Although tap water is considered safe to drink in Costa Rica's cities, it's probably a good idea to avoid drinking tap water in Costa Rica. For environmental reasons, try to avoid bottled water. Ask your leader where filtered water can be found as some hotels provide this. Remember to peel fruit and vegetables before eating and avoid ice in drinks.
Costa Rica was originally explored in the early 16th century by the Spanish.  The initial colonization attempts were unsuccessful due to a variety of reasons including seemingly impassible swamps along the coast, heat, pirate raids and native resistance.  The first permanent settlement was established in the fertile highlands of Cartago in 1563. Costa Rica remained a colony of Spain until 1821 when the country joined forces with several other Central American provinces and declared independence from Spain in 1821.  In 1838, Costa Rica separated as its own independent country.  The country later dissolved its military forces in 1949 and has remained without armed forces since then.
Activities – Entrance into most national parks is usually around 5,500 CRC (10 USD) with discounts available for students. Canopy tours and day trips are around 25,000 CRC (40 USD). A two tank dive can be between 30,000-53,325 CRC (55-90 USD). Surf lessons start around 11,000 CRC (20 USD) per hour. There are also lots of surf camps where you can spend the week learning how to surf (or honing your skills if you already know how to). Prices vary widely, though expect to pay at least 25,000 CRC (40 USD) for a week.
As with any travel, it is best to book your stay ahead of time, for the best deals and for guaranteed space. Your rental vacation location will likely allow for other renters to book by the day, week, or month, so there might be certain blocks of time that are blacked out and unavailable. Instead of having to work your vacation around the availability of the place, plan ahead and get the exact days that you want.
Make sure to check the car carefully before you sign off on the damage sheet. Check the oil, brake fluid, fuel gauge (to make sure it's full) and that there is a spare tire with a good air pressure and a jack. Look up the Spanish word for "scratches" (rayas) and other relevant terminology first, so you can at least scrutinize the rental company's assessment. Ask them to write down all the minor damages, not just check on the drawing, and keep a copy of this document on you.
Whether you’re buying souvenirs or groceries, your best bet in Costa Rica is to shop at local markets. Although Costa Rica has large, American-style grocery stores, they can be a little pricey. The best deals on fresh produce can be found at a feria (farmers’ market). Most towns have a weekly feria where you can buy fresh, tropical fruits and vegetables. And if you happen to miss the weekly market, you’ll often see street vendors selling select items (like avocados and mangoes) every day.

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.


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.
Sitting perfectly between the North and South American continents gives Costa Rica yet another benefit for curious travelers – the sheer amount of flora & fauna you can find! About 3-5 million years ago, the South and North American continents met – and the land-bridge between them is Costa Rica. The two drastically different collections of plants and wildlife started to mix, and it’s their descendants found in Costa Rica today!  Costa Rica is only the size of the USA state of West Virginia – but it contains literally hundreds of endemic species: creatures that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. Bird and animal lovers can schedule tours specifically to see the stunning wildlife– like a Safari Float down the Penas Blancas River (keeping an eye out for sloths, monkeys, caimans, and more!) or visiting the amazing Butterfly Garden at Peace Lodge. A hike through a National Park is a great way to sight-see, and an experienced eagle-eyed naturalist guide will help you spot the more elusive animals. The adventurous-at-heart might plan a tour of the Tarcoles River – renowned for its massive crocodiles. Even without a specific tour, guests might spot Costa Rica wildlife while out and about. Or possibly without leaving the resort – colorful toucans, vibrant parrots, curious coatis, and relaxed iguanas have been known to show up in hotel gardens!
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: This entry gives the dollar value for the stock of all financial assets that are available to the central monetary authority for use in meeting a country's balance of payments needs as of the end-date of the period specified. This category includes not only foreign currency and gold, but also a country's holdings of Special Drawing Rights in the International Monetary Fund, and its reserve position in the Fund. 

A longtime favorite, the 7-day Smooth Tropics Inclusive Adventure sends you first to the rainforest and river area surrounding Arenal Volcano, then over to one of Guanacaste’s beautiful beaches at Playa Flamingo. From hot springs to cool lagoon, you’ll enjoy a perfect balance of ecolodge jungle adventures and vegging out at the beach pampered by an all-inclusive resort.
Costa Rica has a thriving cash economy. If you plan to use taxis, hire guides, or patronize street or beach vendors, you’ll want cash on hand. Skip the airport currency exchange bureau, which charges north of 6% to convert your money, and head to an ATM operated by Banco de Costa Rica (a popular state-owned bank) or another legitimate financial institution. You shouldn’t have trouble finding one at larger hotel properties or in sizable towns.

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.


SJO is currently under remodelling, and in July 2009 its operation was taken over by the same organization that runs the airports in Houston, Texas. An otherwise pleasant airport features the normal assortment of duty-free shops, interesting souvenir and bookshops, but an inadequate selection of overpriced restaurants (Church's Chicken, Burger King, Poás Deli Cafe and Papa John's pizza). SJO is serviced daily by Air Canada, Air Transat (Seasonal) American Airlines, Canjet (Seasonal), Condor, Delta, Frontier Airlines, Iberia, Interjet, JetBlue Airways, Thomas Cook, Spirit Airlines, Southwest Airlines, United, Volaris, Westjet, Avianca, Copa Airlines and AirPanama [1]. Connecting the airport with cities such as: Los Angeles, New York, Houston, Dallas, Miami, Baltimore, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Charlotte, Atlanta, Phoenix, Orlando, Chicago, Newark, Toronto, Montreal, Madrid, London, Frankfurt, Mexico City, Bogotá, Medellín, Caracas, Lima, Guayaquil, Quito and all of Central America.
Pro Tip: Most Costa Rican vehicles have standard transmissions – stick shifts. This is a scary prospect for most North Americans, many of whom have no reason to know how to drive stick. If you know anyone with a standard transmission vehicle, ask them to show you the ropes before you arrive in Costa Rica. It’s better to learn in a parking lot near your house than an unfamiliar dirt road with jungle on one side and a sheer drop on the other.
San José’s Juan Santamaría Airport (SJO) sits smack-dab in the middle of the country and makes a convenient, centrally located arrival and departure point for most visitors. But if you’re spending all your time in northern Costa Rica, say, lazing on a north Pacific beach with a trip to the Arenal volcano, you have a second option: Daniel Oduber Airport (LIR) lies just outside the small northwestern city of Liberia and receives flights from all the major airlines too. Fares do skew slightly higher to Liberia, but you’ll save a lot of overland hours to and from San José. Both airports are capricious places—upon departure, you might breeze through check-in and security in 15 minutes, or you may encounter lines stretching out the door. Whether or not you abide by the recommended three-hour advance check-in depends on your aversion to risk.
Maritime claims: This entry includes the following claims, the definitions of which are excerpted from the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which alone contains the full and definitive descriptions: territorial sea - the sovereignty of a coastal state extends beyond its land territory and internal waters to an adjacent belt of sea, described as the territorial sea in the UNCLOS (Part II); this sovereignty extends to the air space over the territorial sea as well as its underlying s . . . more
Hi Bhatt, it’s a bit much for 10 nights but you can do Rio Celeste on your way from la Fortuna to Tamarindo and just stay one night in Jaco. You’ll only be able to stay a couple nights in each place though and keep in mind that San Jose – La Fortuna, la Fortuna – tamarindo and Tamarindo – Jaco are long drives (if your flying in travel days are included in the 10). Many activities in those areas you can do on your own unless you want to do activities like ziplining, rafting, etc. I do recommend to do one guided hike, either in La Fortuna or at Manuel Antonio.
Located well off the beaten track in the Amarillo Valley of the Central Highlands, Bajos del Toro is a relatively undiscovered paradise for nature lovers and all outdoor enthusiasts. Hikers in particular are drawn to the area to explore the many rugged trails through the pristine rain forest and up the back of Poas Volcano. Other exciting activities include trout fishing, mountain biking, river rafting, and horseback riding. Avid adventure seekers can try the thrilling 300-foot waterfall rappel into the crater of an extinct volcano. The extremely scenic drive from San Jose to Bajos de Toro takes around 90 minutes and you can stop along the way to admire lovely wooden crafts in the town of Sarchi.

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!
The coasts of Costa Rica are known for strong currents and rip-tides in some areas but most of them are great to be with the family. Costa Rica has some of the best beaches in the world. The Atlantic coast is just five hours away from the Pacific one and both offer completely different views and landscapes. There are no signs indicating an unsafe beach due to riptides, so take precautions and listen to the locals on where it is safe to swim. The public beaches do not have life guards. A traveler should learn how to swim out of a rip tide and not swim alone. There are some active volcanoes in Costa Rica and they are dangerous, so follow the warning signs posted. The slopes of the Arenal volcano invite visitors to climb closer to the summit, but there have been fatalities in the past with unseen gas chambers. Also be wary of the climate of Costa Rica. It is very hot in the daytime, but in the morning and evening it becomes very cool, so you should bring a light weight jacket.
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.
Gross national saving: Gross national saving is derived by deducting final consumption expenditure (household plus government) from Gross national disposable income, and consists of personal saving, plus business saving (the sum of the capital consumption allowance and retained business profits), plus government saving (the excess of tax revenues over expenditures), but excludes foreign saving (the excess of imports of goods and services over exports). The figures are presented as a percent of GDP. A negative . . . more 

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.
Christianity is Costa Rica's predominant religion, with Roman Catholicism being the official state religion according to the 1949 Constitution, which at the same time guarantees freedom of religion. It is the only state in the Americas which established Roman Catholicism as its state religion; other such countries are microstates in Europe: Liechtenstein, Monaco, the Vatican City and Malta.
If there is one thing that killed us (and our electronics) it was the humidity in Costa Rica. We found the humidity in Costa Rica particularly bad in the south, along with the coast, and pretty much anywhere away from the cloud forest. It was particularly hard to dry our clothes and keep them from not smelling and molding, but the real problem was with our electronics going haywire.
Hospital bed density: This entry provides the number of hospital beds per 1,000 people; it serves as a general measure of inpatient service availability. Hospital beds include inpatient beds available in public, private, general, and specialized hospitals and rehabilitation centers. In most cases, beds for both acute and chronic care are included. Because the level of inpatient services required for individual countries depends on several factors - such as demographic issues and the burden of disease - there is . . . more
Costa Rica (/ˌkɒstə ˈriːkə/ (listen); Spanish: [ˈkosta ˈrika]; literally "Rich Coast"), officially the Republic of Costa Rica (Spanish: República de Costa Rica), is a country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, the Caribbean Sea to the northeast, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, and Ecuador to the south of Cocos Island. It has a population of around 5 million[4] in a land area of 51,060 square kilometers (19,714 square miles). An estimated 333,980 people live in the capital and largest city, San José with around 2 million people in the surrounding metropolitan area.[8]
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