced Capuchin Monkeys and the endangered Squirrel Monkey. Reptiles to be wary of include American Crocodile and Boa Constrictors while Bull Sharks as well as several species of sea turtles roam the waters off-shore. Corcovado National Park is a wonder land of wildlife watching.
Christianity is Costa Rica's predominant religion, with Roman Catholicism being the official state religion according to the 1949 Constitution, which at the same time guarantees freedom of religion. It is the only state in the Americas which established Roman Catholicism as its state religion; other such countries are microstates in Europe: Liechtenstein, Monaco, the Vatican City and Malta.
The rub is insurance, the full cost of which often exceeds the cost of the rental itself. Rental companies operating in Costa Rica offer several different types of optional insurance and one type of mandatory insurance – a liability policy that’ll set you back $15 to $25 per day, depending on the vehicle and carrier. Costa Rica Guide has a good primer on the confusing insurance regime. Bottom line: You can’t avoid mandatory insurance coverage, and you’ll probably want a supplemental policy that covers body damage if you plan to drive on unpaved mountain roads.
This unofficial motto helps explain many other facets of Costa Rican culture. Costa Ricans (or Ticos and Ticas) are known for their laid-back demeanour, happy outlook and conflict-averse nature. In fact, peace is so highly valued here that they have no standing army. It was abolished in 1949 with all funds reallocated to create an “army” of teachers instead. It follows that education is also highly valued here. Primary and secondary school is mandatory and free for all, resulting in a 97% literacy rate.
Costa Rica is a great place to learn Spanish as the "ticos" have a dialect that is easy to understand and digest for someone just starting to learn the language. There are many language schools that provide intensive instruction with group classes lasting 4 hours per day, Monday to Friday. Almost all Spanish schools will also offer host family accommodations and possibly some alternative such as a student residence or discounted hotel rates.
Housed in what was once a notorious prison, the Museo de los Ninos is a children’s museum dedicated to fun, laughter, and learning. Families can have hours of fun exploring the original cells of the old military penitentiary, which have been converted into 40 themed, interactive exhibits. Children can learn about everything from astronomy and science to natural history and everyday life in Costa Rica. A few of the highlights your children will love include the earthquake simulator, the zip lines and suspended walkways, and the dinosaur exhibit. The museum hosts regular special exhibitions, particularly during school vacations, when it can get very busy indeed. You can avoid ticket queues by booking online.
Located in the Arenal-Tempisque area, the Curi Cancha Reserve is a privately owned nature reserve that covers 205 acres of tropical cloud forest, which is home to a wide variety of birds, reptiles, and small animals. Curi-Cancha is the perfect place to get back to nature and do some serious bird watching, either on your own or with the help of a specialist guide who knows just where to find all the shy and rare species. You can go hiking along 7miles of trails, which will take you through virgin rainforest as well as some secondary forest – be on the lookout for some really unusual mammals, such as the armadillo, the sloth, and three species of monkeys. The reserve offers several guided tours, including a rather magical night tour.
Airports: This entry gives the total number of airports or airfields recognizable from the air. The runway(s) may be paved (concrete or asphalt surfaces) or unpaved (grass, earth, sand, or gravel surfaces) and may include closed or abandoned installations. Airports or airfields that are no longer recognizable (overgrown, no facilities, etc.) are not included. Note that not all airports have accommodations for refueling, maintenance, or air traffic control.
I studied in Costa Rica (I lived in San Jose) for a semester in college and boy, I didn’t even come close to doing all the wonderful things on your list. The highlights for me were probably visiting the Arenal/La Fortuna area, la catarata there, and really just enjoying everything that makes la vida de pura vida so wonderful. I’ll leave out the cockroaches that were often visitors at my first host family’s house 🙂
Currency fluctuations can have an outsize impact on your overseas spending power. In the late 2000s, when the U.S. dollar was weak and the euro, pound, and Canadian dollar were all strong, it took lots of U.S. dollars to buy hotel rooms, transportation tickets, food, and souvenirs denominated in those currencies. For Americans, that meant traveling abroad was a pricey affair. British and European tourists flooded major U.S. cities and resort towns, snapping up hotel rooms and knickknacks at what seemed to them incredible bargains, while few Americans went the other way.
As previously mentioned many Costa Rican roads are dirt and mud so if you add in a little rain to that they will quickly become impassable. We visited at the beginning of the rainy season in May and had absolutely no trouble driving. Although it did rain a bit more than we liked the lush jungle scenery was gorgeous, prices were cheaper, and it was indeed less busy than in the dry season.
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.
Hi Chayanne, thanks for your kind words and glad the blog is helpful! I don’t know where your house is in Ojochal but many of the houses in that area are up in the mountains and the road into Ojochal is not paved, so a 4×4 is a good idea especially for that area. A lot of roads in the Costa Ballena up in the mountains are steep and unpaved so they do require a 4×4.
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In the beautiful Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve you can discover a treasure trove of amazing flora and fauna that is seldom encountered outside of this remarkable area of biodiversity. You can explore the reserve on foot along a network of more than 8 miles of hiking trails, enjoying the opportunity to see thousands of species of endemic plants (including orchids) and a variety of small animals. To help visitors get a better understanding of the amazing riches around them, the reserve offers guided birding tours, natural history tours, and even night tours, when all the nocturnal creatures come out to play. Visitors will be pleased to know that their entrance and tour fees all go towards research, education, and conservation.
As of November 2012 to cross the border you need to show a return ticket from Costa Rica. The ticket must be "from Costa Rica", so for example flights from Panama are not accepted, although you need to leave Costa Rica to get to Panama. At the border crossing with Nicaragua there is a small Tica Bus office that sells tickets without a fixed travel date. At the main border crossing with Panama there is a Tracopa office where you can buy a return ticket without a fixed date. Note that if you use this ticket when re-entering from Nicaragua they want to see a ticket with a fixed date.
Food: Get off the beaten path to eat whenever possible. Our best-value meals came at independently owned restaurants in Liberia. One place, basically a lunch counter serving authentic Costa Rican cuisine, set us back about $5 per person for a lunch big enough to skip dinner on. The area’s touristy restaurants cost triple that. If you’re renting, make sure your place has a kitchen, and hit the grocery store as soon as you get settled. We visited a Walmart in Liberia and a Super Compro in Tilaran; both had excellent meat counters and solid produce sections.
We’ve never received a consistent response to the question: “How long must my passport be valid to travel to Costa Rica?” The official answer is “for the duration of your stay in the country.” We’ve heard reports, however, of airlines refusing boarding to anyone with less than 30 days, 90 days, or six months remaining before their passports expire. We recommend you err on the side of caution. Before you travel to Costa Rica, renew your passport if you’re getting down to the six-month mark. (That’s the requirement for entry to many countries anyway.)
Costa Rica is an adventure-seeker’s paradise. Although relatively small in size, the country offers an extraordinary range of activities. There are diverse landscapes to discover and exciting ways to explore them. People of all ages can enjoy these safe and thrilling activities. And if one adventure is not enough, there are plenty of other ways to experience the...
Tortuguero National Park, or the “Amazon of Costa Rica” is a place like no other in the country. It’s famous for turtle nestings and rainforest canals thatmake up the national park. The national park and town are boat access only so it’s quite an adventure to get there! Once in Tortuguero, you can take boat rides through the national park to see wildlife but our favorite way is to go by kayak.
With so much nature and so many volcanoes, it’s only obvious that one of the unmissable things to do in Costa Rica is hiking. I love volcano hikes (my favorite to date has been that of Mount Bromo, in Indonesia), and hiking in Arenal and La Fortuna is one of the top activities in Costa Rica. However, I also recommend heading to Corcovado National Park for more adventures.
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.
It’s also not particularly touristy, which is part of its appeal. Tilaran is an affordable overnight alternative for visitors who want to continue on to La Fortuna or Monteverde, but don’t want to pay tourist premiums in either locale. Our place in Tilaran was awesome: a motel with a nice pool, free breakfast, great WiFi, and tons of satellite TV channels for $35 per night.
Costa Rica is among the Latin America countries that have become popular destinations for medical tourism. In 2006, Costa Rica received 150,000 foreigners that came for medical treatment. Costa Rica is particularly attractive to Americans due to geographic proximity, high quality of medical services, and lower medical costs.
On 1 June 2007, Costa Rica broke diplomatic ties with Taiwan, switching recognition to the People's Republic of China. Costa Rica was the first of the Central American nations to do so. President Óscar Arias Sánchez admitted the action was a response to economic exigency. In response, the PRC built a new, $100 million, state-of-the-art football stadium in Parque la Sabana, in the province of San José. Approximately 600 Chinese engineers and laborers took part in this project, and it was inaugurated in March 2011, with a match between the national teams of Costa Rica and China.