Five rivers have their headwaters here, making it a popular destination for anglers. For best results, you’ll want to hire your own guide, which you can do for as little as $50 for a half-day trip. If you’re content not to fish and don’t want to explore the backcountry or summits, you can explore on foot any of the short, moderately strenuous trails originating at the main visitor center.
Costa Rica is one of Central America’s most popular destinations—and for good reason. With so much to see and do in this spectacular country, it’s important to make the most of your trip. To help guide you to make the best decisions, we give you a baker’s dozen suggestions of things not to do in Costa Rica to ensure a great vacation. And if you are looking for places to stay, we’ve got you covered with hotels.
Kayaking allows you to go to areas that motored boats can’t go and you don’t disturb the wildlife as much so you can get very close. See toucans, macaws, turtles, monkeys, anteaters and all sorts of wildlife as you glide quietly on the water, surrounded by lush jungle with no one around. This is one of our favorite things to do in Costa Rica because we saw so many animals super close!
"I just wanted to let you know how much we enjoyed our time in Costa Rica.  We were very impressed with the tour which your organised for us.  The hotels were very good, the drivers were punctual and courteous and the guides were amazing - their knowledge and command of English was fantastic. I have already recommended your company to friends who are planning a trip to Costa Rica"
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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.
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!
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.
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.
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Lying in the heart of the verdant rainforest in Tenorio Volcano National Park, the Rio Celeste (Blue River) is one of the most remarkable natural assets of Costa Rica. It is thought that the surprising azure color of the river is caused by minerals in the rocks of the river bed, combined with reflected sunlight. For one of the most rewarding photo opportunities of your Costa Rica vacation, you will need to take on a fairly challenging 4.5 mile hike – the trail will reward you with views of virgin rainforest, thermal springs, and a startlingly blue lagoon. A shorter 1-mile hike directly to the Rio Celeste Waterfall is also available from the entrance of the park. Organized tours to Rio Celeste are available from La Fortuna.
It should be easy to see all of Costa Rica in two weeks—the country is only the size of Vermont and New Hampshire combined, after all—but what’s that they say about the best-laid plans? Once you arrive, you’ll see how mountainous the center of the country is, and that the highway system leaves something to be desired. It takes a lot longer to get from place to place than you realize. Map out a couple of locales for a week or three or four stops in two weeks and get to know them well. You’ll appreciate that slower pace. And if you’re like many visitors, during your flight home, you’ll start planning ways you can get back to Costa Rica. What you didn’t see on your first trip, you’ll catch the next time around.
In 1996, the Forest Law was enacted to provide direct financial incentives to landowners for the provision of environmental services.[65] This helped reorient the forestry sector away from commercial timber production and the resulting deforestation, and helped create awareness of the services it provides for the economy and society (i.e., carbon fixation, hydrological services such as producing fresh drinking water, biodiversity protection, and provision of scenic beauty).[65]
The park’s highlights are its beaches, parts of which double as nesting and spawning grounds for threatened Atlantic sea turtles. Turtles lay eggs in vast numbers in July and August, but nesting season technically runs from March through October, so you have some leeway. If you visit the right beaches during nesting season, you will see turtles and their eggs. The $25-per-person guided tour is well worth it.
A tour of Costa Rica offers a breathtaking array of sights and adventures with lush rain forests, pristine beaches, and a plethora of wildlife like sea turtles and howler monkeys. Your Costa Rica vacation might include adventures like whitewater rafting, a rainforest canopy tour, relaxing at the beach, or exploring the rainforest from one of Costa Rica's ecolodges. Vacation hotspots include Manuel Antonio National Park, Tortuguero, Monteverde cloudforest and Arenal Volcano. Costa Rica has a long, proud history of ecotourism and adventure travel, with one of the most developed conservation programs in the Americas and friendly Costa Ricans, "Ticos", who enthusiastically invite travelers to experience Pura Vida - "Pure Life." Contact one of our Costa Rica vacation experts for a free custom-made Costa Rica trip plan.

The park’s highlights are its beaches, parts of which double as nesting and spawning grounds for threatened Atlantic sea turtles. Turtles lay eggs in vast numbers in July and August, but nesting season technically runs from March through October, so you have some leeway. If you visit the right beaches during nesting season, you will see turtles and their eggs. The $25-per-person guided tour is well worth it.


Experienced American whitewater rafters and boaters feel right at home in Costa Rica, with one major exception: no wetsuits. Unlike U.S. whitewater, which is generally fed by alpine snowmelt, Costa Rican rivers are much more temperate. This distinction reduces boaters’ prep time, broadens their range of motion, and increases their comfort. In fact, many of Costa Rica’s most exciting whitewater routes end within easy driving distance of a beach. As an added bonus, many routes go near – and sometimes over or around – spectacular waterfalls.
Temperatures are more moderate along the country’s mountainous spine and in the populous Central Valley. The capital, San Jose, sits at nearly 4,000 feet above sea level, above the worst of the heat. In the eastern mountains, a sort of eternal early spring persists: above 7,000 or 8,000 feet, highs above 65 degrees are rare, and nighttime lows routinely dip below freezing above 10,000 feet or so.

Among the things to do in Costa if looking for romance and when wanting to relax is going on a sunset boat or sailing cruise. You can do this in many places in the country. The most popular places for a sunset cruise are on the Pacific Coast, for obvious reasons: Playa Tamarindo, Playa Flamingo and Playas del Coco are all excellent places for that.
Another Costa Rican tour highlight is the Arenal Volcano, considered one of the most active volcanoes in the world. You may witness the red lava streaming down the sides as you hear the volcano’s grumbling. Relax as you soak in the ecothermal hot springs and perhaps watch the lava flow down the volcano—a spectacular sight! In Monteverde, visit the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve, home to forest fauna such as jaguars, resplendent quetzal, monkeys, ocelots, and many species of birds—not to mention the large diversity of plant species.
That’s another bonus: you don’t have to be a pioneer in Costa Rica. There are well-established expat communities throughout the country. Things are “set up” so to speak, when it comes to shipping your household goods, using the healthcare system, buying property, and more. And by following this well-trodden path, your transition to your new life is much easier.
It's no surprise Costa Rica is considered the "happiest place on earth." Once you land, you'll find it's easy to experience what Costa Ricans have been talking about since 1956: Pura Vida - a phrase that truly encapsulates the friendly vibe of Costa Rica, and is used by locals and means everything from "Hello," to "This is the life!" If you're looking to fall into the "Pura Vida" lifestyle, check out some of the top activities and accolades:
There are so many things to do and see while in Costa Rica that it is impossible cram it all into one trip. Fortunately, Costa Rica is so fabulous that you will definitely want to return more than once. Between national parks, volcanoes, waterfalls, rainforests, cloud forests, underground cave systems, more than 300 beaches, hot springs, animal sanctuaries, exquisite diving destinations, and adventure parks, there is always something new and exciting to do. With so many intriguing options, it is helpful to know what some of the best and must-visit attractions are.
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Dive sites abound on both sides of Costa Rica, though the Pacific coast is more heavily trafficked. There, the area around Herradura Bay and Jaco has a number of relatively shallow, high-visibility sites that are appropriate for novices. On the Caribbean side, the area around Cahuita National Park is a hidden gem that sees just a fraction of the dive traffic of Pacific alternatives, and has sites appropriate for all skill levels. If you’re not already scuba-certified, enroll in a certification course through a local resort. These can be found for $200 to $400, depending on the location and nature of the course.

The name is a bit misleading: I don’t think anybody ever saw any jaguars there (the center’s name is a dedication to the memory of an abandoned baby jaguar whose mother was murdered by farmers). Yet, the sanctuary does have wildcats, anteaters, owls, marsupials, sloths, monkeys, deer, parrots, toucans, snakes, and frogs, which make it worth supporting, a visiting is one of the nicest things to do in Costa Rica.
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.
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.
Founded in 1998, CRS Tours has built a solid reputation over the years. CRS Tours insures personalized travel plans for each client. All personnel place a high value on quality and attention to detail. Each travel expert planner strives to meet or exceed our client’s expectations. CRS Tours’ goal is to have satisfied customers returning for guidance and expertise from our travel experts as well as increased numbers of referrals from satisfied clients. Fully licensed by the Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT) and based in Costa Rica, CRS Tours provides its worldwide clientele with travel services at its highest standards of quality and best value. CRS Tours’ years of commitment to the tourism sector of Costa Rica (including hotels, restaurants, transportation, tours and local airlines) has enabled CRS Tours to acquire a strong working relationship that allows the agency to offer clients great deals in packaged tours. CRS Tours provides perfect travel experiences to Free Independent Travelers (FIT), Families, Groups, Incentive Groups, Special interest groups and anyone looking to travel to Costa Rica. From your very first call or reply to your online request, you will experience a warm welcome from Costa Rica. Your request will be tailor made to your desired travel plans, needs and special interests. We are committed to provide you with the best products, highest service standards and lowest possible price. It’s not just a trip but an unforgettable experience! When travelling in Costa Rica, CRS Tours customer service team is on call 24/7 throughout your stay. We are 100% local experts who get to know all the travel destinations while on the job to give our best advice. We make travel planning easy and enjoyable, because you deserve it! We save you time and money by not having to spend long hours trying to figure out logistics and best deals. Costa Rica Specialized Tours (CRS Tours) stands true to its name, quality in service and best possible offers for you! You deserve the best! We look forward to hearing from you soon!
The primary language spoken in Costa Rica is Spanish, which features characteristics distinct to the country, a form of Central American Spanish. Costa Rica is a linguistically diverse country and home to at least five living local indigenous languages spoken by the descendants of pre-Columbian peoples: Maléku, Cabécar, Bribri, Guaymí, and Buglere.

With such a vast amount of avifauna, it is important to know what types of birds you would like to find during your time in Costa Rica. For the tropical rainforest species, you can explore La Selva Biological Station and Reserve. Carara National Park hosts the largest population of remaining scarlet macaw while Tapanti National Park and Cerro Silencio host tanagers, barbets, ornate hawk-eagles and a plethora of hummingbirds. With stunning colors, interesting calls, and fascinating characteristics, it is no wonder that more than 30 percent of all travelers to Costa Rica visit to see the birds. 
How shall we put this? Those wonderful “con mucho gusto” Costa Ricans have a reputation for being some of the world’s most impatient and least compliant drivers. But don’t take that as license for you to do the same. Traffic fines are steep—a speeding ticket could set you back hundreds of dollars—and some evidence exists that the transit police target foreign drivers. Buckle up. Obey speed limits religiously. Don’t phone or text while driving. Don’t drink and drive. Place the kids in the back seat. And just because you don’t see the traffic cops doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Mounted cameras patrol the highways too.
The Real InterContinental Hotel is located in the heart of San José's trendy Escazu area, adjacent to the Multiplaza, a large upscale shopping and entertainment complex. The hotel has three restaurants, two bars, gift shops, an outdoor swimming pool and jacuzzi, a tennis court, a fitness center, and a full service spa and beauty salon. The hotel is fully air-conditioned. High speed internet access is available for a fee.
Hi Jess, if you’re talking about safety while renting a car, just make sure to never leave anything in the car, don’t leave a bag or backpack out in the seat even if it’s empty because if a thief sees it, he could try to steal it. We’ve known people who left their bags out right in plain view in the backseats and got their car robbed so make sure never to leave anything in the car. As for houses, it’s fairly safe in Costa Rica and Avellanas is not a very busy area. Always lock up, don’t leave your valuables in sight and close your curtains. Most houses here have gates on windows and doors, so always lock the gates and many places that are rented to tourists have some sort of security system set up so I’d ask the person you’re renting from if there is anything you need to be aware of.

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.


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!


When travelling in Costa Rica, CRS Tours customer service team is on call 24/7 throughout your stay. We are 100% local experts who get to know all the travel destinations while on the job to give our best advice. We make travel planning easy and enjoyable, because you deserve it! We save you time and money by not having to spend long hours trying to figure out logistics and best deals. Costa Rica Specialized Tours (CRS Tours) stands true to its name, quality in service and best possible offers for you! You deserve the best!
We’ve been back from Costa Rica for a month now but just wanted to tell you what an awesome adventure you planned for us. Your service in helping us plan it was terrific. Everything went really well. We actually felt like royals with everyone waiting for  us when we were being chauffeured about. Rafting on the Pacuare was totally amazing and hiking in Corcovado with monkeys so close to us were the highlights. Thanks again. I look forward to you planning another trip for us.”

Food – By eating at local restaurants you can expect to pay around 535-1,600 CRC (1-3 USD) for meals. These are a local favorite and will save you from paying tourist prices in other establishments. Typical meals like the traditional casado are 2,670 CRC (5 USD). Most restaurant meals will cost around 3,900 CRC (5 USD) or more. A very nice meal in a tourist area will cost around 9,000 CRC (15 USD). For cheap food, eat from the street vendors where snacks and light meals can cost as little as 265 CRC (less than 1 USD). If you plan on cooking for yourself, a week’s worth of groceries will cost around 15,000-20,000 CRC (25-35 USD).
Household income or consumption by percentage share: Data on household income or consumption come from household surveys, the results adjusted for household size. Nations use different standards and procedures in collecting and adjusting the data. Surveys based on income will normally show a more unequal distribution than surveys based on consumption. The quality of surveys is improving with time, yet caution is still necessary in making inter-country comparisons.
Insurance on car rentals is mandatory in Costa Rica, but be aware that it’s not included in the price listed on many car rental websites online. Typically the additional cost is around $10/15 a day for mandatory third party insurance and unfortunately in 9 cases out of 10 it’s not something that can be covered by your travel insurance or your credit card insurance, so budget accordingly.
The Butterfly Conservatory near Lake Arenal in La Fortuna, is a really nice place to spend a couple of hours. You’ll see some really cool butterflies and reptiles, take a nice nature walk and meet some very knowledgeable people who work there. You could combine this with a hike on the Arenal 1968 trail or a kayak trip around the lake. They are all located close together.
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.
Argentina Vacations: Buenos Aires, Iguazu Falls, El Calafate - Lago Argentino | Belize Vacations: Ambergris Caye, Placencia, San Ignacio | Brazil Vacations: Rio de Janeiro, Iguassu Falls, Salvador da Bahia | Chile Vacations: Santiago, Torres del Paine, Puerto Varas | Colombia Vacations: Cartagena, Santa Marta, Bogota | Costa Rica Vacations: Arenal Volcano, Monteverde Cloud Forest, Guanacaste Beaches - Liberia | Ecuador and Galapagos Vacations: Galapagos Islands, Quito, Guayaquil | Guatemala Vacations: Antigua, Flores - Tikal, Chichicastenango | Honduras Vacations: Roatan, Copan, La Ceiba - Pico Bonito | Mexico Vacations: Mexico City, Oaxaca, San Cristobal de las Casas | Panama Vacations: Panama City - Canal, Soberania National Park, Boquete - Chiriqui | Peru Vacations: Machu Picchu, Cuzco, Lima City, Sacred Valley | Uruguay Vacations: Montevideo, Punta del Este, Colonia

Coffee and chocolate (cacao, technically) go great together. They also grow in similar climates, so it’s no surprise that both are found in close proximity in Costa Rica. Most Costa Rican cacao plantations are in the country’s southern region, around Puerto Viejo. Some offer a glimpse into Costa Rica’s distant past: ChocoRart, an organic farm near Puerto Viejo, harvests and processes cacao in the millennia-old Mayan tradition, while Caribeans focuses on heirloom varieties not widely available outside Central America.

Costa Rica’s bus system may be a challenge to navigate in San José, but once you’ve paid the cheap fare (starting at $1 within a city, $10 for cross-country trips) and boarded, transportation is a breeze. For those with bigger budgets, Interbus and Grayline run shuttles between top destinations starting at $40, and Sansa and Nature Air offer quick domestic flights starting at approximately $60.
One of the nicest places to visit in Costa Rica Tortuguero National Park, which is famous for turtle nesting. Both the park and Tortuguero village can only be accessed via boat – getting there is an incredible ride but it requires a bit of planning – going on a 3 day organized tour of Tortuguero from San Jose may be a good idea. Here’s a great one. 
The promise of pristine nature and secluded beaches protected by dense jungle terrain captures the attention of even seasoned travelers, and there is no greater place to blend rugged beauty and untamed nature than at Tortuguero, located on Costa Rica’s Caribbean Coast. Small charter flights travel between Tortuguero and San Jose, but the majority of travelers must take a boat through the winding canals to reach the banks of Tortuguero Village. The Caribbean Sea laps against the bordering golden beach as palm trees offer an idyllic image of a hidden paradise while the rainforest grows wild against the western backdrop. The Afro-Caribbean culture permeates the tropical atmosphere with the music and flavors in the restaurants.
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.
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.
Costa Rica’s varied landscape and topography also creates thousands of microclimates. The temperature and weather can vary dramatically based on elevation and proximity to the coast, so environments from rainforests to cloudforests, jungles to mountains exist in close proximity. The varied land and climate creates a huge amount of biodiversity (over 5% of the world’s total biodiversity, in fact).
For the word "you" (singular informal form), instead of "tú", most people of Cartago use "vos" (as in "vos sos" - you are) which is also common to other American dialects of Spanish (Argentina, Uruguay, Guatemala...), but the word "usted" is prominent in south Pacific Costa Rica and the Central Valley, and preferred over "vos". Either way, formal Spanish is understood and you may use any form of the word "you" you consider proper.
All these areas are home to an inexhaustible biodiversity, one of the most abundant that represents 5% of the planet. More than 900 species of birds including hummingbirds, red macaws and toucans coexist with 208 species of mammals such as sloths, monkeys or felines such as jaguars. Insects, reptiles, amphibians and butterflies are also spread throughout the territory.
Enjoy wondrous views high above the clouds at this secluded mountain top oasis. Las Nubes Natural Energy Resort specializes in sustainable indulgence, sourcing energy from solar panels and water from mountain springs. The gourmet cuisine is prepared with fresh vegetables and meat from the small on site farm. In the mornings, the unique open air bungalows let in beams of golden sunlight and fresh mountain air. Spend your days basking in the sun where you can wholly appreciate the natural scenery. After fully embracing barefoot luxury, you will return home feeling newly recharged.

With all these different climates and landscapes, it’s no wonder that this Central American jewel is also one of the most biodiverse spots on the planet. With just 0.03% of the earth’s surface within its borders, the country has an estimated 5% of the world’s species. In Costa Rica, this natural world surrounds you, putting the country on the forefront of eco-tourism and eco-living. Sloths, capuchin monkeys, toucans, and scarlet macaws will be your new neighbors.
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. 
I’m not going to lie and say that Costa Rica is a cheap country because it isn’t. As far as Central America goes it is the most expensive country to travel. That being said, it is possible to travel in Costa Rica on a budget without skimping on fab vibes! I’ve been traveling in Costa Rica for a year now and have been able to see amazing things in this country while maintaining a tight budget.
general assessment: good domestic telephone service in terms of breadth of coverage; in recent years growth has been achieved from liberalistion of the telecom sector and has seen substantial expansion in all sectors; Costa Rica's broadband market is the most advanced in Central America, with the highest broadband penetration for this sub-region; broadband penetration does lag behind many South American countries; with the implementation of number portability there is greater opportunity for increased competition in the future (2017)
Stone tools, the oldest evidence of human occupation in Costa Rica, are associated with the arrival of various groups of hunter-gatherers about 10,000 to 7,000 years BCE in the Turrialba Valley. The presence of Clovis culture type spearheads and arrows from South America opens the possibility that, in this area, two different cultures coexisted.[31]
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