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.
Tortuguero National Park protects more than 46,800 acres of pristine habitat, including 20 miles of coastline on which Olive Ridley, leatherback, loggerhead, and hawksbill turtles hatch. A surprising addition to the diversity of the protected waters’ is the West Indian manatee, which populates shallow estuaries near open water. Traveling in Tortuguero feels more akin to the raw wonders of the Amazon as the park is home to over 300 species of birds, along with jaguars, spotted caiman, boa constrictors, and common tink frogs.

Pro Tip: Spanish is a pretty diverse language with dozens of regional dialects. Most U.S. students learn either Mexican or Castilian Spanish, both among the most commonly spoken variations. Though comprehensible to other Spanish speakers, the Costa Rican variation has some interesting idiosyncrasies, such as voseo – the use of the second person singular pronoun, vos, and its plural, vosotros, in place of the more common tú.
Micro mills and microclimates within these regions can also affect the way the coffee tastes due to the different minerals in the soil and how the coffee is cultivated. Much of the coffee cherries are harvested by hand and treated in a wet-process, setting the standard for Central and South American nations eager to participate in the coffee trade. Visiting coffee plantations across Costa Rica has become a popular activity eager to learn more about the cultivation process, along with the proper flavors they should find in a delicious cup of coffee.  A number of places around Costa Rica celebrate the pleasures of local coffee by highlighting the flavors particular to the different regions, along with producing quality drinks, including cocktails, representing the micro-mills.

There have been outbreaks of dengue fever in some areas of the country and an outbreak of malaria was reported in November 2006 from the province of Limon but just a few cases. Protection against mosquito bites is very important, wearing lightweight long pants, long sleeved shirts and using insect repellents with high concentrations of DEET is recommended by the CDC. If you are going to be in very rural areas known to be malaria-infested areas, you might want to consider an anti-malarial med. However, most travelers to Costa Rica do just fine with updated childhood immunizations and taking preventative measures against mosquito bites (rather than take anti-malarial medication). The CDC has a complete list of recommended vaccines when traveling to Costa Rica.


The rivers and rains have shaped Costa Rica’s landscape over millennia and rush through canyons and down mountains until reaching the sea for amazing whitewater rafting. The unique contours of the canals, forests, and waterfalls bring ample opportunities to explore the scenery and wildlife on rafting tours. Whether in the mood for a thrilling whitewater ride or a relaxing trip in search for lizards, birds, and monkeys, your professional guides will ensure a safe and memorable expedition. Popular destinations for rafting around Costa Rica include the Pacuare River (Lower Section) with class III/IV rapids, the Reventazon River (El Carmen Section) with class II/III rapids, the Toro River with class III/IV rapids, the Sarapiqui River (San Miguel Section) with class III/IV rapids, and the Savegre River with class II/III rapids.


Much of the historical machismo of the Central American culture has changed over the past 30 years. Where women once stayed in the home tending to the children and housework, they now pursue careers and occupations with salaries equal to men. It is still common for men to stare, whistle, or tout pickup lines at passing women, but is often considered complimentary by both the men and women involved. Confrontations are rare and considered ill-mannered in a society that prides itself on serene ambiance and politeness. Ticos say please and thank you whether speaking to servers at a restaurant, staff at a shop, or friends inside the home, formality remains integral to the culture.

Manuel Antonio National Park is one of Costa Rica’s most famous parks, and one that should definitely not be missed. There are 1,680 acres of rainforests containing hiking trails that will take you through dense vegetation and out to white sand beaches. This is an incredibly picturesque place that is filled with all sorts of plants and animals – if you are on a search to see a three-toed sloth, this is where you will most likely find one. When you picture Costa Rica, you are probably picturing Manuel Antonio.

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
Urbanization: This entry provides two measures of the degree of urbanization of a population. The first, urban population, describes the percentage of the total population living in urban areas, as defined by the country. The second, rate of urbanization, describes the projected average rate of change of the size of the urban population over the given period of time. Additionally, the World entry includes a list of the ten largest urban agglomerations. An urban agglomeration is defined as comprising th . . . more
Population: This entry gives an estimate from the US Bureau of the Census based on statistics from population censuses, vital statistics registration systems, or sample surveys pertaining to the recent past and on assumptions about future trends. The total population presents one overall measure of the potential impact of the country on the world and within its region. Note: Starting with the 1993 Factbook, demographic estimates for some countries (mostly African) have explicitly taken into account t . . . more
Easily accessible from Tamarindo, Playa Flamingo, Conchal, and Papagayo, the Catalinas Islands offer some of the best scuba diving in Costa Rica. This island chain is located off the Nicoya Peninsula in the northwest part of the country. The depth ranges between 18–75 feet (5.4–23 meters) and within this range there is an incredible diversity of wildlife. The islands are famous for their population and variety of rays, as well as tropical fish, sharks, sea turtles, and even sometimes whale sharks and pilot whales. Diving is incredible here all year around.
The National Museum of Costa Rica is housed in the old Bellavista Fortress, which was built in 1917 and was used a military barracks. Located directly opposite the Legislative Assembly and next door to the Jade Museum in the city of San Jose, the museum documents and showcases the history and culture of Costa Rica and has an expansive collection of archaeological treasures from all over the country. Many of the items on display date back to pre-Columbian times (prior to the Spanish arrival in 1500AD) and more recent additions include a very good butterfly garden and insect exhibit. The museum is closed on Mondays and public holidays.
Playa Hermosa is a comely, uncrowded gray sand beach on the Papagayo Peninsula. The beach itself fronts a deep cove that’s sheltered from the open Pacific, moderating local wave action. Even if you’re not staying at one of the four- or five-star properties near the cove, or at one of the upscale condos just over the ridge on the Pacific side, you can access Playa Hermosa without paying at the public beach along the area’s main paved road. Get the full local resort experience for less at Papagayo Golden Palms Resort, just off the beach: we spent less than $150 per night there and got as nice a five-star resort experience as I’ve ever had.
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.
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.[9] The country spends roughly 6.9% of its budget (2016) on education, compared to a global average of 4.4%.[9] 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.[10]
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