We had a wonderful time! Rafael was a wealth of knowledge of the history of Costa Rica, all the wildlife that we saw, and his organizational skills were outstanding throughout the tour. The accommodations were amazing and we were so impressed with how clean all of the areas were and how friendly all the staff of the hotels were. More importantly all of the staff of Gate 1 were very kind and helpful. The bus driver Mauricio was outstanding driving that huge bus through those mountain roads, making sure the bus was spotless, and being helpful and friendly. We will definitely use Gate 1 Travel for other upcoming trips.
PK: Don’t believe that it won’t rain in the ‘dry’ season. Don’t leave all your reservations until the last minute-especially if you have your heart set on one particular place. Things fill up fast. Don’t worry if people don’t e-mail you back; call your hotel or tour operator instead. Make sure you have enough space on your phone for taking photos and videos; Use the plane ride to delete unnecessary space. Call your hotel before you arrive to ask about road conditions. Don’t follow the weather apps; in our area they are useless.
Action-packed Costa Rica has plenty of idyllic beaches to lounge on, but adventurous locals and visitors prefer surfing. Hermosa Beach on the nation’s Caribbean coast is off the beaten path and a favorite for its curling waves and soft sand. If you’re not looking to hang ten, opt for sea kayaking, beach horseback rides, or simply lounging on the sand and watching surfers instead.
A special touch is always necessary if you want to have unforgettable vacations. Our luxury packages are tailor-made, taking into account all the details you can think…choosing the the best all-inclusive resorts or the most beautiful boutique hotels in every region you want to visit and including the most breathtaking activities. Costa Rica has some of the best resorts of the world and has been recognized several times as one of the most luxurious family destinations.
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.
Explore Costa Rica from coast to coast on this active 10-day multisport vacation. From river rafting, snorkeling, kayaking, and canyoning to relaxation time, you'll enjoy the best that Costa Rica has to offer while staying in sustainable eco-lodges and reserves. Cahuita National Park, La Tirimbina Reserve, the Pacuare River, & Arenal volcano await.
We love the chocolate tour with Rainforest Chocolate tour in La Fortuna. This tour not only teaches the history of chocolate and how chocolate is made but also allows you to eat as much fresh chocolate as you want. You can then infuse your chocolate with a variety of tasty ingredients. Yum! There are several chocolate tours throughout the country, but if you are heading to La Fortuna I recommend Rainforest Chocolate Tour.
Loved this article and all the tips. We are planning to take our 3 children (11, 7, and 5) and will be traveling with another family that has 3 children similar ages, in April. We are looking into renting a house. We found one located in the Tango Mar Resort near the peninsula. None of us have been to Costa Rica so if you have any suggestions or maybe a better recommendation for places to stay please let me know! Thanks!
For those seeking a rejuvenating experience within a breathtaking natural setting, The Goddess Garden Yoga Retreat Center sets a tranquil space to begin your journey. This is a great option for travelers choosing to support eco-tourism, the property uses sustainable practices and is responsible for conserving 20 acres of local rainforest. The retreat is located with views of the enchanting rainforest and the dancing Caribbean Sea. Guests may enjoy ten miles of white sandy beaches and greenery that extends into the horizon providing a serene venue to practice yoga and meditation. Stay at The Goddess Garden to unearth your own harmony.
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.
Upon arrival to Costa Rica, we meet you at the airport and escort you to your transport. For guests arriving through San Jose, we offer a VIP meet & greet service which will help you navigate customs and escort you to your driver. From the minute you step off the plane, our friendly, bilingual drivers and tour guides will make you feel at home during your holiday.

Known for its ecotourism, Costa Rica has plenty of sustainable hotels and eco-lodges that require you to unplug from civilization and revel in Pura Vida. The Pacuare Lodge, perched in the remote Central Valley, is as luxe as it is unplugged. Swap electricity and Wi-Fi for a personal open-air villa complete with an infinity pool, deck, hammock, and claw-foot tub. The lodge also boasts some of the best things to do in Costa Rica: zip lines, waterfalls you can swim in, and authentic home-cooked food (dinner is by candlelight only, of course).


We are here in Coco Beach. A lovely town with over 65 restaurants! At least 3 grocery stores, and most palces have free wifi. We are here for 8 weeks, and have been here one. Coconutz is a favorite Gringo hangout with NFL games and specials every night. The best is Wednesday nights- 9.00 pp gets you all you can eat salad, spaghetti and pizza plus a new current movie. Last week was The Accountant and this week is Masterminds. We love Thursdays with a live band. Other good restaurants are the Z lounge and on the beach Bamboo. They also have live music on Sundays. It is only 40 minutes from Liberia airport and a lovely town. We were able to find sim cards at a local shop and are set for Pure Vida!
This is my favorite tour I’ve ever done in Costa Rica and there are also multi-day white water rafting trips for the more adventurous ones. You can even go white water as a way to get around Costa Rica as many companies pick up in San Jose and drop off in La Fortuna or Puerto Viejo! This is definitely one of the top adventure activities in Costa Rica.

Food – By eating at local restaurants you can expect to pay around 535-1,600 CRC (1-3 USD) for meals. These are a local favorite and will save you from paying tourist prices in other establishments. Typical meals like the traditional casado are 2,670 CRC (5 USD). Most restaurant meals will cost around 3,900 CRC (5 USD) or more. A very nice meal in a tourist area will cost around 9,000 CRC (15 USD). For cheap food, eat from the street vendors where snacks and light meals can cost as little as 265 CRC (less than 1 USD). If you plan on cooking for yourself, a week’s worth of groceries will cost around 15,000-20,000 CRC (25-35 USD).
All of our tour directors, travel specialists, and local hosts have personally explored the beaches, hiked the forests, witnessed the volcanoes and experienced the city highlights, and they are eager to share their insider expertise with you. This in-depth knowledge and experience along with our long-established relationships throughout the region allow us to craft unique vacation packages that encompass and bring out the very best of Costa Rica.
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.
In most parts of the country, you will be completely fine drinking water from the sink. Just make sure to ask your hotel ahead of time to make sure the water in your hotel room is actually drinkable. I’m a water addict and I must say the water quality here is pretty great. We always bring a reusable water bottle while traveling and just fill it up as we need. If you are in a really rural area I would suggest buying water just in case.
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.
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.
Finally, one of the top things to do in Costa Rica is seeing turtles – nesting and hatching. The best place to see them is Tortuguero National Park. Regardless of the place, make sure that watching the turtles has no impact on them. Things such as intense light and touching are extremely bad for these animals – if you opt for a guided tour to see turtles, make sure this is 100% responsible!
Most Afro-Costa Ricans descend from Jamaican immigrants who worked in the construction of that railway and now make up about 3% of Costa Rica's population.[51] U.S. convicts, Italians and Chinese immigrants also participated in the construction project. In exchange for completing the railroad, the Costa Rican government granted Keith large tracts of land and a lease on the train route, which he used to produce bananas and export them to the United States. As a result, bananas came to rival coffee as the principal Costa Rican export, while foreign-owned corporations (including the United Fruit Company later) began to hold a major role in the national economy and eventually became a symbol of the exploitative export economy.[52] The major labor dispute between the peasants and the United Fruit Company (The Great Banana Strike) was a major event in the country's history and was an important step that would eventually lead to the formation of effective trade unions in Costa Rica, as the company was required to sign a collective agreement with its workers in 1938.[53][54]
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