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.
Whether you are seeking a family vacation to a top all-inclusive resort, a luxury romantic honeymoon to a secluded boutique hotel, or an adrenaline-filled expedition packed with adventure tours, we will craft a Costa Rica getaway that is right for you!  With over 15 years of local experience, you can trust our recommendations and the high-quality service we provide.
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.
If you intend to hike around Corcovado (or anywhere in Costa Rica, really) make sure to wear the appropriate gear. Things to keep in mind when setting to hike are the high humidity levels of this part of the world, and the bugs that will feast on you unless you wear long sleeves and pants, and apply bug repellent. I suggest reading my post on what to pack for the jungle to have an idea of what to wear and pack for an adventure trip to Corcovado.
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.
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.
Green and life are everywhere, from the 1200 species of orchids that garnish our trees to life sprouting on the beaches every year when millions of green turtles, leatherback and hawksbill sea turtles reach the Caribbean coast at the National Park Tortuguero to lay their eggs, traveling from miles away. Similarly, at Ostional, in the Pacific thousands of Lora turtles (Kemp's Ridley) reach the beach every year.
"We felt great joining the Costa Rica tour. The tour guide was fun and extremely accommodating and the hotels are superb in service and uniqueness. The activities in Hacienda Guachipelin were fantastic and and the Villas Playa Samara is truly a beach paradise. All the sceneries on the tour were beautiful, the wildlife were also astounding. We got more than what we bargained for. We had a great experience and we will definitely do it again."
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.
South Pacific Eco Extreme will engage you in an epic adventure exploring places few have dared to go! You’ll stay in African style safari tents, a cave behind a waterfall (yes, you read that right!), and a jungle ecolodge on the South Pacific coast. This 9-day extreme adventure includes mountain hiking, horseback riding, waterfall rappelling, plus whitewater rafting, and will undoubtedly be the most memorable vacation you’ve ever experience!
I have written about my love for Costa Rica before. And as I write this, I am once again in Costa Rica, sitting on the patio of my wonderfully inexpensive room in a charming boutique hotel (called, appropriately enough, La Ramona Charming Hotel), overlooking a calm pool and lush gardens, still stuffed from a bountiful breakfast of fresh fruit and eggs, relaxing after an early morning swim in the Pacific Ocean a couple of short blocks away.
The Pacific region of Costa Rice enchants visitors from around the world, along with Ticos taking a break from the bustling streets of San Jose. White sand beaches sparkle against the indigo waters of the Pacific Ocean, and the breeze accentuates the relaxing coastal ambiance. The pristine beaches border Costa Rica’s smallest national park, which encompasses three square miles of protected land that harbor unparalleled biodiversity.

A word of caution to solo female travelers. Many Tico men are very forward and quite assertive when they see a single female walking by herself. They have no reservations to ask you if you have a boyfriend or who you’re in Costa Rica with and it might take a bit of effort to get them to go away. My advice is to smile politely and move on if you don’t want to talk to them.

A morning boat transfer begins your journey to the Sarapiqui area. Tour a PINEAPPLE FARM, owned by a local family, and learn about the history, cultivation, and industry of pineapples. Continue to your hotel in the lush town of Arenal, located in the shadow of Arenal Volcano. After settling in, experience the magic of the resort’s pool and hot spring-fed jacuzzi, or consider a walk in the nearby nature trail in search of 300- to 400-year-old trees, poisonous frogs, monkeys, birds, and possibly small animals native to the area.
One of the most adrenaline filled things to do in Costa Rica is canyoning – that is, going down waterfalls on a rappel. This literally is a once in a lifetime adventure, and a great way to appreciate all the incredible nature Costa Rica has to offer. The best places to visit in Costa Rica for canyoning are La Fortuna and Arenal, but this activity is now offered in Jaco now.

One of the nicest places to visit in Costa Rica Tortuguero National Park, which is famous for turtle nesting. Both the park and Tortuguero village can only be accessed via boat – getting there is an incredible ride but it requires a bit of planning – going on a 3 day organized tour of Tortuguero from San Jose may be a good idea. Here’s a great one. 
"Canopy tours" or zip-lines are very popular tourist activities and are found all over Costa Rica. These typically cost between USD30-50 depending on the company and use a series of zip-lines to travel between platforms attached to the trees, through and over the forest canopy and over rivers. The person is secured with harnesses to the metal cords, as some go very high off the ground. Be sure to ask about the zip-line certification before booking and be sure to take part in the safety briefing before participating.
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.

Amazing! The tours were animal filled and the hotels were beautiful and relaxing. Giovanni, our tour guide, was knowledgeable, humorous and very good at keeping 37 people on time. He had a wealth of both biological and cultural information that made the longer bus rides bearable. The food was beyond amazing! Thank you for another perfect trip! Already thinking about where I will go next with Gate 1.


Year-round tropical warmth means there really isn’t a bad time to visit Costa Rica. December to April are normally the driest months; however, Costa Rica’s diverse topography and blanket of rainforests suggest that you should be prepared for at least some rain - a very small price to pay for such incredibly lush scenery. The good news is that even during the rainiest of seasons, the rainfall tends to be limited to a couple of hours a day… just enough time for you to enjoy a cup of Costa Rica's world-renowned coffee in one of its many cafes. Temperatures vary with altitude, with San Jose's temperatures ranging between 15C and 21C and the coastal areas experiencing much warmer climes.
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.
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

The picturesque beach town of Jaco anchors one of Costa Rica’s busiest stretches of coastline. Here, you’ll find the other Playa Hermosa, a famed surfing beach that hosts the Quicksilver International Surfing Competition every August. If you visit in late summer, you’ll definitely want to head down this way to catch a glimpse of elite amateurs mixing it up with 15-foot swells. Or skip the crowds and seek out one of the area’s quieter black sand beaches – pristine reminders of the region’s volcanic origins.
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.
The location receiving the most rain is the Caribbean slopes of the Central Cordillera mountains, with an annual rainfall of over 5000 mm. Humidity is also higher on the Caribbean side than on the Pacific side. The mean annual temperature on the coastal lowlands is around 27°C, 20°C in the main populated areas of the Central Cordillera, and below 10°C on the summits of the highest mountains.
Our trip was wonderful. We enjoyed every moment. Our guide, Jose, was incredibly helpful, very knowledgeable and super funny. The best guide ever! While the trip was only 7 days, we felt like we've seen a lot, learned a lot and experienced amazing things. Really, every day offered unforgettable adventures, a boat ride where we saw howler monkeys, a hike in the rain forest to see a volcano nearby, a zip-lining adventure where you couldn't see the other end of the zip-line. We really had a great time. Thank you Gate 1! (also, if possible, please say thank you to Jose. He made our trip stress-free, filled with excitement, and fun. We really appreciate that!).
Thanks for the input, Emilia. We have heard of Waze before, but haven’t given it a try yet. Google Maps has not let us done in Costa Rica yet! As for the price of gas, the small side of the road stall definitely overcharge (i don’t think they abide by the laws all that much), but that’s the “convenience tax” you pay to fill up in a small town without having to travel to a city with a real gas station.

Located along the Pacific coastline of Costa Rica, the Las Baulas National Marine Park is named for the leatherback turtle (baulas), which it endeavors to both showcase and protect. The park encompasses Tamarindo/Playa Grande Beach, where leatherback turtles have been coming ashore to lay their eggs for thousands of years. At Las Baulas you can go on a night Turtle Tour (after a briefing session) in the hope of seeing one of these enormous sea creatures coming ashore to lay her eggs, or perhaps you may see the baby turtles making their perilous way back to the ocean. The park is also home to mangrove swamps, which can be explored by sea kayak, and you can enjoy beach walks, swimming, and surfing during daylight hours.

"I just wanted to let you know how much we enjoyed our time in Costa Rica.  We were very impressed with the tour which your organised for us.  The hotels were very good, the drivers were punctual and courteous and the guides were amazing - their knowledge and command of English was fantastic. I have already recommended your company to friends who are planning a trip to Costa Rica"

For those looking for remote accommodations in search of romance or just for the excitement of reaching somewhere secluded and new, Costa Rica also features tree house lodges and glamorous camping retreats hidden in the rainforest canopy. There are few places more private than hanging out in a luxury camp in the trees with only the passing avifauna and active monkey troops as company. They are also perfect destinations for yoga getaways that connect each breath to the sounds of the surrounding rainforest terrain. 


Tucked away on an isolated stretch of Caribbean coast, just west of the Panamanian border, is Costa Rica’s other Playa Manzanillo – more commonly known by its English name. The area’s isolation, and the fact that much of the surrounding coastline is protected by a wildlife refuge, makes for a truly secluded experience. If you’re up for exploring the coastline by boat, rent a kayak in nearby Puerto Viejo or hop on a guided boat tour for $50 per day and up.
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.
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.
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
Costa Rican coffee is famous all over the world. By taking one of the coffee plantation tours you can see every step of the refining process and get the chance to buy discounted coffee in the gift shops. I hate the taste of coffee but the kind I had in Monteverde tasted like chocolate. Prices vary but expect to pay at least 14,000 CRC (25 USD) for a tour.
Visit the Sloth Sanctuary on the South Caribbean coast to see sloths in rehabilitation and overnight in a rainforest treehouse. Venture to Tortuguero to explore the jungle canals and see sloths in their natural habitat. Finally, head to the Arenal Volcano region to stay in a luxurious rainforest casita with a family of sloths living right on the property!
According to the World Bank, in 2010 about 489,200 immigrants lived in the country, many from Nicaragua, Panama, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and Belize, while 125,306 Costa Ricans live abroad in the United States, Panama, Nicaragua, Spain, Mexico, Canada, Germany, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, and Ecuador.[131] The number of migrants declined in later years but in 2015, there were some 420,000 immigrants in Costa Rica[132] and the number of asylum seekers (mostly from Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua) rose to more than 110,000, a fivefold increase from 2012.[133] In 2016, the country was called a "magnet" for migrants from South and Central America and other countries who were hoping to reach the U.S.[134][135]

Grab your camera and get ready for a wonderful vacation to Costa Rica! Witness bountiful wildlife in their natural habitat, enjoy relaxing dips in ecothermal hot springs, and learn about the Costa Rican culture on this thrilling adventure. Among the many highlights of this tour is Tortuguero National Park, where you'll take a boat ride along remote, unspoiled sections of the park to view wildlife. Your guide will look out for the wildlife—including freshwater turtles, egrets, toucans, and monkeys—so you can sit back, relax, and take plenty of pictures.
Combo adventure tours are one of our favorite things to do in Guanacaste. We love Guachipelin Adventure Park in the Rincon de la Vieja area which is a full day of ziplining, horseback riding, lunch, river tubing, hot springs and mud baths. It’s an awesome adventure in Costa Rica that allows you to experience the best of the volcano and dry tropical forest.
Arenal Volcano is not only one of Costa Rica’s most beautiful vacation destinations, but also numero uno for adventure and hot springs! Whether you are seeking peace and tranquility or thrilling outdoor challenges, you’ll find it here with an incredible selection of high adventure or nature eco-tours. Combine that with world-class hot spring resorts plus a mild year-round temperature and you’ll wonder why you’d ever want to leave!
We had a great time! Our tour guide Luis was amazing. The country is beautiful and we saw a lot of nature and got along well with the others in the group. We did all the optional side trips which were definitely worth it. Accommodations and food were very good and all in all it was a great trip. Thank you! Looking forward to the next Gate 1 vacation!
Crocodiles are quite common in certain parts of Costa Rica and, although not as dangerous as the Nile or saltwater species, are still considered occasional man-eaters and can grow to lengths of up to 20 feet/6 meters. The biggest spot for them is the Tarcoles river bridge in the central pacific as posted in the Jaco wiki. It is recommended to stop the vehicle nearby and walk across it. Some locals throw chicken meat and watch them eat. Great care should be taken when swimming or snorkeling, especially near areas where fishing is common or near river mouths.

Costa Rican cuisine is a blend of Native American, Spanish, African and many other cuisine origins. Dishes such as the very traditional tamale and many others made of corn are the most representative of its indigenous inhabitants, and similar to other neighboring Mesoamerican countries. Spaniards brought many new ingredients to the country from other lands, especially spices and domestic animals. And later in the 19th century, the African flavor lent its presence with influence from other Caribbean mixed flavors. This is how Costa Rican cuisine today is very varied, with every new ethnic group who had recently become part of the country's population influencing the country's cuisine.[156][unreliable source?]
In the event of a traffic accident, do not move the vehicle. Both the traffic police and an insurance investigator must make accident reports before the vehicles can be moved. Drivers using rental cars should clarify their company’s policy in the event of accidents. Rental companies may levy additional charges on drivers for failing to file a report.
I mentioned above that zika is of significant concern for pregnant and planning-to-become-pregnant visitors. Zika infections are often mild (low fever, chills) or entirely asymptomatic, so you won’t necessarily know that you’ve been afflicted. And it’s not just women who have to worry: though more research needs to be done, it appears that sexual transmission is possible.
There are the bustling market towns surrounded by sugar cane fields and coffee plantations of the Central Valley. Around the pristine 33-square-mile Lake Arenal, expats have taken up residence on the verdant hills rising from the shore, with vast lake views from their homes. On the Caribbean coast, life is laidback and moves to the rhythm of reggae. And that’s just a small taste of all Costa Rica has to offer as far as places to live.

You may think that Costa Rica is a cheap destination to travel to given its location in Central America. We found out first hand that couldn’t be further from the truth. While traveling around Costa Rica we found park fees to be high for the tourists (remember those waterfalls I talked about?), fuel prices expensive at $1.20/liter, car rental prices high given that you had to add insurance to everything, and food prices a rip off.
The Central Highlands offer a different and distinctive experience in Costa Rica away from the tropical heat and familiar images of the rainforest. Monteverde remains one of the most popular destinations in Costa Rica due to its thick green foliage, eco-friendly accommodations, and volcanic peaks, and cool, misty weather unique to the Cost Rican climate.
The good news is that there is a brand new highway known as Autopista Del Sol (Highway of the Sun) that stretches from the beaches around Orotina all the way into San Jose. This highway is smooth as U.S. or European highways, in fact it was constructed by a company that is based in Spain. There are tolls along this highway but if you travel the entire stretch it will still only come out to be a few dollars in total. 2011 update: unfortunately, problems have been found with this highway and parts of it are sometimes closed for repairs.
Malaria is rarely found in Costa Rica. However, there have been limited confirmed cases in the past in Osa Peninsula (Puntarenas), Matina Canton (Limón), Sarapiquí Canton (Heredia), and San Carlos Canton (Alajuela). Travelers planning to visit these areas should take precautions to prevent mosquito bites and malaria transmission. Talk with a doctor or nurse about medicine to prevent malaria before leaving the United States. Learn more about malaria, how to prevent it, and what to do if you think you are infected, at CDC’s malaria page for travelers.
En route to San José, visit SARCHI Village, known as the center of Costa Rican handcrafts and where you will see the artists in their workshops making the famous oxcarts. Next stop is Grecia Village to see the metal church that was imported from Belgium to Puerto Limon in 1897. The church was transported by oxcarts to its present-day location, but sat in the plaza for 10 years before being reconstructed.

The promise of pristine nature and secluded beaches protected by dense jungle terrain captures the attention of even seasoned travelers, and there is no greater place to blend rugged beauty and untamed nature than at Tortuguero, located on Costa Rica’s Caribbean Coast. Small charter flights travel between Tortuguero and San Jose, but the majority of travelers must take a boat through the winding canals to reach the banks of Tortuguero Village. The Caribbean Sea laps against the bordering golden beach as palm trees offer an idyllic image of a hidden paradise while the rainforest grows wild against the western backdrop. The Afro-Caribbean culture permeates the tropical atmosphere with the music and flavors in the restaurants.


San José, September 18, 2018 Local and social media report that last week’s demonstrations against the host government’s fiscal plan likely will continue this week throughout Costa Rica, and particularly in San Jose. Protesters may express their opposition by interrupting government services, creating traffic jams, and disrupting local commerce.  This may occur with little or ...
Literacy: This entry includes a definition of literacy and Census Bureau percentages for the total population, males, and females. There are no universal definitions and standards of literacy. Unless otherwise specified, all rates are based on the most common definition - the ability to read and write at a specified age. Detailing the standards that individual countries use to assess the ability to read and write is beyond the scope of the Factbook. Information on literacy, while not a perfect measu . . . more
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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