Most visitors returning home are not allowed to bring back any raw foods or plants. Accordingly, the single most desirable commodity for visitors to take home may be roasted (not green) coffee,considered by many as some of the world's best. Numerous web sites explain the fine qualities of various growing regions, types of beans, types of roasting and sources for purchase. Best prices come by purchasing several (sealed) bags of 12 ounces or so, but you can also buy in larger quantity if you look hard enough (the Mercado Central in San José has a coffee vendor that sells many varieties, including organic, by the kilo). And experts definitely recommend buying whole beans (entero): in any kind of storage, they last longer, and ground coffee sold in Costa Rica often contains sugar because it preferred by locals -- if you want pure coffee without additives look for "puro" on the package. The stores in San José airport will sell you excellent coffee, but other good quality blends can be found in local supermarkets and direct from the roasters. It can be an expensive but delicious habit. If you're serious about your coffee, bring at least a partially-empty suit case and fill it with perhaps a year's supply (web sites explain how to store it that long). Take care with tourist outlets (especially at the airport) where small quantities may cost as much as ordering on the Internet.
Costa Rica has a large number and variety of beaches on its two coasts. In the North Pacific, the Gulf of Papagayo, Tamarindo, Playa Hermosa, Playa Dominical, Sámara and Nosara are extensive beaches with important tourist developments ideal for family holidays with many attractions for children; Near the Central Pacific you will discover beautiful beaches such as Playa Blanca and Manuel Antonio where couples will find the perfect setting for their honeymoon. Towards the south the beaches of Dominical, Uvita and Ballena are important ecotourism destinations. On the Caribbean coast you find white sand beaches such as Cahuita, Puerto Viejo and Gandoca where the sea is crystalline.
“I love driving in Costa Rica because they are aggressive drivers like myself. Be considerate, let faster drivers go around you. Avoid driving at night unless you know exactly where you are going. The roads are not marked like they are in your home country. DO NOT drive through moving water. Give yourself extra time to get where you are going because you want to stop at the local fruit stands. Also, look out for animals when you are driving. Numerous creatures can and will run across the road.”—seaprozac
Of the GDP, 5.5% is generated by agriculture, 18.6% by industry and 75.9% by services.(2016)[76] Agriculture employs 12.9% of the labor force, industry 18.57%, services 69.02% (2016)[83] For the region, its unemployment level is moderately high (8.2% in 2016, according to the IMF).[76] Although 20.5% of the population lives below the poverty line (2017),[84] Costa Rica has one of the highest standards of living in Central America.[85]

Most of the coffee exported was grown around the main centers of population in the Central Plateau and then transported by oxcart to the Pacific port of Puntarenas after the main road was built in 1846.[48] By the mid-1850s the main market for coffee was Britain.[49] It soon became a high priority to develop an effective transportation route from the Central Plateau to the Atlantic Ocean. For this purpose, in the 1870s, the Costa Rican government contracted with U.S. businessman Minor C. Keith to build a railroad from San José to the Caribbean port of Limón. Despite enormous difficulties with construction, disease, and financing, the railroad was completed in 1890.[50]
Ports and terminals: This entry lists major ports and terminals primarily on the basis of the amount of cargo tonnage shipped through the facilities on an annual basis. In some instances, the number of containers handled or ship visits were also considered. Most ports service multiple classes of vessels including bulk carriers (dry and liquid), break bulk cargoes (goods loaded individually in bags, boxes, crates, or drums; sometimes palletized), containers, roll-on/roll-off, and passenger ships. The listing le . . . more
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.
Most visitors can get into Costa Rica without the need of a Visa and can stay in the country for 90 days. People of ANY nationality holding valid US, Canada, Japan, South Korea or Schengen visas do not need a prior visa. The only conditions being that the visa must be valid for 3 months and should be stamped in your passport. NOTE: on arrival, ensure you are able to show proof of onward travel out of Costa Rica, especially if entering overland! See below for further details
If you’re in good shape, you can easily climb Chirripo without technical equipment. That said, you’ll need to spend at least one night on the mountain, likely at Crestones Base Lodge, which (confusingly) is actually pretty close to the summit and takes most of a day to reach from the actual base of the range. If you’re worried about the altitude, consider spending a few days on the mountain to properly acclimate. And pack clothing for any weather conditions you can imagine: you’ll move from the tropics to the tundra as you head skyward.
We’ve heard this advice all our lives, and it was never more apt than it is in Costa Rica. You don’t need to venture out far to feel the wicked riptides that plague many of the hundreds of beaches here. (Conversely, these are exactly the conditions that make Costa Rica so popular with surfers.) On top of that, lifeguards patrol few beaches and you’ll see few warning signs. Take utmost care in the water.
Prostitution is legal in Costa Rica and can be a destination for those looking for more than sun and surf on their vacation. San Jose and Jaco are hot spots for this activity. As with any other sex destination, there are some tourists that hire minors. Prostitution with minors (less than 18 years old) is considered a crime in Costa Rica. The majority of sex tourists in Costa Rica are from the United States, and, if they engage in prostitution with a minor, are prosecutable by the Protect Act of 2003. This act gives the US government the power to prosecute US citizens who travel abroad to engage in sex tourism with children under the age of 18. Several other countries including France, Canada, the UK, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, and Australia have similar laws. Arrests, warrants and prosecutions are being made under these laws.
Major urban areas - population: This entry provides the population of the capital and up to six major cities defined as urban agglomerations with populations of at least 750,000 people. An urban agglomeration is defined as comprising the city or town proper and also the suburban fringe or thickly settled territory lying outside of, but adjacent to, the boundaries of the city. For smaller countries, lacking urban centers of 750,000 or more, only the population of the capital is presented.

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.
If you are heading to La Fortuna it is definitely worth checking out the hot springs. There are a lot of hot springs geared towards tourists where you can expect to pay up to $100 for admission. These hot springs are nicely maintained and look absolutely beautiful. If you are looking for a more local experience check out the smaller hot springs which cost about $10 per person.
The central location provides access to American markets and direct ocean access to Europe and Asia. The most important exports in 2015 (in order of dollar value) were medical instruments, bananas, tropical fruits, integrated circuits and orthopedic appliances.[97] Total imports in that year were US$15 billion. The most significant products imported in 2015 (in order of dollar value) were refined petroleum, automobiles, packaged medications, broadcasting equipment and computers. The total exports were US$12.6 billion for a trade deficit of US$2.39 billion in 2015.[97]

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.
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.
On any bus ride (1st, 2nd, 3rd class, whatever!) try to sit above the luggage compartment so that you can watch that your bag doesn't "walk away" when others get off the bus. Costa Rican buses usually have one compartment for those heading to the main destination, and a separate one for people getting off along the way to avoid problems. Be aware if the "destination" compartment is opened en route!

All that said, you’ll get a lot farther in Costa Rica with basic Spanish familiarity. My wife and I can both navigate basic social and commercial situations in Spanish, and (not surprisingly) we found that people were both friendlier and more communicative in the local language. If you already know some Spanish, spend a few hours before your trip brushing up,  and get in the habit of beginning interactions in the local tongue.


Visit the Sloth Sanctuary on the South Caribbean coast to see sloths in rehabilitation and overnight in a rainforest treehouse. Venture to Tortuguero to explore the jungle canals and see sloths in their natural habitat. Finally, head to the Arenal Volcano region to stay in a luxurious rainforest casita with a family of sloths living right on the property!

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.   


Playa Hermosa is a comely, uncrowded gray sand beach on the Papagayo Peninsula. The beach itself fronts a deep cove that’s sheltered from the open Pacific, moderating local wave action. Even if you’re not staying at one of the four- or five-star properties near the cove, or at one of the upscale condos just over the ridge on the Pacific side, you can access Playa Hermosa without paying at the public beach along the area’s main paved road. Get the full local resort experience for less at Papagayo Golden Palms Resort, just off the beach: we spent less than $150 per night there and got as nice a five-star resort experience as I’ve ever had.


In case you didn’t know, Costa Rica has something called the rainforest. It’s a safe bet that you’ll be caught in one of the countries many thunderstorms. If you are traveling Costa Rica in the wet season (May-December), a rain jacket is essential, but I would bring one any time of year just to be safe. The rain is typically short-lived, but you won’t want to get soaked during that time.


Despite its small size, Costa Rica is home to nearly half a million species, making it one of the world’s most biodiverse countries. It has a richly varied landscape of mountains, volcanoes, tropical forests and idyllic black and white sanded beaches. The country is known for its progressive environmental policies and is the country with the highest proportion of protected areas in the world. But we won’t only take you to see its array of multicoloured wildlife – we’ll introduce you to its polite, family-orientated, peace-loving people too.
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. 
Moreover, the diversity of attractions in Costa Rica makes it an ideal destination for all ages and nearly all levels of physicality; pretty much anyone can take part in an ATV tour of the jungle, a stroll through a rescued monkey sanctuary, or a brisk walk to the hot springs and mud baths found near the top of area volcanoes such as those in the Rincón de la Vieja National Park. (And yes, most restaurants have a children's menu, many with some form of chicken nuggets.)
In a territory of only 51,100 square kilometers, the varied natural landscapes are extraordinary, nature is developed here with strength and amazing energy. With such a diverse topography is the ideal place for adventure tourism. In Costa Rica you can zipline through the canopies of giant trees, raft in beautiful rivers surrounded by vegetation, climb deep cliffs, bungee jump and of course surf in the Pacific and the Caribbean.
It is important to remember when in conversation with locals that the official religion of the country is Roman Catholic, accounting for approximately 70 percent of the population. Maintain direct eye contact when speaking, for it is a sign of respect and considered polite. A point of pride for many Ticos is the absence of an army. Costa Rica gained the nickname “Switzerland of the Americas,” after the abolition of the army in 1948, choosing instead to fund conservation, teacher training, and higher education, which the latter two have bared fruit in a literacy rate of 96 percent.
Visit the Sloth Sanctuary on the South Caribbean coast to see sloths in rehabilitation and overnight in a rainforest treehouse. Venture to Tortuguero to explore the jungle canals and see sloths in their natural habitat. Finally, head to the Arenal Volcano region to stay in a luxurious rainforest casita with a family of sloths living right on the property!
Costa Rica is an amazingly diverse country, unlike anywhere else in the world.  The country features a wide array of attractions including scores of beautiful beaches along both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts, rainforests teaming with exotic wildlife, cloud forests that seemingly disappear into the sky, and active volcanoes with hot springs.  Within Costa Rica, there are twelve distinct climate and life zones.  These zones provide habitat for nearly 4% of Earth's species making it one of the most biologically diverse places on the planet.  The people of Costa Rica are just as beautiful as the country, ever warm and welcoming.

La Selva Biological Station and Reserve is on a protected 3,700-acre piece of land that is home to some incredible biodiversity, especially birds. The station is also home to almost 300 visiting students and scientists. The combination of this being a learning and research center, protected reserve, and eco-tourism hot spot makes this a must-stop place. Out of the 450-plus birds that make Costa Rica their home, either permanently or seasonally, nearly half of them spend time on the La Selva Reserve. This is a spectacular place to experience some of the unique flora and fauna of Costa Rica in such a small zone.
This quiet – often deserted – stretch is known for the distinctive “window” formations that punctuate an otherwise nondescript headland jutting out into the waves. At low tide, it’s safe to walk through the window, pausing only to marvel at little critters temporarily marooned in tidal pools. At high tide, stand back and admire the ocean’s awesome power as the waves tear through the waning void.

Costa Ricans do not eat tacos and enchiladas. Well, they do eat them, but only when they’re dining out at a Mexican restaurant. At its most basic, Costa Rican cuisine is hearty, inexpensive, filling, and not spicy. You’ll certainly get your share of chicken and pork and rice and beans. Indeed, you’ll swear that gallo pinto (literally “spotted rooster”), the country’s signature dish, is following you everywhere. Give this mix of rice, black beans, and finely chopped vegetables a try, and dress it up, Costa Rican style, with tortillas and sour cream. Some chefs here are doing amazing things with local and international cuisine, especially in locales with large foreign populations, such as San José, the Pacific coast’s Manuel Antonio and Tamarindo, and Puerto Viejo de Talamanca on the Caribbean side.
This is a casual tour. Casual wear is suggested for sightseeing and daytime travelling. Dress code for evenings is casual. Suit jackets for men and dresses for women are never required on the Caravan’s Costa Rica tour. It is recommended to wear drip-dry clothing (such as that offered by Columbia, ExOfficio and Travelsmith) in the rainforest. Shirts with long sleeves and long pants are recommended for rain forest and cloud forest hikes. Pants that zip at the knee to convert into shorts are very comfortable in the rainforest.  See Travel Planner: General Clothing Tips

Costa Rica is home to six active volcanoes, a few of which are safe enough to be widely popular for hikes. Trek to Poas Volcano’s steaming blue crater pool, visible from a lookout point at its namesake national park; or explore Arenal Volcano’s biodiverse foothills formed by lava flows. The most accessible volcano, Irazu, is ringed in a cloud forest that’s accessible by car–it’s also the most visited national park in Costa Rica.


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.
Costa Rica is ranked third in the world and first among the Americas in terms of the 2010 Environmental Performance Index. And the New Economics Foundation (NEF) ranked Costa Rica as the happiest nation in the world, both in 2009 and in 2012. This same organization (NEF) ranked Costa Rica as the "greenest" country in the world. Among budget travelers and increasingly among ordinary tourists Costa Rica is ranked as the most expensive country in Central America and perhaps in the whole of Latin America. Wine, chocolate, coffee, entrance fees for national parks, are expensive compared to prices in Western Europe and North America.
Civil aircraft registration country code prefix: This entry provides the one- or two-character alphanumeric code indicating the nationality of civil aircraft. Article 20 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation (Chicago Convention), signed in 1944, requires that all aircraft engaged in international air navigation bear appropriate nationality marks. The aircraft registration number consists of two parts: a prefix consisting of a one- or two-character alphanumeric code indicating nationality and a registration suffix of one to fi . . . more
current situation: Costa Rica is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor; Costa Rican women and children, as well as those from Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, and other Latin American countries, are sex trafficked in Costa Rica; child sex tourism is a particular problem with offenders coming from the US and Europe; men and children from Central America, including indigenous Panamanians, and Asia are exploited in agriculture, construction, fishing, and commerce; Nicaraguans transit Costa Rica to reach Panama, where some are subjected to forced labor or sex trafficking

Environment - current issues: This entry lists the most pressing and important environmental problems. The following terms and abbreviations are used throughout the entry: Acidification - the lowering of soil and water pH due to acid precipitation and deposition usually through precipitation; this process disrupts ecosystem nutrient flows and may kill freshwater fish and plants dependent on more neutral or alkaline conditions (see acid rain). Acid rain - characterized as containing harmful levels of sulfur dioxi . . . more

One of the most adrenaline filled things to do in Costa Rica is canyoning – that is, going down waterfalls on a rappel. This literally is a once in a lifetime adventure, and a great way to appreciate all the incredible nature Costa Rica has to offer. The best places to visit in Costa Rica for canyoning are La Fortuna and Arenal, but this activity is now offered in Jaco now.

You can also choose an apartment that offers more seclusion, like in the Osa Peninsula. If you’re looking to explore the history of Costa Rica, you can rent an apartment in Heredia for a look back into this tiny Central American country’s rich colonial Spanish heritage. Most of these properties are owned by individuals, and they will have an authentic, Costa Rican home feel to them.
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.
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.

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.
Vacation in the rainforest canopy at the acclaimed Aninga Lodge. Your stay begins with an epic boat ride through Tortuguero’s canals, home to wild crocodiles, monkeys and iguanas. Once you arrive at the lodge, you’ll be amazed by the sky-high property, which was intentionally built on 5 foot stilts to preserve the surrounding natural habitat. Enjoy the views of the lush jungle and dazzling ocean from your private bungalow, and be sure to take a stroll through the enchanting wilderness. With over 500 species of birds and 6,000 species of plants you’ll never forget the rich biodiversity that Tortuguero has to offer.
In 1838, long after the Federal Republic of Central America ceased to function in practice, Costa Rica formally withdrew and proclaimed itself sovereign. The considerable distance and poor communication routes between Guatemala City and the Central Plateau, where most of the Costa Rican population lived then and still lives now, meant the local population had little allegiance to the federal government in Guatemala. From colonial times to now, Costa Rica's reluctance to become economically tied with the rest of Central America has been a major obstacle to efforts for greater regional integration.[44]
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