Planning a vacation abroad is exciting, but let’s face it: it can be overwhelming. There is so much information on line that it’s hard to know what is current and what sources you can trust, not to mention what is useful and what is just wasting your time. That’s where we come in! Not only can you find everything you need right here, but we can assure you that our expert travel consultants are a fountain of information and willing to help when you decide it’s time to start planning.
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.   
transshipment country for cocaine and heroin from South America; illicit production of cannabis in remote areas; domestic cocaine consumption, particularly crack cocaine, is rising; significant consumption of amphetamines; seizures of smuggled cash in Costa Rica and at the main border crossing to enter Costa Rica from Nicaragua have risen in recent years
Welcome to Hotel El Mono Feliz a birders haven. More than one hundred thirty species of birds have been spotted on the grounds. This small slice of paradise boasts a warm and friendly staff dedicated to creating the perfect getaway. Explore tasty local flavors in Ojochal, which is known to be Costa Rica’s foodie capital. Walk along pristine untouched beaches or explore the exotic jungle. The natural scenery in the South Pacific Region will amaze visitors from around the globe.
Wildlife - Costa Rica is world famous for having an incredibly high level of biodiversity throughout its tropical forests (this covers what you may hear referred to as rain forests, cloud forests, and dry forests). There are tropical mammals such as monkeys, sloths, tapirs, and wild cats as well as an amazing assortment of insects and other animals. There are many many birds (both migratory and resident) - more on that below. With 25% of the country being national parks and protected areas, there are still many places you can go to see the abundant wildlife and lush vegetation of the country. Just like anywhere, the farther you get off the beaten path, the more likely you are to see a wide variety of flora and fauna.
Costa Rican coffee is famous all over the world. By taking one of the coffee plantation tours you can see every step of the refining process and get the chance to buy discounted coffee in the gift shops. I hate the taste of coffee but the kind I had in Monteverde tasted like chocolate. Prices vary but expect to pay at least 14,000 CRC (25 USD) for a tour.
Because of safety concerns for the prospective applicant, as well as security and communication issues, the CIA Recruitment Center does not accept resumes, nor can we return phone calls, e-mails or other forms of communication, from US citizens living outside of the US. When you return permanently to the US (not on vacation or leave), please visit the CIA Careers page and apply online for the position of interest.

On the Pacific side, heavy surf is a year-round phenomenon. In fact, it’s advisable to check weather and surf conditions before venturing out, since offshore storms can create dangerous rip currents even when beach-side conditions appear fair. Boca Barranca is renowned for its half-mile wave breaks, while Playa Escondida is popular with novice and intermediate surfers. Board rentals generally start around $10 and range up to $20 or more for high-end options.
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.

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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.
Costa Rican coffee is famous all over the world. By taking one of the coffee plantation tours you can see every step of the refining process and get the chance to buy discounted coffee in the gift shops. I hate the taste of coffee but the kind I had in Monteverde tasted like chocolate. Prices vary but expect to pay at least 14,000 CRC (25 USD) for a tour.

Costa Ricans tend to use the term Regaláme, literally "gift me", instead of "get me". An example is when a Costa Rican says: "regáleme la cuenta", literrally "gift me the bill", which is unusual to other Spanish speaking countries, however, it is a very common Costa Rican term. Another such case might be when Costa Ricans go out to buy something, in which case they might use the term this way: "Regáleme un confite y una Coca", literally, "Gift me a piece of candy and a Coke", but it is understood that the person asking is going to buy said things and is not expecting the other to gift him or her those things. A more precise phrase in standard Spanish would be: "Me vende un confite y una Coca", meaning: "Sell me a piece of candy and a Coke".
The La Fortuna Waterfall is one of the top waterfalls to visit in Costa Rica. There are multiple ways to get to the hiking trail, one being via horseback, where you will then walk down 500 steps to the basin of the waterfall; La Fortuna Waterfall is 230 feet (70 meters) high! The raw power of this waterfall is mesmerizing. After hiking down, you can swim in the pool beneath the cascade of water, which is an incredible experience in and of itself. The surrounding forest is stunning and it is likely that you will see toucans, butterflies, monkeys, and sloths.
What makes Carara one of Costa Rica attractions is the fact that, covering close to 13,000 acres, apart from so many bird species, it is also home to a diverse array of other wildlife to keep an eye out for. This list includes sloths, monkeys, deer, armadillos, peccaries and even big cats and crocodiles. The park also has various interpretative trails to explore, even for those who are less active. Many tour companies operate tours (including hiking, river boating, and birding excursions) in Carara, so it is easy to find guides to help see this part of Costa Rica in depth.
You’ll find that people in Costa Rica are generally in less of a hurry than most North Americans or Europeans. This is particularly true on the east coast where a laidback, Caribbean attitude has been adopted thanks to a large population of migrant workers from Jamaica. Following what is affectionately known as “Tico time”, people will often be fashionably late, except for things with schedules – Tico time does not apply at work, the movies or the train station. 
Catarata Del Toro is a private reserve in the central mountains of Costa Rica, near San Jose International Airport. The star of the reserve is a magnificent waterfall, the largest in the country, tumbling down into an extinct volcano crater. All around you is breathtaking beauty: The rock formations, the lookouts, and the incredibly diverse flora and fauna. Catarata Del Toro Adventures enables visitors to explore this lush area while they rappel, swim, hike, take photos, watch birds, or enjoy a fresh meal at the open-air restaurant. If you want to stay longer, the reserve offers simple, rustic rooms where you can replenish your energy and continue your exploration another day.
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.”
So when you’re trying to get your money together, don’t stress too much about exchanging it all beforehand as it’s not 100% necessary if you live in the US. You can use dollars in pretty much every touristic destination and they will give you your change back in colones. If you are Canadian however, it will be better for you to have colones due to the Canadian dollar and USD exchange rate. Ask the hotels or tour companies if you can pay in colones instead.

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.
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.
At Rough Guides, we understand that experienced travellers want to get truly off-the-beaten-track. That’s why we’ve partnered with local experts to help you plan and book tailor-made trips that are packed with personality and stimulating adventure - at all levels of comfort. If you love planning, but find arranging the logistics exhausting, you’re in the right place.

Can you imagine waking up in a full-of-nature country, where you can make a thrilling white water rafting tours after breakfast and an incredible canopy tours before dinner? Well, if your idea for your next vacations are days filled with adventure, where you can explore every corner of Costa Rica with the adrenaline at your maximum, our adventure packages are waiting for you!


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.
You can also find luxurious houses, condos or apartments anywhere along the coast, in the jungles or on the hillsides overlooking the spectacular Central Valley. Some of these rentals might come with perks, like cleaning and laundry services, as well. These options are definitely something worth considering if you want to stay in Costa Rica long-term and worry free.
Costa Rica is home to more than 500,000 species with 300,000 of those insects. This staggering number represents nearly 4% of the total species estimated worldwide. That’s a whole lotta wildlife in one little country. Costa Rica is actually one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. No matter where you are in the country there are many amazing animals and birds to be found.
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.
Parque Francisco Alvarado invites all nature lovers and budding gardeners to come and be inspired by the work of artist and topiary master Evangelisto Blanco. Visitors to this unique topiary park in the city of Zarcero can walk through a green tunnel of living arches, which have been coaxed into their present shape since the 1960s. In addition to the impressive green arches, you can also admire a variety of large topiary animals and people of all shapes and sizes. The park lies opposite the ornate pink and the blue Iglesia de San Rafael Church, which was built in 1895 and is also well worth a visit while you are in Zarcero.
We had a great time! Our tour guide Luis was amazing. The country is beautiful and we saw a lot of nature and got along well with the others in the group. We did all the optional side trips which were definitely worth it. Accommodations and food were very good and all in all it was a great trip. Thank you! Looking forward to the next Gate 1 vacation!
Costa Rica’s unit of currency is the colon, which hovers between 500 - 550 colones/ $1 USD. U.S. dollars are widely accepted, provided the bill is not too large ($50 and $100 bills are rarely accepted). Hotels and tours generally list their prices in dollars. Compared to the rest of Central America, prices in Costa Rica are relatively high, due in large part to the country’s high standard of living. Typical Costa Rican food and produce is quite inexpensive, while imported products are priced similarly to U.S. prices. A typical Costa Rican breakfast and lunch will cost around 2000-5000 colones ($4-10).
Now that you have your rental car it’s time to practice safe driving. Again, many of the roads in Costa Rica are pot hole ridden and dirt. They can be tough for an inexperienced driver to navigate. Not to mention as with many countries we found the drivers here to be impatient, fast, and scary and I’m not even talking about the semi-truck drivers who don’t seem to value life. In our 25 days in Costa Rica we saw one motorbike accident and two, yes two, overturned semis in a ditch. Be careful and remember to get travel insurance before you travel to Costa Rica.
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.

Don’t let the high likelihood of rain dampen your spirits though. Tapanti boasts a slew of plant and animal species not found anywhere else, including newly discovered miniature orchid species smaller than 5 millimeters (less than one-fifth of an inch). Expect to pay $10 per person, per day, to enter. If you want to fish in any of the dozens of rivers here, you can buy a permit (cost varies) at the visitor center.
Six of seven sea turtle species are in danger of extinction, and four of those six call Costa Rica home. The leatherback sea turtle population has declined by over 90% since the 1980’s on the Pacific Coast. In hopes of reversing this trend, Costa Rica has established turtle conservation efforts along both the East and West coast of the country.  Join a program to help protect the endangered species from further damage.

For the best beaches, we suggest the North Pacific Coast. Tamarindo is one of the most popular beaches in this area. It can get pretty crowded, but it has lots of restaurants, shops, and other facilities. Alternatively, we love the quiet area near Playa Avellanas (just south of Tamarindo). It’s more rustic down here and less developed, but easily accessible by car and a great place to relax and enjoy the Pura Vida lifestyle!

Celebrate the love in one little piece of paradise like Costa Rica! With our honeymoon packages, you will spend incredible days next to your loved one, discovering one of the most beautiful and exotic destinations of the world. Taking care of all details, our all-inclusive honeymoon packages are made to pamper the new couple and include all kinds of special things such as massages, special decorations and private romantic dinners.
There are a few things that are important to know about Costa Rica before visiting. The following Costa Rica travel tips will help you better understand the country. The busiest travel times in Costa Rica are during Christmas and New Year's, as well as the week leading up to Easter Sunday, which is known as Semana Santa, or “Holy Week.” If you plan to travel during these weeks you must book your hotel well in advance — but it’s a better idea to simply plan your visit to Costa Rica for another time.
The law permits pre-trial detention of persons accused of serious crimes. Due to overcrowding in local prisons, courts may instead utilize an “exit impediment.” Individuals subject to these measures cannot depart Costa Rica, must be able to support themselves, and must check in with judicial authorities on a regular basis. Defendants have the right to a public defender and an official translator for important hearings.

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.


That is a primary reason why the major credit rating agencies – Standard & Poor's, Moody's and Fitch – have downgraded Costa Rica's risk ratings. For example, Moody's Investors Service in early 2017 reduced the rating to Ba2 from Ba1, with a negative outlook due to the "rising government debt burden and persistently high fiscal deficit, which was 5.2% of GDP in 2016" and the "lack of political consensus to implement measures to reduce the fiscal deficit [which] will result in further pressure on the government's debt ratios".[78] The country is currently debating major fiscal reform legislation to cut the budget deficits and stop the growth in debt,[2] one of the highest in Latin America.
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