Costa Rica is an active member of the United Nations and the Organization of American States. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the United Nations University of Peace are based in Costa Rica. It is also a member of many other international organizations related to human rights and democracy, such as the Community of Democracies. A main foreign policy objective of Costa Rica is to foster human rights and sustainable development as a way to secure stability and growth.[118]
Topping out well above 12,000 feet, Cerro Chirripo is Costa Rica’s highest peak. Along with surrounding high peaks, it harbors rare high-altitude ecosystems: supermontane forests, dwarf forests, and paramo, among others. Above the treeline, it’s harder for wildlife to hide, so you’re more likely to see rare mammals like Dice’s rabbit, charismatic carnivores like cougars (known locally as pumas), and – of course – colorful birds like quetzals. The high slopes and summit boast unusual vertical rock formations called crestones, which resemble the pinnacles and spires found in the badlands of North and South Dakota.
Sanitation facility access: This entry provides information about access to improved or unimproved sanitation facilities available to segments of the population of a country. Improved sanitation - use of any of the following facilities: flush or pour-flush to a piped sewer system, septic tank or pit latrine; ventilated improved pit (VIP) latrine; pit latrine with slab; or a composting toilet. Unimproved sanitation - use of any of the following facilities: flush or pour-flush not piped to a sewer system, septic tank . . . more
We get a lot of e-mails especially from budget travelers asking what there is to do for free in Costa Rica.  Turns out not much is totally free, but if you stretch your budget to a few bucks per person it opens up more possibilities.  Our list of cheap or free things to help keep kids entertained also might be worth a look if you’re young at heart.
Tourism plays a vital role in the economic growth of Costa Rica.  There is an official tourism board to oversee this, the ICT.  Costa Rica also recognizes the importance of sustainable tourism, which is a primary purpose of the ICT.  Recognizing the importance of sustainable tourism, the country has dedicated over 25% of the land to national parks and protected refuges.  This will ensure not only the protection of endangered wildlife and rainforest, but also leave this treasure for generations to come.
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.
Beaches in Costa Rica are laid back and lovely. Swim, snorkel and even scuba dive in the turquoise waters. Other more adventurous activities you can enjoy on your Costa Rica tour are hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, canoeing and river rafting. Canopy tours are fun ways to get aerial views of the rainforest. And for those who like to pamper themselves on vacation, at some Costa Rican resorts, you can soak in natural healing hot mineral pools or try a mud massage.
Molten hot lava used to spill from this perfectly conical volcano, but in recent years activity has calmed. It still smokes from time to time and you are not allowed to hike to the crater, but the Arenal National Park is an adventure playground where you can fly through the canopy on zip wires, visit hot springs or take the hanging bridges to get as close as possible to the crater.
Costa Rica has protected over 25% of the natural terrain through reserves and national parks. In total, the country has 27 national parks to choose from located all over the country. With over 615 wildlife species per 10,000 square km and 12 key ecological zones. Most parks are loaded with a variety of the adventures previously mentioned. So, pick your park(s), and book your adventure(s) for an unforgettable trip.

Similar to how it is done in the United States, there are apartments available in Costa Rica to rent for short-term (well, long-term for you but short-term as far as leases go). Apartments are great to rent if you want to get a really authentic feel for one of the major cities in Costa Rica, like San José or Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. With an apartment rental, you can be right in the hustle and bustle of the cosmopolitan atmosphere of Costa Rican cities, instead of being housed away on a hotel property.

Travel with someone else when possible. A trusted friend is best, of course - not just someone you met last night at the hostel, but he or she will do in a pinch. (Trust your gut feeling with new friends – most are great, but some may be con artists!) Traveling with a friend makes the journey more entertaining and more fun: you can talk and share travel stories and each of you can take turns sleeping on long bus rides. Also, there is the fact that "two heads are better than one" and it's always good to be able to brainstorm if you aren't sure what the answer to your travel question or concern is.
They aren’t exactly a substitute for trails through the rain forests in the national parks because any area that has road access has also been mostly clear-cut for pasture or farmland.  There’s rarely shade and except for a couple of hours early in the morning or late in the afternoon the lack of tree cover can make it excruciatingly hot under the tropical sun.
Over 840 species of birds have been identified in Costa Rica. As is the case in much of Central America, the avian species in Costa Rica are a mix of North and South American species. The country's abundant fruit trees, many of which bear fruit year round, are hugely important to the birds, some of whom survive on diets that consist only of one or two types of fruit. Some of the country's most notable avian species include the resplendent quetzal, scarlet macaw, three-wattled bellbird, bare-necked umbrellabird, and the keel-billed toucan.[74] The Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad is allowed to collect royalties on any biological discoveries of medical importance. Costa Rica is a center of biological diversity for reptiles and amphibians, including the world's fastest running lizard, the spiny-tailed iguana (Ctenosaura similis).[75]
Commonly referred to as the most biologically diverse place on Earth, Corcovado National Park is the largest stretch of virgin Pacific Coast forest in the world. With species such as the Northern Tamandua, Baird’s Tapir and the countries smallest cat species called Margay, it is home to more than 370 species of birds, 10,000 insects and 140 different mammals. Other famous residents include Spider Monkeys, Howler Monkeys, White-Faced Capuchin Monkeys and the endangered Squirrel Monkey. Reptiles to be wary of include American Crocodile and Boa Constrictors while Bull Sharks as well as several species of sea turtles roam the waters off-shore. Corcovado National Park is a wonder land of wildlife watching.
Economy - overview: This entry briefly describes the type of economy, including the degree of market orientation, the level of economic development, the most important natural resources, and the unique areas of specialization. It also characterizes major economic events and policy changes in the most recent 12 months and may include a statement about one or two key future macroeconomic trends.
Surfing is one of the most popular things to do in Costa Rica – this country gets some of the best waves in the world! My friends that regularly go surfing in Sardinia told me that nothing beats the waves of Pavones, Playa Tamarindo, Playa Negra and Playa Hermosa. Those who are keen to learn have plenty of choice for surf camps. Some people even go as far as booking surf holidays. Those who just want to have a try can sign up for a group or individual lesson.
Miles and miles of brilliant beaches are one of Costa Rica’s prime attractions on both the Caribbean and Pacific coastlines, beckoning visitors to come and enjoy a perfect beach vacation. The Peaks ‘n Swells Surf Camps are located on the renowned Nicoya Peninsula, which is blessed with some of the world’s most consistent surf breaks – a pure paradise for surfers of all levels. At Peaks ‘n Swells’ fully inclusive camps, you can enjoy professional surfing tuition for all ages, fresh organic meals, yoga workshops, and close proximity to a host of other holiday attractions, such as horseback riding, snorkeling excursions, and visits to a sea turtle sanctuary. The camps are located within walking distance of Montezuma, offering a unique family-friendly vacation.
Many travelers who enjoy nature vacations have scuba-diving experiences at the top of their list. Among the coolest places to visit in Costa Rica there are lots of amazing spots to explore under the water. One of the top picks is Drake Bay. Located in the northern part of the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica, one of the most remote regions of the country, Bahia Drake, as it’s called in Spanish, was named after Sir Francis Drake. He discovered it in the 16th century, during his voyage around the globe.
In San José there is not one central bus station, but rather several different ones, with each station roughly serving a different area of the country, with some exceptions. For example, most of the service to the Caribbean side of the country leaves from the Terminal Gran Caribe. However, in November 2012 the direct service to the far south Caribbean coast moved to the Puntarenas bus station, which mostly serves the west side of the country. Still, you can still get to the Caribe side by taking a bus (on the Autotransportes Caribeños‎ line) from the Terminal Gran Caribe to Limón, and then transferring there to another bus south (the Mepe line). Or just go to the Mepe terminal in SJ for a direct bus to Puerto Viejo or any other place on the South Caribean coast. In short, do some research beforehand so you don't get lost looking for your bus. Often you can just call or email your final destination (e.g. your hotel) and they will tell you what bus to take, where to catch it and how often it runs. Schedules are available online.
Land use: This entry contains the percentage shares of total land area for three different types of land use: agricultural land, forest, and other; agricultural land is further divided into arable land - land cultivated for crops like wheat, maize, and rice that are replanted after each harvest, permanent crops - land cultivated for crops like citrus, coffee, and rubber that are not replanted after each harvest, and includes land under flowering shrubs, fruit trees, nut trees, and vines, and permane . . . more

Over 840 species of birds have been identified in Costa Rica. As is the case in much of Central America, the avian species in Costa Rica are a mix of North and South American species. The country's abundant fruit trees, many of which bear fruit year round, are hugely important to the birds, some of whom survive on diets that consist only of one or two types of fruit. Some of the country's most notable avian species include the resplendent quetzal, scarlet macaw, three-wattled bellbird, bare-necked umbrellabird, and the keel-billed toucan.[74] The Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad is allowed to collect royalties on any biological discoveries of medical importance. Costa Rica is a center of biological diversity for reptiles and amphibians, including the world's fastest running lizard, the spiny-tailed iguana (Ctenosaura similis).[75]
From the tall viewing platform, zipliners then start riding down on a track that stretches across canyons, sits in between treetops, and heads down mountainsides. There are seven zip lines in total, which can get up to around half a mile long, and the duration of the experience is two and a half hours all together. To me, it is one of the most incredible things to do in Costa Rica.
If you find yourself in the Central Valley, find a coffee plantation to tour. There are a few good ones on the way to Poas volcano. We recently went to Cafe Britt with my family and had a great time filled with wayyyy too much free coffee. We all felt a little caffeine drunk afterward. There are also TONS of smaller coffee plantations throughout the country which offer tours.

Caravan's vacation packages include complimentary departure transfers from your hotel in San José to the Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) in San José, Costa Rica on the day the tour ends, scheduled to arrive at the airport at 5:00 a.m, 7:00 a.m, 9:00 a.m., and 11:30 a.m. These transfers are only available on the day the tour ends. If you wish to extend your stay in Costa Rica, you will need to transfer on your own, at your own expense. Please ask the hotel bellman to arrange a taxi. Expect to pay $25.00 U.S. Dollars per taxi, plus tip. The driving time from the hotel to the airport is approximately 30-60 minutes, depending on traffic. Please advise the Tour Director if you will be taking your own taxi separately.   
Tobías Bolaños International Airport (Spanish: Aeropuerto Internacional Tobías Bolaños) (IATA: SYQ) i(LIR) is in the Pavas district of San José about a 10-15 minute drive from the city centre. This airport primarily serves as the gateway linking to local Costa Rican domestic flights or nearby international destinations of Nicaragua and Panama.Currently, this airport is the hub for Nature Air. The terminal is neat, and clean though small and lacks any food concession so eating before an early morning flight is advisable.
“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
Costa Rica has a long-existing love affair with chocolate; it has been used as drinks, dessert and even currency! There's no surprise that chocolate farm tours are among the best things to do in the country. Have yourself a piece — or more, if you wish — as you go wander into a garden of Cacao Trees. You may even get a chance to make chocolate with your own hands.
Vegetarians will find it surprisingly easy to eat well in Costa Rica. There are several International cuisine options also. In addition to American style food, Italian, Mexican, Peruvian and Indian are also available. Indian food generally has vegetarian, vegan and gluten free dishes. Try Indian Naans & Curries dishes. They taste better in Costa Rica because of natural ingredients.

The boutique Tambor Tropical Beach Resort offers guests the opportunity to relax and explore during their tropical beach getaway. You may enjoy the golden beaches and deep blue waters just a few steps away from your luxurious suite. Your room is complete with a private balcony granting spectacular views of Whale Bay. Keep an eye out for the charismatic marine life on the horizon. Recenter yourself with a relaxing massage or an outdoor yoga class, certified instructors are even available to teach yoga on stand up paddle boards in the bay. Embark on an exciting adventure sea kayaking, horseback riding, or sport fishing. This dazzling beach resort beautifully showcases the best of the Nicoya Peninsula.
“Gringo buses,” or tourist shuttles, are much more expensive than intercity buses. They’re also far more convenient for tourists traveling from the airport to coastal resort towns, where door-to-door service is available. (If you take the regular bus, you’ll have to walk a kilometer or two with your luggage.) Easy Ride, one of several aboveboard operators, runs regular routes from San Jose to Jaco and other coastal towns for $45 to $90 one-way, depending on destination and demand. Private rides cost roughly double.
Easily accessible from Tamarindo, Playa Flamingo, Conchal, and Papagayo, the Catalinas Islands offer some of the best scuba diving in Costa Rica. This island chain is located off the Nicoya Peninsula in the northwest part of the country. The depth ranges between 18–75 feet (5.4–23 meters) and within this range there is an incredible diversity of wildlife. The islands are famous for their population and variety of rays, as well as tropical fish, sharks, sea turtles, and even sometimes whale sharks and pilot whales. Diving is incredible here all year around.
Eating Costa Rican food is a great way to learn more about the culture and history of the country. Staples at meal time include black beans and rice known as gallo pinto, a favourite for breakfast. Dinner brings delectables like sopa negra (black bean soup) and casado which highlights rice with an array of side dish like fried plantains, vegetables, fish, beef or chicken. For dessert, try the Costa Rican rice pudding known as arroz con leche and quench your thirst with a traditional shot of guaro which is a liquor made of sugar cane.
There is a USD29 exit fee at the Juan Santamaría Airport. This must be paid in cash, or by Visa (in which case it will be processed as a cash advance). The fee can also be paid in advance at some hotels or banks (Banco Credito Agricola de Cartago and Banco de Costa Rica). Some airlines already have this tax included in their ticket price - travellers can check the Juan Santamaría Airport website to find out what airlines already have the fee included.
Chepe, as San José is fondly known, is the cradle of art in Costa Rica. The largest city in the country offers a neoclassical appeal in form of historic architectures aficionados will revel in. Take a jaunt into colonial mansions, now converted into fine art galleries and boutique hotels. Among your best stops: Museo de Oro, Teatro Nacional and Barrio Amón.
Distribution of family income - Gini index: This index measures the degree of inequality in the distribution of family income in a country. The index is calculated from the Lorenz curve, in which cumulative family income is plotted against the number of families arranged from the poorest to the richest. The index is the ratio of (a) the area between a country's Lorenz curve and the 45 degree helping line to (b) the entire triangular area under the 45 degree line. The more nearly equal a country's income distribution, the closer its . . . more
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.
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.
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.
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
Don’t come here expecting to have a bug-free experience. Even the most expensive hotels are going to have insects (this is a rain forest). Rooms here can be quite nice if you pay up, but they do not come with central heat and air. It is cool enough at night that AC is not needed, but if you want airflow you will likely have your windows, and perhaps some of the doors, open. If you have strong aversion to bugs make sure in advance that the windows in your room have screens (seems like this would be a given, it is not). We have screens at our house but I awoke at 1:00 a.m to a spider walking across my face. Be prepared to roll with it.
The mountains surrounding the Central Valley offer a perfect altitude of nearly 3,700 feet above sea level that grows to over 5,575 feet above sea level for an ideal environment in which to cultivate coffee. The valley also keeps an average spring-like temperature year-round. The Talamanca Mountains border the south and the Poas, Barva, and Irazu volcanoes frame the northern edges of the bustling city. Contemporary art galleries bring insight into the seductive art scene while the Central Market provides visitors with a glimpse of the Tico lifestyle as locals traverse the aisles in the 19th century donut-like structure in search of fresh produce, fish, and meat.

Crocodiles are quite common in certain parts of Costa Rica and, although not as dangerous as the Nile or saltwater species, are still considered occasional man-eaters and can grow to lengths of up to 20 feet/6 meters. The biggest spot for them is the Tarcoles river bridge in the central pacific as posted in the Jaco wiki. It is recommended to stop the vehicle nearby and walk across it. Some locals throw chicken meat and watch them eat. Great care should be taken when swimming or snorkeling, especially near areas where fishing is common or near river mouths.


Envision describes itself as “a platform for different cultures to coexist in sustainable community, and inspire one another through art, spirituality, yoga, music, dance, performance, education, sustainability, and our fundamental connection with nature.” The festival features more than 60 musical performers, non-musical performance artists on display around the clock, world-class yogis, body healing workshops, static and dynamic art installations (art is truly everywhere you look), and much more. Dozens of composting toilets, zero landfill waste of any kind distributed, biodegradable disposables such as plates and utensils, and other sustainable initiatives set Envision apart from more wasteful events of its scale. Consider attending even if this type of environment is outside of your comfort zone; it can be a truly transformative experience that will stay with you forever.

Please note civil archives recording land titles are at times incomplete or contradictory. Coastal land within 50 meters of the high tide line is open to the public and therefore closed to development. The next 150 meters inland (“Maritime Zone”) cannot be owned by foreign nationals. Land in this zone is administered by the local municipality. Expropriation of private land by the Costa Rican government without compensation considered adequate or prompt has hurt some U.S. investors. 
Driving at night is highly inadvisable, due to the unpredictability of road conditions and lack of safety features such as guard rails on the many hairpin turns in the hills. To put safety in perspective, Costa Rica's per capita traffic death rate is comparable to that of the United States, but there are undeniably many hazards, and they are likely to be unfamiliar ones.
What could be more romantic than holiday in the rainforest?  Experience the forest sundown romantic dinner at El Silencio Lodge, where a chef will dazzle and delight you with amazing courses, all surrounded by the lush tropical forest.  If you’re looking more for 5-star hospitality consider a resort, where a relaxing night can be spent in your own personal over-sized Jacuzzi, glass of wine in hand.
From your biggest concerns, like which airline to fly, to the seemingly insignificant details that can make or break your vacation (do you really need five different types of bug repellent?), our experts have you covered. Whatever your question or concern, you’ll find the answer here. It’s everything you need to know to pull off a worry-free, safe, and easy Costa Rican vacation.
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The country has been considered economically stable with moderate inflation, estimated at 2.6% in 2017,[76] and moderately high growth in GDP, which increased from US$41.3 billion in 2011 to US$52.6 billion in 2015.[77] The estimated GDP for 2017 is US$61.5 billion and the estimated GDP per capita (purchasing power parity) is US$12,382.[76] The growing debt and budget deficit are the country's primary concerns.[11]
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