Read our guide to visiting Rio Celeste for more information on how to best experience one of the top sights in Costa Rica. We also highly recommend to stay a night or two in Bijagua, the town that is the gateway to Rio Celeste. It’s a beautiful, small rural town and community that is excellent for birdwatching, nature and wildlife. Stay at Casitas Tenorio B&B (save 10% in the link), one of our favorite hotels in Costa Rica!

My trip to Costa Rica was one of best vacations I have been on to date. Since this was my first tour on Gate1, and the cost was so reasonable, I was wondering about the quality of the entire tour. I have to say that EVERYTHING was excellent. Our tour guide, Luis Miguel Cruz Comparaz, was so knowledgeable about the areas we visited. I could tell Luis was very proud of Costa Rica and took great pride in taking care of his family (tour participants). Our bus driver, Marvin , was an excellent driver and maneuvered that large bus with confidence. I felt extremely safe with him. The hotels, food, tours were first class. Lastly, I am recently retired and on a fixed income. Gate1 actually made it possible for me to visit Costa Rica. This will not be my last trip with Gate1.


The Basilica of Our Lady of the Angels is a Roman Catholic cathedral dedicated to the patron saint of Costa Rica, located in the town of Cartago. The church was built on the spot where the small statue of the famous Black Virgin was discovered in 1635 and is a place of pilgrimage for Catholics from all over Costa Rica. The basilica was built between 1912 and 1924 and is an impressive structure in the neo-Byzantine style. You can visit the cathedral to admire the architecture and acoustics, see the stained-glass windows, and perhaps dip your fingers in the famous holy water font. The famous statue of the Black Virgin is not on display however – it is kept locked away at the altar.
With the mind-boggling amounts of biological and cultural variety in Costa Rica, visitors often find themselves wanting to go back to experience something they missed on their last trip. From its classic Latin American beaches to its diverse jungles and cultures, Costa Rica is a destination that families, newlyweds, adventure-seekers and nature lovers alike can enjoy again and again.

We love taking night walking tours while in Monteverde. There are multiple companies that offer tours, but the best way to get a good deal is to reserve your tour through your hotel. The hotels in the area typically partner with local night tour companies and they can get you the best deal with transportation to the tour included. On your night walk you will see a lot of wildlife including cool frogs, tarantulas, sloths, snakes, and more!
The traditional flavors of Costa Rica are typical of Central America and utilize rice and beans for the most common dish known as gallo pinto.  A customary breakfast consists of fried eggs or meat paired with the rice and beans while gallo pinto is often used as a side dish at lunch or dinner as well, accompanied by a small salad, meat or fish, and possibly fried plantains. The latter combination of dishes is known as casado, referring to the marriage of ingredients. Casados and gallo pinto are known in Costa Rica as “typical food,” comida tipica.

Located in Alajuela, the Territory of Strays is a rather unique dog shelter, which has been established in response to the vast number of stray dogs that roamed the streets of Costa Rica. Animal euthanasia is a criminal offence in Costa Rica and although several animal shelters take in stray dogs, most mixed breeds will never be adopted. At Territory of the Strays one enlightened veterinarian hit upon the idea of advertising one-of-a-kind unique breeds of dogs with invented names, which were suddenly far more attractive than simple mongrels. Adoptions increased dramatically and now the shelter arranges mountain hikes, where the public can go walking with hundreds of stray dogs.
When people hear “Costa Rica”, images of a tropical paradise come to mind. Whether it’s the rainforest, beach, volcanoes, wildlife, the friendly locals, or the slower pace of life that draws over 2 million visitors yearly, Costa Rica has become the most visited country in Central American. “Why choose Costa Rica?” you ask; keep on reading to find out.
Looking for the perfect honeymoon setting? Or a family vacation full of adventure? Maybe you’re flying solo and just want to immerse yourself in the wonders of nature. These hand-picked packages, complete with transportation, hold the key to a world like no other, full of wildlife, spectacular beauty, and exciting adventures. All are 100% customizable so you can add your personal touch to make it the vacation you’ve always dreamed about. From lavish luxury to rustic ecolodges, and everything in between, the choice is yours!
Hi Stacey! Yes definitely that’s one of the greatest (and most confusing) thing about Cost Rica is that there are soo many places to go but it’s so hard to get around, even with a car because of times and schedules for places opening, traffic and long drives. Right now is rainy season so it does get pretty cold in the mountains and central Valley. Always best to bring a rain jacket!

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.


Costa Rica is famous for its beaches. Imagine visiting the entire Central Pacific coast of Costa Rica while staying at some of the finest hotels and enjoying a variety of pristine beaches and untouched rain forests. This is one of our more popular packages at CRV and includes stops at the local favorite, Jaco beach and its incredible nightlife. Only a short 1.5 hours from San Jose, Jaco has plenty offer just about anyone.
“And what a tour it is: Usually, travelers have to choose from among Costa Rica’s beaches, volcanoes and rain forests. This tour goes to all those places and includes every major sight, as well as three meals a day on all but two days, and excellent hotels and lodges. The cost is a remarkable $995 per person for everything other than airfare to the capital city of San Jose.
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.
Living up to environmental virtues and sustainable development remains a constant battle throughout the country, whether due to lucrative contract offers, corrupt politics, or illegal poaching and logging. Nevertheless, Costa Rica has largely resisted opportunities to exploit its vast natural resources for valued commodities, despite having a high density of precious metals in the South Pacific, oil along the Pacific Coast, and rare hardwoods in the rainforest. Instead, Costa Rica has opted for an ethic of sustainable development and a commitment to develop renewable energy. Already, Costa Rica is on track to become the first carbon-neutral country, with 99 percent of the country’s energy needs meet through a combination of geothermal, hydroelectric, and wind power. Read more
All that said, you’ll get a lot farther in Costa Rica with basic Spanish familiarity. My wife and I can both navigate basic social and commercial situations in Spanish, and (not surprisingly) we found that people were both friendlier and more communicative in the local language. If you already know some Spanish, spend a few hours before your trip brushing up,  and get in the habit of beginning interactions in the local tongue.

Another way to get to Costa Rica that many people are unaware of is travelling by car and driving the Pan-American highway that stretches from Alaska all the way to Southern Panama and passes right through Costa Rica. If you enter Costa Rica by car, crossing the border with Nicaragua at Peñas Blancas, expect it to take 3-6 hours. All passengers have to leave the car with their luggage and pass it through a scanner, the car and driver goes through a different scanner, you line up for passport control, fill in several forms for the car, find an official who stamps and signs every form etc. Everything is chaotic, totally inefficient and obviously corrupt. The procedure is repeated on the other side of the border. Take note that a car insurance, written in Spanish and mentioning explicitly that it is valid for Costa Rica, will not be accepted, you have to buy a new one and pay 37 dollars.
Alternatively one can travel into the rainforest and go for a zip line ride, or take a canopy tour in the rainforest. Water activities in the interior of the country are also available. The traveler can do a little white water rafting on one of the many rivers, or go horseback riding to some of the many waterfalls that are found throughout the country.
If you’re already certified and interested in a day dive, costs range from $75 to more than $200 per person, depending on the site’s location – some are offshore and require transportation by boat. It’s also worth checking out resort packages. Depending on the dates of your stay, some resorts may offer room-plus-dive packages starting at just over $200 per night.
Many foreign companies (manufacturing and services) operate in Costa Rica's Free Trade Zones (FTZ) where they benefit from investment and tax incentives.[10] Well over half of that type of investment has come from the U.S.[79] According to the government, the zones supported over 82 thousand direct jobs and 43 thousand indirect jobs in 2015.[80] Companies with facilities in the America Free Zone in Heredia, for example, include Intel, Dell, HP, Bayer, Bosch, DHL, IBM and Okay Industries.[81][82]
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.
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.

The central location provides access to American markets and direct ocean access to Europe and Asia. The most important exports in 2015 (in order of dollar value) were medical instruments, bananas, tropical fruits, integrated circuits and orthopedic appliances.[97] Total imports in that year were US$15 billion. The most significant products imported in 2015 (in order of dollar value) were refined petroleum, automobiles, packaged medications, broadcasting equipment and computers. The total exports were US$12.6 billion for a trade deficit of US$2.39 billion in 2015.[97]

One of the most fun things to do in Costa Rica is going on a boat tour. This is the best way to admire the beaches and the islands of the Pacific Coast. I recommend opting for a private tour as opposed to a public boat, as these may only take you to specific places, whereas a private tour will follow your requests and stops wherever you like, for however long you want.
We all had a great time. Our tour guide, Manfred, was great. All our needs were anticipated. I loved all the things that we did in nature. I loved learning about the country and culture of Costa Rica. I have already recommended this trip to others. The places that we stayed were beautiful and the food was so good. I was able to eat and drink everything, and not have any problems. What a terrific vacation!
Mauricio Ventura, Minister of Tourism, explained : “2016 was the year of the airlines. Costa Rica had never witnessed such an important increase in the arrival of new airlines, the growth of frequencies and the creation of new routes to the country. This strengthens the connectivity of the nation with the rest of the world, and this effort gave and will continue to generate, positive results. Therefore, it is essential that our tourism sector prepares even more to offer quality services that lead to rewarding experiences in the destination.”
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.

We’ll introduce you to the people of Costa Rica as well as its abundant wildlife. In the small town of San Isidro de Heredia, master chocolatier Julio Fernandez will welcome you into his home and chocolate workshop. You’ll learn about the history of chocolate production, before enjoying a tasting and an organic lunch made from local ingredients. In the village of Horquetas, you’ll visit a family palm plantation to learn about and taste the heart of palm – a vegetable harvested from palm trees. While in Sarapiqui, you'll visit an organic pineapple farm where you’ll learn about the eco-friendly growing methods used before sampling the juicy fruit.

Disputes - international: This entry includes a wide variety of situations that range from traditional bilateral boundary disputes to unilateral claims of one sort or another. Information regarding disputes over international terrestrial and maritime boundaries has been reviewed by the US Department of State. References to other situations involving borders or frontiers may also be included, such as resource disputes, geopolitical questions, or irredentist issues; however, inclusion does not necessarily constitute . . . more
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!
For comfort, convenience and mobility, San Bada is the best place to stay while visiting Manuel Antonio. Most hotels in Manuel Antonio are built on hillsides and spread out over large areas. This can require navigating numerous flights of stairs and walking substantial distances to access the restaurant, bar, or guest rooms – a challenge for anyone with difficulty walking. San Bada is built on level ground with no steps, and short distances between public areas. The hotel also has a modern elevator.
Welcome to the “rich coast,” friendly land of democracy and rare natural beauty. With naturalist guides, see exotic birds and wildlife, hike in jungle rainforests, view volcanoes, soak in hot springs and cruise through biological reserves. Caravan provides transfers from the Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) in San José, Costa Rica to your hotel for a two night stay. Rooms are available for check-in after 4:00 p.m. Join Caravan for an 8:00 p.m. welcome briefing. Dinner is served until 9:30 p.m. at your hotel. D
Agriculture became evident in the populations that lived in Costa Rica about 5,000 years ago. They mainly grew tubers and roots. For the first and second millennia BCE there were already settled farming communities. These were small and scattered, although the timing of the transition from hunting and gathering to agriculture as the main livelihood in the territory is still unknown.[32]
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