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Not only is this northern tract of land leading up to the Nicaraguan border home to the active Rincón de la Vieja volcano, savannah and tropical forest, it also has some of Costa Rica’s most famous beaches. Whether you are looking for sleek resorts in Tamarindo, sleepy Pacific retreats like Nosara, or even pristine national parks by the sea such as Santa Rosa National Park, you are spoilt for choice in Guanacaste.
Rio Celeste is one of the only places on the planet you can relish magical, turquoise waters. It is created by a natural chemical reaction when waters from two rivers, Rio Buena Vista and Rio Quebrada Agria, filled with sulphur and carbonate collide together at Tenidores. The short 6 km hike starting from the entrance to the national park, all the way to Tenidores is ideal for viewing these pristine blue hued waters as you hike through the lush tropical scenery and native wildlife. Hike a little further and you reach the Blue Lagoon where you can really admire the water’s blue hues.
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
It is worth noting the particular road naming system in San Jose. Avenues run east-west and streets run north-south. The numbering is less straightforward. Starting at Central Avenue going south are 2nd, 4th, 6th Avenue, etc. while going north are 1st, 3rd, 5th, etc. Streets use even numbers going west, and odd numbers going east. This means that if you are at 7th Avenue and 4th Street, and looking for 6th Avenue and 5th Street, you are on the wrong side of town.
If the word “Costa Rica” doesn’t evoke images of a fog-shrouded rainforest, let us introduce you to Costa Rica’s most famous ecosystem: the cloud forest. What makes a cloud forest unique is its elevation and humidity, which team up to create a low cloud cover. The Monteverde region is a famously diverse cloud forest frequented by visitors who want to zip-line, bird watch, explore Instagram-worthy canopy footbridges, and look for wildlife like jaguars, ocelots, and even the occasional slow-moving sloth.
Refined petroleum products - consumption: This entry is the country's total consumption of refined petroleum products, in barrels per day (bbl/day). The discrepancy between the amount of refined petroleum products produced and/or imported and the amount consumed and/or exported is due to the omission of stock changes, refinery gains, and other complicating factors.
Hi Mickey, I recommend reading this post: Best places in Costa Rica for first timers to help decide which destinations to go to (I list how long it takes to get there from both airports, things to do and convenience). Costa Rica is very family friendly and there’s a lot to do everywhere but for your specific requests, I’d look into Gulf of Papagayo (families love Playas del Coco and Playa Panama) as you’re close to beaches, volcanoes and hiking and there’s great seafood of course.
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.
Taxes and other revenues: This entry records total taxes and other revenues received by the national government during the time period indicated, expressed as a percent of GDP. Taxes include personal and corporate income taxes, value added taxes, excise taxes, and tariffs. Other revenues include social contributions - such as payments for social security and hospital insurance - grants, and net revenues from public enterprises. Normalizing the data, by dividing total revenues by GDP, enables easy comparisons acr . . . more
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.
Hi Chayanne, thanks for your kind words and glad the blog is helpful! I don’t know where your house is in Ojochal but many of the houses in that area are up in the mountains and the road into Ojochal is not paved, so a 4×4 is a good idea especially for that area. A lot of roads in the Costa Ballena up in the mountains are steep and unpaved so they do require a 4×4.
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.
Zicasso's network of Costa Rica travel agents and specialists are considered to be among the industry's top 10%, and have been personally vetted through a detailed screening process for their level of knowledge, expertise and reputation. Based on the positive feedback of Zicasso's clients and the endorsements of our top travel specialists, a highly selective group of accommodations have been recognized with Zicasso's Top Travel Specialist's Choice Award, which can often be found on the hotels' websites.
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.
Disputes - international: This entry includes a wide variety of situations that range from traditional bilateral boundary disputes to unilateral claims of one sort or another. Information regarding disputes over international terrestrial and maritime boundaries has been reviewed by the US Department of State. References to other situations involving borders or frontiers may also be included, such as resource disputes, geopolitical questions, or irredentist issues; however, inclusion does not necessarily constitute . . . more
The cooler climate and moss-strewn trees provide perfect nesting grounds for the rare and endangered resplendent quetzal. The smaller, yet equally majestic neighbor to Monteverde Cloud Forest is Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve, which overtakes 765 acres. The less-visited terrain contains trails that lead through the hanging vines as vegetation drips with moisture from the passing clouds. Guided tours in the region include suspension bridges, zip lines, butterfly gardens, nature walks and horseback riding.
Refined petroleum products - production: This entry is the country's total output of refined petroleum products, in barrels per day (bbl/day). The discrepancy between the amount of refined petroleum products produced and/or imported and the amount consumed and/or exported is due to the omission of stock changes, refinery gains, and other complicating factors.
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.
Loved this article and all the tips. We are planning to take our 3 children (11, 7, and 5) and will be traveling with another family that has 3 children similar ages, in April. We are looking into renting a house. We found one located in the Tango Mar Resort near the peninsula. None of us have been to Costa Rica so if you have any suggestions or maybe a better recommendation for places to stay please let me know! Thanks!
Overlooking the picturesque Papagayo Bay sits the distinguished Villa Buena Onda, an elegant mansion turned meal-inclusive resort. The property was designed by a renowned interior decorator who combined leather, silk, iron and traditional woods to create a five element oasis. The earth-toned exteriors complement the greens and blues of the natural environment. During sunset, guests can watch from the garden as the sky’s orange and pink hues contrast with the deep blues of the two tiered swimming pool. Guests will never forget the service oriented staff who are willing to go the distance to make your stay a once in a lifetime experience. Villa Buena Onda is ideal for couples desiring romance and relaxation in beautiful Costa Rica.
The Gulf de Papagayo is a well established dive location with three major diving options. Local diving, the Catalinas, and the Bat Islands are the options within the Gulf. Diving centers are mainly located around Playas del Coco and Playa Flamingo. Out of the three options, Bat Islands is probably the most exciting as this national marine park is home to the often feared bull sharks. The dive site "Big Scare" allows divers the chance to dive face to face with these sharks and is also home to other large pelagics such as manta rays and the occasional whale shark.
Costa Rica gained fame as a natural destination with incredible wildlife watching in the rain forests and cloud forests of its national parks and wildlife refuges. As tourism grew international resorts began sprouting on the amazing beaches of the Guanacaste coast and the number of visitors surged along with activities and adventures to entertain them.
My trip was wonderful! It was my first trip with Gate1, and it was also my first ever solo trip and I must say that I could not have been more happy with my experience. Our tour manager was great, our driver was top notch and the people I met on the trip were the cherry in top. Thank you for your help with my reservation I will definitely travel with Gate1 again.
As for swimming at the beach, definitely don’t leave your valuables at the beach unattended. Find a place where there are a lot of people and try to bring minimal valuables as possible. You can ask people near you to keep an eye on your stuff and always swim close to your things, don’t swim off far away and always look at it every couple minutes, if it’s a popular beach with lots of people. We don’t recommend swimming and leaving your things at a beach where there is nobody because it only takes a minute for the thieves to take your stuff and unfortunately, beach theft is something to be concerned about if you are going to an empty beach.
Few tourists make it this far down the peninsula, so you’ll have whatever beach or trail you choose to explore to yourself. Just don’t expect any true stunners: the closest broad beach is Playa Carmen, up the road a few miles. Stay the night at Hotel Vista de Olas or Hotel Moana, both rustic but comfortable properties within walking distance of the shore.
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).
The Arenal Volcano is a truly picturesque volcano. If you can imagine how you would have drawn a volcano when you were a kid, that is basically what it looks like: a perfect symmetrical cone. Surrounding the volcano are lush forests that are bursting with wildlife. There are beautiful waterfalls, hanging bridges, hiking and horseback riding trails, butterfly gardens, hot springs, and zip lines tours. The Arenal Volcano National Park pretty much has it all.
Hotel Belmar is located in Monteverde's cloud forest where guest will experience the best of nature, luxury, and sustainable practices. This world-renowned hotel offers a wide range of amenities including handmade organic soaps with biodegradable shampoos, locally made snacks, and fresh Costa Rican brewed coffee delivered to the exquisite rooms. Guests will experience only the best at this peaceful accommodation.
“The sights were absolutely fabulous! We visited both coasts and many places in between ... all the places we were interested in seeing. I wasn’t sure I wanted to visit Tortuguero, but it turned out to be one of my favorite destinations! This was an exceptional tour at an exceptional price. The guides were very eco-minded. We received a good education from them and their passion for preserving their environment was contagious. We totally get it. Your Costa Rican tour was awesome.”
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.
My trip to Costa Rica was one of best vacations I have been on to date. Since this was my first tour on Gate1, and the cost was so reasonable, I was wondering about the quality of the entire tour. I have to say that EVERYTHING was excellent. Our tour guide, Luis Miguel Cruz Comparaz, was so knowledgeable about the areas we visited. I could tell Luis was very proud of Costa Rica and took great pride in taking care of his family (tour participants). Our bus driver, Marvin , was an excellent driver and maneuvered that large bus with confidence. I felt extremely safe with him. The hotels, food, tours were first class. Lastly, I am recently retired and on a fixed income. Gate1 actually made it possible for me to visit Costa Rica. This will not be my last trip with Gate1.
Eating Costa Rican food is a great way to learn more about the culture and history of the country. Staples at meal time include black beans and rice known as gallo pinto, a favourite for breakfast. Dinner brings delectables like sopa negra (black bean soup) and casado which highlights rice with an array of side dish like fried plantains, vegetables, fish, beef or chicken. For dessert, try the Costa Rican rice pudding known as arroz con leche and quench your thirst with a traditional shot of guaro which is a liquor made of sugar cane.
Ticos speak a number of indigenous languages, such as Bribri, Maléku, and Cabécar. However, the country’s official language is Spanish. Linguists enjoy traveling through the various topographies to see the variety of languages still in use, including the Limón Creole English created by Jamaican migrants who settled in Limón in the mid-19th century. Jewish travelers to Costa Rica enjoy finding Yiddish speakers brought from Indo-European and Germanic immigrants who constituted two major waves of migration, after the first initial wave dating back to the 16th century with the arrival of the Spanish. In areas populated by tourists or international schools, English is commonly spoken. It is easy to find someone who speaks English well, even if they only respond to your question of “Do you speak English?” by saying, “A little.”
The mysterious cloud enshrouded mountains of Monteverde offer an almost magical experience as you walk the forest floor and up into the canopy overhanging suspension bridges. Home of world-class highland species birdwatching, where birders flock to seek a glimpse of the rare Resplendent Quetzal or hear the call of the 3-Wattled Bellbird, the unique Cloud Forest also features a rich assortment of orchids and epiphytes. Thrill-seekers can choose to quench their thirst for adventure traveling at high speeds by zipline through the magnificent old growth forest over spectacular scenery. The local village of Santa Elena provides plenty of eateries, local artisan shops, museums, and galleries.
Don’t come here expecting to have a bug-free experience. Even the most expensive hotels are going to have insects (this is a rain forest). Rooms here can be quite nice if you pay up, but they do not come with central heat and air. It is cool enough at night that AC is not needed, but if you want airflow you will likely have your windows, and perhaps some of the doors, open. If you have strong aversion to bugs make sure in advance that the windows in your room have screens (seems like this would be a given, it is not). We have screens at our house but I awoke at 1:00 a.m to a spider walking across my face. Be prepared to roll with it.
“On my Sunday radio program, I’ve several times mentioned the attractive price of $995 per person plus airfare for a 10-day, fully-escorted trip to Costa Rica offered thoughout the year by the distinguished Chicago tour operator called Caravan Tours. The price includes all accommodations, all meals, and all motorcoach sightseeing and transportation...highly affordable vacations. ” ‘The Travel Show with Arthur Frommer’
Costa Rica historically managed to stay away from the political turmoil and violence from which neighbouring nations still suffer. The nation constitutionally abolished its army permanently in the 1940s. It has also managed to be the only Latin American country included in the list of the world's 22 oldest democracies, paying homage to its stance as a peaceful and politically stable nation. Costa Rica has also consistently been among the top Latin American countries in the Human Development Index, and is cited by the UNDP as one of the countries that has attained much higher human development than other countries at the same income levels.
Hi Jim, I have seen a couple of ATM’s around the Flamingo Beach hotel and most of the North American Cards works here, just make sure to ask your bank about international withdrawal fees and all that. In the worst case scenario you will have to go to Tamarindo downtown where you will find many banks and ATM’s people from all over world use them without any problem.
Physicians density: This entry gives the number of medical doctors (physicians), including generalist and specialist medical practitioners, per 1,000 of the population. Medical doctors are defined as doctors that study, diagnose, treat, and prevent illness, disease, injury, and other physical and mental impairments in humans through the application of modern medicine. They also plan, supervise, and evaluate care and treatment plans by other health care providers. The World Health Organization estimates that f . . . more
San José, September 7, 2018 Local media report that Costa Rican unions are planning to strike starting on Monday, September 10, in downtown San Jose. Strikes will continue throughout the week. Protestors may express their opposition to the new fiscal plan being discussed in National Assembly by shutting down certain government services and creating traffic jams ...
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.
If surfing is not your thing, but you still like being in the water, try stand up paddle boarding. It’s quite the thing in Costa Rica lately. Many people sign up for classes, but if you are just in for the fun of it, you can just rent the board and go on your own. It’s a nice way to get a good work out (it’s much harder than it looks) and explore the coast, the rivers and the lakes of Costa Rica. Most hotels and beaches rent out boards. It’s also possible to rent boards or sign up for classes online.
The government helps to regulate industry and development to keep the biodiversity intact and rewards eco-friendly hotels, tour providers, and those that implement green business practices to help sustain the awe-inspiring beauty of the celebrated biodiversity. This allows Costa Rica to stay on track to become the first carbon-neutral country in the world, meeting its energy needs through a combination of hydroelectric, wind, and geothermal power.
Costa Rica caters to visitors of all types with a range of availability that includes boutique accommodations with individualized attention that enhances the opulence and comforts of the surrounding scenery without compromising the standards set by global trademark hotels. Hotels in San Jose incorporate the chic and fashionable décor associated with the capital city while resorts in Manuel Antonio National Park highlight the open walls for exceptional views with materials taken from the surrounding areas to not disrupt the biosphere. Lodges in Monteverde blend into the background of the cloud forest and accommodations in Tortuguero offer respite from the tropical humidity and heat that are accompanied by the marvelous vistas.
The highest point in the country is Cerro Chirripó, at 3,819 metres (12,530 ft); it is the fifth highest peak in Central America. The highest volcano in the country is the Irazú Volcano (3,431 m or 11,257 ft) and the largest lake is Lake Arenal. There are 14 known volcanoes in Costa Rica, and six of them have been active in the last 75 years. The country has also experienced at least ten earthquakes of magnitude 5.7 or higher (3 of magnitude 7.0 or higher) in the last century.