Commonly referred to as the most biologically diverse place on Earth, Corcovado National Park is the largest stretch of virgin Pacific Coast forest in the world. With species such as the Northern Tamandua, Baird’s Tapir and the countries smallest cat species called Margay, it is home to more than 370 species of birds, 10,000 insects and 140 different mammals. Other famous residents include Spider Monkeys, Howler Monkeys, White-Faced Capuchin Monkeys and the endangered Squirrel Monkey. Reptiles to be wary of include American Crocodile and Boa Constrictors while Bull Sharks as well as several species of sea turtles roam the waters off-shore. Corcovado National Park is a wonder land of wildlife watching.

The country may look small, but there are so many amazing activities in Costa Rica. There are hundreds of beaches to explore, two dozen national parks, half a dozen of volcanoes and an immense number of activities to take part it during your visit. Many travelers ask whether it is possible to see Costa Rica in a week and our answer is, it really isn’t.
We’ve heard this advice all our lives, and it was never more apt than it is in Costa Rica. You don’t need to venture out far to feel the wicked riptides that plague many of the hundreds of beaches here. (Conversely, these are exactly the conditions that make Costa Rica so popular with surfers.) On top of that, lifeguards patrol few beaches and you’ll see few warning signs. Take utmost care in the water.
The population includes European Costa Ricans (of European ancestry), primarily of Spanish descent,[2] with significant numbers of Italian, German, English, Dutch, French, Irish, Portuguese, and Polish families, as well a sizable Jewish community. The majority of the Afro-Costa Ricans are Creole English-speaking descendants of 19th century black Jamaican immigrant workers.[126][127]
In the beautiful Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve you can discover a treasure trove of amazing flora and fauna that is seldom encountered outside of this remarkable area of biodiversity. You can explore the reserve on foot along a network of more than 8 miles of hiking trails, enjoying the opportunity to see thousands of species of endemic plants (including orchids) and a variety of small animals. To help visitors get a better understanding of the amazing riches around them, the reserve offers guided birding tours, natural history tours, and even night tours, when all the nocturnal creatures come out to play. Visitors will be pleased to know that their entrance and tour fees all go towards research, education, and conservation.
We’ve heard this advice all our lives, and it was never more apt than it is in Costa Rica. You don’t need to venture out far to feel the wicked riptides that plague many of the hundreds of beaches here. (Conversely, these are exactly the conditions that make Costa Rica so popular with surfers.) On top of that, lifeguards patrol few beaches and you’ll see few warning signs. Take utmost care in the water.

There is no denying that price plays a role in popularity here. Our vacation packages are surprisingly reasonable for what you’re getting: Expert travel advice, personalized attention, and top Costa Rica experiences. We’ve carefully taken into account budget and travel time between destinations in each package to make the most of each trip. Simply stated, our no fuss ready-made trips mean less work for you.
Many Costa Rican roads are in terrible shape, and short distances can take a very long time. Even the only road in and out of popular tourist destinations are riddled with major potholes. To avoid potholes, drivers will often snake through the left and right lanes, usually returning to the right when oncoming traffic approaches. While this may seem erratic, you can become quickly accustomed to it. If you see a tree branch or pole poking out of the middle of a road, that is a "sign" that there is a deep sinkhole, pothole or manhole without a cover. Stay away from it.
Costa Rica's seasons are defined by how much rain falls during a particular period and not to the four seasons in the Northern Hemisphere. The year can be split into two periods, the dry season known to the residents as summer, and the rainy season, known locally as winter. The "summer" or dry season goes from December to April, and "winter" or rainy season goes from May to November, which almost coincides with the List of Atlantic hurricane seasons, and during this time, it rains constantly in some regions.
In the more developed parts, you can use your credit card and find ATMs fairly commonly, but smaller stores and more remote destinations will likely be cash-only. Fortunately, most of our tours are are all-inclusive, so all of the meals and activities from the beginning to end of your itinerary are included in the price, unless you decide to depart from the itinerary or add on extra activities. 
Natural fruit drinks offer a range of natural sweetness and refreshing flavor amidst the tropical heat and cool temperatures of the cloud forests. Roadside vendors and small restaurants provide delicious homemade natural fruit drinks known as “bebidas naturales.” Most vendors offer the common fruits such as pineapple, watermelon, papaya, mango and sour guava. In the tropical lowlands, it is common to find vendors selling cold coconut. The merchant drills a hole in the top of a chilled coconut and sticks a straw directly into the center for a cold, energizing refreshment referred to as pipas. There are also eight different beers brewed in Costa Rica, the most popular of which is Imperial., followed by Pilsen, and then Bavaria. 
It’s also one of the few places in Costa Rica where English is the de facto language. That’s down to the area’s unique Afro-Caribbean pedigree, which shows in local cuisine and culture too. The best way to experience the unique flavors (literally) of this distinctive corner of Costa Rica is to spring for Wolaba Tours’ 3.5-hour Food and Culture Tour. It’ll set you back $65 per person, but you won’t walk away hungry.

From your biggest concerns, like which airline to fly, to the seemingly insignificant details that can make or break your vacation (do you really need five different types of bug repellent?), our experts have you covered. Whatever your question or concern, you’ll find the answer here. It’s everything you need to know to pull off a worry-free, safe, and easy Costa Rican vacation.
note: active local transmission of Zika virus by Aedes species mosquitoes has been identified in this country (as of August 2016); it poses an important risk (a large number of cases possible) among US citizens if bitten by an infective mosquito; other less common ways to get Zika are through sex, via blood transfusion, or during pregnancy, in which the pregnant woman passes Zika virus to her fetus
Did you know you can bring up to 5 liters of alcohol per person into Costa Rica? Yeap! It’s true. Alcohol is not that cheap here. If you plan on doing some drinking it may be best to bring your own (as long as you don’t mind lugging around alcohol bottles in your suitcase). You can buy alcohol from a duty-free shop in the airport at your departure location for some added savings. If you do buy alcohol in Costa Rica we suggest buying it at any of the mini markets you come across. As strange as it is, the hard at these mini markets is usually cheaper than in the supermarket. Also, if you like rum it is probably cheaper to buy it here than in your home country.
Oh how we love truchas! This is one of those hidden gems of Costa Rica that most tourists don’t experience, but totally should. The concept is you go to a place with a small freshwater lake. An employee will give you a line with a little piece of bait on the end. You then stand around the lake and try to catch a fish (usually trout). Once you catch a fish for every person in your group you will go into the restaurant located on the property and they will cook up your fish for you.
The Butterfly Conservatory is located in El Castillo at the east end of Lake Arenal and has the biggest collection of butterflies in Costa Rica. There are six different atriums that mimic the natural habits of the variety of butterflies that live here. The beautiful and giant blue morpho butterfly can be seen here. There is a fabulous educational tour that takes you through the atriums where you will learn all about the different moths and butterflies of Costa Rica, along with the frogs and insects, too. This is a lovely afternoon activity; who doesn’t want to be surrounded by butterflies?
After you’ve had your fill of Playa Hermosa, head over the ridge – a short drive or long walk – and grab a cheap drink and plate at any of the beachfront cantinas along the area’s main drag. If you’re up for more adventure, sign up for a scuba or boat tour here – you’ll see signs lining the roads. Expect a daylong trip out on the water to set you back $100 per person.
Major infectious diseases: This entry lists major infectious diseases likely to be encountered in countries where the risk of such diseases is assessed to be very high as compared to the United States. These infectious diseases represent risks to US government personnel traveling to the specified country for a period of less than three years. The degree of risk is assessed by considering the foreign nature of these infectious diseases, their severity, and the probability of being affected by the diseases present. Th . . . more
Located in Alajuela, the Territory of Strays is a rather unique dog shelter, which has been established in response to the vast number of stray dogs that roamed the streets of Costa Rica. Animal euthanasia is a criminal offence in Costa Rica and although several animal shelters take in stray dogs, most mixed breeds will never be adopted. At Territory of the Strays one enlightened veterinarian hit upon the idea of advertising one-of-a-kind unique breeds of dogs with invented names, which were suddenly far more attractive than simple mongrels. Adoptions increased dramatically and now the shelter arranges mountain hikes, where the public can go walking with hundreds of stray dogs.
Rincon de la Vieja, an active volcano with a heat-sterilized summit and ominous scores running down its upper slopes, looms over the northwestern city of Liberia. Parque Nacional Rincon de la Vieja protects the twin-peaked massif and the surrounding moist forests. We spent two nights on the far side of Rincon de la Vieja, lounging in hot springs and hunting for hidden waterfalls, and had a blast.
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.
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.

A lot of the adventure activities in Costa Rica are expensive, but if you want a more local and cheap experience, just be really selective about the things you want to spend money on. One really nice thing about Costa Rica is that by law all the beaches need to have public access. This means every beach is free!!!!! Yeay for lots of beach days! If you need some activity ideas check out our list of favorite activities including many things for the budget savvy traveler in mind.


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.
No matter how well you intend to keep yourself covered with insect repellent, mosquitos are elusive and an inescapable part of the travel experience, whether visiting the lowlands, coastlines, and valleys across Costa Rica. It is important to wear long pants, long sleeves, a hat, shoes, and fresh repellent, most notably at dusk when the mosquitos are their most active.
* Sample prices displayed include international and domestic airline tickets as per itinerary and ALL airline-related taxes and fuel surcharges and are per person, based on double occupancy, and are dynamic in nature. Prices do not include insurance or delivery charges which are optional and customizable by the traveler. The airfare portion of the itinerary price is based on economy class, midweek departure. Prices do not include fees for carry on or checked baggage which can add additional fees per ticket on a roundtrip flight based on carrier charges. It also does not include any entrance fees or visa fees that may be charged at international airports. Some cities may charge local taxes that can only be collected by hotel at destination.
Hi Stacey! Yes definitely that’s one of the greatest (and most confusing) thing about Cost Rica is that there are soo many places to go but it’s so hard to get around, even with a car because of times and schedules for places opening, traffic and long drives. Right now is rainy season so it does get pretty cold in the mountains and central Valley. Always best to bring a rain jacket!
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:

Rincon de la Vieja, an active volcano with a heat-sterilized summit and ominous scores running down its upper slopes, looms over the northwestern city of Liberia. Parque Nacional Rincon de la Vieja protects the twin-peaked massif and the surrounding moist forests. We spent two nights on the far side of Rincon de la Vieja, lounging in hot springs and hunting for hidden waterfalls, and had a blast.


Due to small, but continuous, immigration from Asia and the Middle East, other religions have grown, the most popular being Buddhism, with about 100,000 practitioners (over 2% of the population).[137] Most Buddhists are members of the Han Chinese community of about 40,000 with some new local converts. There is also a small Muslim community of about 500 families, or 0.001% of the population.[138]
This quiet – often deserted – stretch is known for the distinctive “window” formations that punctuate an otherwise nondescript headland jutting out into the waves. At low tide, it’s safe to walk through the window, pausing only to marvel at little critters temporarily marooned in tidal pools. At high tide, stand back and admire the ocean’s awesome power as the waves tear through the waning void.
La Paloma Lodge is situated on a dramatic clifftop providing outstanding views of the Pacific and emerald jungle below. Drake Bay’s natural wonders provide opportunities for endless exploration. Snorkel through the crystal waters at Caño Island and discover the verdant rainforest and wildlife of Corcovado National Park. This boutique ecolodge is the perfect destination for any nature lover.

Wildlife - Costa Rica is world famous for having an incredibly high level of biodiversity throughout its tropical forests (this covers what you may hear referred to as rain forests, cloud forests, and dry forests). There are tropical mammals such as monkeys, sloths, tapirs, and wild cats as well as an amazing assortment of insects and other animals. There are many many birds (both migratory and resident) - more on that below. With 25% of the country being national parks and protected areas, there are still many places you can go to see the abundant wildlife and lush vegetation of the country. Just like anywhere, the farther you get off the beaten path, the more likely you are to see a wide variety of flora and fauna.

Costa Rica has a tropical climate, with a wet and a dry season each year on the Pacific side, and occasional showers throughout the year on the Caribbean side. Note that the Caribbean is often gorgeous in October, while this is the dreariest month on the Pacific side and in the Central Valley. Costa Rica’s weather varies wildly depending on which side of the country you’re visiting.
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.
There is an extensive network of bus routes within the country with reasonable fares. Departures are very punctual, though routes often take longer than expected. Stop by the Tourist Office downtown (underneath the Gold Museum in the Plaza--ask anyone and they'll be able to help you out). The bus system is a safe and even fun way to see a lot of the country cheaply and not have to worry about car rentals. Getting around without Spanish is no problem.
Costa Rica is smoke-free, with lighting up prohibited in all public buildings. That takes in all businesses, so the law governs bars and restaurants too. The smoking ban also includes your hotel room and all public areas, indoors and outdoors, of all lodgings. You’ll see the red, white, and black PROHIBIDO FUMAR signs everywhere. Compliance is good; fines are steep for both the errant smoker and the business.
Lodging: Avoid name-brand four- and five-star beach resorts, looking instead to locally owned properties with comparable amenities. (We saved more than 50% on our beach hotel by going local.) If you’re staying in one location for more than a couple nights, look for a short-term rental. Most popular beaches teem with modern condos and villas with in-unit kitchens, pools, and other amenities. Away from the beach, look to rustic resorts (such as ecolodges) and motel-style properties. Our place in Tilaran, essentially a roadside motel, cost about $35 per night with full (delicious) breakfast included. You’ll pay a lot less if you’re willing to sacrifice ostentatious onsite bells and whistles, like full-service spas and gourmet restaurants.

Finally, one of the top things to do in Costa Rica is seeing turtles – nesting and hatching. The best place to see them is Tortuguero National Park. Regardless of the place, make sure that watching the turtles has no impact on them. Things such as intense light and touching are extremely bad for these animals – if you opt for a guided tour to see turtles, make sure this is 100% responsible!
Current account balance: This entry records a country's net trade in goods and services, plus net earnings from rents, interest, profits, and dividends, and net transfer payments (such as pension funds and worker remittances) to and from the rest of the world during the period specified. These figures are calculated on an exchange rate basis, i.e., not in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms.
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.
Legislative branch: This entry has three subfields. The description subfield provides the legislative structure (unicameral – single house; bicameral – an upper and a lower house); formal name(s); number of member seats; types of constituencies or voting districts (single seat, multi-seat, nationwide); electoral voting system(s); and member term of office. The elections subfield includes the dates of the last election and next election. The election results subfield lists percent of vote by party/coalition an . . . more
Your Passport: Though it’s fairly easy for North American travelers to reach and lacks a standing army, Costa Rica is indeed a sovereign nation. Don’t forget your passport and passport card. If your passport is expired, apply at least three months in advance to avoid bureaucratic delays. A new or renewed U.S. passport and card costs $140, per the State Department.
San Jose is an arts and culture hub, featuring the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design, the Costa Rican National Museum, and unique institutions like the Pre-Colombian Gold Museum, and the Jade Museum. There’s also a Peace Museum—Costa Rica is known for its pacifist ideology, which may be why its locals make it so easy to relax and indulge in Pura Vida.
Activities – Entrance into most national parks is usually around 5,500 CRC (10 USD) with discounts available for students. Canopy tours and day trips are around 25,000 CRC (40 USD). A two tank dive can be between 30,000-53,325 CRC (55-90 USD). Surf lessons start around 11,000 CRC (20 USD) per hour. There are also lots of surf camps where you can spend the week learning how to surf (or honing your skills if you already know how to). Prices vary widely, though expect to pay at least 25,000 CRC (40 USD) for a week.
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.

Another of the natural gems you will find in the Alajeula Province, the La Fortuna Waterfall is one of Costa Rica’s must-see attractions. The waterfall is located in the heart of the lush rainforest at the base of the (dormant) Chato Volcano in Arenal Volcano National Park and is reached via a 20-minute hike through the lush forest. On arrival at La Fortuna Waterfall, you will find a splendid 75-meter jet of water that drops into a beautiful natural pool, which is perfect for a refreshing swim. Many visitors combine a visit to the waterfall with a hike up the Chato Volcano – you can call in at the visitors center to get a map and buy some souvenirs.
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.
However, over time we became annoyed with the water bottle as the filter aged and clogged. Plus the bottle leaks when it is on its side. We now switched to the Grayl Ultralight Purifier. It’s a more simplistic design than the Lifestraw that is more effective and does not leak. Most importantly it is a purifier, not a filter. The Grayl water bottle system purifies water vs. filters which removes viruses and virtually removes all threat of waterborne illnesses.
You have to exercise caution when renting a car in Costa Rica; where it is not uncommon for rental companies to claim "damage" they insist you inflicted on the vehicle. It is by far the best policy to rent a car through a Costa Rican travel agent. If you are travelling on a package, your agent will sort this out. Otherwise, go into an ICT-accredited travel agent in San Jose and ask them to arrange rental for you. This should be no more expensive than renting on your own and will help guard against false claims of damage and other accusations; rental companies will be less willing to make trouble with an agent who regularly sends them clients than with individual customers who they may not see again.

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.
We had a wonderful time! Rafael was a wealth of knowledge of the history of Costa Rica, all the wildlife that we saw, and his organizational skills were outstanding throughout the tour. The accommodations were amazing and we were so impressed with how clean all of the areas were and how friendly all the staff of the hotels were. More importantly all of the staff of Gate 1 were very kind and helpful. The bus driver Mauricio was outstanding driving that huge bus through those mountain roads, making sure the bus was spotless, and being helpful and friendly. We will definitely use Gate 1 Travel for other upcoming trips.
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Our trip exceeded my expectations. We had a wonderful time in Costa Rica. Our guide Luis was exceptional, he took his job seriously, he made sure that everyone in the group was having a good time and safe. But, the most important thing is we learned so much about Mother Nature, Costa Rica, and the restaurants we went with the tour and the hotels were exceptional. Thank you Gate 1.
GDP - composition, by end use: This entry shows who does the spending in an economy: consumers, businesses, government, and foreigners. The distribution gives the percentage contribution to total GDP of household consumption, government consumption, investment in fixed capital, investment in inventories, exports of goods and services, and imports of goods and services, and will total 100 percent of GDP if the data are complete. household consumption consists of expenditures by resident households, and by nonprofit insti . . . more
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.[57] 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.
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