Costa Rica was sparsely inhabited by indigenous peoples before coming under Spanish rule in the 16th century. It remained a peripheral colony of the empire until independence as part of the First Mexican Empire, followed by membership in the United Provinces of Central America, from which it formally declared independence in 1847. Since then, Costa Rica has remained among the most stable, prosperous, and progressive[peacock term] nations in Latin America. Following the brief Costa Rican Civil War, it permanently abolished its army in 1949, becoming one of only a few sovereign nations without a standing army.[16][17][18]
The Central Highlands offer a different and distinctive experience in Costa Rica away from the tropical heat and familiar images of the rainforest. Monteverde remains one of the most popular destinations in Costa Rica due to its thick green foliage, eco-friendly accommodations, and volcanic peaks, and cool, misty weather unique to the Cost Rican climate.
Another easy way to get around Costa Rica is to use the services of mini-vans. At most of the hotels, the receptionist is able to assist travelers who want to travel across the country by arranging for the services of a driver. Rates are reasonable (USD29 per person, for example, to get from San Jose to Tamarindo in April 2007) The drivers know the roads well; the vans are clean and comfortable; and they take you from door to door.
An eco-tourist's dream, Costa Rica has become synonymous with all an unspoiled tropical paradise can be. Rarely does reality measure up to hype, but Costa Rica certainly comes close. The country's quiet history as a backwater free of colonial excesses has today become a boon, and Costa Rica has cashed in on its purity. And not without merit: blessed with beaches and biodiversity, this is a verdant land of misty volcanoes, roaring rivers, and lush jungles teeming with exotic fauna. Throw in the friendly, educated Ticos (as Costa Ricans are known) and you can see why down here they call it Pura Vida – "pure life."
After pickup from your San Jose hotel in the morning, begin your 1.5-hour journey to Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui with your naturalist guide and pass through one of the most famous national parks in Costa Rica.Once you arrive, discover Costa Rica's beautiful tropical wildlife on a riverboat trip. Enjoy views of the magnificent rainforest on a 2-hour boat ride along the water, and look out for forest inhabitants such as toucans, monkeys, sloths, crocodiles and more!Arrive at the private reserve, where you’ll have the choice to horseback ride or hike up to the canopy. After receiving a safety briefing from your naturalist guide, embark on your canopy adventure. Using a special system of steel cables and professional climbing gear, you’ll roam through the treetops and leap from platform to platform in the tropical rainforest. No experience required for this unique experience! After an adrenaline-packed two hours, enjoy a home-style lunch at the private reserve before relaxing on a scenic drive back to San Jose.
- Shared Shuttles are available on a daily basis - Morning and afternoon departs (depending on the destination) - Door-to-door service (We will pick you up at your hotel and leave you at your next destination hotel) - From/to most popular destinations in Costa Rica, including Arenal Volcano, Monteverde, Manuel Antonio, Jaco, Tamarindo, San Jose (SJO) and Liberia (LIR) airports. Please check the complete list of Shared Shuttles Destinations. - Insurance for each passenger - Prices are per person.
Capital: This entry gives the name of the seat of government, its geographic coordinates, the time difference relative to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) and the time observed in Washington, DC, and, if applicable, information on daylight saving time (DST). Where appropriate, a special note has been added to highlight those countries that have multiple time zones.

Costa Rica was originally explored in the early 16th century by the Spanish.  The initial colonization attempts were unsuccessful due to a variety of reasons including seemingly impassible swamps along the coast, heat, pirate raids and native resistance.  The first permanent settlement was established in the fertile highlands of Cartago in 1563. Costa Rica remained a colony of Spain until 1821 when the country joined forces with several other Central American provinces and declared independence from Spain in 1821.  In 1838, Costa Rica separated as its own independent country.  The country later dissolved its military forces in 1949 and has remained without armed forces since then.


Are you looking for the ultimate in Costa Rica vacations? Our team of local experts will design your custom, vacation package. We do NOT sell cookie-cutter trips. Instead, we take the time to get to know your unique “travel personality”. Then we match you with a hand-picked selection of hotels, tours & transportation. The result is a tailor-made Costa Rica journey that will fit you like a glove.
Airports - with paved runways: This entry gives the total number of airports with paved runways (concrete or asphalt 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 listing. Not all . . . more
If you plan to spend most of your time in this part of the country (or all of your time at a beach resort – no judging), skip San Jose and fly directly to LIR. Depending on your final destination, you can expect to spend four or five hours driving from San Jose to the Nicoya Peninsula, compared with less than an hour from LIR. That means more time on the beach.
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.
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.

GDP - composition, by sector of origin: This entry shows where production takes place in an economy. The distribution gives the percentage contribution of agriculture, industry, and services to total GDP, and will total 100 percent of GDP if the data are complete. Agriculture includes farming, fishing, and forestry. Industry includes mining, manufacturing, energy production, and construction. Services cover government activities, communications, transportation, finance, and all other private economic activities that do not prod . . . more
GDP (purchasing power parity): This entry gives the gross domestic product (GDP) or value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year. A nation's GDP at purchasing power parity (PPP) exchange rates is the sum value of all goods and services produced in the country valued at prices prevailing in the United States in the year noted. This is the measure most economists prefer when looking at per-capita welfare and when comparing living conditions or use of resources across countries. The measur . . . more
In 2008, San Lucas Island was declared a national wildlife preserve, but prior to that – between 1873–1991 – it was the most feared prison in Costa Rica. For those interested in eerie pasts and landmarks, this is an interesting historical site. The old prison still sits on this island. San Lucas Island is located off the coast of Puntarenas and is accessible by boat. When walking around this island, it is common to see white-tailed deer, armadillos, boa constrictors, pythons, raccoons and pigs, along with 40 species of birds. There are also five pristine beaches on the island that you can explore. For being such a haunted place in the past, this island is full of life and beauty now.
At the Bat Jungle in Monteverde you can learn everything you ever wanted to know about the wonderful world of bats. Visitors can first tour the information center, which will give you a general background into the life of these fascinating mammals. The actual “jungle” consists of a dark walkway through the bat enclosure, where around 90 live bats go about their daily routines against the backdrop of a simulated jungle environment. You can view the bats using UV torches (so as not to disturb them) and even listen in on their socializing by means of an ultrasonic microphone. Knowledgeable and enthusiastic guides present 45-minute guided tours that will doubtlessly enhance your visit.
Your Passport: Though it’s fairly easy for North American travelers to reach and lacks a standing army, Costa Rica is indeed a sovereign nation. Don’t forget your passport and passport card. If your passport is expired, apply at least three months in advance to avoid bureaucratic delays. A new or renewed U.S. passport and card costs $140, per the State Department.
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.
The 2011 census counted a population of 4.3 million people[125] distributed among the following groups: 83.6% whites or mestizos, 6.7% mulattoes, 2.4% Native American, 1.1% black or Afro-Caribbean; the census showed 1.1% as Other, 2.9% (141,304 people) as None, and 2.2% (107,196 people) as unspecified.[1] By 2016, the UN estimation for the population was around 4.9 million.[4]
Exploration doesn’t need to be exhausting, and Costa Rica has much to offer for those who want to recharge and enjoy the country at a leisurely pace. Whether you choose a sunset cruise, an aerial tram, a walk through the rainforest on a suspension bridge, or an afternoon soaking in a volcanic hot spring, there are many relaxing ways to experience Costa Rica’s diverse...
It’s easy to get caught up in all the adrenaline-pumping things to do in Costa Rica, so make time to slow down for natural and affordable spa treatments as a relaxing counter activity. Chocolate, coffee, and volcanic mud treatments are popular at eco-lodges and hotels, and are used in spa treatments like massages, body wraps, and facials. Most hotels have a menu of indulgent services that start at surprisingly affordable prices—the benefit of a strong U.S. dollar in Central America. Try the spa at Finca Rosa Blanca inn and coffee plantation in Heredia for a multi-treatment session featuring a coffee and chocolate scrub that’s followed by a chocolate or coffee-based cocktail. It might be just what you need after a long day of adventure activities.

Just west of Parque Nacional Guanacaste is Parque Nacional Santa Rosa, probably the country’s second best place to experience a Pacific dry forest. Sadly, much of the original habitat was destroyed by intentionally set fires and replaced by imported a mix of cultivated and non-native plants; it’s been a long, mostly fruitless slog to get things back to the way they were.


Although explored by the Spanish early in the 16th century, initial attempts at colonizing Costa Rica proved unsuccessful due to a combination of factors, including disease from mosquito-infested swamps, brutal heat, resistance by natives, and pirate raids. It was not until 1563 that a permanent settlement of Cartago was established in the cooler, fertile central highlands. The area remained a colony for some two and a half centuries. In 1821, Costa Rica became one of several Central American provinces that jointly declared their independence from Spain. Two years later it joined the United Provinces of Central America, but this federation disintegrated in 1838, at which time Costa Rica proclaimed its sovereignty and independence. Since the late 19th century, only two brief periods of violence have marred the country's democratic development. On 1 December 1948, Costa Rica dissolved its armed forces. Although it still maintains a large agricultural sector, Costa Rica has expanded its economy to include strong technology and tourism industries. The standard of living is relatively high. Land ownership is widespread.
Stock of narrow money: This entry, also known as "M1," comprises the total quantity of currency in circulation (notes and coins) plus demand deposits denominated in the national currency held by nonbank financial institutions, state and local governments, nonfinancial public enterprises, and the private sector of the economy, measured at a specific point in time. National currency units have been converted to US dollars at the closing exchange rate for the date of the information. Because of exchange rate moveme . . . more
The Poás Volcano National Park is one of the most visited volcanic parks and for a very good reason: The Poás volcano is the largest and most active volcano in Costa Rica. It rises 8,885 feet (2,708 meters) high, with a main crater filled with a stunning blue-green colored lake called Laguna Botas. Surrounding the volcanic area, there are multiple different ecosystems, including cloud forests, rainforests, and low mountain forests, which are home to 79 species of birds and a lot of small mammals. There are well maintained and marked hiking trails in the park, too.
Hi Jim, I have seen a couple of ATM’s around the Flamingo Beach hotel and most of the North American Cards works here, just make sure to ask your bank about international withdrawal fees and all that. In the worst case scenario you will have to go to Tamarindo downtown where you will find many banks and ATM’s people from all over world use them without any problem.
Year-round tropical warmth means there really isn’t a bad time to visit Costa Rica. December to April are normally the driest months; however, Costa Rica’s diverse topography and blanket of rainforests suggest that you should be prepared for at least some rain - a very small price to pay for such incredibly lush scenery. The good news is that even during the rainiest of seasons, the rainfall tends to be limited to a couple of hours a day… just enough time for you to enjoy a cup of Costa Rica's world-renowned coffee in one of its many cafes. Temperatures vary with altitude, with San Jose's temperatures ranging between 15C and 21C and the coastal areas experiencing much warmer climes.
Like most of Central America, Costa Rican cuisine is influenced by Spanish, South American, Caribbean and American cuisine. In general, the food tends to be wholesome and tasty, but not very spicy. On the Caribbean side of the country, however, food has an Afro-Caribbean flair, with dishes featuring coconut milk, more spices, and lots of pork and goat.

Merchant marine: Merchant marine may be defined as all ships engaged in the carriage of goods; or all commercial vessels (as opposed to all nonmilitary ships), which excludes tugs, fishing vessels, offshore oil rigs, etc. This entry contains information in four subfields - total, ships by type, foreign-owned, and registered in other countries. Total includes the number of ships (1,000 GRT or over), total DWT for those ships, and total GRT for those ships. DWT or dead weight tonnage is the total weight of c . . . more
After relaxing in the rainforest lodges and on the pristine beaches of Costa Rica, it is time to get into the party spirit. Visit in October and you may just coincide with carnival in the Caribbean coastal city of Puerto Limón, an explosion of extravagant colourful costumes, dancing in the streets and spicy creole dishes. This is where the Caribbean culture of the country comes to life, celebrating its West Indian roots and inviting everyone to join the party.
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.

Playa Avellana’s seclusion belies its worldliness. One of the Costa Rican Pacific’s most exclusive resorts, the JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort and Spa, lies just to the north. Yes, it’s pricey, but it’s also all-inclusive – a perfect honeymoon destination for a truly unforgettable post-wedding experience. Hacienda Pinilla Beach Club, on the beach itself, is only slightly less accommodating.
Bring a good insulated reusable water bottle with you and refill it straight out of a tap. We recommend HydroFlask, it’ll keep your water cold for up to 12 hours even in the hot sun on the beach. We love ours! Their double wall, vacuum insulated technology makes HydroFlask so effective. Cold drinks stay icy for up to 24 hours, and hot drinks will stay steaming for up to 6 hours. There is a good variety of colours and designs to choose from too, and it protects against flavour transfer. So, your water won’t end up tasting like yesterday’s juice.
The government helps to regulate industry and development to keep the biodiversity intact and rewards eco-friendly hotels, tour providers, and those that implement green business practices to help sustain the awe-inspiring beauty of the celebrated biodiversity. This allows Costa Rica to stay on track to become the first carbon-neutral country in the world, meeting its energy needs through a combination of hydroelectric, wind, and geothermal power.
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.
That is a primary reason why the major credit rating agencies – Standard & Poor's, Moody's and Fitch – have downgraded Costa Rica's risk ratings. For example, Moody's Investors Service in early 2017 reduced the rating to Ba2 from Ba1, with a negative outlook due to the "rising government debt burden and persistently high fiscal deficit, which was 5.2% of GDP in 2016" and the "lack of political consensus to implement measures to reduce the fiscal deficit [which] will result in further pressure on the government's debt ratios".[78] The country is currently debating major fiscal reform legislation to cut the budget deficits and stop the growth in debt,[2] one of the highest in Latin America.
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