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.

“If you are a coffee lover, there’s a lot of good coffee to be found. Head to Cafeoteca, Franco, or Café la Mancha and order a Vandola (a Costa Rican pour over), and pick up a free San José coffee walking tour pamphlet – it’s both a great reference, and a gorgeous piece of art. In addition, most shops in the San José/Alajuela area use lactose-free milk, which is fantastic for someone lactose-intolerant like me.”—Alan Ray


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.
Rainforest Volcano Beaches will have you viewing wildlife from forest floor to treetops and along the jungle studded Pacific coastline. Perfect for families, a few days at Arenal Volcano include options for zip-lining or nature hikes, and the beach area of Manual Antonio never fails to excite visitors with the abundant wildlife found in its national park. Just as the name implies, this 7-day family getaway offers a little bit of everything and includes wonderful resorts, hot springs, fun in the jungle, beach time, and all of the transportation needed to pull it together into one amazing trip your family will remember for years to come!
Net migration rate: This entry includes the figure for the difference between the number of persons entering and leaving a country during the year per 1,000 persons (based on midyear population). An excess of persons entering the country is referred to as net immigration (e.g., 3.56 migrants/1,000 population); an excess of persons leaving the country as net emigration (e.g., -9.26 migrants/1,000 population). The net migration rate indicates the contribution of migration to the overall level of population chan . . . more
Costa Rican culture is often summed up in two words: ‘pura vida’. It literally means, ‘the pure life’, and it is often said as a greeting, farewell or to show appreciation. The concept of ‘pura vida’ is better experienced than explained, but essentially, it is both an attitude and a feeling. It means being friendly and polite, taking it easy, relaxing, and being thankful for what you have.
The Rainforest Safari sends you cross country from the Caribbean to the Pacific seeking out wildlife found in incredible habitats. This 14-day quest starts by going to Tortuguero, only accessible by boat or plane, where you’ll cruise the famous jungle canals. Next you’ll explore the Arenal Volcano region, go on a river safari, and leisurely hike the base of the volcano. Afterward, you can soak in your eco-resort’s onsite hot springs. From there its up to the unique Monteverde Cloud Forest with a naturalist hike taking you over hanging bridges. Finally, you’ll relax at the beach and enjoy a guided tour of the abundant wildlife living in Manual Antonio National Park found over on the Pacific coast.
Located just 10 miles (16 kilometers) off of the Osa Peninsula, the Cano Island Biological Reserve is an amazing place to spend the day and go snorkelling. The waters are warm, crystal clear, and teeming with marine life. The coral reefs here are home to a wide variety of tropical fish, rays, and turtles. Just off the reef, it is common to see bottle-nosed dolphins and humpback whales. Violines Island, which is part of the reserve, is a beautiful white sand- and palm tree-lined island where you can kick back and relax after you are done snorkeling.
Hi Nastassia, The trip to Costa Rica was amazing! We had a wonderful time. We really enjoyed all the tours and activities. Our guide, Gilbert, was awesome. The accommodations were excellent. We had so much fun traveling with this group of people. All the transfers went off without any problems. Thanks for planning and implementing a headache-free trip!
Costa Rica’s economy also faces challenges due to a rising fiscal deficit, rising public debt, and relatively low levels of domestic revenue. Poverty has remained around 20-25% for nearly 20 years, and the government’s strong social safety net has eroded due to increased constraints on its expenditures. Costa Rica’s credit rating was downgraded from stable to negative in 2015 and again in 2017, upping pressure on lending rates - which could hurt small business, on the budget deficit - which could hurt infrastructure development, and on the rate of return on investment - which could soften foreign direct investment (FDI). Unlike the rest of Central America, Costa Rica is not highly dependent on remittances - which represented just 1 % of GDP in 2016, but instead relies on FDI - which accounted for 5.1% of GDP.
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
The first waterfall we visited in Costa Rica was Catarata del Toro and I was shocked when they asked a whopping $14 admission fee to see it. I mean, I guess I sorta expected I would have to pay something, maybe $5 – but $14? Little did I know that this would not be a first-time occurrence. Throughout our time in Costa Rica we visited countless waterfalls. Always paying and always paying at least $12-$20 per person to visit. Don’t be shocked if you visit La Paz waterfalls and pay a $42 entrance fee! I do hope that all these fees are going back to conservation instead of into a government officials pocket.
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]
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.

Arenal Volcano National Park is one of the top three most visited national parks in Costa Rica and is the best place for those who want to see a “cone” shaped volcano. The volcano erupted back in 1968, leaving a wave of destruction in its path. Nowadays, the forest has grown back and visitors can hike through the remaining lava beds for beautiful views of the volcano and Lake Arenal.

With breakers that routinely reach 15 feet or higher, this south-southeast-trending stretch is one of Costa Rica’s best surfing spots. If you prefer to stay onshore, no worries: It’s rarely crowded, so you’re virtually guaranteed a spread of sand to call your own. Play your cards right and you might just run into Lola, the oversized hog who doubles as the area’s spirit animal.


Some of our best tours combine a little of this and a little of that, to create Costa Rica vacation packages like no other. Take to the thrilling zip lines of a canopy tour that winds through a monkey and sloth-studded forest; sail out to snorkel Pacific reefs and witness an unforgettable sunset; and hike a volcano before settling in for Mother Nature’s massage in steamy, thermal hot springs. With these tours, Costa Rica is at your fingertips.

Costa Rica is a melting pot of cultures. Spanish immigrants left their mark and Jamaican influences make themselves known on the country’s Caribbean Coast, but it wouldn’t do to forget the peoples who inhabited the lands long before it was colonized. In Arenal, visit the Maleku community, meet a local family, and learn how their lifestyle has been impacted by modern development – and how they work to preserve their traditions. Head towards San Ramon and take a cultural tour, where you’ll learn all about the city of poets with guides who grew up in this charming community.
Ticos enjoy long weekends or a day trips from San Jose to relax in the variety of hot springs and thermal baths that rush along the verdant landscape. The natural volcanic activity heats the waterways that course through the tropical trees and underbrush to populate the foothills beneath the smoking volcano. Luxury travelers, honeymooners, and backpackers alike will enjoy the variety of activities the region offers while taking advantage of the rejuvenating waters. Local activities include cave tours, horseback riding, zip lining, fishing, hanging bridges, chocolate tours, cultural experiences, river rafting and whitewater rafting, rappelling, canyoning and day and night treks.
Manuel Antonio National Park is one of Costa Rica’s most famous parks, and one that should definitely not be missed. There are 1,680 acres of rainforests containing hiking trails that will take you through dense vegetation and out to white sand beaches. This is an incredibly picturesque place that is filled with all sorts of plants and animals – if you are on a search to see a three-toed sloth, this is where you will most likely find one. When you picture Costa Rica, you are probably picturing Manuel Antonio.

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.
Costa Rica is a nature lover’s dream. Adventure blends seamlessly into nature's harmony and the array of wonders in Costa Rica leaves its visitors breathless and spellbound. A bubbling volcano illuminates the star filled night sky and enchanting forests that appear as though they are made entirely of clouds thrive with diverse wildlife. From the Pacific Coast to the Caribbean Sea and the expanse of lush jungles in between, Costa Rica is a place where time slows down and where you can lose yourself in the very essence of life.
Chocolate in Costa Rica has a long history and dates back to before the cultivation of coffee. The original beans grew in the Brazilian Amazon and traveled north by bird migration, human trade, or both. Chocolate was even used as currency between neighboring civilizations due to its coveted qualities until the arrival of the Spanish in the 15th century. Costa Rican chocolate remains a delicacy as the country produces organic, fair-trade chocolate made with all natural ingredients and competes with other Central and South American countries, along with many African nations, in the production of quality cacao cultivation.
In the Guanacaste there are several beaches to choose from if you intend to go surfing. Among them, Playa Negra and Playa Grande are two stand out breaks. Playa Negra breaks over a shallow lava reef producing fast hollow waves for advanced surfers only. Playa Grande is the most consistent break in the area with surfable conditions most days of the year. It breaks over a sandy bottom and is good for beginner and experienced surfers.
We’ll be in Costa Rica 8 nights. We’re flying into San Jose and staying 2 nights, then headed to Arenal for another 2. After that we’re planning to pass through Monteverde and head to the beaches. What are your recommendations for where to stay near the ocean for a few (2 or 3) nights, keeping in mind that we’ll be driving back to San Jose for one last night before leaving in the morning?
Costa Rica’s Pacific waters are among the world’s best places to glimpse humpback whales in their natural element. They’re present roughly 50% of the year, in two distinct episodes: late July through November, and December through March. The most reliable sightings happen off the Osa Peninsula, in southern Costa Rica, where distinct populations from both hemispheres intermingle. You’re also likely to encounter bottlenose and spotted dolphins – about 25 cetacean species in all – in this area.
Most folks associated with the tourism industry here speak English—good English at that—so never fear if your Spanish is nonexistent. But don’t be afraid to dust off and pull out whatever Spanish you might know. Greet people with a hearty “Buenos días” (good morning), “Buenas tardes” (good afternoon) and “Buenas noches” (good evening). Sprinkle your requests with those “Por favor” (please) and “Gracias” (thank you) niceties. You’ll elicit a smile. Plus, you have to love a people whose “You’re welcome” response is not the standard “De nada” (it’s nothing) heard in other Spanish-speaking countries, but rather, “Con mucho gusto” (with much pleasure).

San José, September 7, 2018 Local media report that Costa Rican unions are planning to strike starting on Monday, September 10, in downtown San Jose. Strikes will continue throughout the week.  Protestors may express their opposition to the new fiscal plan being discussed in National Assembly by shutting down certain government services and creating traffic jams ...
Costa Rica’s forests are full of bucket-list activities and exceptional nature, but the bustling capital city of San Jose is worth a visit as well. The historic National Theater of Costa Rica has been a landmark in San Jose since the 19th century, and hosts performances several times a week. It can also be visited on a historical tour for a closer look at the frescoes and gilded ceilings that make up the most beloved building in San Jose.
We’ve done several night walks in Costa Rica. In Arenal, we did a night walk with Jacamar (get 10% off this tour). In Osa Peninsula we did a night walk at Leona station with La Leona Eco-Lodge, in Braulio Carrillo we did a night walk with Rainforest Adventures and in Monteverde we did one at Finca Santa Maria. For night walks in Manuel Antonio, we recommend Si Como No Hotel which has a private reserve. We also did one in Bijagua at Tapir Valley which was absolutely amazing!
As of March 2017, the exchange rate was 554 colones per US dollar. Money exchange is provided at most banks; however, it is recommended to do so at the state banks, especially the Banco Nacional, since they have better rates. There is also a money exchange service at the airport, but it is outrageously expensive. But note that the use of US dollars is quite common; in the tourist setting, almost everything is priced in dollars (but sometimes prices are cheaper in colones). Note that when a price is quoted in "dollars", the speaker may be thinking of a dollar as 500 colones; so it is always worth checking whether this is what is meant.
This morning, visit CHILDREN’S ETERNAL RAINFOREST for a guided walking tour. Over 600 species of butterflies and 400 species of birds have been recorded inside this private reserve, along with 100 reptile and 120 mammal species that hide within the dense vegetation. Later, visit the family-owned ECOLOGICAL SANCTUARY, where you will explore the trails through coffee and banana plantations filled with endemic wildlife and beautiful scenery. After the walk, enjoy a COOKING CLASS to learn how to prepare authentic Costa Rican food like hand-made tortillas, picadillos, and gallo pinto. Dine on your creations for a homemade lunch! Tonight, your Tour Director hosts a farewell dinner, toasting an unforgettable discovery of Costa Rica.
And though I'm reluctant to see towns like touristy Tamarindo get even bigger and filled with still more traffic, I can't help but spread the gospel of Costa Rica—especially to my fellow Houstonians. The pristine beaches, animal-filled jungles and awe-inspiring volcanoes offer endless realms of exploration for the casual vacationers, the adventure-seekers and everyone in between, and getting to this Central American paradise has never been easier.
Hi Jess, if you’re talking about safety while renting a car, just make sure to never leave anything in the car, don’t leave a bag or backpack out in the seat even if it’s empty because if a thief sees it, he could try to steal it. We’ve known people who left their bags out right in plain view in the backseats and got their car robbed so make sure never to leave anything in the car. As for houses, it’s fairly safe in Costa Rica and Avellanas is not a very busy area. Always lock up, don’t leave your valuables in sight and close your curtains. Most houses here have gates on windows and doors, so always lock the gates and many places that are rented to tourists have some sort of security system set up so I’d ask the person you’re renting from if there is anything you need to be aware of.

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]
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