Having now spent many months in Costa Rica and with Max having grown up here, we know a thing or two about Costa Rica. And after helping 40 of our friends and family make their way to Costa Rica for our wedding in 2015, we know exactly the questions on first-time travelers’ minds. We decided to compile all our tips and tricks for traveling in Costa Rica, what to bring, what to avoid and, even, what to wear!

Selva Bananito Lodge & Reserve - is situated in a pristine and natural setting, located at the foot of Mochila mountain in the eastern outcropping of the Talamanca Mountain Range in the province of Limon, Costa Rica. They ake an active stand in conservation by supporting  the Limon Watershed Foundation with logistic and financial support provided by your stay.  Visit on our "Beaches & Rainforest", or "Turtles & Rainforest" vacation packages.
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.

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.

GDP (purchasing power parity): This entry gives the gross domestic product (GDP) or value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year. A nation's GDP at purchasing power parity (PPP) exchange rates is the sum value of all goods and services produced in the country valued at prices prevailing in the United States in the year noted. This is the measure most economists prefer when looking at per-capita welfare and when comparing living conditions or use of resources across countries. The measur . . . more


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.

There is a high fatality rate for pedestrians and those riding bicycles or motorcycles. In the event of a traffic fatality, a judge must arrive at the scene to pronounce a person dead, which could take several hours. If there is an ongoing investigation of a vehicular accident resulting in death or injuries, you may not be allowed to leave the country for several months.

The 2011 census classified 83.6% of the population as white or Mestizo; the latter are persons of combined European and Amerindian descent. The Mulatto segment (mix of white and black) represented 6.7% and indigenous people made up 2.4% of the population.[2] Native and European mixed blood populations are far less than in other Latin American countries. Exceptions are Guanacaste, where almost half the population is visibly mestizo, a legacy of the more pervasive unions between Spanish colonists and Chorotega Amerindians through several generations, and Limón, where the vast majority of the Afro-Costa Rican community lives.
Executive branch: This entry includes five subentries: chief of state; head of government; cabinet; elections/appointments; election results. Chief of state includes the name, title, and beginning date in office of the titular leader of the country who represents the state at official and ceremonial functions but may not be involved with the day-to-day activities of the government. Head of government includes the name, title of the top executive designated to manage the executive branch of the government, a . . . more
Yeap, this is probably completely contradictory of everything you’ve ever heard. Usually, if you book ahead of time it’s cheaper right? We’ll, not in Costa Rica. See all the big tour companies that you find on the internet have the money to set up websites and try to hook tourists. We have had much better luck asking at our hotel if they know anybody who offers similar tours. Usually, these local tour companies will partner with hotels and you will get a cheaper rate.
Costa Rica's political stability, high standard of living, and well-developed social benefits system set it apart from its Central American neighbors. Through the government's sustained social spending - almost 20% of GDP annually - Costa Rica has made tremendous progress toward achieving its goal of providing universal access to education, healthcare, clean water, sanitation, and electricity. Since the 1970s, expansion of these services has led to a rapid decline in infant mortality, an increase in life expectancy at birth, and a sharp decrease in the birth rate. The average number of children born per women has fallen from about 7 in the 1960s to 3.5 in the early 1980s to below replacement level today. Costa Rica's poverty rate is lower than in most Latin American countries, but it has stalled at around 20% for almost two decades.
The Latinobarómetro survey of 2017 found that 57% of the population identify themselves as Roman Catholics, 25% are Evangelical Protestants, 15% report that they do not have a religion, and 2% declare that they belong to another religion.[136] This survey indicated a decline in the share of Catholics and rise in the share of Protestants and irreligious.[136] A University of Costa Rica survey of 2018 show similar rates; 52% Catholics, 25% Protestants, 17% irreligious and 3% other.[3] The rate of secularism is high by Latin American standards.

You can find ATMs in most places. They normally dispense US dollars and colones. With Visa you get money at almost all ATMs. If you've got a MasterCard try the ATMs in the AM/PM supermarkets, they give you up to 250,000 colones (c. USD500). Another option are the ATH-ATM's but they just give you up to 100,000 colones (c. USD200) each transaction. EC-Cards (European) are accepted on all ATMs. The limit is usually only set by the Card. In addition, drawing money with your EC-Card will almost always give you a better exchange rate than changing cash in a bank.


Adventure tours are steeped in adrenaline, from Costa Rica’s iconic canopy zip lines to waterfall rappelling. And when you’re ready to relax after the wild ride, leisure tours step in with bubbling hot springs, rainforest massages, and luxe spa treatments. Of course, Costa Rica is most famous for its nature offerings, and you’ll find plenty of tours to lead you into the great outdoors: national park hiking, birdwatching tours, canoeing into mangrove forests, and more. Get your game face on for sport tours, which extend to old favorites like horseback riding and mountain biking, and up the game with new standbys like sea kayaking and Costa Rica’s world-famous sportfishing. Top it off with cultural tours and get a deeper look at Costa Rican life, on coffee and chocolate tours, visits to indigenous villages, and other fascinating insights.
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
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.
An estimated 30,000 Americans have retired in Costa Rica, with another 50 nationalities represented among the expatriate population. Stop and take a deep breath if you hear yourself uttering the words: “Honey, that nice real estate agent we met in the hotel lobby told us how easy it would be to move down here. Let’s do it.” As happens to countless other visitors, the sunshine syndrome has snuck up on you. Before you sell the farm and make the move here, the experts suggest doing a trial rental of a few months to see if day-to-day life in Costa Rica is for you. Living here—with all the mundane, attendant tasks of grocery shopping, banking, and making doctor’s appointments—is much different than being on vacation.
Early morning visit to world famous Manuel Antonio National Park, a natural habitat for the white face monkey, the rare squirrel monkey and the three-toed sloth. Hike through the rainforest and along spectacular beach coves. Look for toucans and parrots. (Tours beginning on Mondays will visit the adjacent public beach instead due to newly mandated park closures.) The rest of your morning is at leisure. Enjoy your hotel's pools and rooftop terrace, or visit nearby artisan shops. Lunch at your Manuel Antonio hotel. Then, return to San José. Farewell dinner tonight. BLD
Costa Rica requires valid Yellow fever certificate if arriving from most neighbouring countries. If such is not presented you would not be allowed to enter/board the flight. At Bogota airport - if you have certificate you can have it emailed to the airline and then proceed to the local vaccination authority for duplicate certificate to be issued free of charge. The critical part is to get the printed version on time. If you don't have certificate or cannot get it on time you will probably be approached by friendly police officers to arrange such for a fee. Keep in mind that the date of the vaccination should be at least 10 days prior entering the country from which you are flying.

Costa Rica is more than a vacation destination; it is an interactive sensory experience. The country has an intense array of environmental attractions - majestic volcanoes, misty cloud forests, stunning river valleys, and hundreds of beaches along the Pacific and Caribbean coasts. Costa Rica has a fascinating ecological story, woven into the history of a peaceful and family-oriented culture.
There should be taxis in Ojochal but since it’s not a super touristic area, I wouldn’t count on taxis as your main form of transportation. It’s good you’re renting a car because that area is hard to get around without one (you’ll see lots of people hitchhiking). It’s best to have a car, or hire a private driver but that can get expensive. Uber only exists in San Jose.
election results: Carlos ALVARADO Quesada elected president in second round; percent of vote in first round - Fabricio ALVARADO Munoz (PRN) 25%; Carlos ALVARADO Quesada (PAC) 21.6%; Antonio ALVAREZ (PLN) 18.6%; Rodolfo PIZA (PUSC) 16%; Juan Diego CASTRO (PIN) 9.5%; Rodolfo HERNANDEZ (PRS) 4.9%, other 4.4%; percent of vote in second round - Carlos ALVARADO Quesada (PAC) 60.7%; Fabricio ALVARADO Munoz (PRN) 39.3%
The Simon Bolivar Zoological Gardens is located in downtown San Jose, where it covers an area of around 14 hectares, part of which is a botanical garden. The zoo serves as a sanctuary to orphaned and injured wild animals, but there is no doubt that it is not one of the more progressive cage-less zoos – if you hate to see wild animals in cages, then this one is probably not for you. However, the zoo is very popular with local families and does give children the opportunity to see a wide variety of animals including birds, fish, capuchin monkeys, and a lion within a manageable space.
Hi Nastassia, The trip to Costa Rica was amazing! We had a wonderful time. We really enjoyed all the tours and activities. Our guide, Gilbert, was awesome. The accommodations were excellent. We had so much fun traveling with this group of people. All the transfers went off without any problems. Thanks for planning and implementing a headache-free trip!

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

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.
The marvelous biodiversity is amplified with a wealth of agriculture as the warm, fertile soils and abundant minerals are present amidst an average rainfall of more than 13 inches a year. Guanacaste, a large producer of Brahman cattle, sugar cane, cotton, and rice, receives irrigated water from Lake Arenal during the dry season. The use of irrigation has allowed farms in the more arid regions across Costa Rica to farm crops that are usually found in wetter, tropical areas, such as pineapple, mangos, bananas, and sugar cane. An abundance of wild fruits grows along the roadside, such as cashew fruits, mangoes, papaya, and guava. However, plantations fill the markets both large and small, from tiny villages near the Caribbean to the megastores of San Jose.
Third, don’t read too much. The amount of information you can find on line is overwhelming and you will end up getting totally confused about what to do and see. Have an initial idea in mind about an area or areas you want to see, and then start checking on hotel accommodations in each location so that you can start getting some rates as well. If you get confused or frustrated, it’s time for you to contact a local travel agent in Costa Rica; someone who knows the country and can guide you well.
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.
If you choose to stay at a luxury resort for your long-term vacation rental, you’re likely to be supplied with everything you need onsite, and if you need something, you can probably request it. If you decide to rent a personal property, you are likely to see that the place is fully furnished and equipped with everything you need, or equipped with the staff to help you have a great stay. Check out our Costa Rica Vacation Rentals listings often, as many properties come and go off the market quite quickly.

One of the wildest, most remote regions of Costa Rica, the Osa Peninsula is home to the world-famous Corcovado National Park. Often unreachable except by boat or plane, this area offers an untamed, raw experience with guided tours into the remotest areas, including protected ocean reefs. Mostly ecolodges are found here, including some quite primitive, a true back to nature experience!
Or skip cash altogether. Every brick-and-mortar merchant we patronized, including hole-in-the-wall restaurants in Liberia, accepted major credit cards. Because they’re dollar-denominated at contemporaneous exchange rates, credit card transactions with foreign-transaction-fee-free cards are cheaper than cash transactions, which require withdrawals from ATMs charging 2% to 3% for the privilege. If you rent your own car and avoid the informal economy, you can get by without touching a paper note.
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.
Crime: In areas frequented by tourists, including national parks, theft and pickpocketing are the most common crimes targeting U.S. citizen travelers. More violent crimes, including sexual assault and murders, have occurred. Armed assailants usually target victims for their smartphones, wallets, or purses. If confronted by someone with a weapon, it is best not to resist.
My boyfriend Thomas pretty much lives for fishing. Sometimes he just wants to get out on a boat for some fishing without the intensity and cost of setting up a tour with a deep sea fishing company. Twice he has asked locals if they know of anybody who can take him out on their boat. Both times he was successful in finding someone who would take him out for a fraction of the cost it would be for a deep sea fishing company. People are generally eager to make some extra cash and will help you out with this kind of thing.

These men’s Vaha pants are lightweight and weigh nothing in a carry-on bag. I could literally live in these pants if it were acceptable to wear them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner out. While in the Costa Rica, they were a wardrobe staple for nighttime as they are appropriate to wear barefoot out to a restaurant or bar while covering our legs from the pesky mosquitos.
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!

For a lower-stakes excursion that provides VIP private service and the best bang for your buck, try gentle wildlife floats such as the one offered by Green Frog Adventures, or meet in the middle with a Class III (moderate intensity) day excursion. Green Frog is a top rafting company: You can expect top-notch guides to escort you every step of the way on a fully catered journey that includes transport to and from the river – and even, if need be, accommodations for your flight or other travel plans.
If you choose to stay at a luxury resort for your long-term vacation rental, you’re likely to be supplied with everything you need onsite, and if you need something, you can probably request it. If you decide to rent a personal property, you are likely to see that the place is fully furnished and equipped with everything you need, or equipped with the staff to help you have a great stay. Check out our Costa Rica Vacation Rentals listings often, as many properties come and go off the market quite quickly.
One good dock for water taxi excursions is Los Chiles but our favorite ride was from Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui to Trinidad on the Nicaraguan border.  The other half dozen passengers kept making the captain pull up to the bank and idle while we took pictures of caimen, kingfishers, monkeys, sloth and other wildlife they spotted.  Even though they were all locals who where just trying to get home after a shopping and banking excursion in Puerto Viejo no one complained that the two gringos doubled the time for the trip.
Net migration rate: This entry includes the figure for the difference between the number of persons entering and leaving a country during the year per 1,000 persons (based on midyear population). An excess of persons entering the country is referred to as net immigration (e.g., 3.56 migrants/1,000 population); an excess of persons leaving the country as net emigration (e.g., -9.26 migrants/1,000 population). The net migration rate indicates the contribution of migration to the overall level of population chan . . . more
Price is per person, based on double occupancy, and includes hotel rates, hotel taxes, roundtrip airfare, and gov't taxes/fees applicable to airfare based on specified departure city. Price may vary for other departure cities. Price shown is sample price found 11/10/15 on jetblue.com/vacations for travel departing BOS on1/4/16 - 1/28/16 and may not represent current savings. Package/price subject to availability; may change without notice; valid for new bookings only; capacity controlled; may not be available on all dates or with all flights; and may be restricted to certain hotel room categories.

My boyfriend Thomas pretty much lives for fishing. Sometimes he just wants to get out on a boat for some fishing without the intensity and cost of setting up a tour with a deep sea fishing company. Twice he has asked locals if they know of anybody who can take him out on their boat. Both times he was successful in finding someone who would take him out for a fraction of the cost it would be for a deep sea fishing company. People are generally eager to make some extra cash and will help you out with this kind of thing.
Catarata Del Toro is a private reserve in the central mountains of Costa Rica, near San Jose International Airport. The star of the reserve is a magnificent waterfall, the largest in the country, tumbling down into an extinct volcano crater. All around you is breathtaking beauty: The rock formations, the lookouts, and the incredibly diverse flora and fauna. Catarata Del Toro Adventures enables visitors to explore this lush area while they rappel, swim, hike, take photos, watch birds, or enjoy a fresh meal at the open-air restaurant. If you want to stay longer, the reserve offers simple, rustic rooms where you can replenish your energy and continue your exploration another day.
If your sights are set on a slightly more exotic destination, look south. Not too far south: just beyond the gleaming waters of the Caribbean. There, straddling the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, lies Costa Rica. From most major U.S. cities, it’s less than six hours by plane to San Jose, Costa Rica’s capital. And, unlike transoceanic tropical destinations like Thailand and Indonesia, Costa Rica doesn’t demand much from your body’s clock: It’s in the Central Time Zone, meaning little to no jet lag for folks from North America.
Planning a vacation to a foreign country, especially in Central America, can be stressful and time-consuming, especially when you don’t know the language or where to go. We help make it easy for you by creating custom Costa Rica travel packages to fit your interests and budget. We will work with you to make your travel itinerary perfect. Best of all, we charge NO FEE for our services and can help you SAVE MONEY while getting the most out of your time here. We hope you enjoy our Costa Rica Travel page and perhaps we’ll see you in tropical paradise. Get your custom itinerary today!

It was so great!! Costa Rica is very beautiful. We have had difficult experiences booking online before and it was very very easy through Gate 1. And everything was taken care of. I recommended gate1 to all of my girlfriends i went to Puerto Vallarta with in May. They were super impressed by the price and quality of my trip. So thankful to Gate 1 Travel. By the way I love the sample itinerary with recommendations for stops while we were driving to the locations. Thanks to that we got to stop off and see some amazing places we would've never stopped at!! Please continue that!
Adventure tours are steeped in adrenaline, from Costa Rica’s iconic canopy zip lines to waterfall rappelling. And when you’re ready to relax after the wild ride, leisure tours step in with bubbling hot springs, rainforest massages, and luxe spa treatments. Of course, Costa Rica is most famous for its nature offerings, and you’ll find plenty of tours to lead you into the great outdoors: national park hiking, birdwatching tours, canoeing into mangrove forests, and more. Get your game face on for sport tours, which extend to old favorites like horseback riding and mountain biking, and up the game with new standbys like sea kayaking and Costa Rica’s world-famous sportfishing. Top it off with cultural tours and get a deeper look at Costa Rican life, on coffee and chocolate tours, visits to indigenous villages, and other fascinating insights.
Morning visit to Leatherback Turtle National Park. The leatherback is the largest marine reptile in the world, weighing over 1,500 pounds. Learn about Costa Rica's efforts to protect this endangered giant. The remainder of the day is free to enjoy your magnificent world class beach resort. Visit the elegant spa or swim in your hotel’s infinity pool, the largest in Central America. Lunch. Time to beachcomb while strolling your resort’s pristine beach. Dinner. BLD
The International Monetary Fund stated in June 2017 that annual growth in the economy was just over 4% and that the financial system was sound.[89][90] The IMF expressed concern however, about increasing deficits and public debt as well as the heavy dollarization of bank assets and liabilities. Costa Rica's public debt is problematic, especially as a percentage of the GDP, increasing from 29.8% in 2011 to 40.8% in 2015.[77] Of the proposed 2017 budget (US$15.9 billion), debt payments account for one-third of the total and a full 46% of the budget will require financing. That will increase the deficit and the debt owed to foreign entities.[91] The value of the Costa Rican colone per US$1 was 526.46₡ on 27 March 2015. At the end of July 2017, the value was 563₡.[92][93][94]
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