What makes Carara one of Costa Rica attractions is the fact that, covering close to 13,000 acres, apart from so many bird species, it is also home to a diverse array of other wildlife to keep an eye out for. This list includes sloths, monkeys, deer, armadillos, peccaries and even big cats and crocodiles. The park also has various interpretative trails to explore, even for those who are less active. Many tour companies operate tours (including hiking, river boating, and birding excursions) in Carara, so it is easy to find guides to help see this part of Costa Rica in depth.
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. 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.
Some of our best tours combine a little of this and a little of that, to create Costa Rica vacation packages like no other. Take to the thrilling zip lines of a canopy tour that winds through a monkey and sloth-studded forest; sail out to snorkel Pacific reefs and witness an unforgettable sunset; and hike a volcano before settling in for Mother Nature’s massage in steamy, thermal hot springs. With these tours, Costa Rica is at your fingertips.
Attracting all art lovers and anyone interested in modern design innovation, the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design is housed across a cluster of buildings in San Jose’s historic downtown area. You can admire works by predominantly Costa Rican and other Central and South American countries in the museum’s large permanent collection, while regular temporary exhibitions are held in four special exhibition spaces. The museum also has an auditorium and you can access an extensive website and video library featuring past exhibitions. You can join a guided tour, attend a lecture or workshop, or simply explore at your own pace.
This is one of the most important things to know about Costa Rica. Many people assume that Central America automatically equals cheap travel. Nope. That is the biggest common misconception about Costa Rica. Yes, its northern neighbor, Nicaragua is dirt cheap but it’s is also one of the poorest countries in Latin America so you can stretch your money very far there.
SJO is currently under remodelling, and in July 2009 its operation was taken over by the same organization that runs the airports in Houston, Texas. An otherwise pleasant airport features the normal assortment of duty-free shops, interesting souvenir and bookshops, but an inadequate selection of overpriced restaurants (Church's Chicken, Burger King, Poás Deli Cafe and Papa John's pizza). SJO is serviced daily by Air Canada, Air Transat (Seasonal) American Airlines, Canjet (Seasonal), Condor, Delta, Frontier Airlines, Iberia, Interjet, JetBlue Airways, Thomas Cook, Spirit Airlines, Southwest Airlines, United, Volaris, Westjet, Avianca, Copa Airlines and AirPanama . Connecting the airport with cities such as: Los Angeles, New York, Houston, Dallas, Miami, Baltimore, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Charlotte, Atlanta, Phoenix, Orlando, Chicago, Newark, Toronto, Montreal, Madrid, London, Frankfurt, Mexico City, Bogotá, Medellín, Caracas, Lima, Guayaquil, Quito and all of Central America.
You will find the fascinating Butterfly Conservatory located close to the shores of beautiful Lake Arenal in the Alajuela Province. Within the conservatory, nature-lovers of all ages can take an interesting and educational tour, which will introduce you to the life of butterflies and other creatures that inhabit the four different microclimates found around the lake. You can visit the greenhouses where the butterflies are bred, the frog habitat, and an orchid exhibition as well as follow the Rainforest River Walk, where you have the chance to spot monkeys, sloths, toucans, and parrots. From the Volcano View Gazebo you can get an excellent view of Arenal Volcano, Arenal Lake, and more.
Restaurants: San Jose is the epicenter of Costa Rica’s haute cuisine movement, such as it is. If you have room in your budget for a culinary splurge, I’d highly recommend doing it in San Jose rather than a beachfront or hot springs resort. You’ll have more choice and probably pay less. Of course, if your main goal is reducing your dining out budget, you can find plenty of cheap cafeteria-style eateries. We had great success with Google Maps.
If you’re reading this article about saving money on activities then you’re probably trying to save money on other things like transportation as well. Kill two birds with one stone and take a public bus. Not only is it interesting but public buses take quite a bit longer than a rental car or tourist shuttles so you won’t have so much free time left over to try to occupy.
Tucked up in the north-east of the country and only accessible by boat or light aircraft, this national park is well worth the trip. The endangered green turtle comes here to lay her eggs, as do the hawksbill, loggerhead and leatherback varieties. Watching them dragging their huge forms up the beach by night is a truly magical sight, as is witnessing the tiny hatchlings making their way into the water for the first time.
December 20-ish through the end of the year, and Holy Week, the week before Easter, are the country’s monster tourism times. Prices go up and availability goes down dramatically during those weeks. Not only do foreigners flock here, but you’re competing for space with Costa Ricans. They have the time off, too. (Traffic-snarled San José becomes a virtual ghost town during Holy Week, called Semana Santa in Spanish.) Make hotel and car-rental reservations weeks—better yet, months—in advance if you plan to be here during those periods. And be prepared for one arcane oddity of Costa Rican law if you’re here during Holy Week: Holy Thursday and Good Friday are legally dry days in many communities, and no alcoholic beverages may be served or sold.
For the best beaches, we suggest the North Pacific Coast. Tamarindo is one of the most popular beaches in this area. It can get pretty crowded, but it has lots of restaurants, shops, and other facilities. Alternatively, we love the quiet area near Playa Avellanas (just south of Tamarindo). It’s more rustic down here and less developed, but easily accessible by car and a great place to relax and enjoy the Pura Vida lifestyle!
Legal system: This entry provides the description of a country's legal system. A statement on judicial review of legislative acts is also included for a number of countries. The legal systems of nearly all countries are generally modeled upon elements of five main types: civil law (including French law, the Napoleonic Code, Roman law, Roman-Dutch law, and Spanish law); common law (including United State law); customary law; mixed or pluralistic law; and religious law (including Islamic law). An addition . . . more
Currency fluctuations can have an outsize impact on your overseas spending power. In the late 2000s, when the U.S. dollar was weak and the euro, pound, and Canadian dollar were all strong, it took lots of U.S. dollars to buy hotel rooms, transportation tickets, food, and souvenirs denominated in those currencies. For Americans, that meant traveling abroad was a pricey affair. British and European tourists flooded major U.S. cities and resort towns, snapping up hotel rooms and knickknacks at what seemed to them incredible bargains, while few Americans went the other way.
Insect Protection: In rainforests and cloud forests year-round, and everywhere during the wet season, you’re likely to encounter nasty mosquitoes and other assorted biting insects. Though life-threatening tropical illnesses like malaria, dengue, and yellow fever aren’t super common here, zika is. Pregnant couples and those planning to become pregnant soon need to be fastidious about insect protection: repellent, tucked-in clothing, window screens. Remember the 3-ounce rule in carry-on baggage.
With so much nature and so many volcanoes, it’s only obvious that one of the unmissable things to do in Costa Rica is hiking. I love volcano hikes (my favorite to date has been that of Mount Bromo, in Indonesia), and hiking in Arenal and La Fortuna is one of the top activities in Costa Rica. However, I also recommend heading to Corcovado National Park for more adventures.
The country has been considered economically stable with moderate inflation, estimated at 2.6% in 2017, and moderately high growth in GDP, which increased from US$41.3 billion in 2011 to US$52.6 billion in 2015. The estimated GDP for 2017 is US$61.5 billion and the estimated GDP per capita (purchasing power parity) is US$12,382. The growing debt and budget deficit are the country's primary concerns.
Contraceptive prevalence rate: This field gives the percent of women of reproductive age (15-49) who are married or in union and are using, or whose sexual partner is using, a method of contraception according to the date of the most recent available data. The contraceptive prevalence rate is an indicator of health services, development, and women’s empowerment. It is also useful in understanding, past, present, and future fertility trends, especially in developing countries.
Costa Rica has been cited as Central America's great health success story. Its healthcare system is ranked higher than that of the United States, despite having a fraction of its GDP. Prior to 1940, government hospitals and charities provided most health care. But since the 1941 creation of the Social Insurance Administration (Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social – CCSS), Costa Rica has provided universal health care to its wage-earning residents, with coverage extended to dependants over time. In 1973, the CCSS took over administration of all 29 of the country's public hospitals and all health care, also launching a Rural Health Program (Programa de Salud Rural) for primary care to rural areas, later extended to primary care services nationwide. In 1993, laws were passed to enable elected health boards that represented health consumers, social insurance representatives, employers, and social organizations. By the year 2000, social health insurance coverage was available to 82% of the Costa Rican population. Each health committee manages an area equivalent to one of the 83 administrative cantons of Costa Rica. There is limited use of private, for-profit services (around 14.4% of the national total health expenditure). About 7% of GDP is allocated to the health sector, and over 70% is government funded.
Our trip was amazing and we had the best time!! Gilbert, our tour guide was great. He was knowledgeable and we learned so much about Costa Rica and the culture. We still can't figure out how he spotted birds so high and animals hidden in leaves and trees!! He made every minute of the trip a once-in-a-lifetime moment. My husband is already planning out next Gate 1 Tour!!
Journey east to the Caribbean shore and TORTUGUERO NATIONAL PARK. On the way, stop at a BANANA PLANTATION to see one of Costa Rica’s main exports being harvested. Later, board a motor launch for your CRUISE along the Tortuguero Canals, waterways crisscrossing a national park dedicated to the protection of endangered turtles. The trained eyes of your guide and boatman help you spot freshwater turtles, caimans, herons, toucans, egrets, and monkeys. An afternoon at leisure lets you explore Evergreen Lodge until you meet for an informative slideshow presentation on the area.
San Jose bursts with liveliness and excitement that blends into the daily life of Ticos, Costa Rica natives. The capital of Costa Rica contains an ineffable charm that is strewn beneath the potholed streets and mishmash of corrugated metal and plaster homes. The chaos of rumbling cars, buses, and people reveal a connection to the capitals of Central America but give way to the mixture of traditional and historical buildings. The city was founded in 1737 but remained a forgotten settlement of the Spanish empire until the late 19th century due to the emerging coffee trade.
Costa Rica is a nature lover’s dream. Adventure blends seamlessly into nature's harmony and the array of wonders in Costa Rica leaves its visitors breathless and spellbound. A bubbling volcano illuminates the star filled night sky and enchanting forests that appear as though they are made entirely of clouds thrive with diverse wildlife. From the Pacific Coast to the Caribbean Sea and the expanse of lush jungles in between, Costa Rica is a place where time slows down and where you can lose yourself in the very essence of life.
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.
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.
Costa Rica gave the world the zip-line canopy tour, which whisks you through the treetops courtesy of a cable, helmet, and a secure harness. They’re great fun and have become the country’s signature tourist activity. Gauge your willingness and ability carefully before you set out, however. Remember: there’s no turning back once you start. There are other, more sedate ways to see the rainforest canopy, anyway. A few aerial trams (you’re seated in a slow-moving gondola car) and hanging bridges (you walk) offer a better opportunity to take in the treetop nature spectacle than you get with the high-energy zip-line tours.
Beyond altitude-related temperature considerations, the biggest issue for first-time Costa Rica visitors is the timing of the rainy season. On the Pacific side, the rainy season runs from April or May through October or November, with a brief pause in June and July. Precipitation levels are highest along the southern Pacific coast, where late summer and early fall are washout seasons. The balance of the year is dry. At low elevations in the northwest, you’re unlikely to encounter anything more than a brief shower between December and April.
The Nicoya Peninsula offers an incredibly diverse and beautiful region of Costa Rica with miles of pristine Pacific coastline. Part of the Guanacaste province, it provides off-the-beaten-path beaches and old world Costa Rican charm. Here you’ll find a variety of beaches, secluded coves, big wave surf breaks, sea turtle nesting sites, snorkeling, fishing, surfing, and the occasional all-inclusive resort.
The sovereign state of Costa Rica is a unitary presidential constitutional republic. It is known for its long-standing and stable democracy, and for its highly educated workforce, most of whom speak English. The country spends roughly 6.9% of its budget (2016) on education, compared to a global average of 4.4%. Its economy, once heavily dependent on agriculture, has diversified to include sectors such as finance, corporate services for foreign companies, pharmaceuticals, and ecotourism. Many foreign manufacturing and services companies operate in Costa Rica's Free Trade Zones (FTZ) where they benefit from investment and tax incentives.