Costa Rica has developed a system of payments for environmental services.[65] Similarly, Costa Rica has a tax on water pollution to penalize businesses and homeowners that dump sewage, agricultural chemicals, and other pollutants into waterways.[101] In May 2007, the Costa Rican government announced its intentions to become 100% carbon neutral by 2021.[102] By 2015, 93 percent of the country's electricity came from renewable sources.[103] In 2016, the country produced 98% of its electricity from renewable sources and ran completely on renewable sources for 110 continuous days.[104]
I wasn’t there at the right time unfortunately, but I highly recommend arranging a trip to Costa Rica to coincide with the migration seasons for humpback and pilot whales, so that there is a chance to see these creatures passing through (after all admiring wildlife is one of the things to do in Costa Rica). The good news is that the humpback whale watching season in Costa Rica is really long, so if you plan your trip carefully you’ll have great chances to see them – it’s one of the things to do in Costa Rica. Other than Drake Bay, the other places to see whales in Costa Rica are Uvita and the Gulf of Papagayo.
Hi Janine, it depends on what you want for your vacation. June is the shoulder month (transition period) from dry to rainy season, so depending on where you are in the country, it could rain a lot for your trip. However, if you go to areas like Guanacaste, the rainy season is shorter and usually arrives later, so there’s a good chance you won’t run into rain in June in that area. We personally love the shoulder months like June (I don’t know why they told you it’s not a great month to go!) because there are way less tourists, prices start going down for hotels and everything starts turning green again. You can read our post 6 reasons why we love rainy season here: Why visit Costa Rica in rainy season and to prepare yourself for rainy season we have a packing list here: Rainy season packing list Costa Rica
Staying connected while in Costa Rica is really easy without paying $30-50 for a roaming plan.  WiFi is fairly easy to find in touristy areas in Costa Rica. Most hotels and restaurants that cater to foreigners will have free wifi for you to use during your stay. You can call and message your family/friends back home for free on your phone over the internet using Whatsapp, Facebook, Viber, Facetime, or Skype.
This is a country of extremes due to the mountainous terrain.  From sea level on the coasts to the highest peak at Cerro Chirripo, there is a difference of 3,810 meters in elevation gain.  To put this in perspective, Cerro Chirripo is located only 40 kilometers inland from the coast.  It can be a balmy 85 degree morning on the beach and there can be frost covered slopes on the highest peaks on the same day.
For a lower-stakes excursion that provides VIP private service and the best bang for your buck, try gentle wildlife floats such as the one offered by Green Frog Adventures, or meet in the middle with a Class III (moderate intensity) day excursion. Green Frog is a top rafting company: You can expect top-notch guides to escort you every step of the way on a fully catered journey that includes transport to and from the river – and even, if need be, accommodations for your flight or other travel plans.
Drive past Lake Arenal from Tilaran and you’ll eventually run into La Fortuna, the biggest and most tourist-friendly town in the Arenal area. This is a natural overnight spot for tourists continuing on to the volcano or the mountainous national parks between there and San Jose, and the hotel supply reflects that: you’ll find everything from $400-a-night luxury resorts built around hot springs to $30-per-night ecolodges half-hidden in the jungle here.
There are no formal street addresses in Costa Rica, but two informal systems exist. The first (often used in tourist information) indicates the road on which the establishment is located (e.g., "6th Avenue"), together with the crossroad interval (e.g., "between 21st and 23rd Streets"). In practice, street signs are virtually non-existent, and locals do not even know the name of the street they are on. The second system, which is much more reliable and understood by locals, is known as the "Tico address", usually involving an oriented distance (e.g., "100 metre south, 50 metres east") from a landmark (e.g., "the cathedral").
Had a wonderful trip to Costa Rica. Very well organized every step of the way. The tour director, Gilbert was simply awesome. He is very knowledgeable about Costa Rica -on history, bio diversity and all kind of interesting tidbits. He was always available to address any of our problems and made sure we enjoyed the trip and did not worry about anything else. Kudos to Gate1 for having employees of such caliber.

Hotel Belmar is located in Monteverde's cloud forest where guest will experience the best of nature, luxury, and sustainable practices. This world-renowned hotel offers a wide range of amenities including handmade organic soaps with biodegradable shampoos, locally made snacks, and fresh Costa Rican brewed coffee delivered to the exquisite rooms. Guests will experience only the best at this peaceful accommodation. 
The bridge is in the town of Tarcoles, a little bit before Jacoand it’s worth stopping to see the giant crocodiles. Warning: please be very careful walking on this bridge. There is no pedestrian path and the guard rails are not that high. Please don’t climb over the rails! Those crocodiles are waiting to be fed and you do not want to be their next dinner.
Because things to do in Costa Rica vary by destination, deciding which are of interest to you is important in helping our experts work to plan your dream vacation!  Whether it’s a family trip with surf lessons and horseback riding, or a romantic getaway for the tropical beach and picnic cruises, or an expert’s mountain biking or kayaking adventure, the options are almost limitless. From the rainforest to the ocean to the top of Arenal Volcano, there are new experiences just waiting for you. Activities can be arranged in any combination and with one-day or multi-day adventures. The joy of a custom-built vacation is that it truly is all about you. From the accommodations to the daily tours, each and every choice is up to you!  While we have sample itineraries, nothing is set in stone for your dream trip. Let us help you design your own pick-and-choose adventure.  Between the Costa Rican hospitality and the thrill of new experiences, you’ll have a blast on your vacation!
Restaurants: San Jose is the epicenter of Costa Rica’s haute cuisine movement, such as it is. If you have room in your budget for a culinary splurge, I’d highly recommend doing it in San Jose rather than a beachfront or hot springs resort. You’ll have more choice and probably pay less. Of course, if your main goal is reducing your dining out budget, you can find plenty of cheap cafeteria-style eateries. We had great success with Google Maps.
Still, Parque Nacional Santa Rosa teems with drought-hardy lowland-dwelling wildlife, including adorable spider monkeys. Other biomes abound too, including slightly moister deciduous forests and beautiful beaches that shelter a variety of tidal zone fauna. And Santa Rosa features a rare site of military significance in a pacifist country without a standing army: the plantation at which Costa Rican forces made a successful stand against American mercenary William Walker, a mid-19th century Bond villain who dreamed of turning this part of Central America into an English-speaking capitalist utopia.
For a developing country, Costa Rica is an expensive destination, something that is particularly noticeable when compared to its neighbours, Nicaragua and Panama. Prices for hotel accommodation, restaurant meals, and private transportation are on par with what's found in the United States and Canada, and only slightly less than typical prices found in Western Europe.
One of the top things to do in Costa Rica to admire wildlife is going on a guided night tour. Most animals are night creatures, and go out of their nests after sunset. This is a great time to spot frogs, snakes and – for the lucky ones – even jaguars. Night walks are offered in Tortuguero Natioanal Park, in Arenal and in Osa Peninsula. Needless to say, you will need a guide for this – first so that you don’t get lost, and secondly because unless you are an expert, you’ll need someone pointing the animals to you, and following their tracks.
The highway speed is 80km/h, but since the Interamericana (a.k.a. Highway #1) passes through innumerable small towns, the speed frequently drops to 50 or even 30km/h as you suddenly find yourself in a school zone. Most of the highway is not divided. A common indicator that a police checkpoint is ahead is that oncoming cars flick their lights at you. New laws that went into effect in 2010 have greatly increased the amount of tickets; it used to be a max of about USD20; there are now tickets that exceed USD400 for attempting to bribe an officer, and other big tickets for drunken driving, speeding, and other illegal actions including talking on a cell phone and not using seat belts. Be nice to the police if you are pulled over because, as a result of the new laws, it is possible for them to "throw the book" at you, although they generally do not. This could mean citing you for minor offenses that the new laws have instituted, such as the requirement that every car carry an emergency kit. New laws have also now enforced a 3 year prison sentence for driving with a 0.08 blood alcohol level and a USD480 fine. Driving over 20km/h over the speed limit is a USD310 and losing 20 points. Police now tend to target tourists because they think that Costa Ricans don't have the money to pay the big tickets---and they're right. The police themselves earn about USD500 per month, and that happens to be the average monthly wage in Costa Rica.
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!
Pharmaceuticals, financial outsourcing, software development, and ecotourism have become the prime industries in Costa Rica's economy. High levels of education among its residents make the country an attractive investing location. Since 1999, tourism earns more foreign exchange than the combined exports of the country's three main cash crops: bananas and pineapples especially,[98] but also other crops, including coffee.[99] Coffee production played a key role in Costa Rica's history and in 2006, was the third cash crop export.[99] As a small country, Costa Rica now provides under 1% of the world's coffee production.[48] In 2015, the value of coffee exports was US$305.9 million, a small part of the total agricultural exports of US$2.7 billion.[98] Coffee production increased by 13.7% percent in 2015-16, declined by 17.5% in 2016–17, but was expected to increase by about 15% in the subsequent year.[100]
Head north this morning, passing through sugar cane, teak, pineapple, and orange plantations. Then, cruise on the Rio Frio, gateway to the world famous Caño Negro wildlife refuge, home to many migratory birds found nowhere else in Costa Rica. Look for black turtles, whistling ducks, roseate spoonbills, cormorants, anhingas, blue heron, and northern jacanas. Watch for caimans, howler monkeys, spider monkeys, green iguanas, and water-walking lizards. Lunch. Return to Fortuna. This afternoon enjoy a relaxing soak in the volcanic hot springs. Dinner. BLD

You may think that Costa Rica is a cheap destination to travel to given its location in Central America. We found out first hand that couldn’t be further from the truth. While traveling around Costa Rica we found park fees to be high for the tourists (remember those waterfalls I talked about?), fuel prices expensive at $1.20/liter, car rental prices high given that you had to add insurance to everything, and food prices a rip off.
National air transport system: This entry includes four subfields describing the air transport system of a given country in terms of both structure and performance. The first subfield, number of registered air carriers, indicates the total number of air carriers registered with the country’s national aviation authority and issued an air operator certificate as required by the Convention on International Civil Aviation. The second subfield, inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers, lists the total number . . . more
Due to the insurance, the price you see online is a lot more expensive than you may think, we suggest adding the insurance on to your booking to ensure you aren’t met with a surprise cost addition when you land in Costa Rica. For 25 days we were able to get a small 4×4 for $436 from Alamo and had a great experience. Read more about renting a car abroad here. 
Children under the age of 5 years underweight: This entry gives the percent of children under five considered to be underweight. Underweight means weight-for-age is approximately 2 kg below for standard at age one, 3 kg below standard for ages two and three, and 4 kg below standard for ages four and five. This statistic is an indicator of the nutritional status of a community. Children who suffer from growth retardation as a result of poor diets and/or recurrent infections tend to have a greater risk of suffering illness and death.
If your sights are set on a slightly more exotic destination, look south. Not too far south: just beyond the gleaming waters of the Caribbean. There, straddling the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, lies Costa Rica. From most major U.S. cities, it’s less than six hours by plane to San Jose, Costa Rica’s capital. And, unlike transoceanic tropical destinations like Thailand and Indonesia, Costa Rica doesn’t demand much from your body’s clock: It’s in the Central Time Zone, meaning little to no jet lag for folks from North America.
Visiting chocolate plantations is a fun and informative experience and offers new views to the tediousness of drying the beans and the seductive aromas produced as the beans roast. The country produced nearly 700 tons of dry grain in 2013, but it was not enough to cover the domestic demand. Many chocolate tours will allow you to grind the beans yourself for a better insight into the process of crafting smooth, velvety chocolate mixed with a small amount of sugar to make 70 percent dark chocolate. 
My boyfriend and I are going to Costa Rica the first week of April. We’re going for ten days and are hopping from San Jose to Manuel Antonio National Park, La Fortuna, and finally the coast for beautiful beaches. As for La Fortuna, I’ve noticed that both the Waterfall and Arenal closes at 4pm. What do you recommend for activities after 4pm? Also, which beach do you recommend going first?

Discover Costa Rica delights travelers seeking to explore the highlights of Costa Rica by visiting 3 strikingly different areas, Arenal Volcano, Monteverde Cloud Forest, and the beautiful pink beach at Playa Conchal. Along the way, you’ll have a choice of exciting activities that can turn it into an action-packed adventure, or make it an enlightening safari, or simply choose to enjoy a perfect balance of both. This 9-day vacation combination culminates with some restful ME TIME at a luxurious all-inclusive beach resort.
In addition to paper maps, you can also use the GPS maps from various providers. GPSeTravelguides offers a complete navigation map for Costa Rica, http://www.gpsetravelguides.com/page/costa-rica-gps-map.html. Trackit GPS provides maps in local retailers, http://www.trackit.co.cr. Kaart Data apps can be used on iOS and Android, http://www.kaartdata.com/mobile-apps/ Cenrut maps can be loaded on Garmin devices, iPhones and Android phones: http://www.cenrut.org/adw/over.htm And if you want to locate the best Costa Rican beaches to surf or for a family outing then you want to use CRSurf.com's Costa Rica Map, created by a surfer, who has surfed every wave on this Google map, for surfers.
As well as Costa Rican Spanish, there is also an English-based Creole language spoken in Limón Province on the Caribbean Sea coast of Costa Rica. It is called Limonese Creole or Mekatelyu. This Creole language is similar to varieties such as Colón Creole, Miskito Coastal Creole, Belizean Kriol language, and San Andrés and Providencia Creole since all originated from English seafarers and settlers. The name Mekatelyu is a transliteration of the phrase "make I tell you", or in standard English "let me tell you". It is basically English language however it has a very distinctive pronunciation and vocabulary very similar to Jamaican English.
The Simon Bolivar Zoological Gardens is located in downtown San Jose, where it covers an area of around 14 hectares, part of which is a botanical garden. The zoo serves as a sanctuary to orphaned and injured wild animals, but there is no doubt that it is not one of the more progressive cage-less zoos – if you hate to see wild animals in cages, then this one is probably not for you. However, the zoo is very popular with local families and does give children the opportunity to see a wide variety of animals including birds, fish, capuchin monkeys, and a lion within a manageable space.
Alright, I’ll be honest. National Costa Rican beer is pretty much the equivalent of BudLight, but on hot days there is nothing I enjoy more. If you are into the craft beer scene like we are, have no fear! The craft beer culture is slowly making its way into Costa Rica and it is possible to find breweries in most tourist destinations. Two of our favorites are Fuego Brew Co. in Dominical (that is where the picture above was taken) and Wilk Craft Beer in San Jose.
White, gold, tan, and gray sand decorate the hundreds of beaches found along the Pacific and Caribbean coasts of Costa Rica for incredible surfing. Surfers have flocked to Costa Rica for decades in search of the perfect waves and to soak up the laid-back lifestyle of Pura Vida. Whether an experienced surfer or one eager to learn while under the guidance of a supportive instructor, Costa Rica offers an abundance of celebrated spots, including Matapalo and Jaco Beach on the Central Pacific, Nosara on the Nicoya Peninsula and Puerto Viejo on the Caribbean Coast.

If you plan on driving in Costa Rica it’s best to know that the roads can be pretty awful, some of the worst in all the Americas to be exact. It all depends on where you travel, but almost any road not part of the national highway we found to be pretty meh. The worst we personally traveled on was from Nicoya to Santa Teresa (I may or may not have had back spasms from the constant crater-like potholes).


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 🙂

Caravan Tours began selling fully escorted tours in 1952. We have been under the same management and ownership ever since. In 1965, Roger Mudd hosted a two hour CBS TV special on Caravan Tours. This TV production took about one month to make and was so successful it inspired the 1968 romantic comedy movie “If it’s Tuesday this must be Belgium.” In the early 50’s the Mayor of Dublin presented Caravan with the Key to Dublin for bringing the first American tour to the city after WWII. Since then Caravan has been recognized as a pioneer in travel.
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!
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.
Hotel Belmar is located in Monteverde's cloud forest where guest will experience the best of nature, luxury, and sustainable practices. This world-renowned hotel offers a wide range of amenities including handmade organic soaps with biodegradable shampoos, locally made snacks, and fresh Costa Rican brewed coffee delivered to the exquisite rooms. Guests will experience only the best at this peaceful accommodation. 
The cooler climate and moss-strewn trees provide perfect nesting grounds for the rare and endangered resplendent quetzal. The smaller, yet equally majestic neighbor to Monteverde Cloud Forest is Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve, which overtakes 765 acres. The less-visited terrain contains trails that lead through the hanging vines as vegetation drips with moisture from the passing clouds. Guided tours in the region include suspension bridges, zip lines, butterfly gardens, nature walks and horseback riding.
Don’t be turned off by popularity. No two travelers will ever have the same experience on the trails, see the same wildlife, have the same guide, etc. Our popular packages are still uniquely yours. Furthermore, they can be customized to be exactly what you want them to be. Scared of heights? Pull the canopy zip line tour out of your trip. Have to swim in a rainforest waterfall during your visit? Add it on! Hotel and resort upgrades are available and highly encouraged. This is your trip. Do it your way!

Inaccessible by car, the remote coastal region of Tortuguero provides a sanctuary for rare wildlife. It is also a primary nesting site for several species of endangered sea turtles. Canals wind through the jungle allowing you to observe the untouched beauty. Supporting eleven unique types of biospheres, it may be the most diverse place in Costa Rica! A small colorful village sits on an island sandwiched between the river and the Caribbean coastline. Ideal for serious nature enthusiasts!
These men’s Vaha pants are lightweight and weigh nothing in a carry-on bag. I could literally live in these pants if it were acceptable to wear them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner out. While in the Costa Rica, they were a wardrobe staple for nighttime as they are appropriate to wear barefoot out to a restaurant or bar while covering our legs from the pesky mosquitos.

Thanks for these tips! I’m a single 31 year old female traveling to Costa Rica this July 2016 for 17 days. I’m staying at a yoga retreat for the first 8 days and the remaining time I have not yet planned. I will be in line for the first week and would really like to be on the coast for the second week. I heard Santa Teresa is amazing what recommendations do you have for a single female traveling alone looking to stay on a budget but also willing to spend a little.

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


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.
With its incredible coastline, it’s quite obvious that one of the ultimate things to do in Costa Rica is going to the beach, and moving from one beach to the other on the same day, either on foot or by boat. There are beaches for any taste and needs: my favorite are the ones with white sand and clear waters (much like the ones I am accustomed to, in Sardinia). The good news is that they never get really crowded, to it is easy to find one to relax and explore. Furthermore, all beaches are public which means there is no fees to access and this is very budget friendly!
Lapa Rios Ecolodge - is located in a private nature reserve of over 1,000 acres of tropical rainforest near Corcovado National Park and overlooks the point where the Pacific Ocean meets the Golfo Dulce. Made from local materials, each bungalow has an intricately woven thatched roof. Guests can experience hiking, birdwatching, boating trips, dolphin and whale watching. VIsit on our Wild Costa Rica tour.
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.

The natural protected areas represent 31% of the national territory. Here, there are majestic primary and secondary forests, cloud forests such as the Monteverde Reserve, Santa Elena and San Gerardo de Dota, extensive rainforests such as Braulio Carrillo National Park, Sarapiquí, Corcovado National Park, Manuel Antonio National Park, the unique transitional rainforest of the Carara National Park, or the dry tropical forest of Santa Rosa National Park in the North Pacific.
A pioneer of ecotourism, Costa Rica draws many tourists to its extensive series of national parks and other protected areas.[113] In the 2011 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index, Costa Rica ranked 44th in the world and second among Latin American countries after Mexico in 2011.[114] By the time of the 2017 report, the country had reached 38th place, slightly behind Panama.[115] The Ethical Traveler group's ten countries on their 2017 list of The World's Ten Best Ethical Destinations includes Costa Rica. The country scored highest in environmental protection among the winners.[116] Costa Rica began reversing deforestation in the 1990s, and they are moving towards using only renewable energy.[117]
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